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Overview

Adventure, nature, culture, history- Cambodia comes to life on this family holiday. Travel through time, climbing over ancient jungle-covered pagodas and riding a cyclo along the capital’s buzzing streets. Delve in to Khmer culture with an overnight village stay and encounters with local artisans.

Trip Highlights

Cambodia Young Family Explorer

Take an in-depth family trip through Cambodia

See the main sites and explore hidden gems at a pace that is perfect for families with young kids.

Experience a village homestay

Stay with a Cambodian family in their countryside home, a fabulous opportunity to experience local life and customs.

Connect with nature

Venture through pristine natural scenes unique to the Cambodian landscape and encounter exotic Asian wildlife.

Itinerary

1

Phnom Penh arrival

Phnom Penh Airport - Phnom Penh (11 km): 25 mins

Phnom Penh was once considered one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient, and despite its turbulent history and more recent (and rapid) development, it still retains a colonial charm. Cambodia’s capital, majestically located at the confluence of the mighty rivers of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap, is at once bustling and laid back. Wide tree-lined boulevards and many colonial-era buildings reflect the glorious days of old and add to the allure of the city, where Asian and Western traditions meet in a fascinating way. On arrival into Phnom Penh you will be met by your guide and escorted to your hotel for check in. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

2

Phnom Penh

This morning you will be greeted by a driver who will take you on a tour to the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in a cyclo, an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore this lively city. First, head to Wat Phnom, a small hilltop temple that marks the founding place of the city. Then continue along the riverfront to the Royal Palace. This palace dates back to 1866 and houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. Its original name is Wat Prakeo, meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In this temple you will view a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze.

Continue to Bloom café, an incredible cake art gallery and a not-for-profit training organisation that empowers and skills young disadvantaged Cambodian women, providing them with a profession. Here you will try some of their incredible creations and cupcakes before being dropped back by your hotel. Note: Bloom café is open Monday-Saturday (10:00-17:00hrs) and closed every Sunday

The remainder of the day is at leisure with some optional afternoon experiences.

Optional: Monkey Business

Centrally located in BKK1, Monkey Business is one of Cambodia’s largest indoor playgrounds with dedicated baby and toddler areas. Custom designed and manufactured in Australia by world leader Playtec and designed for children aged 0-7, the site includes ball pits, slides, bouncy castles, climbing apparatus, a small outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant and much more for your young children’s enjoyment.

Note: entrance fee to be paid locally (own expense). Currently $2 for children 0-2, $4 for 2+ and an additional $1 for children and $ for adults who also wish to use the swimming pool. Socks are required.

Optional: Kids City

Located in the heart of Phnom Penh, Kids City is a one stop shop for a multitude of indoor children’s entertainment. Including six floors of different activities there are experiences for children of any age. Ranging from a whole floor for ‘Toddler Town’, a state of the art vast play area for young children, to the multi-story indoor playground for older kids. Also located on other floors in this incredible complex is an ice skating rink, laser tag, go-karting, a science discovery centre and a rock climbing wall.

Note: entrance fee to be paid locally (own expense) and the cost varies on the activity. Socks are required.

Optional: Cambodian Living Arts – (evening)

This evening get inspired by Cambodian arts as you watch a traditional performance by Cambodian Living Arts (CLA). A rotating program is offering consisting of 3 unique performances: Children of Bassac (Classical and Folk Dance), Mak Therng and Passage of Life (Music and Theatre). Oct-Mar shows daily except Sun, Apr-Sep on Fri/Sat only.

All the shows last one hour and are held in the atmospheric gardens of the National Museum. After many years of gaining recognition for preserving many Cambodian art forms the CLA are today striving towards providing the artists the tools required to make their skills sustainable and also so they can make a competitive income from their work.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

3

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh - Phnom Tamao Wildlife Reserve (36 km): 50 mins

Early this morning, travel by private vehicle to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, located an hour’s drive from Phnom Penh, Phnom Tamao is the world’s largest sanctuary for sun bears and has educated hundreds of thousands of Cambodians about the threats facing their wild bear populations.

On arrival meet the staff at Free The Bears, located within Phnom Tamao. Free The Bears is a registered charity that was set up by an Australian woman, Mary Hutton, to protect, preserve and enrich the lives of bears throughout the world. The 100+ bears that you will see at Phnom Tamao may have faced death or a torturous life in order to provide medicinal benefits or exotic food to the Asian market. Twenty one forested enclosures have been built over 7 hectares to house a mixture of Sun bears and Asiatic black bears of different ages and personalities.

After visiting the various different bear houses take part in a fun activity of preparing enrichment toys. There will also be time to visit some of the other endangered and threatened species kept at Phnom Tamao. Lunch will be taken at a simple local picnic hut ‘Khmer style’. In the afternoon it is time to hide the food in the bear’s forest enclosures and watch them enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Leaving Phnom Tamao, drive a short distance to visit Tonle Bati Temple, where you will see an Angkor-era temple that remains largely intact and pretty gardens that enhance the atmosphere. Whilst very small in size, the temple is one of the best preserved and picturesque ones you can visit in Cambodia.

On the way back to Phnom Penh stop to try some local seasonal fruits before arriving at approximately 6pm at your hotel.

(Note: please note that direct contact with the bears is not possible under any circumstances: these are rescued wild animals. It is recommended to bring closed footwear, sunscreen and suitable clothing for a day in the forest).

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

4

Phnom Penh - Battambang

Phnom Penh – Battambang (330km): 5hr

This morning you will depart the capital and head through rural Cambodia to the town of Battambang. Outside of Phnom Penh the traffic is lighter and the whole journey is scenic as you head towards the northwest of the country.

Travel first to Kampong Chhnang, known for its traditional pottery, with many kilns at work in this province. In a village near Kampong Chhnang, stop to see the different aspects of pottery making in one of the most scenic locations in Cambodia. You can try your own hand at creating a jug or pot if you like! Enjoy a packed lunch at one of the local houses and watch the daily activity of the village.

Next, continue to Kompong Luong from where you will board a simple local boat to visit a series of floating villages on the Tonlé Sap Lake. Along the way you will pass floating factories to make ice for fish preservation, a Christian church built by Japanese missionaries, a Buddhist pagoda, service stations, fish farms, cell phone stores, boat and television repair shops, a video club, karaoke bar, police station…everything is on the water. All trades are represented and everybody from children to grandparents go by boat through the network of canals that cross this area.

Upon arrival in Battambang, you will be taken directly to your hotel for check in. Even though Battambang is Cambodia’s second largest city, you will find that the atmosphere is very laid-back in a charming and relaxed river town full of fine examples of French-colonial architecture.

Overnight in Battambang.

5

Battambang

Morning at leisure.

Optional: Village bike ride with Soksa Bike

Today have a fun morning cycling around local villages with Soksa Bike, a social enterprise initiated set up to provide scenic and informative bike rides through the local countryside. During the 30km cycle tour there are plenty of stops where you will learn how the locals produce rice paper, prahoc (typical Cambodian fish paste), grolan (sticky rice stuffed in bamboo) and other Cambodian treats. The local countryside is beautiful and the Battambang area is known for the high quality rice and also oranges grown in the area.

Optional: Walking tour with museum, temple visits

Spend a couple of hours exploring the town of Battambang on foot. Battambang has passed from Cambodia to Thailand and back again several times in its history and has an excellent collection of early 20th century French colonial architecture that is better preserved and respected than in many other parts of the country. Visit the main market, Psar Nath and try a local coffee. Enter a Chinese temple and see the train station where time has literally stood still.

* Adults and Children:   No additional charge for this excursion

Lunch will be at Jaan Bai, meaning ‘rice bowl’ in Khmer. It is a social enterprise restaurant providing training and employment for local youth, with all profits going to the overall sustainability of the Cambodian Children’s Trust.

After lunch, head off to the Bamboo Train station. The Bamboo Train was set up by the villagers in order to facilitate the transportation of goods and persons after regular trains ceased running. The “train” itself is very basic: a bamboo platform on 4-wheels that is powered by a small motor. Sitting on the platform (we will provide some cushions for your comfort), you will travel the 8 km to the next station through beautiful landscape and rice paddies (depending on season of visit). A true rollercoaster ride without loops! (Note: the bamboo train is occasionally not in operation without prior notice).

This afternoon, make a stop at the Ancient House, the oldest standing Khmer timber house in Wat Kor Village, where most of the houses are around 100 years old. Here the lady of the house will give you a guided tour, showing you everything from how they mill their own rice to demonstrating the after-dinner betel leaf ritual.

Continue to Phnom Sampeau, meaning “Ship Hill” in Khmer due to its distinctive shape; it is one of the few hills standing out in this otherwise pancake-flat plain. From the small temple on the top, you will have a fantastic view over the typical landscape of paddy fields and sugar palm trees. Phnom Sampeau is home to the notorious killing caves, which are cruel reminders of Cambodia’s troubled past. Serenity and inhumanity represented in one place make this an interesting visit. Your visit will last until dusk, when millions of bats emerge from a cave and create patterns as they fly in tandem across the sky – a nightly spectacular show of nature! 

Overnight in Battambang.

6

Battambang - Banteay Chhmar

Battambang - Banteay Chhmar (141 km) 3 hrs

After breakfast this morning you will depart to Banteay Chhmar, a village built around the moat of an expansive Angkor-era temple.

On arrival you will head out to visit Banteay Chhmar temple, a place of exceptional atmosphere that gets very few visitors. A notable feature of this temple that is applying for UNESCO World Heritage Site status is the magnificent carvings on the outside of the inner sanctuary walls. Within the walls, almost every step gives another fabulous picture of stone being consumed by nature. It is a spectacular sight with its Bayon-style towers, walls and enclosures cloaked with vegetation.

Enjoy a picnic lunch amongst the temple ruins before returning to the village.

The surrounding countryside, with its paddy fields and sugar palm trees is very typical for Cambodia; here you will enjoy its beauty on a tour by ox-cart in the late afternoon. It’s a great and fun way to get in touch with rural Cambodia and its friendly people.

Your accommodation tonight will be at a traditional local homestay, a fabulous intimate encounter to get to experience a typical Khmer village, learning about local life and customs.

After dinner with a local family you will see a performance of traditional Khmer music played by the local villagers.

Overnight in Banteay Chhmar at a local homestay.

7

Banteay Chhmar - Siem Reap

Banteay Chhmar – Siem Reap (161 km): 2 hrs 30 mins

After breakfast, visit the local market in Banteay Chhmar and experience a typical Khmer village. Your local guide will explain about some of the traditional life that takes place, including fishing, beekeeping, weaving and rice farming.

From here, continue to Siem Reap, the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire, where you will be taken to your hotel for check in.

The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Overnight in Siem Reap

8

Siem Reap

Siem Reap – Temples (06 km): 10 mins

This morning you will discover some of the main Angkor sites with a tour by local remok (tuk tuk). First, you will head to the largest religious structure in the world: the magnificent Angkor Wat. Built by Suryavarman II in early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing the Mount Meru, home of the gods. Considered the masterpiece of Khmer architecture, this temple was built in honor of the god Vishnu, and as such is the only major temple at Angkor that faces west. Inside, the temple the walls are covered by carvings depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II waged during his reign.

Continue to the ancient city of Angkor Thom. Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII (who also commissioned the building of Banteay Chhmar). This city is surrounded by an 8m-high wall drawing a perfect square. You will enter the city from the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and capped with four giant faces of the Buddha, and onwards to the Bayon temple in the exact center of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its dozens of towers with enigmatic faces looking out over the far-flung provinces of the Great Khmer Empire. The nearby Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate carvings. If you wish, escape the crowds to stroll through the grounds of the former Royal Palace to discover some small hidden temples that are less visited.

After, visit Ta Prohm temple, which children will probably enjoy the most. The original ‘Tomb Raider’ movie with Angelina Jolie was filmed here. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes Ta Prohm one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. (Note: during high season months you may wish to visit Preah Khan temple instead: built by the same king during the same period, Preah Khan is a larger, more labyrinthian complex that provides more of a “Tomb Raider” experience both because of its size and smaller crowds. Ask your guide for advice prior to visit.)

Return to Siem Reap for lunch at Marum Restaurant. Set in a delightful wooden house with a spacious garden and featuring a winning mix of creative local cuisine, Marum is named after the Moringa, or 'Tree of life'. Your visit not only gives you an incredible dining experience but also helps build a new life for the students in training there! Part of the Tree Alliance group of training restaurants, they provide vocations into the hospitality industry for local street kids and disadvantaged youths.

Afternoon at leisure, with a choice of optional activities.

Optional: 2-3 hrs village cycle tour

Explore some local villages to experience the “real” Cambodia in the Siem Reap area. Discuss a route in advance with your guide in order to meet your own level of fitness and interest. The excursion is designed to give you a more extended bike ride mixed with cultural interactions. A support vehicle is provided in case you need to take a break along the way.

Optional: Horseback riding at Happy Ranch

Head to the Happy Ranch, a western style horse ranch outside of Siem Reap. There, you will get acquainted with your horse of pure Cambodian breed, a descendant of the Mongolian wild horses. Then enjoy the countryside on horseback! During the two hour trail ride you will get to places far outside the tourist areas, through the rice fields and local villages to the rarely visited temple of Wat Atvea. Explore the peaceful temple ruins of the Angkor-era, a truly authentic experience.

Note: Happy Ranch can arrange lead rides on gentle ponies for young children. Their experienced staff will walk alongside and lead them or just assist them when necessary. 

Optional: Angkor Zipline

Angkor Zipline is a zipline eco-adventure tour at the Angkor Archeological Park. Offering eight ziplines of different heights, suspended sky bridges, and abseiling from a tree, this is an excursion for those with a sense of adventure who want to soar over the jungle canopy like a gibbon! Transfer to the zipline site before receiving a safety briefing and being outfitted with safety gear. After the adventure begins, start with the easiest ziplines before proceeding to the highest and most exhilarating ones. The highest ziplines are 50 meters above the canopy and the longest is 350 meters. From the last zipline the final adventure is to abseil down from a high tree before a soft trek through the forest takes you back to the starting point. (Note – max 9 people in a single group, latest start time is 12pm, excursion lasts 3-4 hrs, maximum weight 125kg, not suitable for children under 5 yrs old or 1m in height: no sandals permitted).

Overnight in Siem Reap.

9

Siem Reap

Today, experience an incredible tour to learn about life in a typical Cambodian village, meet friendly locals and discover traditional village customs and cultures.

You will be picked up from your hotel early morning by your local guide and driven to a local village, 25 minutes out of town. A western packed breakfast from the hotel will be taken and, on arrival, you will meet and sit down with a local family and share this breakfast with them while learning about local village life early in the morning when generally it is at its most active.

From here, a 30 minute ox cart ride through the village will take you to a local market where a short walk through this bustling centre will introduce you to Cambodian vegetables, herbs, fruits and other local produce. Continue 1km by foot through the picturesque countryside village, stopping off to meet the local community along the way to observe whatever seasonal activity is happening at that time, such as rice planting, weaving thatch roofs, planting or harvesting vegetable crops, making fish traps etc. Each tour will be different and the activities will depend on the time of the year, the family, and the needs of the local village. The surrounding countryside with its paddy fields and sugar palm trees is very typical of Cambodia.

End the morning at the local pagoda where a special water blessing by Buddhist monks.

From here, make a stop at the 9th Century Bakong Temple, part of the Roluos group and a site of an ancient center of Khmer civilization known as Hariharalaya, before continuing on a boat trip on the Tonlé Sap Lake, where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. The Tonlé Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and is officially designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Covering an area of roughly 2,500 square km in the dry season, the lake swells to about four times it size in during the wet season!

Travel out to Kampong Phluck, a stilted village that is the best place to see the authentic life of local fisherman and their families who live amongst the flooded mangrove forest. At Kampong Phluck, board a local boat for a ride on the lake.  On the way, you will see houses on stilts that are submerged with the lake expands, pass by floating houses and impressive flooded forests and get a good feel for life on the water.

In one of the floating houses, a delicious lunch will be prepared for you. Enjoy the beautiful scenery dominated by the tranquility of the lake.

(Note: during the months Apr-Sep the water level may be too low for a visit by boat. However the village is still fascinating and can be visited by car. Quite dramatic to see how the stilted houses are exposed from lake when water levels are low!)

Optional: Phare Ponleu Selpak in Siem Reap – (evening)

This evening attend a performance of ‘Phare, the Cambodian Circus’. Starting at 8pm, professional artists of Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) will perform an inspiring show suitable for people of all ages. Set up in Battambang in 1994 by young returnee Cambodians from the refugee camps who learned about using art as a means of coping with trauma, PPS has played an influential role in promoting and developing Khmer culture over the years after the Khmer Rouge genocide. The hour long show mixes traditional and modern theater, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion performed in a story about Cambodian lives and society.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

10

Siem Reap - Sihanoukville, Koh Rong Island

Siem Reap - Siem Reap Airport (8 km): 15 minsSihanoukville Airport – Sihanoukville (18km): 30 mins

Transfer to the airport for your morning flight to Sihanoukville (1 hr).

On arrival you will be met and transferred to the pier for your boat to the hotel on Koh Rong.

Overnight on Koh Rong.

11

Sihanoukville, Koh Rong Island

Enjoy your day at leisure.

Overnight on Koh Rong.

12

Sihanoukville, Koh Rong Island

Enjoy your day at leisure.

Overnight on Koh Rong.

13

Sihanoukville - Phnom Penh - Departure

Sihanoukville – Phnom Penh (230 km): 4 hrs

Breakfast at hotel. Free at leisure until the afternoon transfer back to Phnom Penh with a driver only.

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Accommodation based on 2 adults in a shared twin or double room in selected hotels with max. 2 x children under 12 years old sleeping in extra bed(s)
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English speaking guide (for other languages a supplement applies)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle unless stated otherwise
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Daily drinking water

Our services do not include:

  • Visa for Cambodia (Visa issued on arrival for most nationalities, USD30/pax, please bring 1 passport photo)
  • Any surcharge/extra fees for visit of the Angkor Historical site imposed by the Apsara Authorities in Siem Reap which are subject to change without prior notice
  • Other meals than mentioned
  • International and Domestic Flights
  • Camera/video entrance fees
  • Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, telephone, tips etc)
  • Travel insurance including recommended helicopter evacuation for Cambodia
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above

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