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Overview

From the exotic to the sublime, taste the best of Cambodia cuisine. Follow a culinary trail through Siem Reap and Battambang, seeing the sites and satisfying the stomach. Learn the secrets behind traditional Khmer cuisine with local chefs and feast on sweet and savoury delights at every turn.

Trip Highlights

Culinary Cambodia

Experience an exotic taste of Cambodia

Taste locally-made spirits and wine and dine on unusual delicacies such as fried insects, roasted frog and stinky fish paste.

Get closer to the local culture

Dine alongside locals at food stalls and in their homes and barter for exotic produce at vibrant fresh markets.

Taste modern Khmer Cuisine

Experience the growing foodie scene of Cambodia with meals at innovative modern-Khmer restaurants like Embassy and Chanrey Tree.

Itinerary

1

Arrive in Siem Reap

Siem Reap Airport - Siem Reap (8 km): 15 mins

On arrival at Siem Reap, the charming riverside city that is the gateway to the majestic temples of Angkor, guests will be met by their guide and transferred to the hotel for check in.

The remainder of the day is at leisure before enjoying a welcome dinner at the Embassy Restaurant, an exclusive fine dining experience unparalleled in Siem Reap and headed by executive chefs Pol & Sok; the “Kimsan Twins”. Their experience has taken them to different continents and under the mentoring of Michelin starred chefs they have created one of the most unique five-star quality cuisines that can be experienced in Siem Reap. With a constantly changing menu based around seasonality, guests can savour skilfully prepared masterpieces from multiple-course set menus, paired with a selection of fine wines.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

2

Siem Reap

Siem Reap – Temples (06 km): 10 mins

Early this morning begin your Angkorian exploration. Start with a typical Cambodian breakfast at a noodle stall near the temples, before continuing to explore the star attractions of Angkor Archaeological Park. Starting at the world’s largest religious temple, the magnificent Angkor Wat. Built by Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, it was constructed following the model of the temple mountain, symbolizing Mount Meru, home of the gods.

Continue to the ancient city of Angkor Thom; the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII and is surrounded by an 8m high wall drawing a perfect square. Enter the city from the impressive stone South Gate, carved with elephants and four giant faces.

From here, continue to Bayon temple in the center of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is distinguished by its dozens of towers with enigmatic faces looking out over the widespread provinces of the Great Khmer Empire, however, Bayon is of special interest to us for its galleries of bas-relief carvings featuring scenes from daily life that tell us much about the culinary culture of the Khmers during the Empire.

Also visit the Terrace of the Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King for more intricate bas-reliefs and stroll the grounds of the former Royal Palace to discover small hidden temples that are rarely visited. Return to Siem Reap late morning where there’ll be time for a refreshing dip in the pool and time to rest at the hotel.

This afternoon visit the magical Ta Prohm temple. Built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries, Ta Prohm is unique in that it is overgrown by jungle, trees, vines, and with many parts crumbling to the ground, it is one of the most picturesque Angkor temples. Alternatively, depending on the season and the crowds, you may wish to visit Preah Khan temple. Built by the same king in a similar style, this larger temple complex is also largely left in ruins and its labyrinthian layout and fewer visitors makes a more intimate experience even in the high season months. (Note: speak to your guide about the crowds during the time of your visit to determine which is best for you depending on the season of your visit).

This evening, be picked up at the hotel by local transportation at 18:00 for a Cambodian Street Food Discovery. First, head out with your food-loving local guide to the famous Bugs Café. Experience the gastronomical discovery of these typical Cambodian delicacies by savouring sophisticated tapas, cooked in a fusion of French and Khmer cuisine by a former chef of a five-star hotel. (Note that certain dishes can be served without insects for the not-so adventurous eaters!)

Next, explore the streets around Psar Chas (Old Market), which are lined with various stalls selling pancakes, fruit shakes, fried bananas, waffles, coconut rice cakes, and various fried rice and noodle dishes. Sit down anywhere and enjoy anything at leisure! Make sure to stop at one of the many fresh fruit stalls to try a range of exotic local fruit, including dragon fruit, longans, mangoes, mangosteens, snake fruit, and the pungent but very tasty durian!

Then, head over to the Sombai rice wine workshop to sample a selection of spirits made from fermented rice. Taste the unusual concoctions infused with local fruits and herbs, accompanied by local snacks. This is a great break of the culinary adventure!

Continue the culinary adventure around Wat Damnak, where a handful of smoke-filled corrugated-iron roofed shacks and fancier open-sided eateries serve one of Siem Reap’s most popular street food snacks, sach ko ang jakak (beef skewers marinated in palm sugar, soy, and kroeung (a paste of lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime, garlic), and then barbecued over coals on a traditional clay grill). There are other meats available too like BBQ frog, eel, chicken, or fish.

End the evening at one of the family-run dessert stalls near Wat Polanka. Combining a myriad textures, from silky glutinous surfaces and crunchy shaved ice to smooth medicinal jellies and creamy coconut milk, and flavours that are exotic to foreign palates, from yellow bean to durian, Khmer desserts are an acquired taste for many visitors. This stop will mark the end of the tour. Be driven safely back to the hotel, or dropped off at anywhere in the city center of Siem Reap.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

3

Siem Reap

Siem Reap – Banteay Srei (37 km): 45 mins

This morning discover the secrets of authentic Khmer cuisine in a half-day cooking class in the Siem Reap countryside. Begin with an introduction to the morning’s activities with a professional chef, where you will have a hands-on culinary experience, creating your own local delicacies. After which you will get to eat what you have created.

Return back to Siem Reap in the afternoon for a two-hour explore tour around local village, which gives an insight into village life in Cambodia and the challenges faced by rural Cambodians. Take an ox cart ride, a traditional countryside method of transporting people and goods. The 30 minute journey passes through the village on the way to the local market. Explore the colourful displays of vegetables, herbs and other locally-grown produce, and mingle with the shoppers who come every morning to buy the fresh ingredients.

Continue on foot through the village, providing ample opportunities to stop and chat with locals and to observe their activities. Depending on the time of year, they may be planting rice, weaving thatch coverings for their roofs, harvesting vegetables, or other similar tasks. For a truly immersive experience, lend a hand and join the locals in these activities!

Before leaving the village, partake in a special Buddhist tradition. Local monks will impart wishes of good luck and success in a solemn, age-old ceremony.

Return to hotel for refreshing and relax.

One distinctive feature of the culinary scene in Siem Reap is a selection of restaurants providing culinary arts training to disadvantaged Cambodian youth. Visit a variety of such culinary social enterprises to enjoy some of the finest Khmer cuisine while supporting the education of at-risk youth on a Dining for a Cause: Social Enterprise Restaurants of Siem Reap food tour.

Pick up from your hotel at 6:00pm and head to the first restaurant, where you may order any drink from the menu (they make some excellent cocktails and mocktails using local ingredients) and any one appetizer (try different ones and share with each other) while learning all about the organisation’s efforts and accomplishments.

Next, enjoy a family-style dinner of various Khmer classic dishes at a restaurant that follows a different business model, directing their profits both to employees and to various organisations. Learn about its efforts while dining. Along with food, order a soft drink, beer, or glass of house wine.

After dinner, go to a tropical garden restaurant run by an organization that operates a hospitality training school where all the restaurant workers learned (or are currently learning) their trade. Learn about how the program runs and its achievements while enjoying a creative cocktail, a glass of wine, beer, or coffee. 

The final stop of the evening is an education social enterprise set up by a not-for-profit NGO with the mission of Breaking the Poverty Cycle Through Education and operated by the students who are served by the program. Serve yourself 200g of fro-yo with toppings and then head upstairs to talk with some students about how the program has changed their lives.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

4

Siem Reap - Battambang

Siem Reap – Battambang (174 km): 3 hrs

This morning an entertaining and informative culinary tour to Cambodia's cultural heart will be taken, getting the chance to try Cambodia's best breakfast dishes, tasty treats, and tropical fruits, with photography opportunities along the way. The tour will travel into the bustle of Siem Reap's food markets and street food stalls, sampling food all along the way, all whilst listening to stories of Cambodia’s extraordinary past.

After, depart to Battambang, Cambodia’s second largest city although it feels like a big country town with some of the friendliest locals you’ll meet in the country.

This afternoon tour along Banan Road through some of Cambodia’s most beautiful countryside to Wat Banan. Along the way make a stop at Prasat Phnom Banan Winery, Cambodia's only commercial winery. Here there is opportunity for wine tasting that includes a red wine that is a blend of cabernet and shiraz, a brandy and ginger juice. Although you probably won’t be tempted to have anything shipped home, it's worth a visit to meet this passionate wine-making family and see the vineyards flanked by palm trees.

Continue through lively local villages and farms to Wat Banan, to climb the stairs up to an 11th century temple on a hilltop, set amongst fragrant flowering trees, and offering sweeping vistas over the countryside.

There will be time to rest and freshen up before heading to dinner tonight at stylish Jaan Bai (meaning ‘rice bowl’ in Khmer), a social enterprise restaurant established by the Cambodian Children’s Trust to provide training and employment for disadvantaged youths, with all profits going to support the activities of the Trust.

Overnight in Battambang.

5

Battambang

After breakfast head into the historic center of Battambang to explore the town, beginning at the lively local markets, which are much busier than those in Siem Reap. Battambang is the rural heartland of Cambodia and the center for production of rice, pineapples, coconuts, and many other different types of produce. You can quench your thirst with a freshly squeezed sugar cane juice.

After, discover the historic heart of the city, where you may be lucky to see a procession of saffron robed monks of their morning alms collection. Call into pagodas such as Wat Povil, where you can take the opportunity to observe the monks, and stop to admire buildings and drop into art galleries. Battambang has an impressive collection of architecture that is some of the best preserved in Cambodia, including glittering Buddhist pagodas, Chinese shop-houses, an historic Chinese temple, early 20th century French colonial villas and administrative buildings, and modernist architecture from the 1960s, Cambodia’s ‘Golden Age’. In recent years, it’s also developed into an emerging arts hub.

Lastly, try some of the award-winning coffee at Kinyei Café before stopping for lunch at Lan Chov Khorko Miteanh for some hand-pulled noodles and handmade dumplings. Nicknamed ‘Noodle Guy’ or ‘Chinese Noodle’ by expats, Lan Chov Khorko Miteanh is a simple, no-frills eatery with a stall-like kitchen with boiling pots and woks on gas stoves at the front. This is where the most unlikely of noodle masters, wearing low-slung shorts, singlet and flip-flops, makes hearty handmade dumplings and silky hand-pulled noodles to order.

Return to the hotel for some free time to relax and freshen up.

This evening you will depart on an evening snack food tour by a local ‘remork’ (similar to the Thai tuk tuk) with a Cambodian foodie. The tour stops at a handful of local eateries and stalls along the riverside where there is chance to sample some of the region’s renowned street food snacks, from fried rice-flour pancakes to barbecued beef skewers marinated in the local lemongrass-based paste called kreoung, as well as desserts. The tour ends at the smoky barbecue stalls that surround the market in the evenings.

Overnight in Battambang.

6

Battambang - Siem Reap

This morning make a stop at the nearby Ancient House located in Wat Kor Village, the oldest standing Khmer timber house in Wat Kor Village, where 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 through picturesque countryside and small sleepy villages en route to Wat Ek Phnom, to visit small cottage industries operated by artisanal producers in family homes, many of which have been making their product for generations. Sample popular snacks along the way from roadside vendors, including sticky rice and black beans in bamboo called ‘krolan’, and fish or pork paste and chilli, wrapped in banana leaf and grilled called ‘naam’.

Wat Ek Phnom is a dilapidated 11th century Angkor-era temple surrounded by shady banyan trees. Rarely visited by tourists, it’s been a popular picnic spot for Cambodians dating back to the 1880s. Also pay respects at the Buddhist temple, Wat Somrong Knong, one of the oldest in the area, dating to 1707, which became a prison after the Khmer Rouge seized it in 1976. On the adjoining land the Well of Shadows is a sobering monument containing some of the bones and skulls of the 10,000-odd people killed here that now serves as a memorial to the genocide by the Khmer Rouge.

From here return back to Siem Reap, and after checking in there will be time to relax and have lunch (own expense) before heading out to the nearby Sombai rice spirit tasting rooms this afternoon.

As you now realize, rice is the main staple food in Cambodia, but is also the base of the distillation of alcohol for the preparation of traditional rice spirit. Throughout history, the Khmer people have used infused rice spirit in traditional medicine to extract the benefits of fruits, spices, herbs, and roots. Established by a French expat couple, Sombai is a modern take on the traditional and is much more friendly to foreign palates. Here there will be opportunity to enjoy a tasting, complemented by a selection of snacks. 

Next, head to Asana Bar, located in the last remaining traditional Khmer timber house in the heart of the old town, for a Khmer cocktail lesson. During this fun informal class learn more about Khmer herbs, spices and roots, the basic principles of making cocktails, and how to prepare and mix a cocktail. The Cambodian owner Pari will teach you her cocktail recipes plus you’ll also have a chance to create your own. (Note: it’s also possible to create non-alcoholic cocktails.)

And finally this evening enjoy a farewell dinner at the stunning riverside Chanrey Tree restaurant for some of the most refined Cambodian cuisine in Siem Reap. Here you will get to try outstanding renditions of Khmer dishes, many made to the owner’s mother’s recipes.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

7

Departure Siem Reap

Siem Reap - Siem Reap Airport (8 km): 15 mins

Enjoy the day at your leisure for further independent exploration of Siem Reap’s colorful markets before transferring to the airport for your individual onward flight.

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room in selected hotel
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English speaking local guide (for other languages supplements apply),
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle unless stated otherwise
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Daily drinking water during the tour

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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    Please fill in the appropriate information below regarding any travel plans or enquiries. Our team of travel experts will get back to you shortly.

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    We’re experts who take pride in tailor-made itineraries that suit any need. Please fill in the form below and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

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