UPDATE ON CORONAVIRUS

Overview

Embrace the wonders of Cambodia and ensure they are here for many years to come. Travel responsibly to experience a culture steeped in tradition yet struggling to overcome a tragic past. Support inspiring locals and organizations working to promote the richness of Khmer heritage and create a better future.

Trip Highlights

Responsible Travel in Cambodia

Embrace traditional Khmer culture

Gain an appreciation for the traditions and customs of Cambodia with a 2-night stay in a local village.

Support community-based tourism initiatives

Help spread the benefits of tourism to rural residents by joining fun, insightful village excursions. 

Travel by eco-friendly transport

Explore the countryside on foot and by bicycle and see the towns by local transport including cyclos, tuk-tuks and trains.

Itinerary

1

Siem Reap Arrival

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

Begin this 10-day Cambodia tour with a morning arrival in Siem Reap. Greeted by a local English speaking guide, you will be accompanied to the hotel for check in.

Depending on the arrival time, there may be enough time to relax and recuperate after the flight or to discover a little of Siem Reap on a stroll through its beautiful pagodas and colourful markets.

In the afternoon, journey to the Angkor Archaeological Park for a first glimpse of the legendary Angkor Wat. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed to symbolise Mount Meru, the Hindu home of the gods. Inside, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Construction of the temple, which is featured on Cambodia’s flag, is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor.

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 on a “Dining for a Cause” food tour to enjoy some of the finest Khmer cuisine while supporting the education of at-risk youth.

At the first stop, 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.

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. (Note, because one restaurant is closed on Sunday, this program is not available on that day)

Overnight in Siem Reap.

2

Siem Reap

Siem Reap – Angkor Temples (06 km): 10 mins Siem Reap – Banteay Srei (37 km): 45 mins

After breakfast, continue the explorations of Angkor with a visit to the ancient city of Angkor Thom Enter through the South Gate, an impressive stone gate adorned with three-headed elephants, giant faces, and a row of 54 gods and demons, each holding a sacred Naga snake along the bridge leading into the city. Continue from here to the centrally-located Bayon temple. This 12th century masterpiece is known for its dozens of face-carved towers depicting King Jayavarman VII in the likeness of the Buddha. The nearby Terrace of the Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King (featuring intricate and unique carvings) are also must-visit attractions of Angkor Thom.

Following Bayon, pay a visit to one of the complex’s most illustrious temples: Ta Prohm. Built between the 12th-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: Talk to your guide the morning of your visit to see which temple you should visit depending on the month of your visit.)

Return to Siem Reap for lunch at Mahob Restaurant. “Mahob,” the Cambodian word for ‘food,’ is a culinary hotspot that takes traditional Khmer cuisine to a new level. Using only locally produced ingredients, this beautiful restaurant serves up some of the best local delicacies that Siem Reap has to offer.

In the afternoon, travel to Banteay Srei, the best-preserved temple in Cambodia. Best viewed in the warm afternoon light, this temple displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art with its fine bas-reliefs and distinctive pink sandstone.

Later pay a visit to the Cambodian Landmine Museum, an enlightening museum that both promotes mine awareness and rescues landmine amputee children from impoverished rural communities. Founded by a reputed former child soldier under the Khmer Rouge, Mr. Aki Ra also works as a de-miner, having taught himself to do so in the years after the war.

Heading back to town, stop amongst local communities with the guide to both interact and learn a bit about their daily life. The visit also offers an opportunity to taste palm wine, palm sugar (seasonal), and other popular local produce.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

3

Siem Reap

Start Day 3 with a 25-minute drive out to a local village. A western-style breakfast will be packed and, upon arrival, can be shared alongside a local family. This meet and greet will provide excellent insights into the everyday life of the Cambodian countryside.

After breakfast, take a 30 minute ox cart ride through the village towards the local market to learn all about Cambodian vegetables, herbs, fruits, and other local produce. Continue 1km by foot through the picturesque countryside village, stopping off to meet and observe the local community along the way. Activities (planting, harvesting, weaving, etc.) vary depending on the season. End the morning at the local pagoda with a special water blessing by Buddhist monks.

Next, head to the Tonlé Sap Lake, where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. Drive past expansive rice fields and through local villages where rice and fish can frequently be spotted drying alongside the road. Next, board a private wooden vessel for a boat trip along a canal that leads to the Tonle Sap Lake.

Cruise along the canal with houses on either side: depending on the time of your visit, the houses will either have immediate access to the water or stand perched on stilts high above the ground, a phenomena caused by the annual rising and receding waters of the Tonle Sap Lake, Southeast Asia’s largest lake. Pass by the boats and nets used by local fishermen, some of whom you may spot fishing in the waters through which the boat passes. As you near the lake, you will see floating houses that move location with the annual ebb and flow of the lake’s waters.

Along the way, gain a better understanding of the local lifestyle with lunch in a family house. This is a unique opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the way of life of the local people- sitting inside a stilted house while watching the boats pass outside.

Then it is time to say farewell to the host family and return by boat and car to Siem Reap. (Note: Due to fluctuating water levels on the lake and canals, the village visited will depend on the date and water levels at that time).

In the evening, enjoy dinner at HAVEN, a training restaurant for disadvantaged young adults who are forced to leave orphanages when they come of age. HAVEN provides vocational training in the restaurant and hospitality industries, teaching the young adults practical life skills and smoothing their transition from the institution to the real world. Serving flavourful Asian and Western foods allows guests to sample spectacular meals while supporting this notable cause. (Note: open Mon - Sat 11am-10pm; closed Wed 11am-5.30pm for student training)

The night ends with a performance by Phare, the Cambodian Circus. An hour-long Khmer cultural show, professional artists mix traditional and modern forms of theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion to perform a story about Cambodian lives and society.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

4

Siem Reap - Banteay Chhmar

Siem Reap – Banteay Chhmar (160 km): 2 hrs & 30 mins

After pick up at the hotel, embark on a rural drive through the Cambodian countryside to Banteay Chhmar, a remote, expansive, and rarely visited temple complex.

Accommodation for the next two nights will be at a traditional, local homestay. A memorable and intimate encounter, this will be the perfect means of experiencing daily life and learning the local customs of a typical Khmer village. After reaching the local homestay, sit down for a traditional lunch prepared by a local women’s group, under a straw hut in the village.

In the early afternoon, visit the main temple compound of Banteay Chhmar, one of the largest built in the Angkor era that sees very few visitors. The main temple at Banteay Chhmar is surrounded by 9 satellite temples, most of which have received very little study and documentation. The carvings on the outside of the inner sanctuary walls are simply stunning, and every step through the complex provides a fascinating image of stone consumed by nature: a spectacular visit with Bayon-style towers, walls, and enclosures cloaked in vegetation.

The day will wrap up at Ta Prohm temple, where a memorable night-time picnic will ensue. Enjoy a torch-lit dinner under the stars, accompanied by the gaze of Bayon-style towers. A traditional Khmer music performance played by local villagers will conclude the amazing first night in the serene setting of rural Cambodia.

Overnight in Banteay Chhmar at a local homestay.

5

Banteay Chhmar

Wake up to the sights and sounds of a rural Cambodian farming village, accompanied by a delicious breakfast prepared by the hosts.

Start the morning with a walking tour through the Banteay Chhmar local market. The local guide will explain the traditional way of life in the area, including fishing, beekeeping, weaving, and rice farming.

Ride through the surrounding countryside of the village in an ox-cart, passing the paddy fields, sugar palm trees, and other typical Cambodian landscapes. Continue on to the Pol Pot Baray (an irrigation dam built by the Khmer Rouge) via kuyon (a type of local tractor), where a picnic lunch will be held on a wooden platform at the baray. Relax and enjoy the peaceful settings in a hammock before departing, and on the way back to the village, visit beekeeping and cassava farms en-route.

After arriving back at the local village and homestay, wind down with a meal prepared by the host family, along with a display of how rice is processed following the harvest.

Overnight in Banteay Chhmar at a local homestay.

6

Banteay Chhmar - Battambang

Banteay Chhmar - Battambang (141 km): 3 hrs

After breakfast at a community based tourism restaurant, depart the village and travel 12km by kuyon through small villages, water reservoirs, and picturesque rice fields to Banteay Torp temple. The name of this 13th Century temple is thought to mean ‘Fortress of the Army’ and it was built during the same period as the Banteay Chhmar temple complex. It is believed to have been built as a tribute to the Khmer army for their defeat of the Cham army leading to Khmer control of the region. The site consists of three large, precarious-looking stone towers and a nearby pagoda with beautiful wall paintings.

After having a picnic lunch at this serene temple, continue journeying onwards to Battambang. The remainder of the day can be spent at one’s leisure; enjoying the hotel pool or independently exploring Battambang’s old streets.

Overnight in Battambang.

7

Battambang

Day 7 begins with a fun morning cycle ride around the local villages surrounding Battambang with Soksa Bike, a social enterprise set up to provide scenic and informative bike rides through the local countryside. During the 30km cycle tour there are plenty of stops to learn how the locals produce rice paper, prahoc (typical Cambodian fish paste), grolan (sticky rice stuffed in bamboo), and other Cambodian treats.

Lunch will be held at Jaan Bai. A social enterprise restaurant, Jaan Bai provides training and employment for local youth, with all profits going to the overall sustainability of the Cambodian Children’s Trust.

After lunch, take a ride on the Bamboo Train. 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).

In the afternoon, head 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.

8

Battambang - Phnom Penh

Battambang – Phnom Penh (330 km): 5 hrs

Depart early for the transfer from Battambang to Phnom Penh. Your first stop is Kampong Chhnang, known for its traditional pottery, with many kilns at work in this province. Stop in a village near Kampong Chhnang town to see the different aspects of pottery making and also experience the production of traditional rice wine.

Continue to Oudong, the former royal capital of Cambodia after the fall of Angkor. The drive passes through many rural villages and pagodas until you see the temple mountain with its dozens of stupas from afar. Upon arrival at Oudong, enjoy a traditional Khmer lunch at a picnic hammock huts at the foot of the hill: there are literally thousands of hammocks located around the base of the mountain!

Then, climb the stairs to the top of Oudong Mountain and enjoy magnificent views over the plains below. Your guide will explain the history of the area and its buildings, as well as the religious culture of the Cambodian people. Take your time to soak in the magnificent views over the plains below.

Before heading to Phnom Penh stop to take a look at the spectacular Vipassana Dhura Buddhist Meditation Center, also located in Oudong. Your guide can explain more about the school of Vipassana (Insight Meditation) as you tour the centre. Don’t forget to see the impressive jade Buddha, the mummified monk and the brightly painted walls telling the story of the Ramayana, the epic Sanskrit poem that decorates many pagodas around the country.

From here, it is not far to Phnom Penh, which you will reach in the late afternoon. Check into your hotel.

The evening is at leisure.

Overnight in Phnom Penh. 

9

Phnom Penh

In only a few decades, Cambodia has risen from the depths of almost insurmountable despair. Although difficult to visit, Phnom Penh’s ghastly reminders of the country’s civil war remain important sites to visit. And while many Cambodians continue to struggle under the economic repercussions of it’s destructive recent past, there are many signs of hope, embodied by the efforts of various social enterprises and non-governmental organizations to give opportunities to disadvantaged Cambodians.

On today’s “Despair to Hope” tour, depart at 8:00 for a morning visit to the Choeung Ek Killing Fields. This rural compound was used as an execution site and burial ground for some of the millions killed by the Khmer Rouge regime. Here you will learn about the atrocities and brutal killings that occurred at this site through an informative audio-headset tour complemented by the information provided by your local guide.

The next stop is one of Phnom Penh’s most impoverished neighborhoods, and yet there are seeds of hope producing fruitful results. L'irresistible is more than just a factory producing fruit jams and flavored syrups, it is the living and working space for sixteen intellectually disabled Cambodians. Otherwise unable to function in society and from families who would struggle to care for them, these sixteen Cambodians have been given jobs and are taught life skills from a handful of caring Khmer and French staff and volunteers from Action Cambodge Handicap. The all-natural jams and simple syrups, which are made from local ingredients such as pumpkin and coconut, are truly delectable, and the warm welcome you’ll receive from the workers will be sure to brighten your day. (Note: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday only)

A short distance away you will visit the organization where most of the workers and staff at L'irresistible started out: Pour un Sourire d’Enfant, meaning “For the smile of a Child”. This organization is helping to improve the lives of the residents of Stung Meanchey, one of the poorest neighborhoods of Phnom Penh. Here you will learn about the struggles of daily life in poor urban Cambodia and how history has impacted the present.

Be inspired by the work being done at the centre through its education, vocational training, and job placement programs for street children. After learning about the school through an informative video, visit the souvenir shop and browse the items made by the parents of the centre’s students. Then enjoy lunch at Lotus Blanc, where you can support the training of these kids by being their guest. (Note: closed on weekends and public holidays).

After lunch, pay a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, also known as S-21. Originally built as a school, the compound was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture centre. Take a sobering tour of the site, learning about the prison’s history and hear the stories of the people held within its walls. (Note: All visitors to Toul Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh are now required to wear modest clothing: no short pants or short skirts (knees must to covered) and no sleeveless shirts (shoulers must be covered). See-through clothing will also not be allowed. Visitors who are inappropriately dressed will not be allowed to visit the museum.)

Next, you will learn to understand a different facet of Cambodia’s civil war, forced migration, from Cambodians who were born in refugee camps, grew up in the United States, and have been deported back to Cambodia. Now back in a homeland they never knew, a group of Cambodian-Americans have established a tour company to show you a different side of Phnom Penh including a walk through ‘the projects’ of Phnom Penh where you will discover entire communities living within the expansive rooftops of a 19th century French colonial church and an early 20th century Chinese community center! This “Good Luck City Tour” is certain to give you a unique perspective on Cambodia’s past as well as it’s present.

Head back to the hotel for a refresher before the evening’s final entertainment: an inspirational, 1-hour performance by Cambodian Living Arts (CLA). CLA’s rotating program offers 3 unique performances: Children of Bassac (Classical and Folk Dance), Mak Therng and Passage of Life (Music and Theatre). Oct-Mar shows daily, Apr-Sep daily except Sun

The Cambodian journey comes to an end with a dinner at Romdeng. Run by former street youth in training, Romdeng is set in a beautiful colonial building, serving a delicious variety of regional cuisines.

(Note: Romdeng closes on Sundays and public holidays)

10

Phnom Penh departure

Depending on the departing flight, there may be time left for browsing the colourful markets of Phnom Penh. Visit the Central Market, an art deco landmark and one of the largest markets in Cambodia, housing everything from clothes and souvenirs to jewellery and food. Visitors may also visit the Russian Market, one of the best places in the city for wood and stone carvings, jewellery, clothes, and Cambodian silk souvenirs.

Wrap up this 10 day Cambodia tour with a transfer to Phnom Penh international airport for the departing 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 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

Customize this tour

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Fusce rutrum tincidunt lacus. Phasellus eget est elit. Nullam placerat et lacus quis malesuada. Vestibulum ipsum tortor

Similar Tours

Not quite right or still need some more inspiration? Take a look at the journeys below and discover what other people who liked this tour also looked at!

4 Days / 3 Nights
Bako National Park

Heritage and Wildlife of Kuching

  • Discover the heritage of Kuching Town
  • Sunset cruise along Sarawak River
  • Nocturnal jungle walk at Bako National Park
  • Search for the rare Irrawaddy dolphins
  • Visit the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
3 Days / 2 Nights
Malaysia

Back to Nature – Ulu Muda Escape

  • Discover untouched rainforests of Ulu Muda
  • Up close & personal with wildlife
  • Explore newly discovered limestone caves & saltlicks
  • Cruise down Lake Muda
  • Earth Lodge stay in the middle of dense rainforests
9 Days / 8 Nights
Koh Phangan

East Coast Boutique Island Hopping

  • Relax on Thailand’s best islands
  • Stay in charming seaside hotels
  • Cruise the Gulf of Thailand
  • Seek out quieter beaches
  • Swim in tropical seas
11 Days / 10 Nights
Ipoh

Family Fun in Malaysia

  • Explore Malacca and Penang on trishaw
  • Leisurely train travel from KL to Ipoh
  • Hands-on activities to keep old traditions alive
  • Fun-filled scavenger hunt at Tropical Spice Garden
  • Traditional Gondola cruise in Putrajaya
3 Days / 2 Nights
Central Malaysia

Taman Negara Rainforest Explorer

  • Traditional wooden longboat ride
  • Scenic countryside and riverside views
  • Taman Negara rainforest in night & day
  • Stay in riverside lodge
  • Spot wildlife & native flora & fauna
  • 5 Days / 4 Nights
    Kawthaung

    Glamping in the Mergui Islands

    • Glamping under the stars
    • Beautiful island Nyaung Oo Phee
    • White sand beach and crystal clear waters
    • Snorkel to neighbouring islands
    • Enjoy dinner on a private beach

    @ 2000-20 EXO TRAVEL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

    Please login to access the full Agent Hub.

    Contact Us

    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.

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

    Contact Us

    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.

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

    Contact Us

    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.

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

    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap