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Overview

Enjoy Cambodia’s nature, history and culture in a sustainable way. Encounter authentic ways of life through community-run activities. Slow down and appreciate the natural beauty of Cambodia with bike rides and boat trips. Develop a better understanding of the country’s past and help ensure a better future for its people

Trip Highlights

Travel Cambodia The Sustainable Way

Understand and appreciate Cambodian culture

Ensure that Cambodia’s culture remains intact by showing an appreciation and support of the country’s traditions.   

Use Local Transportation

Minimize environmental impact and get a unique perspective of Cambodia by using local forms of transportation such as bike, remork and train.

Support Vocational Training Programs

Visit not-for-profit centres providing free hospitality and arts training for disadvantaged Cambodian youth.

Itinerary

1

Siem Reap Arrival

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

Welcome to Siem Reap, the charming gateway to the famed temples of Angkor. You will be greeted by your local English speaking guide, who will accompany you to your hotel for check in.

This afternoon, take a rest from your flight at the hotel or discover Siem Reap on a stroll through its beautiful pagodas and colorful markets on your own. Depending on the time of your arrival, you may wish to visit the Angkor National Museum or Artisans Angkor, the latter established in order to support Cambodian arts and crafts, and to help young people find work in their local villages by continuing the practice of traditional arts. Another option is a jet-lag relieving spa treatment, either at your hotel or Bodia Spa.

Tonight, experience Dining for a Cause, a gastronomical exploration of Siem Reap that focuses on restaurants with a social mission to benefit the people and communities of Siem Reap. Over the course of the evening, visit four different establishments to learn about each of their programs and sample some of their best local cuisine.

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 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. Afterwards, either explore the Night Market and/or Pub Street or return to your hotel. (Note: This evening program is only available Monday - Saturday).

Overnight in Siem Reap.

2

Siem Reap

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

After an early breakfast at the hotel, head out to the Angkor Archaeological Park, exploring the temples. First pass through the ancient South Gate of Angkor Thom, an impressive stone gate that leads to the last great capital city of the Angkor Empire, carved with elephants and capped with four giant faces of the Buddha. On each side of the entrance path, a row of 54 gods and demons stands holding a sacred Naga snake of Hindu lore.

Continue to Bayon temple in the exact center of Angkor Thom city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its dozens of towers featuring the enigmatic faces of King Jayavarman VII in the likeness of the Buddha, looking out towards the provinces of the vast and 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 and unique carvings.

Next, enjoy lunch at Devatas Restaurant.

After lunch, head north through pastoral countryside, stopping for lunch at the charming Devatas Restaurant, followed by a visit to The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), the first nature conservation project established in Cambodia. A knowledgeable staff member will explain about the threats to Cambodia’s wildlife and the efforts of ACCB to protect the environment and promote wildlife conservation through education. As you stroll around the compound’s forested grounds, you will see various endangered species, including a squeaky otter, various primates including hooting gibbons, numerous reptiles such as miniature tortoises, and a beekeeping project, all of which are on site. (Note: ACCB is closed on Sunday and public holidays)

Then visit the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srey. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” remains the best preserved temple in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs. Banteay Srey is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.

On the way back to town, stop at the Cambodian Land Mine Museum, a project established by a man who claims to have been a former child soldier during the Cambodian civil war. After the war he taught himself how to deactivate mines before establishing the museum as an educational center and social enterprise to sponsor children whose lives have been impacted by these destructive weapons of war.

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 that 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.

3

Siem Reap

Siem Reap – Temples (06 km): 10 mins

Breakfast at your hotel. 

After breakfast at your hotel, depart for the Angkor Archaeological Park. Today you will Discover Hidden Angkor by Bicycle, beginning at the remote West Gate of Angkor Thom. Of the five gates of the great city of Jayavarman VII, this is one of the most unrestored. Although few visitors come to this gate, it is often used by local residents and the forest-shrouded faces of the Buddha atop the entryway are beautiful in the early morning sun.

From here, follow a single-track trail along the top of the enclosure wall surrounding the great city of Angkor Thom and through forested areas of the park exclusively visited by locals living and working in Angkor. Once reaching the North Gate of the city, follow the road to the expansive and jungle-clad Preah Khan, a 12th century complex name after the Sacred Sword of King Jayavarman VII.

Preah Khan, originally known as “the city of victorious royal fortune,” is now named after The Sacred Sword that some believe may have once been housed here. Built in the late-12th century in honor of the great King Jayavarman VII’s father, this massive temple complex originally had a population of 97,840 in its service. Less frequently visited than its counterpart Ta Prohm (which was built for the king’s mother), Preah Khan is similar in design but is larger and more complex, and features numerous unique structures and carvings. Enjoy the sounds of exotic wildlife that now make the forested compound their home as you venture into the crumbling corridors of the labyrinthian complex in search of hidden features: while Ta Prohm was once the setting of the Angelina Jolie film, Preah Khan offers more of a “Tomb Raider” experience for those willing to explore.

Another forested trail leads through past an ancient baray, over a swinging bridge, and past the Angkor Park plant nursery to the entrance to the crumbling ruins of Ta Nei, a temple that is generally unvisited, particularly in the morning hours. Continue through the forest to Takeo temple and then find a small track leading back into the forest towards the Gate of the Dead, the East Gate of Angkor Thom that is only accessible by dirt trails and roads.

From there, again follow the trail along the top of the Angkor Thom Wall, stopping at Prasat Chrung, which overlooks the corner of the city moat, before continuing your ride to the popular South Gate of Angkor Thom.

Exit Angkor Thom through the South Gate of the great city of King Jayavarman VII, an impressive stone entryway carved with elephants and capped by four giant faces of the Buddha. On each side of the entrance path, crossing the moat around the city, a row of 54 gods and demons stands holding a sacred naga snake of Hindu lore.

After exiting the South Gate of Angkor Thom, visit the impressive brick towers of Prasat Bei, built in the 10th century and then climb the pyramid temple of Baksei Chamkrong. Baksei Chamkrong, the first pyramid built at Angkor,  is exciting to climb up to see the beautiful carvings of historical interest (the inscriptions on the door of the central sanctuary mention Kambu, the mythical founder of Kambujadesa, i.e. Cambodia). Tip: Be extremely careful climbing up the east staircase. The west stairs, on the back side of the temple, are less steep and less worn.

Return to Siem Reap for lunch (own account).

After spending an hour or so back at your hotel to escape the head of the early afternoon, head back to Angkor around 3pm to visit the highlight of the park, Angkor Wat. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat was constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing Mount Meru, the home of the gods. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken more than thirty years of intensive labor. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.  You will explore the temple just before sunset, when Angkor Wat is less visited and the Vishnu image will shine in the most beautiful light.

Optional: Evening Show at Bambu Stage

Spend an evening at Bambu Stage, one of Cambodia’s most entertaining cultural events venues. Established to help revive traditional arts, Bambu Stage offers a variety of programs so, depending on the season and the day of the week of your visit, enjoy one of the following performances (note: the theatre is closed on Sundays):

Bambu Shadow Puppets: Enjoy the revival of a great tradition with a modern twist. The Bambu Puppets perform heart-filled stories about Cambodia’s history and popular culture (daily). SNAP! 150 Years of Photography in Cambodia is a narrated multimedia show of projections of rare photographic images, clips from old movies and live acoustic music, giving great insights into an extraordinary country. Angkor Temples Decoded is perfect for first-time travellers to the temples of Cambodia. Complemented by captivating storytelling, live drawing, scale models, video projections, and music, Angkor Decoded provides a rich story that’s fun, interactive and engaging.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

4

Siem Reap - Battambang

Siem Reap – Battambang (174 km): 03 hours

After an early breakfast, embark on a boat trip and be taken on a fascinating journey across Tonlé Sap Lake to Battambang on a private boat. Pass floating villages and flooded forests, portraying life on this body of water that forms Cambodia’s heart. Packed lunch will be served on board.  (Note: This boat trip is only possible in the high water period from July to December as water levels are too low during the dry season and transfer times can be extremely long. From January to June take the alternative transfer by road.)

The afternoon is spent at leisure to enjoy the hotel or explore a little of the old town in Battambang independently.

Overnight in Battambang.

5

Battambang

Today have a fun morning cycling around local villages 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. The local countryside is beautiful and the Battambang area is known for the high quality rice and also oranges grown in the area.

In the afternoon explore another side of Battambang. Take a relaxing cyclo ride around the town with an audio set providing an informative guide to the history of the town. Over 2½ hours sit back as the cyclo driver takes you around the colonial streets, markets and temples. The audio set narrates short anecdotes of the many highlights in English or French. Get off the cyclo and walk around the points of interest before moving on the next stop. (Note: there are only two cyclos available. If group is more than two, we need to switch between morning & afternoon as they operate only 2pax for one half day)

Overnight in Battambang.

6

Battambang - Siem Reap

Battambang – Siem Reap (174 km): 03 hours

This morning take a ride on the Bamboo Train. The Bamboo Train has been set up by the villagers in order to facilitate the transportation of goods and persons as there are no regular trains running any more. The “train” itself is very basic: one bamboo platform on 4-wheels is activated 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!

Next, 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.

Finally, visit Phnom Sampeau, meaning “Ship Hill” in Khmer, due to its distinctive shape, and 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…

This afternoon, you will be transferred back overland to Siem Reap (Duration 3 hours). Upon arrival, check in to your hotel.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

7

Siem Reap - Departure

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

Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy the day at leisure for some relaxation at, some more sightseeing or for some personal shopping on Siem Reap’s colourful markets.

For example, visit Artisans d’Angkor, established in 1992 in order to support Cambodian arts and crafts, and to help young people find work in their local villages by continuing the practice of traditional arts. Discover how wood and stone carvings, lacquering, gilding, and silk paintings are created.

Transfer to the airport for the individual departure 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
  • Private boat trip as indicated in itinerary
  • Daily drinking water.

Our services do not include:

  • Visa for Cambodia (Visa issued on arrival for most nationalities, USD 30/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

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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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