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Overview

Hit the road and discover the wonderful diversity of Cambodia. Loop around the country from temple-laden Siem Reap to the glittering capital of Phnom Penh. In between, explore the southern beaches, rugged mountains and vast swaths of countryside that make up the heart of Cambodia.  

Trip Highlights

Cambodia Complete

Understand the country’s rich history

Discover Cambodia’s intriguing past from the ancient Khmer kingdoms to the recent, brutal Pol Pot regime.

Experience traditional culture

Be a part of authentic Cambodian life with interactive excursions to villages and encounters with local residents. 

Encounter Cambodia’s rugged nature

Stay on Koh Kong Island and explore the rivers, jungles and mountains of Cambodia’s southwest region.

Itinerary

1

Siem Reap Arrival

Siem Reap Airport - Siem Reap (8 km): 15 mins Siem Reap – Tonle Sap (20 km): 30 mins

Upon your arrival in Siem Reap, you will be welcomed by your local English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel for check in. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire.

You will have dinner 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.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

2

Siem Reap

Siem Reap – Banteay Srei Temple (37km)

Experience the temples of Angkor in a different way today by a bike tour with customized ‘remork’ (similar to the Thai tuk tuk) back up and assistance. A guide will accompany you on bicycle as well.

The ‘remork’ will collect you at the hotel in the morning for a short ride to the outskirts of town. You will then be debriefed by an operational staff member who will check your bicycle and fitting. Set off on the first stretch to Angkor Wat where your bike will stay with the remork driver. You will enter and exit Angkor Wat from different entrances and the bikes will be transferred in between so there is no need for you to backtrack. 

First enjoy the magnificent Angkor Wat. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is 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 around 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.

After leaving Angkor Wat continue cycling to continue to the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall, drawing a perfect square. Enter the city through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant faces. On each side of the entrance path a row of 54 gods or demons is holding the sacred Naga snake. Enter the city and cycle to the exact center where the Bayon Temple is located. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its numerous towers with enigmatic faces looking out over the far-flung provinces of the Great Khmer Empire.

Leaving Bayon, cycle on past The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King before arriving at Ta Prohm. 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 the ‘Tomb Raider Temple’ one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. Again at Ta Prohm the remork will pick you up at a different point to where you enter. From there it’s a short cycle or remork ride to Sra Srang, once the royal bathing pool. Continue cycle along quieter routes with rice paddies and beautiful Cambodian countryside all around. Pass through Pradak village which is renowned for all types of traditional Khmer Noodles or Ka Tien. The most traditional being Nom Banchok made of rice paddy flour and server with a yellow curry soup or Praher Khmer.

The road follows north before arriving at the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srei. 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 Srei is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.

Lunch at local restaurant.

After Banteay Srei the remork will transfer you for a relaxing cruise in a gondola paddle boat at the moat of Angkor Thom compound. Enjoy gliding gently along, as the sun begins to set. The boat will arrive close to the historical ruins of Prasat Chrung with a viewpoint where the sun sets over the countryside.

Cruise back to the Angkor Thom gate and transfer back to your hotel by remork.

(Note – some deviation from the route is possible as the temples being passed are all included in the Apsara tour pass which is included in the cost already. Cycling distance is 40km though this can be shortened by using the remork to travel if required).

This evening you will be picked up by your guide by local remok (tuk tuk) from the hotel and zip off the usual tourist trail straight into foodie heaven. Your local guide will then take you to uncover hidden treasures and areas favored by locals to sample some of Cambodia’s lesser known cuisine!

Tonight enjoy a night of Khmer cuisine while contributing to various social enterprises on a “Dining for a Cause” food tour. Pick up at your hotel by local transportation at 6:00pm and head out with your food-loving local guide to the famous Bugs Café. Experience the gastronomical discovery of these typical Cambodian delicacies by savoring some sophisticated tapas, cooked in a fusion of French and Khmer cuisine by a chef formerly of a five-star hotel. (If you are not quite ready yet, please note that certain dishes can be served without insects!)

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. Take your time to sit down anywhere and enjoy anything you like! 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 smelly 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. It’s a great break in your 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). If beef isn’t your thing, try out some 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 flavors 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 your tour, and your driver will bring you safely to your hotel or, at your choice, drop you off in the city center of Siem Reap.

Note: There is also a “Child Friendly” version of this experience that begins and ends earlier and does not include a visit to the Sombai alcohol workshop. This food tour is not vegetarian friendly.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

3

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.

Guests will be picked up from their hotel early morning by the local guide and driven to Ta Brak village, 25 minutes out of town. A western packed breakfast from the hotel will be taken and on arrival will meet and sit down with a local family and share this breakfast with them and to learn 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 center 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 for Cambodia.

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

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 an interesting 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 officially designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, covering an area of roughly 2,500 km2, swelling to about 4 times it size in during the wet season: 10,000 km2!

Travel out to Kampong Phluck, a village a bit further away but which receives very fewer tourists. Thus, this stilted village is the best place to see the authentic life of the 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 extends, 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: Due to low water levels during the dry season, the boat trip is only possible from June to March. However an alternative floating village at Chong Kneas can be arranged instead or the stilted village can be visited by foot).

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. Student performances can still be seen twice weekly in Battambang but now the circus has arrived in Siem Reap!

Overnight in Siem Reap.

4

Siem Reap - Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh Airport - Phnom Penh (11 km): 20 mins

There is some free time this morning after breakfast. Later transfer to the airport for your midday flight to Phnom Penh (60 mins). On arrival in the Cambodian capital you will be welcomed by a local English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel for check in.

Phnom Penh was once considered one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient, and despite its recent turbulent history, it still retains a colonial charm. Cambodia’s capital is a bustling city, majestically located at the confluence of the mighty rivers of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap. Wide tree-lined boulevards and many colonial-era buildings reflect the glorious days and add to the allure of the city, where Asian and Western traditions meet in a fascinating way.

After a relaxing break, you will be greeted by a driver who will take you on a tour of the historical French Quarter in a Cyclo, an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore this lively city. Continue to visit the Royal Palace built during the French colonial period. The same complex houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5,000 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. Also stop to visit the National Museum, which was built in traditional Khmer style. It houses the world's foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artifacts from the 4th to the 13th centuries.

In the evening board the Bopha Phnom Penh boat for shared dinner cruise that will take you along the Tonlé Sap and Mekong rivers. You will have a wonderful view of the riverfront and the Phnom Penh skyline over dinner.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

5

Phnom Penh

This morning you will take a fascinating tour to explore the culinary delights of Cambodia. Not as well-known as the neighboring countries, Cambodia has a great variety of national dishes and there are many stories to be told by your guide. 

This morning you will travel from the hotel to the market, as many buyers will do to make their purchases. Walk through the aisles as the guide explains the different fruits, herbs and vegetables and how they are used in Khmer cuisine.

Try some seasonal, local fruits along the way. The walking tour will last about 2 hours before continuing to a local restaurant which uses many of the ingredients seen at the market. Various dishes are ready cooked and French-style baguettes (num pang) and the tasty nom banh chok can be ordered. Ideal for foodies and lovers of local, non-touristy experiences.
After lunch you will have a little time to browse through the Russian Market, the best place in the city for wood and stone carvings, jewellery, clothes and Cambodian silk souvenirs, before gaining insight into Cambodia’s recent dark history on a visit to the remarkable Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in the former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture center named ‘S-21’. Further visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. The audio headset guide provided is available in 15 different languages and gives some harrowing but informative stories from survivors and liberators of the camp. A grim, but important visit that will allow you to dig below the surface and understand Cambodia better.

Late afternoon head to the riverside area of Phnom Penh, a pleasant French style promenade that is great for people viewing. In the early evening (and morning) various activities take place include exercise classes, Khmer dancing and plenty of snacking on local food. You can participate in a Khmer dance class which is a lot of fun for all! From here you can either be taken back to your hotel or left to explore this bustling area independently and have dinner at one of the many great restaurants on the riverfront.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

6

Phnom Penh - Kep

Phnom Penh - Kep (149 km): 2h & 20 mins

This morning, you will leave Phnom Penh in a southern direction for Takeo Province.

On the way, you will visit Phnom Chisor, where you can climb up to the top of the mountain to explore the well-preserved ruins of a 10th century Angkorian temple. Enjoy an amazing view over the typical Cambodian countryside. 

Enjoy a simple but tasty lunch at a local restaurant in Takeo town. Board a fiberglass motorboat in Takeo that will zip you along an ancient canal to the archaeological museum of Angkor Borei and the temple ruins of Phnom Da. On the way, you will have the chance to see rural life in Cambodia. (Note: Due to low water levels during the dry season, so in the dry season we can access that site by car, the boat trip is only possible from June to March)

Continue to Kep. Cambodia’s prestigious seaside resort of the 1960s is now awakening to its former glory. The small town offers reminders of the past and a growing choice of activities including island trips, a national park and the famous crab market.

Overnight in Kep.

7

Kep

Enjoy your day at leisure. As you wander around Kep keep an eye out for the decaying 1960s villas and the royal residence which are reminders of Kep’s heyday as a high society seaside retreat that was abandoned during the Khmer Rouge time. Some have been restored whilst others are in a state of disarray – perhaps destined to become a boutique hotel.

Overnight in Kep.

8

Kep - Kampot - Sihanoukville

Kep – Kampot (15 km): 30 mins Kampot – Sihanoukville (130km): 2hr

This morning pay a visit to the popular Kep crab market and see them being stored in baskets in shallow water and being cooked in the market itself. Learn from your guide which are the best and tastiest crabs to select. The market is busiest at weekends and holidays but is fun at any time. The dozen-plus rickety old wooden shacks that hug the water’s edge next to the market serve fresh seafood at its best.

Leave Kep in the direction of Kampot. Driving past the pretty Secret Lake you will arrive at La Plantation, a family owned pepper plantation. Kampot pepper was first documented by Chinese explorers in the 1200’s but first came to prominence in the 1800’s as the high quality product reached Paris. Take a tour of the pepper plantation and learn about the difference between green, black, white and red peppers. After enjoy a lunch (and the chance to taste some fresh green peppercorns) at the farm’s restaurant.

Continue on your way to reach Kampot town. Take a break to stretch your legs in this charming riverside town with magnificent surroundings still dominated by French colonial architecture.

The final transfer is on to the beach town of Sihanoukville which you will arrive at in the late afternoon.

 

Overnight in Sihanoukville.

9

Sihanoukville

Embark on a full day cruise to tropical islands on this coastal Sihanoukville tour. Depart from the mainland in the morning and cruise out to sea on a private wooden motorboat. Relax as the boat glides across clear blue waters on the way to nearby tropical islands.

Cambodia’s southern coast is not nearly as well-known as neighboring Thailand’s but it has equally beautiful beaches that are relatively undeveloped and generally free from crowds. Today’s trip will include several Cambodian islands, such as Koh Chaloh, Koh Tres, and Koh Ta Kiev.

Stop at one island or another to alternatively swim in the sea and soak in the sun. There are plenty of chances to snorkel, enjoying colourful fish that live in these waters. Walk along a long, sandy beach and explore the rugged island jungles if you wish. At midday, indulge in a delicious seafood barbecue on the beach and relax in the shade of a coconut tree before returning to Sihanoukville in the afternoon, arriving 4-5pm.

Overnight in Sihanoukville.

10

Sihanoukville - Koh Kong

Sihanoukville – Koh Kong (220km): 4hr

This morning after breakfast at the hotel, transfer directly from Sihanoukville to Koh Kong (3½hrs).

After arriving at Tatai Bridge, transfer by shared boat (approximately 20 mins) to tonight’s accommodation: a peaceful retreat with overwater tented villas, set on a quiet bend in the river with the lush Cardamom Mountains serving as the idyllic backdrop.

Spend the afternoon at leisure exploring the river by kayak, swimming in the clear waters, or fishing from the villa’s private terrace. Wildlife is abundant here: look out for colorful butterflies and bizarre-looking insects as well as some of the 550+ bird species found in this area (such as brahminy kites or great hornbills!) In the evening, take a short boat trip where fire flies fill the night sky.

Dinner will be served at the lodge.

Overnight in Koh Kong Province

11

Koh Kong

Today spend a relaxing day on a private excursion. Away from the tranquility of 4 Rivers Floating Lodge, the thunder of the majestic Tatai Falls reveals the river’s true power as it drops 6 meters to the rocks below. Your day, depending on the tide, starts at around 10am for the 45-minute boat ride past Tatai village to the falls. A local English speaking guide will lead the tour.

Turning on to a tributary you head into the heart of the Cardamom jungle to the far-off sounds of exotic birds and its secretive wildlife. Within minutes you are at journey’s end, gazing down into the turbulent waters of the falls. Soon it’s time for your picnic lunch, maybe a few moments hydro-massage and a refreshing drink as you find some shade for a picnic and relax amongst the sights and sounds of the jungle. Kayaks are available for the last stretch to add some fun and adventure or you can stay on board the boat.

On your return to the lodge the late afternoon is free at leisure for you to relax or do some more kayaking or fishing from the tent platform.

 

Overnight in Koh Kong Province.

12

Koh Kong - Phnom Penh - Departure

Koh Kong – Phnom Penh (272km): 4hr 30 mins

Enjoy some time at leisure until your transfer out by boat direct transfer to Phnom Penh airport for your departure flight (5h) or continue over land to Thailand.

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Accommodation in a shared twin/double room in selected hotels
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English speaking local guides (except during the 4 Rivers stay which is unescorted)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle unless stated otherwise
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Daily drinking water and cold towels

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 (quoted separately)
  • Camera/video entrance fees if applicable
  • 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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