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Overview

From Siem Reap to Phnom Penh coupled with relaxing beach breaks in between, explore Cambodia with a romantic touch.  Visit the iconic Angkor Wat temples and dine at Siem Reap’s most responsible restaurants. Spend easy-going days on the islands of Sihanoukville and Kep with a  special private dinner by the sea before completing the intimate getaway in bustling Phnom Penh.

Trip Highlights

Cambodian Romance

Dine at unique venues in Siem Reap

Go on a gastronomical exploration of Siem Reap and dine at restaurants with a social mission that benefit the people and communities.

Ancient temples of Angkor

Explore lesser-known parts of the iconic temple grounds with short hikes to Kbal Spean one of Cambodia’s earliest Hindu sites.

Spend relaxing days on islands

Rejuvenate the mind and body and spend intimate time with easy going days on Sihanoukville Islands.

Itinerary

1

Siem Reap Arrival

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

Upon arrival in Siem Reap, be met by a local English-speaking guide and be escorted to the hotel for check-in. This charming Cambodian city is the perfect gateway to discovering the ancient temples of Angkor, the countries spiritual home and the most significant site of Khmer architecture in the world.

This afternoon travel by local remork (similar to the Thai tuk tuk) to visit 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 symbolising 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 labour. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolises the soul of the Khmer people.

Then, just as the sun begins to set, in late afternoon enjoy a relaxing cruise in a gondola paddle boat on the moat of Angkor Thom while watching a spectacular sunset over Prasat Chroung temple loaded with complimentary soft drinks and delicious canapés. There is also an option to include champagne to accompany the magical sunset moment. (not included – supplementary costs apply).

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 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 – Tonle Sap Lake (Kompong Phluck) (20 km): 30 mins

This morning, set off for a temple adventure. Travel by local remok (a Cambodian tuk tuk) into the Angkor Archaeological Park to Preah Khan, originally known as ‘the city of victorious royal fortune’ and now named after The Sacred Sword that some believe may have once been housed here. Built in the late-12th century in honour 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 featuring numerous unique structures and carvings. Enter from the east with the early morning light and enjoy the sounds of exotic wildlife that now make the forested compound their home. 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.

Next, visit 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. Continue to 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 the many faces 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 bas-reliefs.

Exit 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.

Enjoy lunch back in Siem Reap town 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. Located in a traditional Khmer wooden house in a peaceful cosy garden setting, and away from bustling Pub Street area, Mahob provides a truly genuine Khmer experience.

This afternoon, 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. (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).

Return by boat and car to Siem Reap.

Optional Night Time Experience: Phare Cambodian Circus:

Tonight attend a performance from 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 Cambodians who returned from refugee camps, the group uses 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!

3

Siem Reap

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

This morning, travel to the countryside to see 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.

Next, take a short hike through the forest to Kbal Spean, one of Cambodia’s earliest Hindu sites and refreshingly different from the other Khmer monuments. A 3-kilometre trek leads to the ‘River of 1000 Lingas’, a riverbed featuring stone carvings of Hindu gods, animals, and phallic symbols. After lunch at a local restaurant at the base of the hill, visit The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB).

ACCB is 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. Stroll around the compound’s forested grounds and see various endangered species, including a squeaky otter, various primates including hooting gibbons, various reptiles such as miniature tortoises, and a beekeeping project, all of which are on site.

On the way back to town, have the possibility to stop at local communities along the way. The guidee will help with interaction with the local community to learn about the way of life here. Seize the opportunity to see how rice paper is produced and to taste Palm Wine and Palm Sugar, which are a popular local produce (seasonal).

Finally, stop at the Cambodian Land Mine Museum, a project established by a former child soldier during the Cambodian civil war who later 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.

Transfer back to Siem Reap for dinner at Siem Reap’s most luxurious and romantic dining venues: Embassy Restaurant. The Embassy is an exclusive fine dining experience headed by executive chefs Pol & Sok: the ‘Kimsan Twins’.  Having trained under 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 skillfully prepared masterpieces from multiple-course set menus, paired with a selection of fine wines.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

4

Siem Reap – Sihanoukville Islands

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the morning flight to Sihanoukville and then transfer to the pier to take a shared speedboat to an idyllic offshore island.

Afternoon free at leisure to enjoy swimming.

Overnight on Koh Rong or Koh Russey.

5

Sihanoukville Islands

Breakfast at the hotel.

Enjoy the day at leisure.

Overnight on Koh Rong or Koh Russey.

6

Sihanoukville Islands

Breakfast at the hotel.

Enjoy your day at leisure.

Overnight on Koh Rong or Koh Russey.

7

Sihanoukville Islands - Kep

Breakfast at the hotel.

Leave the idyllic resort after breakfast this morning by boat. Upon arrive at the mainland pier, be met with the guide and hop on a three-hour ride along the coast to Kep. Once a famous beach resort in the 1960’s, Kep is currently undergoing something of a revival due to its serene setting, sublime scenery and spectacular seafood at it’s legendary Crab Market.

After arrival, spend the afternoon free at leisure. Take the opportunity to explore the local area by bicycle or relax on the beach and unwind to the soothing sounds of the ocean with a cocktail in hand.

Overnight in Kep

8

Kep

Today, spend the day as you please. Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and if desired, head out for a delectable lunch or delicious cocktails. Simply ask the guide for their restaurant recommendations, such as Kimly Seafood restaurant at the Crab Market.

There is also an option to arrange for extra activities such as guided boat trips or bike rides around the local area. Whether it’s a leisurely guided 8km hike through Kep National Park, a visit to a local pepper plantation for a cooking class using locally-grown ingredients or simply lounging by the sea, simply ask the guide to help plan the day.

Please note: Today is free at leisure, there are no any service or activities include in package. The guide and driver will be available at disposal.

In the evening enjoy a memorable dinner and perfect private moment at the end of the Knai Bang Chatt jetty where an elegantly decorated table awaits along with and an exclusive menu for dinner.

Overnight in Kep

9

Kep - Phnom Penh

After breakfast, transfer three-hours back to Phnom Penh by private vehicle. Check-in to the hotel around midday.

This afternoon, take a tour to the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh on a cyclo, an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore this lively city. First, visit Wat Phnom, which is situated near the northern boundary of the city. The site contains some good examples of Khmer architecture and statues.

Continue along the lively 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 view a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze.

The next stop is the National Museum, built in traditional Khmer style. It houses the world's foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artifacts from prehistory to the 16th century. Over 5,000 pieces are on display, constituting the repository of the Kingdom's cultural wealth. In addition, the roof space is home to a large bat colony! Then continue to visit Wat Phnom, the birthplace of the city.

In the evening, enjoy a romantic sunset river cruise with a delicious dinner served on board. Relax and enjoy a unique perspective of Phnom Penh’s popular riverfront as it bursts to life in the early evening.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

10

Phnom Penh Departure

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

Breakfast at the hotel.

Enjoy some time at leisure until the  transfer to the airport for the departure flight.

Important Information

  • Hotel accommodation in half-twin/double shared room with daily breakfast
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English speaking local guide (for other languages supplements apply), except during the Sihanoukville beach stay which is unescorted
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle unless stated otherwise
  • All entrance fees as mentioned in itinerary
  • Visa for Cambodia (Visa issued on arrival, 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
  • International and Domestic Flights (quoted separately)
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Camera/video entrance fees
  • Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, telephone, tips etc)
  • Travel insurance including helicopter evacuation for Cambodia
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above

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