Day 1 - Siem Reap Arrival
Welcome to Cambodia! Upon arrival in Siem Reap you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, there may be time to explore the city. Overnight at Kafu Resort or similar. No meals are included today.
Day 2 – Siem Reap
After breakfast the day starts by visiting a Buddhist pagoda to witness a water blessing ceremony. The ceremony promises to deter malign spirits and bring good fortune in coming years. Sadok, a traditional gift of sugar, milk, tea and other items, is a made to the presiding monk. Thoroughly cleansed, we visit the spectacular jungle temple of Ta Phrom and the main temples of Angkor Wat. In the afternoon we explore Angkor by bicycle, riding past the King’s Siem Reap residence, through the Royal Gardens, and along the Siem Reap River past private homes and small riverside markets. Crossing the river, we wind our way down red clay roads and small dirt trails, through a series of villages, and small farms, passing school children on their way home. We pedal our way towards the west edge of the Angkor Park. After a brief stop, we bypass the frequent crush of visitors exiting the park and instead follow single track lanes, past brilliant green rice paddies and family small holdings where life appears to have endured unchanged for generations. As the temples close to visitors, we follow park trails to view the historic site in twilight and then at sunset. Finally, we park our bicycles and take a peaceful Dragon Boat ride on the moat of Angkor Thom, with local delicacies and champagne served on-board, later returning to the hotel by car. Overnight at Kafu Resort or similar. (BL)
Please note: When visiting temples or other religious sites in Cambodia, visitors are advised to follow a dress code consisting of long trousers or skirt which covers the knees as well as covered shoulders. Skirts, short shorts, tank tops and revealing clothing are deemed culturally insensitive and not allowed.
Please note: The cycle ride is flat and covers approximately 20km in total. If you do not wish to cycle, a remok (tuk tuk) can be arranged. However, this may make following smaller trails more difficult. Please advise us at the time of booking.
Day 3 - Phnom Kulen National Park
After breakfast we leave Siem Reap, heading through the countryside to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Phnom Kulen. Here we visit Preah Ang Thom, which houses a large Buddha statue, as well as the Terrace of Sdach Kum Ling, a ruined brick-built temple covered by lava for hundreds of years. The site includes two waterfalls, and it’s possible to take a refreshing swim before enjoying a local Khmer lunch. After lunch we take a scenic drive to Banteay Srei, loosely translated as ‘Citadel of Women’, which houses some of the finest and best-preserved examples of classical Khmer bas-relief. Later, we continue to the Cambodia Land Mine Museum. Part museum, but also part orphanage, school and clinic for mine victims. The work is overseen by Aki Ra, who as a child was forced by the Khmer Rouge to lay thousands of mines has devoted his life to clearing them. He has so far removed over 50,000. We end today back in Angkor, with sunset at Pre Rup Temple. Later, there’s a chance to see a Cambodian circus. You will be picked up from your hotel at 7:30 pm by remok (tuk tuk) and taken to the Phare circus tent, located just outside of town. The show starts at 8:00 PM and lasts about an hour. Overnight at Kafu Resort or similar. (BL)
Day 4 - Siem Reap – Battambang
(Approximate journey time: seven-hours)
After breakfast we take to the water at Siem Reap’s pier, boarding the boat to Battambang. The route traverses Cambodia’s largest lake, Tonlé Sap, and allows time to take in the life of lakeside villages. There is a lunch stop, but you may want to take snacks and water. On arrival in Battambang check-in to hotel accommodation. The rest of the day is free to relax. Overnight at Royal Hotel or similar. (B)
Day 5 - Battambang
Today we drive through the countryside to Ek Phnom, an ancient temple 15km north of the town, seldom visited by tourists. Along the way we pass many small villages and will perhaps have the chance to observe traditional culinary craft skills such as making kralan (bamboo sticky rice), fish paste, rice paper and banana paper. Afterwards we return to town and visit the campus of Phare Ponleu Selpak non-profit arts school. We stroll through the campus and see circus students learning new tricks, music students practicing beneath shady trees, and watch films produced by trainee animators. Later, after lunch at a local restaurant, the mood changes as we visit Phnom Sampeou’s notorious ‘Killing Caves’. Victims of the Khmer Rouge regime were executed here, their bodies thrown in the chasm. A glass memorial records these events, while the bones of just some of those murdered have been collected to stand as a reminder of the crime. The hill’s summit offers commanding views over the Cambodian countryside and if you choose to stay until sunset, countless bats emerge from the caves to feed on the evening air. It’s possible to watch the spectacle from a comfortable chair while enjoying a cold drink courtesy of some enterprising local entrepreneurs. After sunset, we’ll head back to the hotel. Overnight at Royal Hotel or similar. (BL)
Day 6 - Battambang – Veal Veng, Pursat Province
(Approximate driving time: four-hours)
Today we drive to the rural community of Osoam in Pursat province. Upon arrival we meet a community host and walk (or take a mototaxi) to visit the ethnic minority villages of Por and Chong. Here, as well as learning about the lifestyles of villagers, there’s a possibility to see rare mountain crocodiles. Overnight at the local homestay (shared facilities). (BD)
Please note: This trip doesn’t have conventional lunch and dinner times. Food options are limited, so it is advisable to take some snacks. Those with binoculars should bring them.
Day 7 - Veal Veng – Trapeang Rung, Koh Kong
(Approximate driving time: five-and-a-half-hours)
After breakfast, say goodbye to the community and drive to Koh Kong province. There’s time to relax at the lodge’s lounge in Trapeang Rung before embarking on the one-hour journey over the Preak Tachan River. On arrival, check-in at the camp’s comfortable safari-style tented accommodation. In the afternoon there’s a guided hike through the wildlife-rich jungle surrounding the camp. Overnight Cardamom Tented Camp. (BD)
Day 8 - Preak Tachan
After early breakfast, join Wildlife Alliance Rangers as they embark on a patrol through the dense forest following a network of abandoned poaching and logging trails. Look out for wildlife along the way. The half-day hike stops at the Ranger Station where confiscated snares, traps and improvised hunting rifles are displayed. After a local Khmer lunch and a refreshing swim in the river, kayak along Prek Tachan back towards camp. Dinner and overnight at Cardamom Tented Camp. (BLD)
Please note: For those not confident in paddling their own kayak a motorboat option available.
Day 9 - Cardamom Departure – Kep
(Approximate driving time: four-hours)
This morning early risers are invited to take a self-guided hike on the trails surrounding the camp. At around 10:00am we head back to Trapeang Rung and continue on to Kep. Upon arrival, transfer to hotel accommodation where the rest of the day is free to relax. Overnight at Raingsey Bungalow or similar. (B)
Day 10 – Kep – Kampot - Kep
Today we explore Kampot by bicycle. The journey takes you through rice paddies, durian and rambutan orchards, all against the backdrop of the mysterious Elephant Mountains. There’s time to stop at villages and meet and speak with local people. Your guide will help translate and if you’ve learnt a few words in Khmer people will always be delighted to hear you try them out! Our destination is a stretch of rapids on the Kampot River. Here we stop and enjoy a picnic lunch. After a swim in the cool waters we’re picked up and taken back to the hotel. Overnight at Raingsey Bungalow or similar. (BL)
Please note: If you’d prefer not to cycle, the route can be done by car. A small supplement will apply. Please let us know at the time of booking.
Day 11 - Kep at leisure
Today is at leisure to relax or explore independently. Overnight at Raingsey Bungalow or similar. (B)
Day 12 - Kep – Phnom Penh
(Approximate driving time: four-hours)
Today we travel to Phnom Penh, on arrival checking-in to hotel accommodation and relaxing for the rest of the afternoon. In the evening there’s a guided opportunity to experience local street food in the busy riverside area. The guide will explain more about the culture and history of street food, and explain how it’s prepared. Taste different specialties such as kralan (bamboo sticky rice), turmeric cake and other local snacks. There’s a short stop at a market to where fresh fish, snails, frogs, crabs, pork, chicken, duck are all for sale. Later, call in at Koh Pich, a favourite spot where young people meet up. Here things get interesting… Try fermented fish paste or even deep-fried tarantulas, crickets, bugs or snakes. Choose to return to your hotel or continue the culinary adventure late into the night on your own. Overnight at Anise Villa Boutique Hotel or similar. (B)
Day 13 - Phnom Penh
After breakfast, presuming you’re still hungry, we embark on a guided city tour. First stop is the 14th century stupa and small pagoda of Wat Phnom. This is the tallest religious structure in the city and the oldest building in Phnom Penh. We continue to the Royal Palace, built in 1866 under King Norodom. Adjacent to the palace is the Silver Pagoda, named after its floor of 5,000 silver tiles. We call in at the National Museum, notable for its collection of Angkorian artefacts. Lunch is taken at Friends Restaurant which provides underprivileged street children an opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the hospitality business. All profits are reinvested into the restaurant’s training programme. In the afternoon we explore bleaker aspects of Cambodia’s past, visiting Choeng Ek and its infamous Killing Fields, and the brutal Tuol Sleng prison where thousands perished in the country’s darkest days. Overnight at Anise Villa Boutique Hotel or similar. (B)
Please note: When visiting the Royal Palace, long trousers, over-knee skirts and covered shoulders are required. Those wearing short skirts, small shorts, tank tops and other items of revealing clothing will be denied entry.
Day 14 - Phnom Penh Departure
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight. (B)
- Arrival and departure transfers
- All accommodation
- Services of English speaking guide / tour leader (please note local ‘station guides’ will be used for each location when the group size is less than 3 travellers. The same guide/tour leader will be used throughout when the group is 3 or more travellers)
- Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
- Transport, including travel by minivan and river
- Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
- International flights
- Any airport taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Items of a personal nature