Cambodia
To the Temples and Beyond

Cambodia – To the Temples and Beyond Tour – a 14 day Small Group Tour.


To explore Cambodia is to experience a kaleidoscope of sensory stimuli in cities, towns, villages and homes.

From landscapes, architecture, performance and visual art, to culinary voyages of discovery, there’s a lot to take in but somehow tranquillity prevails. Cambodia’s rich history of sophisticated Khmer civilisation is a useful reminder to those too close to Europe’s past glories.

However, there’s no escape from the more modern reminders of the country’s genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, and nor should there be. How Cambodia is dealing with its past is a constant running through every visit.

Still a lesser-visited part of South East Asia, Cambodia today maintains an authenticity elsewhere eroded by commercialism, a place that allows thoughtful travellers appreciate its uniqueness without overpackaging its essence. Go now.

On this 14-day tour discover what Cambodia has to offer beyond its spectacular temples. We start the journey in Siem Reap with a visit to the magnificent Angkor Wat and its overwhelming collection of temples. Scattered throughout a huge area of forest, they comprise one of the world’s greatest man-made wonders.

Travel to Battambang and explore the rural side of Cambodia before taking an exciting journey through the Cardamom mountains, where we spend two nights in the Cambodian jungle.

Explore local villages and relax in the coastal province of Kep before ending the tour in Phnom Penh, where we learn about the country’s dark history, as well as experiencing the lighter side of the city; it’s bustling nightlife.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour Pace

Busy

Tour style

Traveller

Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.

Itinerary.

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 The Sanctuary Residence or similar. No meals.

This morning we visit a Buddhist pagoda for a special monk water blessing ceremony. This ceremony is believed to cleanse and keep bad spirits away while bringing good luck for the coming years. The offering of a Sadok (traditional gift of sugar, milk, tea, amongst other items) for the monk will be provided. After the blessing visit the spectacular jungle temple of Ta Phrom before visiting the main temples of Angkor Wat. This afternoon we explore Angkor by bicycle*. Ride past the King’s Siem Reap residence and through the Royal Gardens, and continue up the Siem Reap River past private homes and small riverside markets. Crossing the river we wind our way along red clay roads and small dirt trails, through a series of local villages, crossing small farms and passing school children on their way home. We make our way towards the west edge of the Angkor Park. After a brief stop we bypass the crush of visitors exiting the park and instead follow single track lanes, past stunning rice fields and small, historic family parcels where life appears unchanged for generations. As the temples close to visitors, we will access park roads and trails to view this remarkable historic site in twilight, and poise ourselves for a glimpse of sunset as the day comes to a close. We then take a peaceful Dragon Boat ride on the moat of Angkor Thom, with local delicacies including soft drink and champagne on-board. After the boat ride you will be transferred back to your hotel. Overnight at The Sanctuary Residence or similar (BL)

Note: 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 culturally insensitive and not allowed.

*The cycle ride is flat and approximately 20km in total.

If you do not wish to explore Angkor by bicycle, a tuk tuk can be arranged. However, this may make following the smaller trails more difficult. Please advise us at the time of booking.

After breakfast we leave Siem Reap through the stunning countryside for a visit to the mysterious waterfall at UNESCO World Heritage Site of Phnom Kulen. Explore the area and visit Preah Ang Thom, which houses a large Buddha statue, as well as the Terrace of Sdach Kum Ling, a small brick-built ruined temple which was covered by lava for hundreds of years. We end at the waterfall where you can take a refreshing swim before 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. Continue to the Cambodia Land Mine Museum. This is part museum, but also an orphanage, school and clinic to victims ran by Aki Ra, who was forced by the Khmer Rouge to lay thousands of mines as a child, and has now devoted his life to clearing them and has so far removed over 50,000. We finish our tour with sunset at Pre Rup Temple. This evening enjoy a night at the Cambodian circus. You will be picked up from your hotel at 7.30 pm by Remok (tuk tuk) to the Phare circus tent, located just outside of town. The show starts at 8:00 PM and lasts about an hour. Overnight at The Sanctuary Residence or similar (BL)

(165km, approx. 3.5 hours)

This morning transfer to the pier to board the boat to Battambang. The journey will take approximately 7 hours. Upon the arrival in Battambang you will be transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight at Bambu Hotel or similar (B)

This morning drive through the countryside to Ek Phnom, an ancient temple 15km north of the town. This temple is stunning and seldom visited by tourists. Along the way, you will pass many small villages and encounter various village activities such as making bamboo sticky rice (korlan), fish paste, rice paper and banana paper. Afterwards we return to town and visit the campus of Phare Ponleu Selpak. The campus lets you experience the vibrant energy of Phare first-hand. Take a stroll through the campus with one of our guides to see circus students learning new tricks, music students practicing beneath shady trees, and watch an animation film made by our students. After lunch at a local restaurant visit the site of the “Killing Caves” at Phnom Sampeou. There is a Khmer Rouge memorial as well as an interesting temple on top of this hill. When at the top, you will have a commanding view over the Cambodian countryside. If you choose to stay until sunset you will see countless bats exit from the cave down below, while enjoying a cold drink from a comfortable chair set up by enterprising locals. After sunset, you will be transferred back to your hotel. Overnight at Bambu Hotel or similar (BL)

This morning meet your guide and drive to Smiling Gecko farm (approx. 4 hours). On arrival you have the remainder of the day to enjoy the farm at your leisure. Overnight Smiling Gecko Farmhouse (B)

(175km, approx. 5 and a half hours)

After breakfast say goodbye to the farm and drive to Koh Kong province where you can relax at the lodge’s lounge in Trapeang Rung before embarking for the hour’s trip over the Preak Tachan River to Cardamom Tented Camp. Settle into your comfortable safari-style tent. This afternoon, go on an exploratory hike in the jungle around the camp. The diversity of the fauna will amaze you! Overnight Cardamom Tented Camp (BD)

After early breakfast, Wildlife Alliance Rangers will meet us and together with an English-speaking guide embark on patrol over a network of abandoned poaching and logging trails through the dense forest. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. The half-day hike will stop by the Ranger Station, where confiscated snares, traps and improvised hunting rifles are on display. Enjoy a local Khmer lunch and swimming in the river. Later this afternoon, kayak along Prek Tachan back to camp. Dinner and overnight at Cardamom Tented Camp (BLD)

Note – the kayaking will be done yourself. If you do not wish to kayak back to camp, there is a motorboat option available.

(200km, approx. 4 hours)

If you are an early riser, you can go on a self-guided hike on the trails around the camp. At around 10am we head back to Trapeang Rung and travel to Kep. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight at Raingsey Bungalow or similar (B)

Today explore Kampot by bicycle*. The journey will take you through rice fields, durian and rambutan orchards against the scenic backdrop of the mysterious ‘Elephant Mountains’. Stop at local villages along the way to meet and speak with the local people. Your guide will help translate and if you are feeling adventurous try out a few words in Khmer, they are always delighted to hear you try! Our final destination will be the rapids on the Kampot River. This is where we will stop for a swim and enjoy a local picnic lunch.  After a leisurely lunch and a swim in the cool waters you will be picked up and transferred back to your hotel. Overnight at Raingsey Bungalow or similar (BL)

*this can be done by car instead of bicycle. A small supplement will apply. Please let us know at the time of booking.

Spend the day at leisure. Overnight at Raingsey Bungalow or similar (B)

(160km, approx. 4 hours)

Today travel to Phnom Penh (approx. 4 hours, not including stops). Upon arrival check-in to your hotel and spend the afternoon at leisure. This evening transfer to Phnom Penh’s river front for a sunset boat trip on Tonle Sap and the Mekong River. Whilst on board observe the past meeting with the present through old Buddhist pagodas and new commercial buildings both visible. Pass local villages nestled on the banks of the river and see the traditional floating houses and markets of the Mekong. Overnight at Rambutan Resort or similar (B)

Today we take a city tour. We start with a visit to Wat Phnom, where a 14th century stupa and small pagoda stands. It is the tallest religious structure in the city and the oldest building in Phnom Penh. Continue to the Royal Palace, built in 1866 under King Norodom. Adjacent is the Silver Pagoda, which is named after its floor which is covered with 5000 silver tiles. Later visit the National Museum, which houses an important collection of Angkorian artefacts. Lunch will be taken at the Friends Restaurant, which provides under privileged street children with the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the hospitality business. All profits are reinvested into the Training Centre activities. This afternoon visit Choeng Ek, the location of the infamous Killing Fields. Continue to Tuol Sleng prison, the notorious Khmer prison where thousands of Cambodians perished in the darkest hours of Cambodian history. Overnight at Rambutan Resort or similar (B)

Note: When visiting the Royal Palace, visitors are advised to follow a dress code consisting of “long trousers or skirt which cover the knees, and covered shoulders”. Skirts, small shorts, tank tops and other items of revealing clothing are not allowed.

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. 

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight. (B)

Dates & Price.

Tour Notes

This group tour operates subject to a minimum group size of 3 travellers.

Single Supplement from £325 to £355.

Return flights from London to Siem Reap and returning from Phnom Penh start from £600. Contact us for a quotation.

Extra night accommodation pre-tour in Siem Reap costs from £40 per room, per night for sgl/dbl/twn.

Extra night accommodation post-tour in Phnom Penh costs from £50 per room, per night for sgl/dbl, and £55 per room, per night for twn.

Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.

Please note that this tour runs back to back with our comprehensive tour of Laos.  

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

Cambodia - To the Temples and Beyond Tour Map

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • 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

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips
  • Visas
  • Drinks
  • Items of a personal nature

I loved Cambodia! Thank you to all involed in making this such a special trip. The group were all great and we are all keeping in touch.

 

Linda Heart, UK