An 18 day tour to give you a fuller insight into the ancient Khmer Empire and to the world of modern Cambodia.
Highlights: Siem Reap – Angkor Wat – Phnom Penh – Cardamom Jungle – Kampot – Sihanoukville
Arrival Siem Reap
Arrival transfer to your hotel, the base for the first 5 nights. Rest of the day is free to explore on your own. For interesting people watching, venture down to Pub Street and the Siem Reap Night Market.
The Kingdom of Angkor
Early morning visit to Angkor Wat, the largest and most breath-taking monument within the complex, built as the funerary temple for Suryavarman II, who ruled from 1112 to 1152, Angkor Wat never fails to reward the visitor with its grand scale, surreal bas-reliefs and unbelievable attention to detail. Return to the hotel for some breakfast.
Afternoon excursion to explore the fortified city of Angkor Thom, built by Angkor's greatest king Jayavarman VII who ruled from 1181 to 1201. Also, explore the Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, and the Terraces of the Elephants and Leper King.
Visit also the majestic Ta Phrom. built in 1186 and dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII. Ta Phrom is a temple of towers, closed courtyards and narrow corridors. Unlike the other temples of Angkor, Ta Phrom has been left to the elements and looks very much like the other temples must have looked when ‘rediscovered’ by Henri Mouhot in the 1860s.
Phnom Kulen mountain and Banteay Srei temple
Kulen Mountain is a protected area and has had UNESCO World Heritage status since 1992. Phnom Kulen is widely regarded as the birthplace of the ancient Khmer Empire. It was here that King Jayavarman II proclaimed independence from Java in 802 A.D.
Just a few inches under the surface of the water, over 1000 carvings of Yoni and Linga are etched into the sandstone riverbed. The waters are regarded as holy.
We will also visit Preah Ang Thom which houses a large statue of Buddha and the Terrace of Sdach Kum Ling which was covered by lava for hundreds of years.
There is time for a swim in the waterfall before lunch.
In the afternoon we visit Banteay Srei, loosely translated as "Citadel of Women". It houses some of the finest and best-preserved examples of classical Khmer bas-relief.
Finish your tour with sunset at Pre Rup Temple,
Cambodian Dutch Foundation and Presat Banteay Ampil
An excursion into remote Cambodian countryside seen by few travellers and participate in projects supported by the Cambodian-Dutch Organisation, a not-for-profit NGO working on community development projects.
You’ll visit a primary school built by the foundation, as well as a health centre.
In the afternoon visit Prasat Banteay Ampil a remote temple ruin before returning to Siem Reap.
Tonle Sap and Rolous Group Temple
Today's excursion takes you to Mechrey Village on Tonle Sap Lake. This interesting excursion includes a foray into the nearby flooded forest. Your guide will explain the biodiversity in this area, and discuss the importance of the lake for the livelihoods of thousands of locals.
Later today, we will take a visit to the Roluos group of temples including LoLei, Preah Ko and Bakong.
Evening tickets for the Cambodian circus, a must for all visitors to the country.
Travel to Kompong Thom
A attractive drive into the traditional Cambodian countryside with a visit to Beng Melia, one of the more distant sites that formed part of the ancient kingdom of Angkor.
The journey continues in the afternoon through some beautiful and unspoiled countryside to the village of Kompong Kdei where there are two bridges nearby which date from the Angkor period and which are still used for traffic to this day. One of them is over 180 ft. long and is considered a marvel of ancient engineering.
From here you'll continue on to the town of Kompong Thom and check in to your hotel.
Kompong Thom - Sambor Prei Kuk - Phnom Penh
It is a short journey on a rugged dirt track to reach the ruins of Sambor Prei Kuk. This ancient, pre-Angkorian city was the capital of the Chela Kingdom. You can enjoy exploring the ruins by bicycle or on foot. You can usually expect to have the place to yourselves, as these wonderful ruins are not well known and are seldom visited at present.
In the afternoon, there is a short stop at the village of Skuon, known for its local delicacy of fried spiders, before arriving at your hotel in Phnom Penh, base for the next three nights.
We recommend visiting Phnom Penh’s charming riverside which is buzzing with activity and has many good restaurants.
Exploring Phnom Penh
The day will start with a visit to the amazing central market (or Phsar Tmai as the locals call it), housed in a beautiful Art-Deco building. You might like to try a local breakfast of noodles with fish soup or chicken curry with French baguette) washed down with coffee.
In the afternoon visit the notorious Tuol Sleng Prison, housed for a glimpse into the horrors of Cambodia's recent past. If time permits, visit Choeng Ek, better known as the "killing fields," located just outside the city.
Excursion to Koh Dach
Phnom Penh is situated on the banks of the Tonlé Sap, Mekong and Bassac Rivers. Today you will explore the lesser visited side of the Mekong with a visit to Koh Dach, sometimes referred to as ‘Silk Island’. On arrival at the island take a short bike ride to visit the weavers.
You'll return to Phnom Penh in the afternoon.
Phnom Penh - Cardamom Mountains
Drive to Kirirom National Park for a short trek to the Chambok waterfall before continuing to your lodge in the Cardamom mountains, your base for three nights.
Excursion to the Tatai Falls, one of the ‘must-sees’ of the Cardamom jungle, described by Lonely Planet as 'a thundering set of rapids during the wet season, plunging over a 4m rock shelf. Water levels drop in the dry season, but you can swim year-round in refreshing pools around the waterfall'.
River excursion to the village of Koh Sralao, for a glimpse into the way of life for the fishing communities here amongst the mangroves of the Tatai.
Transfer to Kampot, where salt is harvested and pepper plantations produce some of the world's finest pepper. Two nights' accommodation at a local hotel.
Full day tour to the salt fields, a pepper plantation, to the fish market and to a local village where they make baskets from bamboo. Afternoon kayaking amongst the mangroves of the Kampot River.
During your stay here we recommend a boat trip to Ream National Park which is home to a number of rare birds and animals. We also suggest visits to Bamboo Island, Chalus Island and Ta Kiev Island, fishing trips with local fishermen.
For ultimate relaxation at a high-end resort, we recommend Song Saa, a private island reached in 40 minutes by boat from Sihanoukville.
Depart Phnom Penh
Departure transfer from Sihanoukville for the four hour journey to Phnom Penh in time to check in for your flight home.
The above sample Cambodia holiday can be varied in any way you choose to suit your exact requirements so give us a call now on 01932 424252 to discuss any modifications.
Cambodia has a wide range of types & styles of hotels, at a variety of price-points to suit all budgets. Please chat to one of our Travel Consultants to get informed advice as to which hotels they would suggest for your tailor-made Cambodia holiday.
The tours, excursions & activities mentioned in the above sample Cambodia holiday are just a selection of what is available in each location. The programme can be adjusted to fit your particular requirements for this holiday; please liaise with your Travel Consultant to confirm what other activities are available and what you would like to include in your tailor-made Cambodia holiday.
If you like the broad sweep of the above sample Cambodia holiday but have either fewer days to spend on your holiday, or wish to extend it in any way, please ask your Travel Consultant for ideas on how to shorten or lengthen the holiday, or how to reorganise the itinerary.
We would be delighted to email you a no-obligation, fully-detailed itinerary & quote, containing images of the hotels we suggest for your tailor-made Cambodia holiday along with a link to the hotel’s website, plus details of any included tours & excursions. The quote will clearly state what is, and what is not included in the quoted price. If you thereafter wish to make any changes to the initial itinerary – be it an alternative hotel, different activities, a different duration in any location etc. – that’s not a problem and we will continue to work with you to adjust the programme until it exactly matches what you’re looking for from your tailor-made Cambodia holiday.