ITINERARY BY DAY
DAY 1 – PHNOM PENH ARRIVAL
Welcome to Phnom Penh!
Sitting at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers, Phnom Penh was once considered one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient. Despite its recent turbulent history, it still retains much of its former colonial charm with wide tree-lined boulevards and colonial-era buildings.
Upon arrival in Phnom Penh, our driver and local English speaking guide will be waiting to provide transport into the city for the hotel check in. After dropping the luggage off and relaxing for a bit, head into town for dinner at Bopha Phnom Penh Titanic. This renowned restaurant serves tasty Khmer (and Western) cuisine on a breezy terrace with sweeping river views. Apsara dancing is performed nightly between 7-9pm.
After dinner, either head back to the hotel or head down to the night market along the riverfront.
Note: Night market open Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday only
Overnight in Phnom Penh.
DAY 2 – PHNOM PENH CITY
Begin the morning on a cyclo tour of the city through some of the most memorable sights of Phnom Penh. Head first to the northern boundaries of the city with a visit to Wat Phnom, housing some fine examples of Khmer architecture and statues.
Continue along the lively riverfront to the Royal Palace. Dating back to 1866, the palace also houses the Silver Pagoda, named for its 5,000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. The temple is also known for housing a vast collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze.
Continue with a visit to the Khmer-style National Museum, housing the world’s foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artifacts from the 4th to the 13th centuries. Over 5,000 pieces are on display here, constituting the repository of the Kingdom’s cultural wealth. In addition, the roof space is home to a large bat colony!
Enjoy the afternoon at leisure or take part in one of the following:
Optional: Tuol Sleng Museum & the Killing Fields (half day)
Gain insight into Cambodia’s recent dark history on a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Housed in a former school, the Khmer Rouge took over the schoolhouse and transformed it into a detention and torture center, renamed ‘S-21’. Continue with a visit to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, a grim, but important visit that allows some unique insight into modern day Cambodia.
Optional – Cycling the Mekong Islands (half day)
Enjoy a leisurely bike ride through the countryside around Phnom Penh, discovering the diversity of the rural landscapes, passing small villages, schools, and silk weaving houses. Travel by ferry to river islands and pedal on small roads with no traffic, stopping to meet friendly locals and taste local delicacies. This is a tour that will bring travelers closer to the real Cambodia!
Overnight in Phnom Penh.
DAY 3 – PHNOM PENH – SIEM REAP
Depart from Phnom Penh and travel through the Cambodian countryside towards Kampong Thom. Stop en route at Skun Market to buy a bag of “ch’ngain” (tasty) eight-legged creatures. These spiders are caught in the soft ground of the surrounding countryside and deep fried into a popular snack.
Also make a stop at Sambor Prei Kuk, one of the most important pre-Angkorian sites in the country. Sambor Prey Kuk was built between the 6th and 7th century and houses over 100 well-preserved temples scattered throughout the forest. Enjoy a beautiful walk through the jungle with breathtaking views; the visit supports a community-based tourism project.
The villages around the temple complex still practice the ancient art of craft making, using materials such as bamboo and rattan. Stop at one village to observe the local production. The community runs the Isanborei Craft Hut next to the temples and sells their products there as part of a community-based tourism project. The local community will also prepare a simple but very tasty lunch near the temples.
Continue to Siem Reap.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
DAY 4 – SIEM REAP CITY
After breakfast, start the visit to the ancient city of Angkor Thom via ‘remork’ (similar to the Thai tuk tuk). Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII, known for its 8-meter high wall drawing a perfect square around the city. Enter the city through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone structure carved with elephants and four giant faces.
Journey onwards to the 12th century Ta Prohm. This temple is unique in the fact that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground; by far one of the most picturesque temples in the Angkor complex.
Spend the afternoon at leisure or take part in one of the following:
Optional: Angkor Silk Farm
Visit the Angkor Silk Farm, 15 km west of Siem Reap (through the surrounding countryside), where it is possible to witness the entire process of silk creation: from growing and harvesting mulberry as food for the silkworms and the breeding process/life cycle of the silkworm to spinning the silk, the dying process, and the creation of beautiful silk weavings on wooden handlooms. No Extra Charge
Optional: Horseback and Quad Bike Rides
Enjoy a fun, half-day outing to the heart of Cambodia, passing authentic local villages, rice fields and a peaceful Angkor temples along the way.
Optional: Angkor National Museum
Pay a visit to this modern museum, showcasing artefacts from the Golden Era of the Khmer Empire by use of multimedia technology. Experience Angkor at its best on this guided visit to the Museum!
Overnight in Siem Reap.
DAY 5 – SIEM REAP CITY
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and spend the morning at leisure or partaking in one of the following:
Optional: Floating Villages of Tonle Sap
Embark on a morning boat ride through Tonlé Sap, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake. During the cruise, visit Kampong Phluck, a village where homes stand on stilts to avoid flooding during the rainy season (when Tonle Sap swells to four times its size.)
(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).
Optional: Roluos Group
Spend the morning exploring the Roluos Group of temples. Roluos is the site of an ancient center of Khmer civilization known as Hariharalaya, built by the Angkorian kings in the 8th and 9th century. Roluos is home to three main temples: Bakong, Lolei and Preah Ko, and the surrounding countryside is very typical for Cambodia. Explore the region via ox-cart ride- a fun way to get in touch with rural Cambodia and its friendly people. The final destination is Roluos Pagoda, where Buddhist monks will perform a private blessing ceremony, wishing health and safe journeys.
Optional: Cooking Class at Cassia Restaurant
Discover the secrets of authentic Khmer cuisine in a half-day cooking class at Cassia Restaurant. The tour starts with a guided trip to the market where it’s possible to learn everything about Cambodian vegetables, herbs, spices, and other ingredients. After being shown how to prepare the dishes, cook them and enjoy them for lunch!
Optional: Kbal Spean/Banteay Srei
Take the short 3 km trek uphill through dense jungle to visit some of the first temples in the Angkor region. Amazing views wait at the top looking over the plains and the Kulen hills. During the rainy season, it’s possible to swim beneath the waterfall or have a picnic lunch.
Continue to the countryside to see the best-preserved of the Angkor temples: Banteay Srei. Also known as the “Citadel of the Women,” this temple displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art with its remarkable bas-reliefs. Heading back to town, stop at local communities to learn a bit about daily life, see the production of palm wine and palm sugar, or to communicate with the help of the guide.
In the afternoon, pay a visit to the biggest religious temple in the world: the magnificent Angkor Wat. Built in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat was designed to represent the mythical home of the gods, Mount Meru. Inside the temple the walls are covered by carvings, bas-reliefs, and over 2,000 Aspara dancers… a truly stunning sight to see at sunset.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
DAY 6 – SIEM REAP – DEPARTURE
Enjoy the morning at leisure.
Depending on the flight departure time, spend the morning exploring Siem Reap’s colorful markets. Visit Artisans d’Angkor, established to support Cambodian arts and crafts, and to help young people find work in their local villages by continuing the practice of traditional arts. Discover how wood and stone carvings, lacquering, gilding, and silk paintings are created.
Transport will be provided to the airport for the departing flight. (Note: based on midday/afternoon departures)