Cambodia is one of south east Asia's most fascinating, colourful and historic countries and on this comprehensive tour you will see all of the iconic sights and meet the lovely people. Beginning in the capital Phnom Penh, you travel to a beaautiful seaside resort then have an extensive trip through the countryside, staying in a national park, before ending at Siem Reap, the gateway to the stunning temples of Angkor, one of the wonders of the ancient world.
Arrive Phnom Penh
On arrival at Phnom Penh you will be met at the airport and driven to your hotel in the capital city. Tonight meet your tour leader and the rest of the group in the reception area of the hotel for welcome drinks and a briefing on your upcoming tour and learn all about the places you will be visiting and the adventures that await. Then the rest of the evening is free for you to go out and explore on your own and try some of the local delicacies at one of the nearby restaurants.
In colonial times, Phnom Penh was pocketed with cinemas, grand catholic churches and smoky opium dens. After years of war and terror in the 1970s, it is now a city reinventing itself. After breakfast, set-out for a day of discoveries, beginning at the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocidal Crimes and The Killing Fields of Choeng Ek, for an insight into the insanity of the Pol Pot regime. After lunch, stop at the Art Deco Central Market then visit the Royal Palace and its famous Silver Pagoda. You'll finish the day with a promenade along the riverfront with its bustle of locals unwinding after a day at work and get a chance to have a drink at the famous Foreign Correspondents Club overlooking the river.
Phnom Penh to Kampot
After breakfast you are taken to the station to board the train for your journey to Kampot on Cambodia’s south coast. Phnom Penh’s impressive Art Deco railway station was built in 1932, and as you leave the city the landscape changes to typical Cambodian countryside. You see villages, rice fields and children playing with water buffaloes. Arrive in riverside Kampot in time for lunch then board a private boat for an afternoon cruise on the Preaek Tuek Chhu River. Kampot is a laid back town filled with faded colonial buildings.
Kampot to Kep
Kampot is surrounded by karst limestone mountains that are filled with caves. Visit Phnom Chhnork, a large complex containing a temple, which dates back to the 7th century. Explore the cave then learn about Kampot’s most famous export, pepper. Later drive to the seaside town of Kep, passing rice fields, salt farms and durian plantations. Located just a few miles from the border with Vietnam, Kep is a seaside retreat where you see some of Cambodia’s best sunsets After checking in to your hotel, enjoy a drink at the seaside sailing club.
Kep and Rabbit Island
This morning pass Kep’s quiet Main Beach and stop for a visit to the busy crab market. Here, locals and tourists can enjoy the freshest seafood, which is cheap, plentiful and delicious. Watch fisherman hauling in their catch and see market vendors haggling with clients for the best price before heading to the pier for your short boat trip across to Rabbit Island for an afternoon of swimming and relaxing on a beach. Return to Kep and try dinner at one of the restaurants near the crab markets.
Kep to Takeo Homestay
Leave Kep early for a scenic drive to the small town of Takeo, where you’ll board a private speedboat for an exhilarating ride along a narrow man-made canal. Stop at Angkor Borei, once a temple-studded pre-Angkorian capital in the 8th century. Visit the local museum and Phnom Da, a striking hill-top temple dating to the 8th century. After enjoying the view and cool breeze from the temple, continue to Takeo homestay where you will be hosted by a local family for the night. This evening, share a home-cooked dinner with them..
Takeo to Battambang
Meet some of the delightful children who are keen to practice their English before saying your goodbyes and heading north to Battambang. The journey takes you north towards Kampong Chhnang, a busy town on the shores of the great Tonle Sap Lake, where a stop at Krakor fish market offers an insight into the fishing industry. Arrive at Battambang, Cambodia’s second largest city with time for you to explore the boutiques and galleries, or stroll along river. Battambang has a wide choice of restaurants, cafes and funky bars.
Head out to see spectacular sites around Battambang. The temples and pagodas largely escaped damage during the Khmer Rouge regime and on your way to Banan Temple, stop at a winery famous for producing cognac. Continue to Phnom Banan where, after a 358-step climb you visit an impressive 11th century five-spire temple that may have been the inspiration for Angkor Wat. Then at the top of Phnom Sampeau at dusk, witness the sight of millions of ‘mosquito bats’ flying out of from the caves, in search of food.
Battambang to Banteay Chhmar
This morning set out on the trip north to Banteay Chhmar. This remote and fascinating temple is one of only a few Angkorian temples to feature the towering heads of the Buddhist deity Avalokiteshvaras. The site dates from the 12th and 13th centuries and remains largely un-restored and covered with native forest, giving an eerie sense of awe throughout the complex. Enjoy a delicious home-cooked lunch with members of the local community then continue to Sra Em and check-in to your hotel.
Preah Vihear and Siem Reap
Today visit Preah Vihear temple, Cambodia’s second UNESCO World Heritage site, situated on top of the Dangrek escarpment on the Thai border overlooking Cambodia’s northern plains. Explore this remarkable temple in peace and quiet because you’re certain to have the site to yourself. Then stop at Boeng Mealea temple, the largest outside the main Angkor complex. Much of it remains intact, while other parts are in ruins and consumed by the jungle. On the journey to your hotel at Siem Reap, stop at the market at Dom Deak.
Drive a short distance to Kampong Phluk floating village, on Tonle Sap Lake, the second largest freshwater lake in the world. En route, stop for a short walk round Roulous Market, an authentic market that’s seldom visited by tourists. At Kampong Phluk, board your boat to explore the fascinating floating village before having a delicious home-cooked lunch at a homestay. After lunch, continue to the intricately-carved pink sandstone temple, Banteay Srei. In Siem Reap, the remainder of the afternoon is free for you to explore at your leisure.
Today is dedicated to exploring the most magnificent of the Angkorian temples. The adventure begins with a pre-dawn trip by tuk-tuk to the most famous temple - Angkor Wat, which you wander around in relative darkness. Enjoy breakfast at a restaurant outside the temple before visiting the walled city of Angkor Thom. Marvel at the eerie stone heads and bas-reliefs of Bayon temple then end the morning at jungle-enveloped Ta Prohm. Tonight there's a group dinner at a top restaurants to celebrate the end of your holiday.
Depart Siem Reap
Today your wonderful tour around the cities, towns and countryside of Cambodia comes to an end in the resort town of Siem Reap. Enjoy some last minute sightseeing, possibly visiting the nearby Artisans Village to see the craftsmen and women at work, or doing some souvenir shopping, before being picked up from your hotel and driven to the airport to continue your south east Asia adventure or begin your journey back home, taking with you so many lasting memories.