Explore Phnom Penh and visit haunting monuments to Cambodia’s tragic past, take to the Mekong for an island homestay, get up close with Irrawaddy dolphins and kayak through spectacular flooded forests, then discover the ancient temple ruins of the incredible Angkor complex by foot and mountain bike before winding up in Siem Reap.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can’t arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you’re able to attend. We’ll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you’re going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We’ll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, is set on a major junction of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers and boasts some fine examples of French-inspired architecture.
We start our adventure by jumping on to a mountain bike, crossing the river by local boat and taking a ride through the villages on an island in the Mekong River. The island is famous for silk weaving, agriculture and aquaculture. Stop to see locals at work in the village and enjoy cycling on quiet roads through orchards and along rice paddies. Riding distance: approx. 25km
You have the afternoon free to for sightseeing around Phnom Penh. Your leader can help your organise many optional activities.
Head out to the Choeung Ek Memorial, where a stupa made up of some 8,000 human skulls marks the site of the infamous Killing Fields. This was the execution ground for the torture victims of Tuol Sleng and standing in this peaceful setting it’s almost unthinkable to imagine that to date nearly 9000 corpses have been exhumed from the area.
Check out the National Museum. Housed in a beautiful traditional building, it contains many outstanding examples of Khmer craftsmanship.
Confront Cambodia’s tragic past on a guided tour of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school which served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre. It’s estimated that more than 20,000 people were held and tortured here.
Learn about a brighter period in Cambodian history with a visit to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.
Explore Wat Phnom, a peaceful temple situated on a hill for which the city is named. According to legend, a 14th-century woman named Penh found sacred Buddhist objects in the nearby river and placed them here on the small hill.Half day Mekong Island bike tripPhnom Penh – National MuseumPhnom Penh – Wat PhnomPhnom Penh – Royal Palace and Silver PagodaPhnom Penh – Entrance to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and Choeung EkPhnom Penh – Guided Tour of Choeung EkLocal Guide half day Phnom PenhMondulkiri Boutique Hotel or similiar
This morning we leave early by private bus for our trip to Kratie. En route, we pass through Skuon (a small town famous for its tasty spiders), where it’s possible to sample an eight-legged snack. It’s recommended that you eat these furry arachnids as you would a crab, by cracking the body open and pulling the legs off one by one – delicious!
Kratie is a picturesque town on the banks of the Mekong. Until recently Kratie was a strategic trading port on the river between Phnom Penh and Stung Treng. Both the French and Khmer Rouge found the town useful and there are a number of French colonial buildings that remain.
Board a local boat from Kratie waterfront to Koh Trong for our island homestay. Approximately 280 families call this 6km island home. Depending on the season and the height of the Mekong River we may need to walk up a stretch of beach and then take a local bike to our destination. The island is famous for growing pomelos (supposedly some of the best in Cambodia), rice and other agricultural products.
Our homestay is a wonderful opportunity to witness everyday Cambodian life and in the evening we enjoy a traditional-style dinner. Facilities are basic and multi share with mattresses, bedding and mosquito nets all provided. Underneath the house a few hammocks are strung around making this a very scenic place to unwind. A 9km loop road around the Koh Trong Island’s perimeter provides opportunities for us to leisurely cycle through traditional Khmer villages, fruits orchards and rice fields while observing the daily rituals and routines of traditional village life.Koh Trong Homestay
After breakfast we take a guided walk and cycle on a local bike around the island. (1 hour walk, 1 hour cycle) It’s a great way to see how the locals live and learn more about their Cambodia culture.
During the Khmer Rouge a lot of the forests in the centre of the island were cut down. Villagers have started a tree planting project at Wat Ty Pram Kbal Koh Trong. We have the option of planting a tree in the pagoda grounds before saying goodbye to our island home and heading back to the mainland.
In Kratie we wander down the river boulevard and take a break for lunch. Afterwards we travel to Stung Treng situated on the banks of the San River (which flows into the Mekong River a few kilometres out of town). Once part of southern Laos, Stung Treng switched to Cambodian ownership during the French colonial era. However, many people here speak both Khmer and Laos. There is an option for us to have dinner tonight is at Tonle Tourism Training restaurant. This small project provides tourism and hospitality training for young people in the province to help them gain employment.
This morning we start early for a full day of activities. Travel to the village of Ou Svay and catch a local boat close to the famous Sopheak Mitt Waterfall in the Mekong River on the Cambodia-Laos border. We then hike back to Preah Rumkel where we enjoy a simple local lunch cooked by the community. Afterwards we have a unique opportunity to view the rare Irrawaddy dolphins from our kayaks at the nearby Anlung Cheuteal Dolphin Pool. Enjoy kayaking down the river through the spectacular flooded forests to Veun Sien village. (1.5-2 hours trekking, 2.5-3 hours kayaking)Koh Trong – guided walking and cycling tourSteung Treng – Kayaking and Hiking TripKoh Trong Tree Planting ActivityGolden River Hotel or similiar
Images in and around Siem Reap, Angkor WatThis morning we set out on our journey to Siem Reap travelling through the wilds of Cambodia. Before we hit civilisation we jump out of the bus and get ready for a scenic walk through the villages into Siem Reap. The walk is mainly on sandy dirt trails. Get your first preview of an Angkorian temple as we pass Wat Bakong (sorry we can’t go in) Walking under shady old trees, past small villages and rice plantations we finish at a modern pagoda before climbing back into the bus for the last few kilometers to Siem Reap.
On day 7 in the morning we get set up on mountain bikes for a fun ride around the Angkorian ruins. On the bicycle we can avoid some of the crowds and get a unique perspective on this amazing site. Take the back roads along the river through local villages and into the Angkor Park. Our first stop is Phnom Bok. The climb up 633 steps to the temple-ruin on top of the hill gives us an amazing view of the surrounding countryside. Feel like Indiana Jones as you explore the small temple together with the remains of a 5 metre long sandstone fertility symbol. On our return we take a cycle along the wall of the ancient city of Angkor Thom. With the mote on one side and thick jungle on the other we will rarely see another visitor. Riding distance: approx. 60km
On day 8 we Temple-hop with our local guide to make the most of our visit to the world-famous Angkor complex. These temples were built between the 9th and 13th centuries when the Khmer empire was the pre-eminent influence in South-East Asia. The temples were believed to represent the cosmic world and were set in perfect balance, symmetry and composition. The intricately carved bas-reliefs and architectural designs are mind-blowing and there are spectacular photographic opportunities at any time of day – watching a sunrise or sunset is a must. The ruins are scattered over an area of some 160 sq km, but the main cluster of temples is close to Siem Reap so we’ll have plenty of time to fully appreciate the great archaeological sites of Angkor Wat, the Bayon and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm.
We will do an included Street Food by Night tour. From a culture at least 3,000 years old, Khmer is one of the oldest cuisines in the world. Siem Reap’s street food has also been influenced by Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, and French techniques to form a style and flavour profile that is uniquely Cambodian. On this night-time food tour, we’ll hop on local transport and travel away from the tourist trail to sample authentic Siem Reap snacks, desserts, and Khmer cuisine staples. Delicious, authentic, and something you don’t want to miss.
A great optional activity we recommend is a visit to Phare the Cambodian Circus. Coming from vulnerable households the performers have gained international recognition through their art practice. Like a Cambodian Cirque Du Soleil, modern Khmer tales mix theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling, aerial acts, and contortion.
The final day is departure day and no activities have been planned. If you have extra time you might like to schedule a Flight of the Gibbon zip-lining and canopy walk adventure, a tasty Khmer Cooking Class, treat yourself with high tea at Raffles Hotel, or simply relax by the pool.Siem Reap – Three Day Angkor PassSiem Reap – Guided TourSiem Reap – Street Food By Night TourSiem Reap – Landmine MuseumSiem Reap – Tonle Sap boat tripSiem Reap – Phare Cambodia Circus TicketSiem Reap – Flight of the Gibbon zipliningUrban Adventure – Cambodian Cook-OutFreedom Hotel or similiar
-Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
-Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
-English or French speaking guide (for other languages and a national guide supplements apply)
-Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
-Equipments and gear
-Entrance fees for mentioned visits
-Visa and immigration fees
-Alcoholic Beverages are excluded and chargeable on consumption basis.
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