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Cambodia lifestyle is a depth journey to explore the unique culture and the diversity on offer beyond the highlights in this beguiling Kingdom. Get off the beaten track to uncluttered areas along the beautiful Mekong River, to surrounding mountains, forest and waterfalls in the remote northeast. Minority tribes and endangered wildlife, both dolphins and elephants, await our arrival in the Kratie and Mondulkiri region. Not forgetting about flooded forests of the Mekong Wetlands in Stung Treng and onto the pinnacle of the Khmer Empire at Angkor. A timeless testament to the ingenuity of the Khmer people, we immerse ourselves in the numerous stone monuments including Angkor Wat, the art of shadow puppetry and classical Khmer dance at its best. Visit the graceful town of Battambang, before continuing onto the country’s prime beach of Sihanoukville for some relaxation downtime and sun worship.
Phnom Penh International Airport
At your arrival
[Guided Tour] Visit the horrific crimes of the Khmer Rouge. Tuol Sleng was a former high school that the Khmer Rouge turned into a centre for interrogation, torture and death. Today it is a museum of torture and serves to remind visitors of the terrible atrocities that came to pass in Cambodia. Tuol Sleng is a profoundly moving experience and not everyone will want to visit. However, it is key to understanding the hell into which Cambodia descended and how far it has come in the years since. We then travel out of town to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Prisoners from Tuol Sleng followed this same route to their fate. Despite the horrors of the past, it is a peaceful place to go and a tranquil spot to reflect on the tragic events that engulfed Cambodia and its people. We spend the rest of the morning looking around the city such as Wat Phnom, Independent monument and Russian Market which is one of the premier shopping destinations in the Cambodian capital. In the afternoon, we explore home to the Cambodian royal family and a symbol of the nation, the spectacular Royal Palace complex, including Wat Preah Keo Morokat with the spectacular Silver Pagoda, decorated with a floor made up of 5,000 silver tiles. We leave the Royal Palace and continue to the nearby National Museum which houses the world’s finest collection of sculptures from the Angkor period.
End your day with a private boat for a sunset cruise and on the Tonle Sap River, which famously reverses direction each year, acting as the world’s largest natural flood barrier for the Mekong River. We cruise past the Royal Palace compound and around the Chrouy Changvar Peninsular onto the mighty Mekong River.
+ O/N: in Phnom Penh (not included in the package)
Day 3: Phnom Penh to Mondulkiri.
Today is a long drive up to 9 hours but interesting. 8:00am-8:30am hotel pick-up time depending on location. Your friendly English speaking and knowlegable guide greets you with a traditional Khmer welcome. We leave Phnom Penh and travel northeast to the bustling provincial city of Kompong Cham. En route, there is the chance to pause at Skuon, affectionately known as ‘Spiderville’, where it is possible to sample the local delicacy of deep fried tarantula. We then enjoy a local lunch in Kompong Cham. During dry season (Jan-May), we can visit the bamboo bridge built across the mighty Mekong River connecting mainland to Koh Pen Island.
Our road journey continues on the east bank of the Mekong River past many rubber farms. There are many opportunities to stop along the way to experience rubber collecting and pepper plantation. We travel east towards the small junction town of Snuol, our gateway to the wilds of Mondulkiri highland. We turn right and leave behind the surfaced roads of civilization to take on the red earth roads of hill country. The first half of the journey from Snuol is flat, passing through patches of lush forest and areas of cultivation and plantations. After Kau Sima district, the road snakes up through the mountains that give Mondulkiri its name of ‘where the mountains meet’. We might also see wild monkeys out on the road. We reach Mondulkiri capital Sen Monorom around 5:00pm and check in to a comfortable lodge.
+ O/N: in Sen Monorom – Mondulkiri (2nts)
[Guided tour] Today, we will have a full day visit one of the Eco-friendly elephant project, called Bunong Elephant Project (BEP) where elephants are being rescued from hard work like pulling the tree out from the farm and carry heavy things up the mountain. We travel by road out of Sen Monorom to one the hill top where we will start walking around 40 minutes through the valleys and forests to the project field work. You will be introduced to the herd of elephants and get to know more about their history, character, behavior, body language and relationship with mahout family. You will be able to feed the elephant buckets of bananas. At noon, the elephant must be taken to pastures for at least 2 hours in order to make sure they get enough food for the day. Elephants eat up to 300 kg of vegetation per day in order to sustain themselves. While the elephant is grazing, you will have a lunch break. Then, you will learn more detail about elephant and the community from the elephant guide.
In the afternoon, the mahout will bring the elephant to the river for a wash. You are welcomed to get in the water and give them a hand. Afterwards, we leave the elephants and start walking out different way towards a village where your driver is waiting for. Closer to the village, there is a big hill so you will challenge yourself.
+ O/N: in Sen Monorom – Mondulkiri
+ Included meal: Lunch
“Adventure Travel Cambodia has been supporting elephant experience with Bounong Hill Tribe in order to reduce their use of elephants in hard working activities; such as pulling trees or clear up forests for farming. The more tourists arrive the more they understand about taking care of their elephants. With our elephant experience you help the elephants and their keepers.”
We leave Sen Monorom and head east towards the double drop waterfall of Bou Sraa, one of the most famous in Cambodia. It is possible to access both drops and there are swimming opportunities. Along the way, we may stop at a Pnong minority village to learn a little about their way of life. After a visit to Bou Sra Waterfall, we come to visit a local coffee grower (Unique product in the province).
After lunch in Sen Monorom, we leave behind the wilds of Mondulkiri, we travel to provincial city of Kratie, a sleepy Mekong port and gateway to an encounter with the rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphin that inhabit the upper reaches of the Mekong in Cambodia. Once we arrive Kratie, we check in to hotel where we will spend the night.
+ O/N: in Kratie (2nts)
[Guided tour] 8:30 AM, Today, you will meet your English-speaking guide and learn about local lifestyles of the Kratie. Our visit includes a walk through the central Market of Kratie where you will see the local trades and see some of the old colonial building which remain from the French colony. Visit Wat Rokakandal which has a unique wooden carving about 400 years of age. And opportunities to learn about local productions including mushroom farm, rice wish key making, brick factory, bamboo sticky rice and rice noodle production. Lunch break at Kampi.
The highlight of our day is a visit to one of the many deep pools where the rare river dolphins gather to feed. We board a local boat and cruise out into the mighty Mekong for a chance encounter with these gentle mammals. Viewing is guaranteed.
+ O/N: in Kratie
After breakfast at the hotel, it is time to make your journey to Siem Reap, the gateway to the fabled temples of Angkor. Traveling south through the old river port of Chhlong, home to some of the best examples of French colonial architecture in the country. Have lunch on the road. En route, we visit one of the largest and least-visited villages on the Tonle Sap Lake, Kompong Khleang, about 55km from Siem Reap. It’s population of 10,000 all make a living from the fishing industry. We explore the canals (wet season) or streets (dry season) of this incredible town. In the wet season, the houses appear to be floating, as water laps at the verandas, but in the dry season towering stilts are revealed, the houses almost like wooden skyscrapers. We will take a boat and cruise into the open water of the great lake to see a small floating village and learn some more about this incredible natural flood barrier. Later we arrive to your Siem Reap and check into a comfortable hotel.
+ O/N: in Siem Reap (3nts)
[Guided tour] We spent our day cycling through small trail rain forests visit Temple of Angkor and along gate of Angkor Thom. This is a very interesting way to discovery the small circuit. We start our day after breakfast by cycle from the hotel toward the check-point then continue to the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat is believed to be the world’s largest religious building built in order to dedicate to the Hindu god, Vishnu. We explore Angkor Wat by foot. Afterwards, we cycle from the eastern side of Angkor along the north mod and through remote villages dotted with palm trees and rice paddies. We reach south grade of Angkor Thom them continue west along side the gate with a very nice trail towards west gate before we turn right and cycle to Bayon temple with a remarkable 54-tower. We explore Bayon Temple by foot. Take lunch break a local restaurant. Then, continue our cycling tour through passing through Ta Keo temple, Chao Say Tevoda, Tommanon, Terrace of Leper King, Terrace of Elephant, Baphoun, Phimean Akas. Later, we return to Siem Reap.
+ O/N: in Siem Reap
+ Cycling distance 23-25km return.
[Guided tour] Rise early for sunrise over the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat which is believed to be the world’s largest religious building. Then, visit the famous Ta Promh, embraced by the roots of enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers. Visit Ta Phrom that was built in 12th century by the famous King Jayavarvan VII indicated to his mother. The ruined Ta Prohm (Tomb Raider) temple was made famous by Angelina Jolie. This temple has been left to the forces of nature by archaeologists as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhot in 1860, many parts of its structure being embraced by the roots of gigantic trees, giving the ruin a special atmosphere. Then, we explore the frequently visited Banteay Samre. Built by King King Suryavarman II, the same king who built Angkor Wat, the structure with its high temple tower has undergone extensive restoration. In the afternoon we visit Neak Pean, a small island temple situated in the middle of an artificial pool, which translates as “intertwined serpents” due the coiled serpents encircling the base of the structure. We then continue on to Preah Khan or “sacred sword”, a huge monastic complex which features elaborate carvings.
Today, our journey continues to south the rice bold of Cambodia which is located on the other side of Tonle Sap Lake. Due September – January, the water level of Stung Sangke River is deep enough to allow boat to run. This means we can travel to Battambang by boat. This will let you experience typical Cambodian landscapes to the historic riverside city Battambang. Else, we travel by road En route, we stop at the rural district of Puok, home to the Artisans d’Angkor silk weaving project. We visit a working silk farm where it is possible to learn about all aspects of the production process. We make another stop at Preah Net Preah district to see unique stone carving by locals. Lunch along the road, arrive to Battambang and check in to your hotel.
At around 3:30pm, we drive to Phnom Sampov, a sacred mountain dotted with interesting pagodas and stupas. There is also a moving memorial to Khmer Rouge victims who were thrown into one of the many caves in this holy mountain. After your visit on top of this mountain, we come down and witness millions of bats flying out of their cave at 5:30 – 6pm.
+ O/N: in Battambang (2nts)
[Guided tour] After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Wat Kor district to visit a local village and learn about rural life in Cambodia, rice harvest, fruit farming and how the sugar palm is used. Board the Bamboo train (locals call Nori). These ‘local trains’ are bamboo platforms with wheels and they fly along the rail tracks offering great views of the surrounding countryside. Battambang is also known as the best preserve town from the French colony (1863-1953) so let’s witness some of those building including Wat Conding, old house built since 1907, provincial hall and national bank. Drive to Ek Phnom district and visit Doun Teav Village where rice paper production is the highlight of the local industry, and we then pass the local market of Psar Bra Houk (fermented fish paste) and also a few other interesting places including Bamboo sticky rice village, Wat Samrong Khnong. If we have time, we get back to the town centre to visit local market. Return to your hotel.
+ O/N: in Battambang
“Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s iconic beach destination. However, it has seen immense change over the last few years, with a huge influx of Chinese tourists and massive development along the coast of resorts and casinos. There are many constructions sites in town and some parts do not look really nice at the moment. Also, some parts of the roads are in bad conditions. In light of this, we are currently reviewing traveller feedback to assist in deciding whether to continue to include Sihanoukville on our trips.”
OPTION 1: SIHANOUKVILLE
Day 11: Battamabang to Sihanoukville via Phnom Penh. (B/-/-)
We leave behind the rice bowl of Cambodia, Battambang and travel to country’s prime beach location of Sihanoukville. Today is another long way to drive; around 9-10 hours depending on the traffic. We journey through Pursat province, passing through typical Cambodian landscapes of endless ricefields dotted with sugar palms. There may be an opportunity to visit a local pottery village, as Kompong Chhnang is famous for producing undecorated items for the Cambodian home. After lunch break in Phnom Penh, we continue south on National Highway 4 towards the Cambodian capital. We pause to pay our respects to Yeay Peau, a protective spirit who looks after travellers on the road. The Pich Nil Pass is where the road cuts through Bokor and Kirirom National Parks to the east and west and is lined with shrines and incense. We arrive in Sihanoukville late afternoon and check into our hotel. We leave the rest of the day free to soak up the charm of this beautiful seaside.
+ O/N: in Sihanoukville (1nt)
Day 12-14: Koh Rong Island or Koh Rong Samleaom.
Take to speed boat at 9:00am to either Koh Rong Island or Koh Rong Samleaom and spend one night there. The beaches are clean, the water is clear and clean. You will have the whole afternoon and morning on the beach until 10:15 AM or 1:15 PM, then, we take the ferry back to Sihanoukville and travel to Kampot for a night break.
+ O/N: on Koh Rong or Rong Sanloem (2nts)
+ Boat to the island can be included in your room for some hotel if not we can help you book it.
Day 15: Back to Phnom Penh. Departure.
We leave Kep at 7:00 AM and travel straight to the airport in Phnom Penh. The journey is about 3-3.5 hours depending on the traffic.
Note for this option: During the last week of December and last week of January, we usually have a strong wind knows as the Mousong Wind and it might cause big wave in the sea. Although the boat is big but it can make you feel uncomfortable sometime. This information is to scare you but for you to be aware of and it might help you deicide.
OPTION 2: KAMPOT/KEP
Day 11: Battambang to Kep
Travel from Battambang to Kep via Phnom Penh instead of Sihanoukville. This area is more interesting and you can do more (Pepper-Plantage, saltfiled, caves….)
+ O/N: in Kampot or Kep (3nts)
Days 12-14: Kep and Kampot
Spend time to relax in a nice bungalow with swimming pool. We can also take some time of the day to visit the pepper planation, the cave and the salt fields as well as take a short boat ride to visit Rabbit Island.
+ O/N: in Kampot or Kep
Day 15: Back to Phnom Penh. Departure.
We leave Kep at 7:00 AM and travel straight to the airport in Phnom Penh. The journey is about 3-3.5 hours depending on the traffic.
Itinerary is subject to change.
This itinerary is written based on our tour research expeditions. It should be read to get a good general impression and NOT as a detailed hour by hour itinerary. As we care about your safety and always want to increase customer’s experience, Adventure Travel Cambodia’s team can change parts of the tour due to weather terrain conditions depending on the season and customer requests. If the program is changed upon customer’s request, possible additional costs will be charged directly to customers.
Travel insurance is strongly recommended.
This trip involves a long day of drivingCambodia roads can also be rough and bumpy, and delays are sometimes unavoidable. A dash of patience will go a long way toward your enjoyment of this beautiful country!
Malaria’s risk is present throughout the country, including urban areas, except city of Phnom Penh. There is low risk of malaria transmission at Angkor Wat and in the city centre of Siem Reap. So, I advise you to take anti-malaria medication in every part we go. https://www.iamat.org/country/cambodia/risk/malaria
Dressing Standard: While visiting any temples, both male or female visitors must dress respectfully and at your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. Comfortable shoes are a must. The Apsara Authority which manages the park reserves the right to refuse entry to certain areas of the site for guests who wear clothing which is considered immodest.
Money: The American dollars are accepted everywhere in Cambodia and even you can withdraw your money from ATM. It could be in US dollar or local currency (Riel). So you don’t have change from US dollar to local currency. *
*All torn or old note of US dollar bills or coin are not acceptable in Cambodia.
Importance: No smoking, drinking alcohol or touching the carvings is permitted in and around the temples.
Closure of sites: The third level of Angkor Wat is not open during Buddhist holidays.
(2* or 3* Accommodation)
Le Tonle Guest House / Sorya Guesthouse
|Siem Reap||3 nts||
Bou Savy Villa
Vimean Sovanaphum Resort