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Heart of Cambodia tour loaded with ancient sights and breathtaking beauty. Discover the charm and easy smiles of the Cambodian people, unique experiences, call into the ancient temples at Angkor and Preah Vihear, witness the mighty Mekong of Stung Treng and Kratie with its falls that thwarted the grand designs of French imperialists and amazing flooded forests as well as Irrawaddy dolphin, take on beguiling Phnom Penh and onto the country’s prime beach of Sihanoukville for some relaxation downtime, sun worship and fresh seafood. Additional 2 nights in Kep is possible. This is the perfect two-week trip through Cambodia.
Destination: Siem Reap – Preah Vihear – Stung Treng – Kratie – Phnom Penh – Sihanoukville, and Kep/Kampot.
Your Hotel in Siem Reap.
[Guided Tour] 8:30 AM, you will be picked up from your hotel and start our Angkor adventure with a visit to Angkor Wat temple easily the most famous and best-preserved of all temples within the Angkor complex. We then move on to Angkor Thom visiting Bayon, with its 54 towers decorated with more than 200 enigmatic smiling faces, Phimeanakas, Baphoun, Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King. We finish the morning with a stop at the very photogenic South Gate of Angkor Thom City where the gods and demons line the road leading to the gate struggling in a cosmic tug-of-war. The Gate itself is crowned with four large faces facing in the cardinal directions.
Lunch is Khmer style in a local restaurant. Regain your energy enjoying a sumptuous Khmer feast near Sras Srang, the Royal Pool of Ablutions, originally reserved for the King and his consorts. Enjoy a spread of great local food followed by a nap lazing in a hammock or explore to see the traditional way of life and say hello to the Cambodians near here.
After lunch we continue our day tour by visiting the beautiful Ta Prohm (Tomb Raider) temple which was made famous by Angelina Jolie. Feel like one of the early explorers as you visit this temple which has been left to be reclaimed by the jungle. Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap.
+ O/N: in Siem Reap.
[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, we head to the temple mountain of Pre Rup, before driving further north to Banteay Srei, Angkor’s ultimate art gallery. This petite pink temple is the jewel in the crown of Angkor-era sculpture. The elaborate carvings here are the finest found in Cambodia and the name translates as ‘Fortress of the Women’, thanks to the intricate detail here, considered too fine for the hands of a man. On the way back to Siem Reap we make a detour to the less 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. Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap.
+ O/N: in Siem Reap.
[Guided Tour] Visit a floating village on the Tonle Sap Lake where we can learn about a unique lifestyle. The lake is the largest fresh water in South East Asia. The body of water changes drastically in size throughout the year. It’s very rich in fish, snakes, crocodiles, tortoises, turtles and otters. About 700 fishing families live on the lake. We take a visit in a floating restaurant, where we can have lunch made from the daily fishing. Then, we go back to Siem Reap, and the rest of the day is free, so you can purchase souvenir. Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap.
+ O/N: in Siem Reap.
We leave Siem Reap and head north to the mountainous border region and the last outpost of the Khmer Rouge at Anlong Veng, where we visit the house of the former military strongman Ta Mok. Anlong Veng was the last Khmer Rouge stronghold to surrender to government forces in the late 1990s. We then head east to explore an imposing mountain-top temple guards the border between Cambodia and Thailand, Preah Vihear temple which was registered to be the world heritage 2008, perched on a pinnacle overlooking Cambodia and the object of recent battles with Thailand. [Guided Tour] We climb to the top of the Preah Vihea temple via the snaking road up the mountain which is very steep in places and we eventually emerge at the second enclosure of this king of the mountain temples. We explore the temple on foot and continue onwards to the final level, clinging to a cliff face in the Dangrek Mountains, towering hundreds of metres above lowland Cambodia below. The views from this most mountainous of temple mountains are breathtaking. Later we come to Sra Em and check in a comfortable hotel.
+ O/N: in Sra Em (1nt)
We leave behind the historical, cultural, and temple part of the country to encounter the Greater Mekong Regions. Traveling through one of the newest and remotest roads toward Preah Rumkel where we will visit Sopheakmet Waterfall; that thwarted the grand designs of French imperialists (and which now mark the Lao border). Be welcomed by a local family for a traditional lunch. Afterward, we take a short boat trip down to O’Svay where we will explore the Ramsar Wetlands area. It stretches south along the Mekong River from the border with Laos to Stung Treng. Only accessible by boat, it is a haven for critically endangered mammals, birds and fish with a unique riverine flooded forest system that is a photographer’s dream. With only birdcalls announcing our presence, we cruise downstream for a couple of hours we return to Preah Rumkel for the night.
+ O/N: Homestay at Preah Rumkel Community (1nt)
+ Included meal: Lunch & Dinner.
After breakfast at the community restaurant, we leave behind Preah Rumkel and drive south to Kratie. En route, we might stop to visit Stung Treng Women’s Development Center (open Monday to Friday). STWC or Mekong Blue is where the project focuses on developing life skills that assist in breaking the cycle of poverty and illiteracy for vulnerable people, especially women in their region. You will learn about Cambodian silk weaving and their production, which allows not only preservation, but cultivation of the hundred-year old tradition of silk-weaving. At the end you can shop for souvenirs. Having arrived at the charming town of Kratie and check into your comfortable hotel.
[Guided Tour] In the afternoon we travel to Kampi, 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. After enjoying an hour or more of dolphin viewing, we travel back to Kratie.
+ O/N: in Kratie (1nt)
+ Included meal: Breakfast.
[Guided Tour] After breakfast, we visit the central Market of Kratie where you will see the local trades. Afterwards, we experience the traditional rice whisky production at Crazy Cow Village. Say goodbye to your guide and leave Kratie to Cambodia capital city of Phnom Penh. We pass through Kampong Cham where we visit the bamboo bridge built across the mighty Mekong River connecting mainland to Koh Pen Island. Before reaching Phnom Penh, 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. Have lunch on the road, returning to your Phnom Penh hotel between 3 and 5pm, depending on weather and traffic.
+ O/N: in Phnom Penh (2nts)
[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
Breakfast at hotel. Leave Phnom Penh by your private car for beautiful beaches of Sihanouk Ville, it will take approximately 4hours on 235 km by National road 4 with easy access from the capital city Phnom Penh. It is located in South-West of Cambodia. Arrived in Sihanouk Ville and then proceed to a local restaurant for your lunch first, then will check in hotel. After check in hotel and relaxing on the beach to take a swim in the warm water. Dinner at local restaurant, you will enjoy mostly seafood in the evening.
+ O/N: Sihanoukville.
Days free at your own leisure. You may want to relax on one of the beaches or use your time to go on a day trip, for example to one of the unspoilt islands off the coast. Please optional program below. Overnight at hotel in Sihanoukville or Koh Rong.
+ O/N: Sihanoukville or Koh Rong.
After breakfast, we leave Sihanoukville and journey along the coast to Kep. Along the way we stop in the picturesque town of Kampot for lunch and a stroll along the riverfront. We might visit a pepper plantation near Kampot. The pepper produced here is renowned as one of the best in the world. Overnight at hotel in Kep.
+ O/N: in Kampot/Kep.
After breakfast we take a boat to the beautiful, palm-fringed island of Koh Tonsay, where we can swim, snorkel or just relax before we enjoy our picnic lunch on the white-sand beach. In the early afternoon we head back to the mainland to visit some of the cave temples in the area. In the limestone formations surrounding Kep there are a number of cave systems, housing interesting Buddhist relics, one of them even a 7th century brick temple. Overnight at hotel in Kep.
+ O/N: in Kampot/Kep.
Breakfast at hotel, enjoy the day at leisure until transfer to Phnom Penh Int’l airport for departure flight to next destination.
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.