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Cambodia Tours
Cambodia Highlight Tours
Grand Tour of Cambodia [ CMBC-06 ]
Duration: 13 Days / 12 Nights
 
 

   

   

   



Day 1: Phnom Penh – Arrival (D)

Upon arrival in Phnom Penh, you will be welcomed by your local English speaking guide, who will accompany you to your hotel for check in.

Phnom Penh was once considered as one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient, and despite its recent turbulent history, it still retains a colonial charm. Cambodia’s capital is a bustling city, majestically located at the confluence of the mighty rivers of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap. Wide tree-lined boulevards and many colonial-era buildings reflect the glorious days and add to the allure of the city, where Asian and Western traditions meet in a fascinating way.

Enjoy an atmospheric sunset river cruise and watch how Phnom Penh’s popular riverfront awakens to life, while tasting a delicious coconut.

Tonight, you will be treated to a delicious Khmer welcome dinner at Romdeng, a lovely charity restaurant where former street children are taught the principles of hospitality. The restaurant is located in a restored colonial building with an atmospheric garden right in the city centre. (NOTE: Romdeng is usually closed during national holidays and for the entire month of April over the Khmer New Year holiday.)

Overnight in Phnom Penh.


Day 2: Phnom Penh (B)

This morning, you will be greeted by a driver who will take you on a tour to the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in a Cyclo, an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore this lively city. First, visit Wat Phnom, which is situated near the northern boundary of the city. The site contains some good examples of Khmer architecture and statues.

Continue along the lively riverfront to the Royal Palace. This palace dates back to 1866 and houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. Its original name is Wat Prakeo, meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In this temple you will view a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze.

Later today, gain insight into Cambodia’s recent dark history on a visit to the remarkable Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in the former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture center named ‘S-21’. A grim, but important visit that will allow you to dig below the surface and understand Cambodia better.

If you are interested, continue to visit the Russian Market, one of the city’s most popular markets where you will find beautifully woven Khmer silks and cottons, basketry and wood carvings.

Late afternoon head to the riverside area of Phnom Penh, a pleasant French style promenade that is great for people viewing. In the early evening (and morning) various activities take place include exercise classes, Khmer dancing and plenty of snacking on local food. You can participate in a Khmer dance class which is a lot of fun for all!

Overnight in Phnom Penh.


Day 3: Phnom Penh – Kampong Cham – Kratie (B)

Leave Phnom Penh for Kampong Cham (2.5 h), a former French trading post on the Mekong. After a tour of town center, continue to Wat Nokor, an 11th century Angkor era Buddhist temple. Continue to Kratie Province (2 hours drive), where you will check into the hotel on Koh Trong Island, only a short 10 minutes boat ride away from Kratie. The rest of the afternoon is free at leisure to discover the picturesque rural island.

Enjoy a spectacular Mekong sunset with perhaps a cold drink this evening. The Kratie stretch of the river is particularly famed for its striking sunsets.

Overnight on Koh Trong Island.


Day 4: Kratie (B/L)

Breakfast at hotel. Drive north along the banks of the Mekong, a scenic route with great views. The village of Kampi is one of the best places to view the rare Irrawaddy Dolphins along the Mekong. Get on board a local boat that will take you to the preferred habitats of these interesting creatures. As soon as you have spotted the first dolphin, your boat driver will turn the engine off and you will follow the dolphins silently (duration 1 to 1.5 hours).

From here, continue towards the village Sambo for a visit of Wat Sorsor Mouy Roy. The Vihea of the so-called ‘100 Pillars Pagoda’ is an important historical and cultural building and quite famous for its legend involving a princess and a crocodile. A delicious lunch will be prepared for you in on the pagoda grounds.

This afternoon, return to the island of Koh Trong. This Mekong island displays typical Cambodian village life, where people’s livelihood largely depends on rice farming and fruits cultivation (Koh Trong is famous for its pomelo!). Upon arrival, you can decide whether you would like to take a local horse cart or pedal yourself around the island on a bicycle.

Your first destination is the island’s Wat, where a special activity awaits you: A tree planting project initiated by a local farmer, in order to recultivate the once densely forested island. Contribute to the project by planting your own tree here and it will carry your name tag and leave a positive trace on the island. There is the option to continue by horsecart or cycling around the island, where you will be able to taste local fruit and visit a Vietnamese floating village on the southern tip of the island.

Overnight on Koh Trong Island.


Day 5: Kratie – Kampong Thom (B)

After breakfast, leave Kratie for Kampong Thom Province (5h drive). On the way, stop at Phnom Santuk Mountain and climb the 980 steps to the top to visit the pagoda and for the great views over the countryside. Upon arrival in Kampong Thom, check into your hotel and enjoy a leisurely afternoon cycling tour along the river or relax by the beautiful hotel pool.

Overnight in Kampong Thom.


Day 6: Kampong Thom – Siem Reap (B/L)

Today, you head towards the rarely visited Sambor Prei Kuk, one of the most important pre-Angkorian sites in the country that is enlisted to potentially become Cambodia’s next UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sambor Prey Kuk was built in the Chenla period between the 6th and 7th century and there are over 100 well preserved temples scattered in the forest. The three main sites are linked by small and shady tracks. Enjoy a beautiful walk through the jungle with breathtaking views. Your visit supports a community-based tourism project.

The seven villages around the temple complex still practice the ancient art of craft making, using materials such as bamboo and rattan. You will have the chance contribute to the sustainability of the people’s livelihood as the local community will prepare a simple but very tasty lunch for you near the temples.

Continue towards Siem Reap (3h). On arrival, check in to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.

Overnight in Siem Reap.


Day 7: Siem Reap (B)

Get up early for one of the highlights of your tour through Cambodia: Visit Angkor Wat by sunrise. Watching the first sunbeams glow over the largest religious edifice in the world will not leave you untouched.

Enjoy breakfast at Angkor Café just across from Angkor Wat, before you visit the temple in depth. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing the Mount Meru, home of the gods. The divine residence of Vishnu, the King himself was to reside here after his death. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Moreover, Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.

From here, head to the countryside around the Western Baray, where you can spot water buffalos in swampy ponds, kids in school uniforms on their bicycles and oxcarts transporting today’s harvest. Visit the Angkor Silk Farm 15 km west of Siem Reap, where you can witness the entire process of silk creation from the breeding process and life cycle of the silk worm to the spinning of the silk, the dying process and the creation of beautiful silk weavings on wooden hand looms. Return to Siem Reap for a mid day break.

Late afternoon, explore the Ta Prohm temple, built in the mid 12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is unique in 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. This makes Ta Prohm one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. Enjoy a rural sunset over the paddy fields and the beautiful countryside from the pyramidal Pre Rup temple.

Overnight in Siem Reap.


Day 8: Siem Reap (B)

This morning, visit to the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall, drawing a perfect square. You will enter the city from the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with elephants and four giant faces.

From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur. The exterior gallery walls have extensive, superb bas-reliefs, particularly the East and South Galleries. The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate bas-reliefs.

Later today, head the banks of the giant Tonlé Sap Lake, where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. Tonlé Sap is South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake with its size varying greatly depending on the season. During the dry season it is roughly 2,500 km2, swelling to about four times its size in during the wet season. Board a local boat and visit Kampong Phluck, a village where we’ll see houses on stilts that are submerged when Tonlé Sap Lake extends. On the way, you will pass floating houses and impressive flooded forests, portraying life on the water. Return to Siem Reap. (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).

Overnight in Siem Reap.


Day 9: Siem Reap (B/L)

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the quiet Beng Mealea (1 h drive). Enjoy a short walk through the dense jungle and feel like an explorer when you discover the completely overgrown temple. Undiscovered for centuries, Beng Mealea has only recently been made accessible and remains as it was found with no restoration work having been done. It is one of the very few temples that actually give you the opportunity to climb and crawl through it. After your adventurous exploration, enjoy a delicious picnic lunch at the temple site.

From here, travel to the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srey, which is best viewed in the warm morning light. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs, depicting Hindu god Shiva. Banteay Srey is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.

On the way back, you will have the possibility to stop at local communities along the way and your guide will help you to interact with the local population to learn about the way of life here. Seize the opportunity to see how rice paper is produced and to taste Palm Wine and Palm Sugar, which are a popular local produce.

Overnight in Siem Reap.


Day 10: Siem Reap – Battambang (B/L)

Today, you will embark on one of the most stunning boat trips in Cambodia, as you will be taken from Siem Reap to Battambang by a comfortable private boat. Packed lunch on board. (NOTE: This boat trip is only possible in the high water period from July to December as water levels are too low during the dry season and transfer times extremely long. From January to June alternative transfer by road.)

The largest freshwater lake in Asia, Tonlé Sap Lake, is an exceptional water system as it is swelling to almost five times its size during the raining season. The water of its main drainage, Tonlé Sap River, is being pushed back from the Mekong, carrying an incredible amount of water from the rains, causing the river to reverse its direction and thus causing the lake to overflow, flooding nearby fields and forests and supporting an extraordinarily rich and diverse eco-system. The particular water system requires the people living of the lake to adapt their living conditions. You will see many villages on the way where people live on stilted or floating houses.

Arrive in Battambang in the early afternoon. This is Cambodia’s second largest city and, not so long ago, was within target range of a stronghold of the erstwhile Khmer Rouge and was therefore off-limits to most travelers.

However, like the remainder of this beautiful gentle country, Battambang has recently re-opened to the outside world. One fortuitous result of its isolation and lack of development is that Battambang has some of the most well preserved colonial French buildings in the country. You will find local people here to be extremely friendly. They have not been exposed to many foreign visitors and they will be as interested in you as you are in them! Battambang was formerly the rice bowl of Cambodia although these days the production of rice is augmented by large orange and jute plantations.

In Battambang, you check into your hotel. The afternoon will be at leisure to relax by the hotel pool or stroll through the charming town centre.

Overnight in Battambang.


Day 11: Battambang (B)

Battambang’s countryside is what makes this pleasant river town a real treat. The town is situated along the Sangker River, a quiet and small body of water that finds its way through Battambang Province.

You will first head towards Phnom Sampeau, meaning “Ship Hill” in Khmer, due to its distinctive shape, and one of the few hills standing out in this otherwise pancake-flat plain. From the small temple on the top, you will have a fantastic view over the typical landscape of paddy fields and sugar palm trees. Phnom Sampeau is home to the notorious killing caves, which are cruel reminders of Cambodia’s troubled past. Serenity and inhumanity represented in one place make this an interesting visit. Then, one of the highlights and a unique experience: A fun ride on the famous Bamboo Train, an original means of transportation on the old train tracks. A true rollercoaster ride without loops! (Note: the train tracks from Battambang to Phnom Penh are currently being rebuilt. The long term future of the bamboo train ride cannot be guaranteed. Should the service stop we will arrange alternative sightseeing).

Your guide will lead you through local villages and farms on the way to Wat Banan, an 11-century temple on a mountain top situated between lush paddy fields and beautiful lotus ponds. Climb to the top and enjoy the views over the beautiful countryside and wander around the ancient temple, which is also home to finely scented flowering trees.

This afternoon, you will be taken to some of the many cultural villages around Battambang, where you will learn how the locals produce rice paper, prahoc (typical Cambodian fish paste), grolan (sticky rice stuffed in bamboo), and other Cambodian treats. You will also visit a weaving and handicraft centre.

Optional: Phare Ponleu Selpak
A special visit awaits you at Phare Ponleu Selpak. School of Music, Visual & Performing Arts - Phare Ponleu Selpak combines the Arts to provide education, support and entertainment to the poor communities. This project is a success story of how humanitarian aid work can turn into a display of zest for life, genuine warmth and creativity, against all odds. A visit to one of their circus shows will leave you with a lasting memory of the wonderful Cambodian people and should not be missed when in Battambang! After the show, a dinner will be waiting for you at the center. (NOTE: The circus performance is only performed regularly on each Monday & Thursday. On other days private performances are available on request and for a supplement).

Overnight in Battambang.


Day 12: Battambang – Kampong Chhnang – Oudong – Phnom Penh (B/L/D)

Depart from Battambang in the morning and travel to Kampong Chhnang, known for its traditional pottery, with many kilns at work in this province. In a village near Kampong Chhnang, to see the different aspects of pottery making and also experience the production of traditional rice wine.

Continue to Oudong, the former royal capital of Cambodia. The drive passes through many rural villages and pagodas, and you will the temple mountain with its dozens of stupas from afar. Upon arrival at Oudong, an ox cart will pick you up for a fun ride through the Cambodian countryside, past rice fields and local farms – a unique way to experience Cambodia. After enjoy a traditional Khmer lunch at a picnic hut on the foot of the hill.

Then, climb the stairs to the top of Oudong Mountain and enjoy magnificent views over the plains below. Your guide will explain the history of the area and its buildings as well as the religious culture of the Cambodian people. Take your time to soak in the magnificent views over the plains below.

On the way to Phnom Penh, visit Koh Chen, an island in the Tonlé Sap River that you can reach via a new bridge. Koh Chen is known as the ‘Silver Village’ for its production of silver crafts and jewellery. Stroll through the village to see the many silver workshops in the local families’ houses.

From here, it is not far to Phnom Penh where you will reach mid afternoon. Check into your hotel. As this is your last evening in Cambodia, an authentic Khmer farewell dinner will be celebrated at Mangosteen Restaurant.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.


Day 13: Phnom Penh - Departure (B)

Enjoy today at leisure until it is time for your transfer to Phnom Penh International Airport for your individual departure.


 
 

Price per Person in US DOLLARS

 Category Period 2 3-4 Sup Sing
First Now - 30 Apr 13 2,150 1,790 420
01 May 13 - 30 Sep 13 2,130 1,770 396
Superior Now - 31 Mar 13 2,400 2,040 626
01 Apr 13 - 30 Sep 13 2,310 1,948 534
Deluxe Now - 30 Apr 13 3,180 2,818 1,385
01 May 13 - 30 Sep 13 3,055 2,693 1,253

 

 

Hotels used in the Tours :

Tour Category City Hotel Name Room Category
First Class Phnom Penh Mystères & Mekong Dragon Room
Kratie Sala Koh Trong Deluxe Bungalow
Kampong Thom Sambor Village Deluxe Room
Siem Reap Pavillon Indochine Deluxe Room
Battambang Au Cabaret Vert Std Bungalow
Superior Phnom Penh Amanjaya Pancam Hotel Junior Suite
Kratie Sala Koh Trong Deluxe Bungalow
Kampong Thom Sambor Village Deluxe Room
Siem Reap Villa Kiara Deluxe Room
Battambang Bambu Hotel Superior
Deluxe Phnom Penh Raffles Hotel Le Royal Landmard Room
Kratie Sala Koh Trong Deluxe Bungalow
Kampong Thom Sambor Village Deluxe Room
Siem Reap Heritage Suites Bungalow Suite
Battambang Bambu Hotel Superior


Include:
  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room in selected hotel
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English speaking local guide except for the Kep/Sihanoukville beach extensions which are unescorted
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle unless stated otherwise
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Daily drinking water and cold towels

Exclude:
  • Visa for Cambodia (Visa issued on arrival for most nationalities, USD20/pax, with 1 passport photo).
  • Other meals than mentioned
  • International Flights
  • Camera/video entrance fees
  • Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, telephone, tips etc)
  • Travel insurance including recommended helicopter evacuation for Cambodia
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above

Important Notes :

  • Reservations during peak times (Christmas, New Year, Vietnamese Lunar New Year, National Holidays) may be subject to supplementary charges.
  • Rooms at hotels are available only from 1400 on arrival day till 1200 on departure date. A supplement will be added if early check-in or late check-out is desired.
  • If one or some proposed service(s) is (are) not available at the moment of booking, we will try to find other possibilities/options or other similar service(s) in order to avoid changes to the program.
  • Guides in other langages - French, German, Spanish and Itatian are available upon request. Extra charge applied.
 
 
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Cambodia Tours
Package tours to Cambodia - Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh
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Adventure Tours in Cambodia - Cycling, Riding and Trekking
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Lists of Notable hotels in Cambodia
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Khmer Civilization
Articles on Khmer Civilization and its historical background
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Siem Reap
Concise description about Siemreap, Angkor Wat and other Khmer temples
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South Coast of Cambodia
Other interesting places: Kampot, Sihanouville, and Bokor Hill Station.
 
 
 
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