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Day 1 – Siem Reap Arrival

Welcome to Cambodia! Upon your arrival in Siem Reap, you will be greeted by your experienced English speaking guide who will assist you and escort you to your hotel, where you will have time to settle in and relax.

This afternoon visit Angkor Wat by local ‘remork’ (similar to the Thai tuk tuk), built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizig Mount Meru, the home of the gods. 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. 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. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia’s national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.

You will be there during sunset, when Angkor Wat is less visited and the Apsaras will shine in the most beautiful light.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

 

Day 2 – Siem Reap (B)

This morning visit 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. Enter the city through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant faces. On each side of the entrance path a row of 54 gods or demons is holding the sacred Naga snake.

From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its 54 towers with enigmatic faces representing the 54 provinces of the Great Khmer Empire. 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.

Then continue to the most illustrious of these,Ta Prohm which was built between 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.

Embark on an interesting boat trip on the Tonlé Sap Lake, where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. The Tonlé Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and officially designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, covering an area of around 250,000 hectares in the dry season. Due to a unique phenomenon, when the monsoon begins, the swollen waters of the Mekong River force the Tonle Sap River to reverse its flow northwards, feeding the Great Lake and spreading over the surrounding flood plain. Board a local boat and visit Kompong Phluck, a village where you will 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.  (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 3 – Siem Reap (B)

Enjoy the morning free at leisure, or if you are up for more adventure, you may add some optional soft adventure:

Cycling through the countryside to Banteay Srei

This morning, get in the saddle for a gentle cycling tour. Drive out of Siem Reap to the village of Pradak and set off for a ride to Banteay Samre via Phnom Bok via backroads and villages. You will pass through places where few tourists visit. Take the chance to stop and interact with the local community and learn about their way of life.

A support vehicle will follow if anyone needs to take a break. Total distance is 26km and will take about 2½ hours.

After reaching Banteay Samre there is time for a quick visit before continuing by van to Banteay Srei.

This afternoon travel to the countryside to see the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srey. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” remains the best preserved temple in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs. 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 community 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 (seasonal).

After these magnificent temples and intensive visits we transfer back to Siem Reap where you can have well-deserved dinner with traditional Khmer Apsara dance show.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

 

Day 4 – Siem Reap – Sihanoukville (B)

After breakfast enjoy some free time to visit the Old market. The riverside market has dozens of souvenir stalls offering a fairly wide range of souvenirs. The opposite side of the market carries items of interest primarily to locals, and also harbors dozens of small food stalls servings various inexpensive local foods that hygienically and gastronomically adventurous visitors may find inviting. The central aisle, where fruits, vegetables and meat are sold, is colorful and potentially very photogenic. The Old Market is also an important landmark as several restaurants, hotels, bars and shops are in the area.

Transfer to the airport for your afternoon flight to Sihanoukville (Monday/Wednesday/Friday in low season – and daily in high season)

Upon arrival, you will transfer to your hotel for check in and enjoy the remainder of the day free at leisure for swimming and relaxation on the beach.

Overnight in Sihanoukville.

 

Day 5 – Sihanoukville (B)

Breakfast at the hotel.

Enjoy your day at leisure or enjoy with an optional tour.

Ream National Park

The park was established in 1993 on a 210 km² area on the Gulf of Thailand that includes thick pristine jungle, mangrove forests and off-shore coral reefs. It’s a nature lovers paradise with nearly 200 bird species, many kinds of monkeys and it is also the habitat of the pangolin. You will be transferred to one of Ream’s most scenic isolated beaches, called Koh Sampouch.

Overnight in Sihanoukville.

 

Day 6 – Sihanoukville (B)

Breakfast at the hotel.

Enjoy your day at leisure or enjoy with an optional tour.

Three Islands tour

Take a boat trip departing 9am to explore three islands giving you the chance to snorkel, fish or just rest and relax. At the first stop you will see colorful corals and fishes at the island of Koh Chaluh. At Bamboo Island enjoy swimming with in the clear waters or relax on a long yellow sandy beach with a coral reef. Have a seafood BBQ lunch with cool drinks and fruit on the beach. After an easy walk of 10 minutes to the other side of Bamboo Island before departing to either Koh Tres for some snorkeling or Koh Takiev for some more beach (please advise at the start of the tour which option you prefer). In the afternoon return to Sihanoukville to arrive 4-5pm.

Overnight in Sihanoukville.

Day 7 – Sihanoukville – Kep (B)

Breakfast at the hotel.

This morning you will transfer to Kep, Cambodia’s prestigious seaside resort of the 1960s is now awakening to its former glory. The small town offers reminders of the past and a growing choice of activities including island trips, a national park and the famous crab market.

Enjoy the afternoon free at leisure to relax or to explore Kep on your own. Don’t miss out on the popular crab market for some crabs with Kampot Pepper.

Overnight in Kep.

Day 8 – Kep (B,L)

Breakfast at the hotel.

Early this morning, embark on a short boat trip (25 mins) to scenic Koh Tonsai, also called Rabbit Island. Spend the morning at leisure exploring the island and relaxing on the island’s beautiful tropical beach. A seafood barbecue lunch will be prepared for you on the island. Mid-afternoon, return to Kep and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Kep.

Day 9 – Kep – Phnom Penh (B,L)

Breakfast at your hotel.

This morning, your guide will take you on a tour to Kep’s heritage and to the countryside which is particularly picturesque in this region. You get to see the 1960s villas and the royal residence which are reminders of Kep’s heyday as a high society seaside retreat that was abandoned during the Khmer Rouge time. Explore typical local villages on the way to Kampong Trach which is set amidst beautiful limestone rock formations. Kampong Trach’s caves are housing small Buddhist shrines dating back centuries. You can also find a swimming cave nearby. Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant.

Make a stop at a pepper plantation for which the nearby town of Kampot has a worldwide reputation before a brief stop at Phnom Voar, one of the last strongholds of the Khmer Rouge.

Continue your journey to Phnom Penh to arrive in the late afternoon.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

 

Day 10 – Phnom Penh (B)

Breakfast at the hotel.

This afternoon, 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.

Your next stop is the National Museum, built in traditional Khmer style. It houses the world’s foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artifacts from the 4th to the 13th centuries. Over 5,000 pieces are on display, constituting the repository of the Kingdom’s cultural wealth. In addition, the roof space is home to a large bat colony!

Then continue to visit Wat Phnom, the birthplace of the city.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

 

Day 11 – Phnom Penh Departure (B)

Breakfast at the hotel.

Enjoy some time at leisure until your transfer to the airport for your departure flight.