Cambodia

10-day From the Capital to rural Cambodia

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Tour type

Tour Level: Moderate

Tour Comfort: Standard

Tour Period: 10 Days

tour details

Arrive at Phnom Penh Airport, welcome by tour guide and transfer to hotel (rooms may not be ready until the afternoon).
Lunch is not included
Afternoon, visit the National Museum, also called Musee des Beaux-Arts. A French archaeologist and painter, Georges Groslier, designed it in Khmer style in 1917. The museum contains a collection of Khmer art - notably sculptures - throughout the ages. Visit the Royal Palace, built by King Norodom in 1866 on the site of the old town, and the Silver Pagoda. Located within the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda is so named because of its floor, which is made up of 5,000 silver tiles. The treasures found inside include a solid gold Buddha encrusted and weighing 90 kilograms and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha. End your afternoon with a visit to Wat Phnom temple, Phnom Penh's namesake. Founded in 1373, the pagoda was built to house Buddhist relics washed ashore by the river.
Accommodation at Juliana Hotel (Superior room)
Breakfast at hotel.
HALF DAY BIKING TOUR: MEKONG ISLANDS (Joint tour and escorted only by biking company guide) 25 km easy ride on mostly unpaved roads
Transfer to take a boat across the Tonle Sap River and cycle north along the far bank of the river. This area is populated mainly by Cham communities. Pass Coriander gardens and small wooden houses before crossing the peninsula to the ferry point.
Visit a Chinese style Pagoda while waiting for the ferry.
Take a ferry to cross to Koh Otnyahdei and take a gentle ride around this small Mekong Island with its fertile farmland and small village communities. Stop at a school to learn a little about Cambodia's school system, a typical modern Khmer Wat and a silk weaving house to see how those lovely silk scarves are produced.
Cross back to the mainland and ride back to the boat by a different route. Return to the city with a new view on Phnom Penh and on Cambodia.
Lunch is not included
Afternoon, visit the notorious Tuol Sleng Museum. In 1975 Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot's security forces and turned into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). It soon became the largest such center of detention and torture in the country. More than 17,000 people held at S-21 were taken to the extermination camp at Choeung Ek to be executed; detainees who died during torture were buried in mass graves in the prison ground. Room after room the museum displays photographs of men, women and children covering the walls from floor to ceiling; virtually all the people pictured were later killed.
Visit the Russian Market (Psah Tuol Thom Pong), a lively outdoor market where you will find antiquities, silver and gold jewelry, gems, silk, kramas, stone and wood carvings, as well as T-Shirts, CDs and other souvenirs.
Dinner is not included
Accommodation at Juliana Hotel (Superior room)
Breakfast at hotel.
Depart Phnom Penh for Battambang by overland transfer (290 km, 4-5 hours drive). Stop in Kompong Chhnang to see the pottery village. Visit the floating village with private boat at Kompong Chhnang.
Lunch at local restaurant.
After lunch, visit the stone carving in Pursat.
Arrive in Battambang, the second largest city in Cambodia, located on a rich and fertile plain which provides much of the rice and other important crops for the country. The Sangker River cuts through the town center, which is filled with colonial and shop house architecture.
Enjoy Battambang's truly unique form of local transportation and take a ride on the Bamboo Train through the picturesque countryside.
Check-in at the hotel.
Dinner is not included
Accommodation at Bambu Hotel (Superior room)
Breakfast at hotel.
HALF DAY BIKING TOUR: (Escorted only by biking company guide)
This morning, you will pick up from hotel for riding a bike to visit families in a Muslim village outside town. We will explore the village on foot and learn about their traditional livelihoods, family history, and ways of living. After getting some coffee and quick rest, we will ride through the countryside and arrive at a Buddhist temple, where you will have a chance to chat with a young, friendly Buddhist monk. The tour includes a Cambodian lunch at a family home.
Afternoon, travel by car to visit Phare Ponleu Selpak Centre, this centre supports around 30 orphans and trafficking victims and is schooling more than 1,200 pupils, over 400 of who study visual arts, music, circus, drama and dance for leisure or vocational training.
Drive to Phnom Banon, with its five sandstone towers on top of a hill and enjoy a magnificent view of the surrounding plains until sunset.
Dinner is not included
Accommodation at Bambu Hotel (Superior room)
Breakfast at hotel.
In the morning, drive from Battambang to the archeologist site of Banteay Chhmar. This is the last of the great Angkorian temples that has not undergone significant conservation or development and as such offers a completely unique destination.
Originally enclosed by a 9km long wall, the temple housed one of the largest Buddhist monasteries of the Angkorian period. The site is set within a living cultural and natural landscape, the likes of which is simply no longer visible at Angkor.
Welcome in Banteay Chhmar Community-Based Tourism centre and settle in your home stay. In 2007 the villagers of Banteay Chhmar formed the CBT committee (Banteay Chhmar Community-Based Tourism), dedicated to preserving and protecting the cultural heritage of the area as well as creating a sustainable tourism industry in Banteay Chhmar. Over 70 villagers are directly involved in the CBT as tour guides, cooks, home stay owners, musicians and activities providers. Many more people in the community receive secondary benefits as food sellers, taxi drivers and performing other services. CBT has also become involved in community development projects. Preservation of the Banteay Chhmar temple is since 2009 being led by Global Heritage Fund. They formed a partnership with the CBT and are currently paying their running costs. Global Heritage Fund itself also provides many jobs to the community with the preservation project and helps to teach the local people about the importance of protecting their cultural heritage.
While seeing the wonderful temple of Banteay Chhmar is definitely the highlight, an even more memorable experience is the interaction with the local Khmer people. Our guide together with the local guide of CBT will allow you talk to the many people you meet, be it at the market, during the meals one of which will be a torch lit dinner at the temple, all meals prepared by local women, or during the visits of the Banteay Chhmar temple and its satellite temples. A close contact with the local population will of course also be possible during the home stay, an important part of the activities in Banteay Chhmar. Accommodation is very simple, certainly not comparable to "western-style" home stays but the friendliness and the warm smiles of the home stay family will fully compensate for any shortcomings.
Lunch prepared by local women at the CBT restaurant under a straw hut.
After lunch visit the Banteay Chhmar Temple and Ta Prom temple by walking and see the intriguing bas reliefs that tell the history of epic battles and religious beliefs.
Take an Ox-cart from Ta Prom temple through the village to the silk center and learn about the process of silk weaving.
Relax and refresh in your new home before having dinner at the temple site with traditional wooden torches.
Dinner is not included
Accommodation at Bambu Hotel (Superior room)
Breakfast in your home stay prepared and delivered by CBT restaurant.
Walk around at the Banteay Chhmar local market.
Take a Koyun tour (mini tractor with remoark) to Banteay Top temple and ride through the rice fields to see the villager's activities.
Enjoy a picnic lunch at Banteay Top temple.
Afternoon, drive to Siem Reap. Check in at hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Dinner is not included
Accommodation at Steung Siem Reap Hotel (Deluxe room)
Breakfast at hotel
This morning, start your temple visits in a tuk tuk at the South Gate with its huge Statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, the ancient capital of Angkor Thom.
Visit Bayon temple unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara, the Elephants Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King.
Lunch is not included
After a fun-filled morning, the afternoon is free to relax by the swimming pool at your hotel or explore town on own arrangement.
Before or after dinner: Visit Phare, The Cambodian Circus' daily 1hour Show. Enjoy an amazing blend of traditional and modern theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion, comedy and more, a beautifully choreographed and performed story about Cambodian lives and society. Go back with a memory filled with energy and emotions portrayed by the famous artists of Phare Ponleu Selpak Artistic and Social Center. PPS Association is a Cambodian non-profit, non-governmental association founded in 1994 by eight young Cambodians ex-refugees artists. Be part of non-profit organization efforts to build artists' careers and to bring Cambodian arts to the rest of the world.
Dinner is not included
Accommodation at Steung Siem Reap Hotel (Deluxe room)
Breakfast at hotel.
Continue your family adventure with a trip in a tuk tuk to a tethered balloon which will take you 120m up in the air to view Angkor Wat. Continue to visit the most famous of all the temples on the plain of Angkor: Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Your children can explore the endless corridors and hidden passageways.
Lunch is not included
Afternoon, drive to the country side and take an ox-cart ride through the villages and the rice fields. At the end of your ride, have a fresh coconut drink with the family and do not hesitate to talk with the local people to get to know more about their lives.
Then take an excursion in a traditional wooden boat on the Tonle Sap Lake, the "Great Lake" of Cambodia, one of the largest in Asia and visit a floating village. The village moves with the water level and during wet season houses are anchored around an island pagoda.
Dinner is not included
Accommodation at Steung Siem Reap Hotel (Deluxe room)
Breakfast at hotel.
After breakfast, 18 km biking on mostly paved roads, some parts unpaved.
Transfer from hotel by vehicle to the West Gate of Preah Khan temple. Built by King Jayavarman VII, Preah Khan is like Ta Prohm a place of towered enclosures and shoulder-hugging corridors. Unlike Ta Prohm however, Preah Khan is in a reasonable state of preservation and ongoing restoration efforts should maintain and even improve this situation. The bikes will wait at the East Gate. Ride the bikes from East Gate of Preah Khan up to Ta Nei temple on a forest path. Visit Ta Nei temple and continue again on forest path to Takeo temple. Drive around Takeo temple (no visit) and continue to the West Gate of Ta Prohm. Visit Ta Prohm, one of the area's most beautiful temples. Ta Prohm has been relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery. Ride on to the East entrance of Angkor Wat. Visit Angkor Wat or transfer back to the hotel.
Lunch is not included
Afternoon, travel by car to Banteay Srei temple (10th century), regarded as the jewel in the crown of classical Khmer art. Stop at a local village to visit families who are producing palm sugar. Visit Banteay Samre, one of the most complete complexes at Angkor due to restoration using the method of "anastylosis". The name Samre refers to an ethnic group of mountain people, who inhabited the region at the base of Phnom Kulen and were probably related to the Khmers. No inscriptions have been found for this temple, but the style of most of the architecture is of the classic art of the middle period similar to Angkor Wat. The proportions of Banteay Samre are splendid. A unique feature is an interior moat with laterite paving, which when filled with water must have given an ethereal atmosphere to the temple.
Dinner is not included
Accommodation at Steung Siem Reap Hotel (Deluxe room)
Breakfast at hotel.
Transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for departure flight to the next destination.

notes

Ideally a tour to the Tonle Sap Lake is only done during the high-water-level months of July to possibly mid of February. When the water is low boats may get stuck and also the distances to the floating villages increase.
    Tour code: PNHDPPDT13

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