Cambodia Explorer

9 nights / 10 Days

AsktheTraveller local Partner

Over 25 years of organising Travel

Cambodia is where our local partners started out.  They are now one of the most trusted tour operators in the region. No-one has better local contacts or indeed local knowledge.

If your looking for an authentic experience then you are with the right people.  Inspirational holidays, are the bread and butter of this partners repertoire.  We are delighted to be working with them and we  know you will be impressed too.

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Hi, I'm Heng PAL

Trip highlights

  • Royal Palace Phnom Penh

  • National museum

  • The killing Fields

  • Battambang

  • Floating town of Kompong Luong

  • Tonie Sap lake

  • Bantaey Chhmar Temple

  • safari tents

  • Siem Reap

  • Phnom Penh

  • Angkor Wat

  • Roluos Temples

  • Angkor Thom

  • Temple of Bayon

Day 1

Arrive (Cambodia)

Arrival - Welcome to Cambodia !

Transfer to Phnom Penh

Half day Phnom Penh city tour, Royal Palace and National museum

Overnight in Phnom Penh :

La Rose Suite (room only)

Details

 

Arrive (Cambodia)

Arrival - Welcome to Cambodia !

Upon arrival, your guide and driver will transfer you to your hotel for check-in.

This morning we explore the incredible Royal Palace complex which is home to the Royal family and a symbol of the nation. We start amid the beautiful royal gardens, landscaped with tropical plants and studded with gleaming spires. We enter the Throne Hall where the King’s coronation took place. We then pass the Napoleon III pavilion which was a gift from the French emperor in the 19th century. Afterwards, we head to the Silver Pagoda, named after the 5000 silver tiles covering the floor; each weighing 1kg. Inside are some of Cambodia’s most cherished treasures. A lifesize gold Buddha studded with 9584 diamonds, the largest of which is 25 carats. Also, there is a delicate emerald Buddha made of baccarat crystal which gives the temple its Khmer name of Wat Preah Keo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)

We leave the Royal Palace and head to the nearby National Museum. This houses the world’s finest collection of Angkor sculpture.

Overnight in Phnom Penh :

La Rose Suite 

Day 2

Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek

Today we explore the infamous Killing fields of Choeung Ek, preceeded with a visit a museum of torture first.

Lunch at the Lotus Blanc restaurant.

Later we take in Wat Phnom

Overnight in Phnom Penh:

La Rose Suite - B&B and Lunch

Details

 

Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek

This morning we come face to face with 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. 17,000 people passed through the gates of this prison and only seven lived to tell the tale. The Khmer Rouge were meticulous in their record keeping, photographing all the prisoners and many of these haunting black and white images are on display in the cells. Enemies of the revolution were killed here, as well as many Khmer Rouge loyalists, denounced by an ever more paranoid political party. It became a production line for killing, as those that worked within its walls were unwaveringly loyal to Pol Pot. The party did not make mistakes, so those sent here had to be guilty. The role of the prison was not to prove innocence but to confirm guilt. 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. An old Chinese cemetery, Choeung Ek was turned into an extermination camp for political prisoners. The remains of 8985 people were exhumed from mass graves and are kept in a memorial stupa here. 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 then travel to visit the School of Hospitality and Tourism of Pour un Sourire d'Enfant (PSE) www.site-pse.org, a French NGO supporting children from the garbage dump. We then take a tour of the PSE facilities where both schooling and work/life skills are available to the children and youths as a way of escaping the poverty of their lives spent on the city’s main garbage dump. We take lunch here, where their Lotus Blanc restaurant serves excellent international and Asian cuisine.  

 

We then visit Wat Phnom, the city’s first pagoda was erected here in 1373 at the behest of the city’s founder, Madame Daun Penh.

Overnight in Phnom Penh:

La Rose Suite - B&B and Lunch

Day 3

Phnom Penh to Battambang via Udong & Kompong Luong

Historic pagodas at Udong, local pottery at Kompong Chhnang plus the iconic floating community of Kompong Luong competes a full day today.

 

Overnight in Battambang:

Bambu Hotel - B&B and Lunch

Details

Phnom Penh to Battambang via Udong & Kompong Luong

After breakfast, we drive from Phnom Penh and travel west towards Battambang province, the rice bowl of Cambodia. We leave the city on National Highway 5 and travel to the former Cambodian capital of Udong. We explore the sacred hills here, which include historic pagodas and several stupas containing the remains of Cambodia's former kings. After an extensive visit to this historic place, we continue to the busy riverside town of Kompong Chhnang where we stop to enjoy a local lunch. There may also be the opportunity to visit a local pottery village, as Kompong Chhnang is famous for producing undecorated items for the Cambodian home.

 

We come to the small town of Krakor and turn off the main road to visit the incredible floating town of Kompong Luong. The largest floating community on the Tonle Sap Lake, there are almost 10,000 inhabitants living here. Everything floats on water, including the schools, the clinic, the shops and the petrol station. We explore by boat and experience life in a real floating community untouched by mass tourism. After visited Kompong Luong, we continue northwest through Pursat province, passing through typical Cambodian landscapes of endless rice fields dotted with sugar palms.

 

We arrive in Battambang late afternoon and check into our hotel.

 

Overnight in Battambang:

Bambu Hotel - B&B and Lunch

Day 4

Temples & lifestyle around Battambang

A village visit to learn about local life followed by a train ride on the "bamboo train" back towards Battambang.

 

Later we take a visit to Wat Banan temple and the sacred mountain of Phnom Sampeau.

Overnight in Battambang :

Bambu Hotel - B&B

Details

Temples & lifestyle around Battambang

 

After breakfast, we travel to Wat Koh district to visit a local village and learn about rural life in Cambodia. We learn about the rice harvest, fruit farming and how the sugar palm is used. After our village visit, we board the bamboo train to travel back towards Battambang. These 'local trains' are bamboo platforms with wheels and they fly along the rail tracks offering great views of the surrounding countryside.

After lunch in town, we travel to the hilltop temple of Wat Banan. The winding road follows the Sangker River and passes by many traditional wooden homes, offering an authentic glimpse of rural Cambodia. Arriving at the temple, we ascend to the summit and are rewarded with striking views of the surrounding plains. There are five towers here, leading some ambitious Battambang residents to claim it may have been the inspiration behind Angkor Wat.

 

We continue to Phnom Sampeau, 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 that pepper this holy mountain.

 

We then return to Battambang town for the night.

 

Overnight in Battambang :

Bambu Hotel - B&B

Day 5

Battambang to Banteay Chhmar Temples Safari Tent

We head north towards the jungle temple of Banteay Chhmar for a full day to explore.

Picnic lunch and further exploration whilst later spending the night in our safari tent in the shadow of this magnificent temple.

Overnight in Banteay Chhmar :

Banteay Chhmar Safari Tent - B/L/D

Details

Battambang to Banteay Chhmar Temples Safari Tent

After breakfast we leave Battambang and travel north towards the trading town of Svay Sisophon. We then head deeper into Banteay Meanchey province to the incredible jungle temple of Banteay Chhmar, famous for its signature faces of Jayavarman VII. After travelling through some beautiful stretches of Cambodian countryside, we arrive at the main temple of Banteay Chhmar for a thorough exploration. We see the magnificent carvings of Lokesvara with 32 arms, nicknamed lok sam-pee (Mr 32) by Khmers, as well as the beautiful Hall of Dancers, similar to the famous Preah Khan. After clambering about among this sleeping giant, we continue to explore the outer complex, including the outer gate of Ta Prohm, like a smaller cousin of the impressive Angkor Thom gates and protected by a moat, and the jungle-clad face-towers of Yeay Chy and Samnang Tasok.

 

After a picnic lunch around Banteay Chhmar,  We then continue to the main temple of Banteay Chhmar for a thorough exploration. We see the magnificent carvings of Lokesvara with 32 arms, nicknamed lok sam-pee (Mr 32) by Khmers, as well as the beautiful Hall of Dancers, similar to the famous Preah Khan. After clambering about among this sleeping giant, we continue to explore the outer complex, including the outer gate of Ta Prohm, like a smaller cousin of the impressive Angkor Thom gates and protected by a moat.

 

We spend the night in our safari tent under the shadow of a jungle-clad temple with four faces.

Overnight in Banteay Chhmar :

Banteay Chhmar Safari Tent - B/L/D

Day 6

Banteay Chhmar Temples/silk farm & Siem Reap
 

A little free time this morning before heading towards Banteay Top temple.

Afternoon visit to Puok Silk farm to learn about this ancient process first hand.

Overnight in Siem Reap : 

HanumanAlaya Boutique - B&B and lunch

Details

Banteay Chhmar Temples/silk farm & Siem Reap

After enjoying an optional sunrise at beautiful Banteay Chhmar, we leave some free time to explore some of the more remote outer gates and temples around the main complex. We continue south to the enigmatic temple of Banteay Top. Here the central tower has collapsed, only to be rebuilt and resembles a precarious tower of building blocks.  The interior includes original wooden supports, a rarity in this tropical climate. We then journey south to the provincial capital of Svay Sisophon where we have a local lunch. There may be time to take a look at the bustling market, which is crammed with goods from nearby Thailand. We then continue west to Siem Reap, where we enjoy some time to wind down in our hotel after our long road trip.

 

Afternoon visit Puok Silk Farm: We arrived the 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 start by learning about the cultivation of mulberry trees and the diet of the silk worm. We then see them form cocoons where they produce the silk. Later we witness the harvesting of the silk, the preparation of the thread and the dyeing process. At the end of our tour, we visit the silk boutique on site, where there are a selection of sumptuous creations on sale. Artisans d'Angkor was established to revitalise the Cambodian handicraft industry, drawing on the rich foundations of the Angkor empire. The project offer skills training and employment opportunities for young disadvantaged Cambodians and is part-owned by the artisans themselves.

Overnight in Siem Reap : 

HanumanAlaya Boutique - B&B and Lunch

Day 7

Roluos Temples

Today is a full day of temples including; Temple of Lolei, Preah Khan & ta Prohm.  In addition we take in some wonderful countryside.

Overnight in Siem Reap :

HanumanAlaya Boutique -

B&B and Lunch at Sala Roluos

Details

Roluos Temples

Today, we visit one of the earliest capitals in the Angkor area, Hariharilaya, now known as Roluos. We begin with a visit to the brick temple of Lolei, originally set on an island in the centre of the Indratataka baray (reservoir). This temple has some well preserved sandstone carvings and the vast stone doors are carved from a single piece of stone. We continue to Preah Ko (sacred cow), named in honour of Shiva’s mount, Nandin. This temple owes more to the pre-Angkorian brick sanctuaries of Cambodia’s earlier Chenla empire than the sandstone behemoths that came later. Originally coated in stucco and painted, there is still some of the ancient plaster visible on the rear towers. Finally, we encounter Bakong, the earliest of the temple mountains, which later became the signature of Khmer kings. It is a giant pyramid, its cardinal points marked by giant elephants. We climb to the summit for views over the surrounding countryside. For those that are interested, we can offer a short diversion to the small country town of Roluos, a world away from the hive of activity that is Siem Reap.

 

Sala Roluos is a beautiful traditional wooden house close to the 9th century capital of Hariharalaya and the rustic Cambodian town of Roluos. In a serene setting amid the rural atmosphere of its regal surroundings, Sala Roluos offers exclusive lunch encounters, which can be easily combined with visits to the Roluos temple monuments as well as the nearby stilted village of Kompong Pluk and its flooded forest. Our traditional Khmer lunch menu made using locally-sourced organic ingredients where available.

 

In the afternoon, we travel to the mighty temple of Preah Khan or 'Sacred Sword', built by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. Sister temple to Ta Prohm, the cruciform corridors here are impressive and there are some wonderful carvings adorning the walls, including the spectacular hall of dancers. We then continue on to the elegant curves of Neak Poan. This petite temple is the ultimate ornamental fountain, its series of elaborate spouts including the heads of lions and elephants. We finish by experiencing sunset over the rice fields from the royal crematorium of Pre Rup, a classic view of the Cambodian countryside.

Overnight in Siem Reap :

HanumanAlaya Boutique -

B&B and Lunch at Sala Roluos

Day 8

Full Day - Kbal Spean, Banteay Srei & Landmine Museum

Today we marvel at the carved riverbed of Kbal Spean with a short jungle trek.  

 

Next we head to Banteay Srei Temple to see elaborate carvings.

Finally we take an educational visit to the Cambodia Landmine Museum and see first hand the healing work that is undertaken.

Overnight in Siem Reap : 

HanumanAlaya Boutique B&B

Details

Full Day - Kbal Spean, Banteay Srei & Landmine Museum

We head north to Kbal Spean. The original ‘River of a Thousand Lingas’, Kbal Spean is an intricately carved riverbed deep in the foothills of the jungle. The river flows down to the Tonlé Sap lake, and in ancient times its holy waters breathed life into the rice fields of the empire via the most complex irrigation system the world had ever seen. The Khmers venerated its limestone bed with a riot of carvings, including the delicate deities Vishnu and Shiva with their consorts. Lingams are phallic representations sacred to Hindus as fertility symbols and hundreds, perhaps thousands, are carved into the bedrock here. A trip to Kbal Spean is one of the easiest ways to experience a short jungle trek in the Angkor area, as it is a steady but scenic climb to reach the river carvings. The path winds its way through knotted vines and big boulder formations and occasionally offers big views over the surrounding jungle.

 

After Kbal Spean, we head 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. Originally believed to date from the latter part of the Angkor period, inscriptions at the site suggest it was built by a Brahman in 967. However, some architectural historians have suggested that the inscriptions may date from an earlier structure on this site and the temple is in fact later, marking a high-water mark in Khmer sculpture.

 

We travel to the Cambodia Landmine Museum to learn more about the scourge of landmines and the shadow they cast over rural communities in Cambodia. The Landmine Museum promotes land mine accident prevention awareness and public education; and provides educational facilities, programming and rehabilitation facilities for survivors of land mine injuries. It also provides education and support for dozens of at-risk, land mine-affected children who have suffered overwhelming hardships. The Cambodia Landmine Museum was created so that it might serve as a place of healing for bodies, hearts and minds.

 

Overnight in Siem Reap : 

HanumanAlaya Boutique B&B

Day 9

Ta Prohm, Takeo, Sala Kdei khmer house, Angkor Thom and Bayon

Early start for Ta Prohm, traditional lunch at Sala Kdei - then onto Angkor Thom finishing off with the Temple of the Bayon.

 

Overnight in Siem Reap :

HanumanAlaya Boutique B&B and Lunch

Details

Ta Prohm, Takeo, Sala Kdei khmer house, Angkor Thom and Bayon

We rise early to travel to Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm has been abandoned to the elements, a reminder that while empires rise and fall, the riotous power of nature marches on. Left as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhot in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones. After soaking up the unique atmosphere of Ta Prohm, we continue to the giant pyramid of Takeo, one of the highest temples in the Angkor area. Built at the end of the 10th century, it was never completed. This morning we also visit the remains of an old Angkorian bridge which once spanned the Siem Reap river. Like the Romans before them, the Khmer kings built long, straight roads connecting the outposts of their empire and these included many magnificent bridges. There is also the option to visit the smaller temples of Chau Say Tevoda and Thommanon for avid temple enthusiasts.

 

Enjoy a traditional Khmer lunch at Sala Kdei, our very own intimate Angkor retreat. Sample the best of Khmer flavours in these beautiful surroundings and take a break from exploring the temples. It is the perfect place to enjoy some authentic local food whilst staying out of the midday sun. A gorgeous traditional wooden home on the banks of the Royal bathing pool at Sra Srang.

In the afternoon, we visit the immense walled city of Angkor Thom that was the masterpiece of King Jayavarman VII. Following the occupation of Angkor by the Chams from 1177 to 1181, the new king decided to build an impregnable fortress at the heart of his empire. The scale is simply staggering and we are immediately overwhelmed by the audacity of Jayavarman on arrival at the city’s gates. We continue along the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances and traditional sports. Our climax is the enigmatic and enchanting temple of the Bayon. At the exact centre of Angkor Thom, this is an eccentric expression of the creative genius and inflated ego of Cambodia’s most celebrated king. Its 54 towers are each topped off with the four faces of Avalokiteshvara (Buddha of Compassion), which bear more than a passing resemblance to the king himself. These colossal heads stare down from every side, exuding power and control with a hint of compassion, just the mix required to keep a hold on such a vast empire.

Overnight in Siem Reap :

HanumanAlaya Boutique B&B and Lunch

Day 10

Last day Angkor Wat Sunrise

& transfer to airport

Rising at the crack of dawn, we journey out to the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat. Believed to be the world's largest religious building, this temple is the perfect fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers. Built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, this is most famous temple at Angkor. We stay at Angkor Wat to enjoy a picnic breakfast. As the crowds return to their hotels, we venture into Angkor Wat to enjoy its magnificence in peace and quiet. We begin by unraveling the mysteries of the bas-reliefs that tell of tales from Hindu mythology and of the glories of the Khmer empire. Stretching for almost one kilometre, these intricate carvings are a candidate for the world’s longest unbroken piece of art. Following in the footsteps of the devout and the destructive before us, we then continue to the upper levels of the inner sanctuary. The final steps to the upper terrace of Angkor are the steepest of all, as pilgrims of old were to stoop on their pilgrimage to encounter the Gods. Finally the pinnacle, the sacred heart of Angkor Wat, a blend of spirituality and symmetry so perfect that few moments will measure up.

 

Afternoon is free at leisure until transfer to airport for departure flight

 

International flights home

Trip details

Price from £ 1925  Per person based on twin share basis.

With all domestic & international flights to/from Uk,

approx price from £ 2640 per person

Price includes

  • Private tours and transfers

  • All site entrance fees on tours

  • English speaking guides

  • Hotels as shown or similar 

  • Meal plans as show day by day

  • Luggage handling fees at airports

  • ATOL protection (When taking international flights)

Additional Extra's

  • Domestic & International Flights to and from Uk

  • Additional unscheduled excursions / activities

  • Early check-in, late check-outs

  • Drinks during meals

  • Camera & Video fees - some sites ask for small fees for taking photographs and video recordings

  • Immunisations

  • Visa's

  • Personal travel insurance

  • local gratuaties