Cambodia Temple 

Safari 

13 nights / 14 Days

AsktheTraveller local Partner

Over 25 years of organising Travel

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Hi, I'm Heng PAL

Trip highlights

  • Cambodian Safari tents

  • Salas Roluos

  • Kbal Spean

  • Banteay Srei

  • Ta Prohm Temples

  • Tuol Sleng

  • Killing Fields

  • Siem Reap

  • Phnom Penh

  • Angkor Wat

  • Battambang

  • Phnom Kulen

  • Banteay Chhmar

  • Kompong Khleang village

Day 1

Arrive (Cambodia)

Arrival - Welcome to Cambodia !

Transfer to Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh Cyclo tour - beginning Koh Pich Island

Overnight in Phnom Penh :

La Rose Suite

Details

 

Arrive (Cambodia)

Arrival - Welcome to Cambodia !

Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

We take to the streets of Phnom Penh with a cyclo tour of the city riverfront area in late afternoon, as the sun begins to set and the city comes alive with locals exercising to popular music, families out for a stroll or taking advantage of the food vendors to eat their snacks on the lawns in front of the King's residence.

 

We begin at the corner of Koh Pich Island where the recent addition of a funfair has brought the area alive with parents and children as we then head past the Hotel Cambodiana and Chaktomuk Theatre and take a break on the riverbank, looking west towards the glittering Royal Palace with the last rays of the sun lighting up the sky behind it. We continue along bustling Sisowath Quay, in front of myriad restaurants, bars and cafes and venture into the side streets before ending our journey with the exercising work-out groups and colourful fountain lights at the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Park.

 

Overnight in Phnom Penh :

La Rose Suite

Day 2

Royal Palace, National Museum, PSE(NGO), Tuol Sleng

Full day site-seeing starting with the Royal Palace an NGO. We visit Tuol Sleng to see the horrors of the Khmer Rouge.

Overnight in Phnom Penh:

La Rose - Breakfast & Lunch

Details

 

Royal Palace, National Museum, PSE(NGO), Tuol Sleng

This morning we explore the stunning Royal Palace complex, home to the Cambodian royal family and a symbol of the nation. We enter the Throne Hall where the royal receptions are held and the Cambodian king's coronation took place. We then pass the Napoleon III Pavilion made from iron, a gift from the French emperor in the 19th century. We continue to the Silver Pagoda, named after the 5000 silver tiles covering the floor, each weighing 1kg. Inside are some of the country's most cherished treasures, including a life-size gold Buddha studded with 9584 diamonds, the largest weighing 25 carats. We leave the Royal Palace and continue to the nearby National Museum, home to the world's finest collection of sculpture from the Angkor period. The exquisite building was completed between 1917 and 1920 and features a lush courtyard garden surrounded by collections from the pre-Angkor, Angkor and post-Angkor periods.

 

We 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 take lunch here, where their Lotus Blanc restaurant serves excellent international and Asian cuisine.  

 

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. 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.

Overnight in Phnom Penh:

La Rose Suite- Breakfast & Lunch

Day 3

Preah Khan Kompong Svay Temple Safari

Early start towards Sambor Prei Kuk with a stop in Skuon,

 

After lunch - Preah Khan Kompong Svay and impressive and remote temple where we are due to stay for the evening in our signiture safari tent.

 

Overnight in Preah Khan Kompong Svay:

Temple Safari in Style Tent - Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Details

Preah Khan Kompong Svay Temple Safari

We leave the Cambodian capital after an early breakfast and make for the provincial capital of Kompong Thom. We also offer the chance to stop at Skuon, affectionately known as Spiderville, famous for its deep-fried tarantulas, a local delicacy.

 

We explore the impressive pre-Angkorian capital of Isanapura, known today as Sambor Prei Kuk. The first major temple city in South-East Asia, the brick temples of Sambor Prei Kuk are a peaceful contrast to their more illustrious neighbours at Angkor. This also offers us a wonderful chronological insight into architectural development over time, as these structures are some of the earliest temples in Cambodia. We explore the main temples here, including Prasat Tao with its elaborately coiffured lions and Prasat Sambor, with its crumbling sanctuaries.

 

After lunch we continue to the remote complex of Preah Khan. This extremely remote temple is often referred to as Preah Khan Kompong Svay by scholars or Prasat Bakan by locals. After arriving to this immense temple, we spend the night in our signature safari tent.

Overnight in Preah Khan Kompong Svay:

Temple Safari in Style Tent - Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 4

Preah Khan Kompong Svay, Preah Vihear

Morning sunrise and time to explore this vast temple complex.

 

We later travel to Preah Vihear Temple with some breathtaking views. 

Overnight in Sra'aem  :

Preah Vihear Boutique Hotel - Breakfast & Lunch

Details

Preah Khan Kompong Svay Temple Safari

After the option of sunrise at the remote temple of Preah Khan, we leave some time free to explore more of this vast complex of Preah Khan. The largest single enclosure constructed during the age of Angkor, its total area is larger even than that of Angkor Thom and it is believed to have been the second city of the Khmer Empire, where mighty King Jayavarman VII was educated.

 

There are several principal structures at Preah Khan, including four-faced Prasat Preah Stung, a trademark of Jayavarman VII constructed in the style of the Bayon, and delicate Prasat Damrei, or Elephant Temple, a small pyramid with two elegant carved elephants ceremoniously adorned by locals. The main structure is of gigantic proportions, but has fallen victim to looting in past years due to its remoteness. However, some carvings remain and the extensive outer walls are in solid shape.

After starting to explore this immense temple, we travel northeast to the small town of Sraáem of Preah Vihear, one of the most remote towns in Cambodia and check into our hotel.

 

After a local lunch, we travel north towards Preah Vihear temple. The snaking road up the mountain is very steep in places and we eventually emerge at the second enclosure of this king of the mountain temples and we explore the temple on foot. Some tourists cross over from the Thai side each day, but most have long gone and we have this incredible complex to ourselves. We 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, the foundation stones of the temple stretching to the edge of the cliff as it plunges precipitously away to the plains of Preah Vihear province below. Return back to Sra Aem town for our overnight stay.

 

Overnight in Sra'aem  :

Preah Vihear Boutique Hotel - Breakfast & Lunch

Day 5

Siem Reap, Koh ker, Beng Mealea Temple

After breakfast we travel to Siem reap with a stop on the way at Koh Ker home of Prasat Thom. We continure to the lost temple of Beng Mealea before arrival at Siem Reap town.

Overnight in Siem Reap :

HanumanAlaya Boutique Residence - B&B

Details

Siem Reap, Koh ker, Beng Mealea Temple

After breakfast, we leave Sra Aem and journey to Siem Reap. We make a stop to visit the remote Angkor capital of Koh Ker. The history of Cambodia is riven with dynastic spats and political intrigue and one of the most memorable came in the 10th century when Jayavarman IV (928-942) fell out with his family, stormed off to the northwest and established the rival capital of Koh Ker. Although the capital for just 15 years, Jayavarman IV was determined to legitimise his rule through a prolific building programme that left a legacy of 30 major temples and some gargantuan sculpture that is on display in the National Museum in Phnom Penh. We climb to the summit of Prasat Thom, a seven-storey step pyramid, more Mayan than Khmer, with commanding views over the surrounding forest. Nearby is Prasat Krahom or Red Temple, named after the pinkish Banteay Srei-style stone from which it is built.

 

We then continue our travels to the lost temple of Beng Mealea, the titanic of temples, a slumbering giant lost for centuries in the forests of Cambodia. It is the most accessible of Angkor’s lost temples, a mirror image of Angkor Wat, but utterly consumed by the voracious appetite of nature. Constructed by Suryavarman II (1113-1150), the builder of Angkor Wat, the forest has run riot here and it is hard to get a sense of the monuments shape amid the daunting ruins. Here it is possible to enjoy an Indiana Jones experience clambering about the vast ruin. For those who want a more gentle adventure, there is also a sturdy wooden walkway running right into the heart of the temple. After, continue our journey to Siem Reap town for our overnight stay.

Overnight in Siem Reap :

HanumanAlaya Boutique Residence - B&B

Day 6

Kbal Spean, Banteay Srei, Ta Prohm Temples
 

Full day exploration - heading north to Kbal Spean river then onto Banteay Srei to see the finest remaining carvings in Cambodia.  Finishing with the jungle temple of Ta Prohm.

Overnight in Siem Reap : 

HanumanAlaya Boutique Residence - B&B

Details

Kbal Spean, Banteay Srei, Ta Prohm Temples
 

We journey north to Kbal Spean. The original ‘River of a Thousand Lingas’, Kbal Spean is an intricately carved riverbed deep in the foothills of the Cambodian 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. The carvings were only rediscovered in 1969 when French researcher Jean Boulbet was shown the river by a local hermit. 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. And there is a small waterfall below the carved riverbed, perfect for cooling off after the hot climb.

 

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. We finish our tour with the jungle temple Ta Prohm where Tomb Raider was filmed. Ta Prohm has been abandoned to the elements, a reminder that while empires rise and fall, the riotous power of nature marches on, oblivious to the dramas of human history. Left as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhot in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones.

Overnight in Siem Reap : 

HanumanAlaya Boutique Residence - B&B

Day 7

Angkor Wat Sunrise & Exploration

Early morning rise for the iconic Sunrise at the mother of all temples "Angkor Wat" and enjoy a picnic breakfast.  More exploration will take us up to lunch to be enjoyed at Sala Kdei.  

 

Afternoon - Angkor Thom

Later we take in an Apsara performance and martial arts, whilst enjoying a pan-Asian BBQ dinner.

Overnight in Siem Reap :

HanumanAlaya boutique Residence - B&B

Lunch and Dinner

Details

Angkor Wat Sunrise & Exploration

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.

 

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.

 

This 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. The causeway is lined by an intricate bridge depicting the Churning of the Ocean of Milk from Hindu mythology in which the devas (gods) and asuras (devils) play tug of war with a naga (seven-headed serpent) to obtain the elixir of immortality.

 

We begin our visit at 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. We continue our visit to the Baphuon, one of the most beautiful temples at Angkor, dating from the reign of Uditayavarman in the 11th century. It has undergone a massive renovation by the French and is now once again open for viewing.  We pass the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, and finish up our visit at the Terrace of the Leper King. This intricately carved platform was the royal crematorium and the statue that was originally thought to be the leper king is now believed to be Yama, the god of death.

 

The Apsara Terrace at the iconic Raffles Grand d’Angkor remains Siem Reaps leading venue to take in an Apsara performance, Cambodia’s elegant, intricate and enchanting traditional dance. Enjoy a majestic performance with Cambodian dances and Khmer martial arts demonstrations accompanied by a delightful selection of pan-Asian barbeque cuisine.

Overnight in Siem Reap :

HanumanAlaya boutique Residence - B&B

Lunch and Dinner

Day 8

Kampong Khleang Village, Sala Rolous

We head to Tonie Sap Lake and explore the floating village of Kompong Khleang. We then head to Roluos to experience a serene setting at Sala Rolous for lunch.

afternoon at leisure

Overnight in Siem Reap : 

HanumanAlaya Boutique Residence - B&B

plus Lunch

Details

Kampong Khleang Village, Sala Rolous

We travel southeast to one of the largest and least-visited villages on the Tonle Sap Lake, Kompong Khleang, about 55 km from Siem Reap. We explore the canals (wet season) or streets (dry season) of this incredible town. In the wet season, the houses appear to be floating, as water laps at the verandas, but in the dry season towering stilts are revealed, the houses almost like wooden skyscrapers. We visit one of the pagodas here, built on the site of an ancient temple, and see the wall paintings.  We may also stop off to visit a house in the village to learn a little more about local life. We cruise into the open water of the great lake to see a small floating village and learn some more about this incredible natural flood barrier. Later we return to Siem Reap by road.

 

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.

 

Afternoon free at leisure.

Overnight in Siem Reap : 

HanumanAlaya Boutique Residence - B&B

plus Lunch

Day 9

Sacred Mountain Safari on Phnom Kulen

Today we travel to the birthplace of the Khmer empire, Phnom Kulen.  An exciting day exploring remote jungle sites completed with dinner under the stars.

Overnight in Phnom Kulen :

Phnom Kulen Safari Tent

Meals - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Details

Sacred Mountain Safari on Phnom Kulen

We travel to Phnom Kulen, the sacred mountain that was the birthplace of the Khmer empire. It was here that Jayavarman II proclaimed independence from Java in 802AD, setting the stage for the glories of the Angkor-era that was to follow. This mountain plateau was known as Mahendraparvata and was an early capital of the Khmer empire. We travel by vehicle to the busy settlement of Preah Ang Thom before transferring to local motorcycle to explore the mountain.

 

We explore some remote jungle sites on the sacred mountain, including the brick temple of Damrei Krab and the early pyramid temple of Rom Cheng, which  is believed to be the temple where the devaraja (god-king) ceremony actually took place, where Jayavarman II proclaimed himself the earthly incarnation of Shiva.

We continue to the incredible rock formations of Poeng Tbal, which include a number of holy carvings. These sites date from the 9th century and the reign of Jayavarman II, pre-dating the relocation of the capital to Angkor by almost a century.

 

We continue to the striking stone guardian animals of Sra Damrei, which include a life-size stone elephant, before descending to the ‘bat cave’, a complex of Hindu and Buddhist shrines hidden beneath the rock face. We then ascend to an impressive viewpoint that offers panoramic views of lowland Siem Reap Province.

We continue to our camp location with panoramic views of lowland Siem Reap province below. After a catered dinner under the stars, we retire for the night in our safari tent.

Overnight in Phnom Kulen :

Phnom Kulen Safari Tent

Meals - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 10

Sacred Mountain safari on Phnom Kulen

 

The next morning we offer the option of another trek to an old temple site before visiting the River of a Thousand Lingas, where small phalluses are carved into the riverbed itself and representations of Shiva and Vishnu. There is a classic waterfall further downstream which is the perfect place to cool off after exploring and nearby is a small, jungle-clad temple called Prasat Krau Romeas. Wat Pre Ang Thom is a focus of pilgrimage for Khmers during religious festivals and the large reclining Buddha carved into a huge sandstone boulder here offers spectacular views across the lush jungle.

 

We enjoy a local lunch before returning by road to Siem Reap.

Overnight in Siem Reap :

HanumanAlaya Boutique Residence

Breakfast & Lunch

Day 11

Siem Reap to Battambang via Banteay Chhmar

Our first stop today is the jungle temple of Banteay Chhmar which we shall take the morning to explore.

After a picnic lunch we continue to Battambang where we shall spend the night.

Overnight in Battambang :

Bambu Hotel B&B and Lunch 

Details

Siem Reap to Battambang via Banteay Chhmar

We leave Siem Reap after breakfast and travel west 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 at Yeay Chy and Samnang Tasok.

After a picnic lunch around Banteay Chhmar, we travel south through Sisophon once more before continuing to Battambang, a historic riverside city on the banks of the Sangker River. We spend the night in a comfortable local hotel.

Overnight in Battambang :

Bambu Hotel B&B and Lunch 

Day 12

Temples & Lifestyle around Battambang

Today we learn about local rural life in the Wat Koh district.

After lunch in town we visit Wat Banan temple then onto Phnom Sampeau a sacred mountain with an array of pagodas and stupas.

Overnight in Battambang :

Bambu Hotel B&B and Lunch

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 and Lunch

Day 13

Battambang to Phnom Penh via Kompong Luong & Udong

A busy penultimate day.

We leave Battambang after breakfast and travel southeast towards Pursat province. We pass through typical Cambodian landscapes of endless rice fields dotted with sugar palms. 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. 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. 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 journey to the busy riverside town of Kompong Chhnang where we stop to enjoy a local lunch. We then drive 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.

 

Later we continue to the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. We check into our hotel and soak up the atmosphere of this riverside capital.

Overnight in Phnom Penh :

Raffles Hotel Le Royal B&B

Day 14

Last day at leisure & transfer to airport

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

Departure - We recommend that you arrive at the airport 3 hours prior to your departure flight (or 2 hours if travelling business class). Your departure time will be given to you by your chauffeur guide. It is recommended that you check in online for your departure flight so that you can avoid long queues at the airport check in counters. On line check in is available for most airlines 24 hours before your flight. Your hotel will be able to help you with this if necessary. We wish you a pleasant journey back home or to your next destination.

 

International flights home

Trip details

Price from £ 3825  Per person based on twin share basis.

With all domestic & international flights to/from Uk,

approx price from £ 4325 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 shown day by day

  • ATOL protection (When taking international flights)

Additional Extra's

  • International Flights

  • 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