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.
After a relaxing break, a driver 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, head to the Royal Palace which dates back to 1866 and houses the Silver Pagoda in which you will view a collection of Buddha’s in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze. Continue to the National Museum known for it s world's foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artifacts from the 4th to the 13th centuries
After a visit to Wat Phnom temple, the founding place of the city on a small hilltop, return to the hotel where you can enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
Tonight, you will be treated to a delicious welcome a la carte dinner at the renowned Foreign Correspondents’ Club located on the Riverside. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 2 Phenom Penh (B,L)
This morning, 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’. Also visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. A grim, but important visit that will allow you to dig below the surface and understand Cambodia better.
After learning about some of Cambodia’s tragic past it is time to put a smile back on your face and experience modern Khmer life not far to Stung Meanchey, a local neighbourhood that is home to the humanitarian organization Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (for the smile of a child) that provides education and job training to street children. Whilst a visit to the school is not included, there is time to visit the centres shop to buy some souvenirs followed by lunch at Le Lotus Blanc, the center’s training restaurant, where you can support the training of these kids by being their guest. (Note: Le Lotus Blanc is usually closed during national holidays and for the entire month of April over the Khmer New Year holiday.)
Spend the rest of the day browsing through the colourful markets of Phnom Penh and visit the Central Market, an art deco landmark and one of the largest markets in the city, if not all of Cambodia. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 3 Tonlé Sap Boat Tour (B,L)
This morning, embark on an interesting tour on a private wooden riverboat that will take you up on Cambodia’s lifeline, the Tonlé Sap River. This part of the country is rarely visited by other travelers, due to its sole accessibility by boat. Discover Cambodia as only few foreigners have before!
Travel North along Tonlé Sap River, passing many floating villages and fishing stations. Spot pagodas, mosques and Chinese temples and visit local villages. The people of Koh Chen, so-called ‘Silver Island’, specialize in silver and copper smithing. See how they make ornamental items, used in traditional ceremonies at the pagoda or for marriages. Lunch will be served on board. Return to Phnom Penh by boat in the afternoon. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 4 Phnom Penh - Siem Reap (B)
After an early breakfast this morning, you will be transferred overland to Siem Reap (duration 5-6 hours), the gateway to the majestic temples of Angkor and a charming little city. A little outside of Phnom Penh stop in the town of Skuon to see their most famous speciality being sold: deep-fried tarantula! A favourite snack of many Cambodians many buses and pick-ups stop at the market to buy a bag of the ch’ngain (tasty) eight-legged creatures. The spiders are caught in the soft ground of the surrounding countryside and dug out of their burrows. After a short stop continue to Siem Reap.
Upon arrival, check into your hotel. Enjoy a break at your hotel before embarking on a first discovery tour and discover more secrets of the Angkor period on a guided tour of the Angkor National Museum. The interactive museum showcases artifacts from the Golden Era of the Khmer Empire by use of multimedia technology to picture this interesting historical period. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Get a first glimpse of Angkor today at the early temples of the Roluos Group. Roluos is the site of an ancient center of Khmer civilization known as Hariharalaya. The surrounding countryside with its paddy fields and sugar palm trees is very typical for Cambodia – enjoy the natural beauty on a cow cart ride, a fun way to get in touch with rural Cambodia and its friendly people.
Your destination is Roluos Pagoda, where Buddhist monks will celebrate a private blessing ceremony for you, wishing you health and a safe journey – a memorable experience! Take a break around midday back at the hotel.
In the afternoon visit the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. 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. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Start your day with a tour to the temples of the Small Circuit by local ‘remork’(similar to the Thai tuk tuk). The most illustrious of these is Ta Prohm, 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 the ‘Tomb Raider Temple’ one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. Your visit will also include Banteay Kdei, a Buddhist monastery from the late 12th Century, and Srah Srang, also known as the “pool of ablutions”. Return to the hotel for a break.
This afternoon, set out to visit the legendary Angkor Wat which is figured today on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.
As this is your last evening in Cambodia, a Khmer farewell dinner accompanied by traditional Apsara dance will be an experience to remember. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 7 Deaparture Siam Reap (B)
Enjoy the day at your leisure.
Depending on your flight departure time spend the morning exploring Siem Reap’s colorful markets. Visit Artisans d’Angkor, established in 1992 in order to support Cambodian arts and crafts, and to help young people find work in their local villages by continuing the practice of traditional arts. Discover how wood and stone carvings, lacquering, gilding, and silk paintings are created.
Transfer to the airport for your individual onward flight. (Note: based on midday/afternoon departures)