Cambodia is perfectly suited for a family adventure with activities to suit all ages such as cooking a traditional meal and making ceramics plus plenty of opportunities to meet local children and families. Starting in the world-renowned jungle temples of Angkor, we have three days to explore the famous temple complex. Heading towards the Thai border, spend a night at a traditional Khmer homestay set amongst the jungle and ancient temples before continuing to the colonial town of Battambang and the floating villages at Kampong before moving on to the vibrant capital of Phnom Penh. The tour ends with a few days of relaxation on the sandy beaches on the tropical island of Koh Rong situated in the Gulf of Thailand.
In and around Siem ReapOur journey begins in Siem Reap. After dropping bags at our hotel, head for the fabulous temples at Siem Reap, one of the most magnificent ancient sites anywhere in the world. This afternoon visit the Roluos group of temples which date between the 9th and 10th centuries, including Preah Ko, Bakong, and Lolei Temples.
Following in the footsteps of Lara Croft, we'll visit the jungle shrouded temples of Angkor, beginning with the stunning walled city of Angkor Thom. Flanked by the stone statues of gods and demons we'll enter the city at the South Gate, to find ourselves in an ancient world of huge stone faces and hauntingly beautiful temples. We'll take in the enigmatic Bayon, the Royal Palace and the terraces of the Leper King and the Elephant. Continuing on to the famous site of Ta Phrom, we then stand before the tree entwined temple where Lara meets the mysterious young girl. Later we'll move on to the magnificent Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, where you'll be able to make rubbings of some of the statues, before watching the sunset over the ancient city. Dinner is included tonight at a local restaurant.
Today is free at own leisure to relax at hotel, explore the city or local market or continuing to explore the Angkor temple on your own with your three day temple pass. There is the opportunity to watch the sunrise at the temples where the sight of the sun rising across the jungle temples more than makes up for the early start. Alternatively, the exhilarating Angkor Zipline course through the Angkor Archaeological Park is another option, where you can fly across the jungle canopy, cross hanging bridges and rappel down through the trees. You can also visit the Khmer Ceramics Fine Arts Centre, where you'll enjoy a fascinating and fun three hour workshop explaining how to make traditional bronzes and ceramics. This evening enjoy a buffet dinner and a traditional Apsara Dance Show at a local restaurant. After a taste of classical Khmer culture, you can then take a wander through the city's captivating night market, where you can haggle for handicrafts and fine silks, or perhaps indulge in an invigorating massage before heading back to the hotel.
We visit the War Museum in Siem Reap this morning which offers visitors a unique and insightful view of the perils that Cambodia faced during the last 3 decades of the 20th century and what occurred during Cambodia's 'war years'. There is a unique collection of war memorabilia including; the tank T-54, a jet MiG-19 fighter, the Mil Mi-8 helicopter and field artillery guns. Each of the guides has his own unique background: war veterans, eye witnesses of the war and landmine victims which allows for a personnel viewpoint of the experiences that defined this period of time. A three hour drive takes us to the Khmer Village Homestay at Banteay Chhmar, a unique community based project that provides us with an unforgettable Cambodian village experience in the heart of an ancient temple complex located close to the Thai boarder. The village provides a chance to immerse yourself in the day to day life of rural Cambodia. There will be opportunities to take a tour around the village including the ancient temple complex around Ta Prohm and visit a silk processing workshop. This evening you'll then enjoy a traditional Khmer dinner, before settling down in the houses or chalets which will be based on a sharing basis with the ladies and gentlemen being separated when necessary.
Drive to the city of Battambang situated on the banks of the Sangker River. Cambodia's second largest city, Battambang has a charmingly laid back feel to it, aided no doubt by its collection of ageing colonial villas and leafy streets. On arrival, we drive along the Sangker River to visit Wat Ek Phnom, an 11th century temple before continuing on to Phnom Banon which is known for its five sandstone towers standing on the top of a hill and from where we can enjoy a magnificent view of the surrounding plains. Later in the afternoon we visit a cave to witness bats swarming out of their day time retreat at sunset.
Heading to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh today, our journey takes us by way of Pursat, where we'll stop off to visit the floating village of Kompong Luong. Located amongst the expansive waters of Tonle Sap, this water-based community is the largest on the lake, with its residents living in stilt houses that they can raise and lower depending on the water levels. Everything here happens on the water and its 1200 families live their daily lives commuting around by boat. Watch the daily life of schools, shops, markets, hospitals and even petrol stations go about their business on the waters of the Great Lake. A boat trip through the village presents us with a fascinating glimpse of life on the lake, before we continue on to the Cambodian capital. Phnom Penh, Cambodia's fascinating and colourful capital. Located by the Mekong River, the city is an engaging mix of ancient traditions, colonial charm and bustling markets. The rest of the day is free to explore or relax by the pool.
This morning, we take a tuk tuk ride from the hotel to the local market where we get the chance to shop and barter for the ingredients that you'll need for today's half day cookery class. A great introduction to Cambodian life, the visit provides some priceless interaction with the local market traders, before heading off to the La Rose Restaurant where we prepare and cooking a traditional Khmer cuisine dish under the watchful gaze of the restaurant's experienced chef. Khmer food enjoys the reputation of being one of the world's oldest cuisines - a harmonious blend of flavours, textures and spices, the emphasis is very much on simplicity and freshness and you'll get a chance to enjoy the fruits of your labours as the meal that is prepared is the group lunch. In the afternoon, we visit the National Museum, the Silver Pagoda containing the Emerald Buddha statue and the Royal Palace. Our local leader gives a quiz for the children to enjoy as we visit these sites for them to bring to life these ancient monuments. Later in the afternoon we visit the hilltop sanctuary of Wat Phnom, the monument from which the city gets its name before we enjoy an hour long cruise along the Mekong River. Along the way, you will observe how local people go about their daily businesses along the riverbanks and returning back to hotel before having a delicious Khmer welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
This morning allows for an unusual activity - learning how to do a foot massage! We discover the basic techniques used in this ancient art along with stretching techniques and understanding the benefit and quality of the massages. We are given lunch plus an hour complimentary massage at the end of the course. In the afternoon, we learn another skill - the traditional millennium-old Khmer martial art of Bokator which translates as 'pounding a lion' from the words Bok and tor. Khmer martial arts date back more than a thousand years when soldiers in the Khmer Empire used their skills in battle with punches, kicks, elbows and knees, to combat enemies in close quarter combat. The class includes a warmup session with stretching, a demonstration and the group learning basic skills and techniques of the martial art.
We bid farewell to Phnom Penh, heading south to Sihanoukville on the edge of the Gulf of Thailand. Take an afternoon ferry to the tropical island of Koh Rong. Today you are free to enjoy its many delights at your own pace either relax on its golden beaches and simply enjoy soaking up the tropical charm of this laid back resort.
The next two days have been left free to relax and enjoy Long Set Beach on Koh Rong Island.
Free to relax and enjoy Long Set Beach on Koh Rong Island.
Free morning Koh Rong Island, return to Sihanoukville on the mainland by ferry and driving between three and four hours north to Phnom Penh. Last evening in Phnom Penh.
Tour ends after breakfast.
Guest Name: Mr. Mac
N.of Person: 2 pax
Booked: Best Cambodia and Vietnam Highlight Trip
Tour Style: Classic Highlight Tours
Duration: 10 Days