15-Day Cambodia Adventure
Visit Phnom Penh and learn about the country’s past struggles and successes, the horrific crimes of the Khmer Rouge and spectacular side including Royal Palace, National Museum. Visit the silk production family and taste deep-fried tarantula in Skun on the way to Kampong Cham. Travelling to the rolling hills and wilds of Mondulkiri, We experience Bounong hill tribe community elephant trekking; visit local sites including Bou Sraa waterfall, the Sea Forests and a real test of Cambodian coffee. Head to the country’s best Kratie, gateway to an encounter with the rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins with some of the best sunsets. We explore the “wild East” of Ratanakiri, day trek with a local ranger into Virackehy National Park. Survey the mighty waterfalls that thwarted the grand designs of French imperialists in Stung Treng (and which now mark the Lao border). Explore Mekong flooded forests at Ramsa Wetlands by kayak. Climb to the top of the world heritage Preah Vihear temple via the snaking road up the mountain, clinging to a cliff face in the Dangrek Mountains, towering hundreds of metres above lowland Cambodia below before heading to the capital of the Khmer Empire at Angkor for a series of cycling tours in this incredible forest of ancient temples. We select the best of them including the world’s largest religious monument at Angkor Wat, the enigmatic and enchanting Bayon and the atmospheric Ta Prohm, consumed by jungle and fighting a losing battle with nature.
Destinations: Phnom Penh – Kampong Cham – Kratie – Mondulkiri – Ratanakiri – Stung Treng – Preah Vihear – Siem Reap
15 Days / 14 Nights
Day 1: Arrive to Phnom Penh. Private Boat Sunset Cruise. (-/-/-)
After welcoming you at the Phnom Penh Airport, a Cambodian Pride Tours representative will transfer you to a comfortable hotel in the city centre for overnight. At 4:30pm, we go for a private boat cruise to see the sunset.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Phnom Penh
Day 2: Phnom Penh City Tour. (B/-/-)
8:30 am, Today a city tour introduces you to the sights of Phnom Penh, a city that lies near the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. The private quarters of the Royal Palace are home to King Sihamoni and are closed to the public. You will, however, be able to visit the Silver Pagoda that lies in the palace complex, which is the most sacred temple in the country. Phnom Penh remains a living relic of the country’s past struggles and successes.
Your included visits to the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek tell the story of the tragic legacy of the Khmer Rouge. Tuol Sleng is a former school that served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre, and it’s estimated that more than 20,000 people were held and tortured here. The Choeung Ek Memorial is home to stupa made up of some 8,000 human skulls, marking the site of the infamous Killing Fields. This was the execution ground for the torture victims of Tuol Sleng, and standing in this peaceful setting it’s almost unthinkable to imagine that to date nearly 9,000 corpses have been exhumed from the area. There is an optional visit to Wat Phnom, the temple that gave rise to the foundation of the city in the 15th century. An ideal way to spend your second evening here is to relax in a cafe by the riverfront.
Notes: The Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are major parts of the experience here, but if you don’t wish to visit them. Just inform your tour guide.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Phnom Penh
Day 3: Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham Including the Silk production and Spider ville of Skoun. (B/-/-)
After breakfast at your hotel, we leave Phnom Penh by taking a ferry to the eastern side of the four rivers and visit the silk production family. This where you can sample the local silk weaving and learn about the whole process from start to finish from one of the families who make the living out of it. Then, travel to Kampong Cham. En route, there is the chance to pause at Skuon, affectionately known as ‘Spiderville’, where it is possible to sample the local delicacy of deep fried tarantula. The lunch place is flexible as it can be along the way, at Skuon or at the restaurant of you hotel in Kampong Cham after check in. Later in the afternoon, we visit around Kampong Cham including the beautiful Mekong Island. You can either cycle or travel by our car, up to you.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Kampong Cham
Day 4: Kampong Cham to Kratie. Mushroom Farm, Brick Factory and Dolphin Watching. (B/-/-)
Today, we leave Kampong Cham to Kratie. Our road journey continues on the eastern side along the Mekong passing through rural villages, farms, fishing spots, pagodas and beautiful sceneries. There are a lot chance to photograph. Closer to Kratie we visit a local mushroom farm. This is where you will see how one village one product is improving local economy.
We then reach Kratie and check in a comfortable hotel.
Later in the afternoon, we go to Kampi, one of the many deep pools where the rare freshwater Irrawaddy river dolphins gather to feed. Along the way, we stop at a brick factory and may be a traditional rice noodle making (they make it almost everyday). At Kampi, we board a local boat and cruise out into the mighty Mekong for a chance to encounter with gentle creatures. Viewing is almost guarantee, although it is easier to see the dolphins in the shallower waters of the dry season, than in the swollen river of the wet season. After enjoying an hour or more of dolphin viewing, we travel back to Kratie.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Kratie
Day 5: Market of Kratie. Travel to Monudlkiri. (B/-/-)
In the morning after breakfast at your hotel, we visit to a traditional cafe shop that has been in business since October 1988 and not spoilt by tourism. This is where you will learn about the lifestyle of Khmer men and women in which mostly men hang out at the cafe while women are working or doing shopping at the market nearby. Next, walk through the central Market of Kratie where you will see the local trades and see some of the old colonial building which remain from the French colony. Before we leave Kratie, we might visit local rice whiskey production.
Afterwards, we leave behind the sleepy town of Kratie and travel southeast towards the small junction town of Snuol, our gateway to the wilds of Mondulkiri. We turn left and leave behind the surfaced roads of civilization to take on the red earth roads of hill country. The first half of the journey from Snuol is flat, passing through patches of lush forest and areas of cultivation and plantations. Lunch break in a local restaurant at Kau Sima.
After Kau Sima district, the road snakes up through the mountains that give Mondulkiri its name of ‘where the mountains meet’.
Before we check in to your hotel, we visit coffee farm resort, one-of-a-must visit place in Sen Monorom where you can see many different fruits including coffee plantation, dragon fruit and durian.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Mondulkiri
Day 6: Mondulkiri – Eco-friendly Elephant Experience at BEP. (B/L/-)
Today, we will have a full day visit one of the Eco-friendly elephant project, called Bunong Elephant Project (BEP) where elephants are being rescued from hard work like pulling the tree out from the farm and carry heavy things up the mountain. We travel by road out of Sen Monorom to one the hill top where we will start walking around 40 minutes through the valleys and forests to the project field work. You will be introduced to the herd of elephants and get to know more about their history, character, behavior, body language and relationship with mahout family. You will be able to feed the elephant buckets of bananas. At noon, the elephant must be taken to pastures for at least 2 hours in order to make sure they get enough food for the day. Elephants eat up to 300 kg of vegetation per day in order to sustain themselves. While the elephant is grazing, you will have a lunch break. Then, you will be learn more detail about elephant and the community from the elephant guide.
In the afternoon, the mahout will bring the elephant to the river for a wash. You are welcomed to get in the water and give them a hand. Afterwards, we leave the elephants and start walking out different way towards a village where your driver is waiting for.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Mondulkiri
Day 7: Bou Sra Waterfall. Drive to Ratanakiri. Yeak Loam Crater Lake. (B/-/-)
After breakfast at your hotel in Sen Monorom, we leave Sen Monorom and head east towards the double drop waterfall of Bou Sraa, one of the most famous in Cambodia. Afterwards, we leave behind the wilds of Mondulkiri and hit the road towards the red earth of Ratanakiri. We travel north on the newest highway that connects Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri via Koh Nhek. Along the way, there is lush jungle hugging the road and locals claim to see tigers on this stretch whereas some parts of the jungle are giving way to clusters of pine trees and rolling grasslands. The scenery is unique for Cambodia and dotted with traditional indigenous hill tribe villages. We arrive to Ban Lung town of Ratanakiri and check into a comfortable hotel. Later in the afternoon, we enjoy the refreshing waters of the beautiful crater lake of Yeak Loam, set amid a pocket of lush jungle.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Ratanakiri
Day 8: The Indigenous Lifestyle. (B/-/-)
We start our day at 6:30am before breakfast to explore the origin of Ratanakiri and learn about the indigenous people life who form up the region for thousands of year. Our visit includes Banlung market. It’s most colorful in the early morning, when local indigenous women (Chunchiet) set up around outside of the market, puffing on bamboo pipes of large cigars made from tobacco rolled up in leaves.
Return to your hotel for breakfast, then we travel to Kachon where we’ll take a scenic boat ride for about on Sesan river to a remote village of Kaoh Piek. It is home to a traditional Kachoch burial ground complete with carved effigies of the deceased. Family groups are buried side by side and elaborate ceremonies held after a period of mourning. There are wooden men and women statues standing in front the tombs to guard and likeness of elephant tusks and beautiful decorated tombs. You will also take a walk through the village, visit school. You will learn about the animist belief of Kachoch hill tribe from you local guide in the area.
Return to Ban Lung and we will visit the local gem mining somewhere around town as they always move their mining location, we don’t really know which point exactly but our local guide will find accordingly.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Ratanakiri
Day 9: Ratanakiri to Preah Rumkel – Mighty Mekong Falls (B/L/D)
We leave behind Banlung and travel southwest towards O’Pongman before veering north towards Stung Treng before we cross the river by bridge to Tala Borivath and continue north to Preah Rumkel. We will be welcomed in to a local family on the bank of the Mekong River for a traditional. In the late afternoon, We survey Sopheakmet Waterfall; that thwarted the grand designs of French imperialists (and which now mark the Lao border). If time is available we will take the boat across the river to visit Hang Khone, which is the southernmost tip of Laos. The French used this as a ferry port where goods were then transferred back to the ferry by train before they continued their travel by river. Sunset here is some of the most beautiful sunsets across the Mekong River.
Tonight, you will stay in a traditional Cambodian home under mosquito net at one of the local family who live on the bank of the Mekong River; experience bucket shower like Khmer people.
+ Accommodation: Homestay at Preah Rumkel Community
Day 10: Stung Treng – Kayaking Through Mekong Flooded Forests. (B/L/-)
After breakfast at homestay, it’s time to say good bye to the family. Then, we enjoy a short boat trip down to O’Svay where we will start our paddling tours to explore the Ramsar Wetlands area. It stretches south along the Mekong River from the border with Laos to Stung Treng. Only accessible by boat, it is a haven for critically endangered mammals, birds and fish and a unique riverine flooded forest system that is a photographer’s dream. With only birdcalls announcing our presence, we maneuvered our way leisurely downstream for a couple of hours. Our paddling tour of the forest continue until one point that you feel enough, then we return back to O’Svay by boat before we travel by road to the provincial capital of Stung Treng. We check in to a comfortable local hotel for the night.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Stung Treng
Day 11: Stung Treng to Sra Em. World Heritage Site of Preah Vihear. (B/-/-)
Today, we enjoy breakfast outside the hotel by going to a famous restaurant for typical Laos breakfast. Then, we leave behind the remote Stung Treng, head west to explore an imposing mountain-top temple guards the border between Cambodia and Thailand, Preah Vihear temple which was registered to be the world heritage 2008, perched on a pinnacle overlooking Cambodia and the object of recent battles with Thailand. We climb to the top of the Preah Vihea temple via the snaking road up the mountain which is very steep in places and we eventually emerge at the second enclosure of this king of the mountain temples. We explore the temple on foot and 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. Later we come to Sra Em and check in a comfortable hotel.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Sra Em
Day 12: Sra Em to Siem Reap. Buffet Dinner with Cambodian Classical Dance. (B/-/D)
After breakfast, it is time to depart Sra Em and travel to Siem Reap. We journey west to the mountainous border region to the last of the Khmer Rouge at Anlong Veng with a chance to visit the house of the former military strongman Ta Mok. Anlong Veng was the last Khmer Rouge stronghold to surrender to government forces in the late 1990s. We then travel south towards Siem Reap. We arrive to Siem Reap and check into a comfortable hotel.
This evening we can enjoy a classical dance performance with buffet dinner, where we will see many of the most popular Cambodian dances, including the graceful Apsara dance, scenes from the Ramayana (known as Reamker in Cambodia), the coconut dance and more. The classical dances include elaborate costume and date back to the time of Angkor, while the folk dances are connected to the harvest and the cycle of the seasons.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Siem Reap
Day 13: Siem Reap – Temples of Angkor by bike (Small Circuit). (B/-/-)
We spent our day cycling through small trail rain forests visit Temple of Angkor and along gate of Angkor Thom. This is a very interesting way to discovery the small circuit. We start our day after breakfast by cycle from the hotel toward the check-point then continue to the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat is believed to be the world’s largest religious building built in order to dedicate to the Hindu god, Vishnu. We explore Angkor Wat by foot. Afterwards, we cycle from the eastern side of Angkor along the north mod and through remote villages dotted with palm trees and rice paddies. We reach south grade of Angkor Thom them continue west along side the gate with a very nice trail towards west gate before we turn right and cycle to Bayon temple with a remarkable 54-tower. We explore Bayon Temple by foot. Take lunch break a local restaurant. Then, continue our cycling tour through passing through Ta Keo temple, Chao Say Tevoda, Tommanon, Terrace of Leper King, Terrace of Elephant, Baphoun, Phimean Akas. Later, we return to Siem Reap.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Siem Reap
Day 14: Siem Reap – Siem Reap – Angkor Wat Sunrise. Big Circuit including Ta Promh & Banteay Srey. (B/-/-)
Rise early for sunrise over the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat which is believed to be the world’s largest religious building. Then, we head to the temple mountain of Pre Rup, before driving further north 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. Then, we head back to to the famous Ta Promh, embraced by the roots of enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers. Visit Ta Phrom that was built in 12th century by the famous King Jayavarvan VII indicated to his mother. The ruined Ta Prohm (Tomb Raider) temple was made famous by Angelina Jolie. This temple has been left to the forces of nature by archaeologists as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhot in 1860, many parts of its structure being embraced by the roots of gigantic trees, giving the ruin a special atmosphere. Then, we explore the frequently visited Banteay Samre. Built by King King Suryavarman II, the same king who built Angkor Wat, the structure with its high temple tower has undergone extensive restoration. In the afternoon we visit Neak Pean, a small island temple situated in the middle of an artificial pool, which translates as “intertwined serpents” due the coiled serpents encircling the base of the structure. We then continue on to Preah Khan or “sacred sword”, a huge monastic complex which features elaborate carvings.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Siem Reap
Day 15: Angkor National Museum & Artisans d’Angkor. Departure.
After breakfast, we visit a new flagship museum on the road to Angkor is a showcase for the sculpture and culture of the Khmer civilisation. An ultra-modern art space, this museum uses the latest technology to bring this ancient empire to life. The collection is themed by period, religion and royalty and includes the impressive Gallery of 1000 Buddhas, inspired by Preah Poan at Angkor Wat. There is plenty of information on hand throughout the tour and lots of interactive displays, such as the sunrise over Angkor Wat, although we’d recommend the real sunrise as a more memorable experience. Then, we visit Artisans d’Angkor that is one of the most successful craft revitalisation projects in Cambodia. The showroom opposite Angkor Wat is a delightful place to unwind after exploring the world’s largest religious building, including an air-conditioned cafe. The original Chantiers Ecoles in Siem Reap is a great place to see the arts and crafts being carefully made. Afternoon is free at leisure until transfer to airport for departure flight.
This itinerary is written based on our tour research expeditions. It should be read in order to get a good general impression and NOT as a detailed hour by hour itinerary. As we care about your safety and always want to increase customer’s experience, Cambodian Pride’s team can change parts of the tour due to weather terrain conditions depending on the season and customer requests. If the program is changed upon customer’s request, possible additional costs will be charged directly to customers.
TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:
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