5-Day Off the Beaten Track Cambodia Tour
5-Day journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh through the remote frontier of northwest Cambodia. Hidden temples of Koh Ker, Banteay Chhmar, and the world heritage Preah Vihear. Get to know the people, landscape, customs and cuisine that make Cambodia so incredible. Experience true Cambodian hospitality by staying with a local family in a traditional Khmer wooden-stilted house. Discover the rice bowl and best-preserved town from the French colony.
Destinations: Siem Reap – Preah Vihear – Oudor Meanchey – Banteay Meanchey – Battambang – Phnom Penh
5 Days / 4 Nights
Each tour begins with Evening briefing. At 7:00 PM we will meet at your hotel in Siem Reap for a journey briefing. It is the first opportunity for everyone to meet the guide on their trip and to run over the final details so everyone knows what to expect.
Day 1: Koh Ker & Preah Vihear Temple. (-/-/-)
We pick you up from your Siem Reap hotel at 7.00 AM and hit the road to explore the temple complex of Koh Ker. In the 10th century, 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 left a legacy of 30 major temples and some gargantuan sculpture that is on display in the National Museum in Phnom Penh. We visit Prasat Thom, a seven-storey step pyramid, more Mayan than Khmer, with commanding views over the surrounding forest, nearby Prasat Krahom or Red Temple and other temples, including the five towers of Prasat Ling, each enclosing a giant linga or fertility symbol, the biggest and best found in situ anywhere in Cambodia. Our journey continues towards to Sra Em where we will 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 to 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 meters above lowland Cambodia below. The views from this most mountainous of temple mountains are breathtaking.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Sra Em
Day 2: Sra Em to Banteay Chhmar including Anglong Veng. (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 to the incredible jungle temple of Banteay Chhmar, famous for its signature faces of Jayavarman VII. On arrival, 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-tower of Samnang Tasok. We also visit Banteay Torp, the temple is a fascinating and interesting site built as a tribute to the Khmer army for their defeat of the Cham army leading to Khmer control of the region. We spend the night in a homestay.
+ Accommodation: Homestay at Banteay Chhmar Community
Day 3: Morning walks around Banteay Chhmar Village. Travel to Battambang. (B/-/-)
Wake up early in the morning for a walk in the village of Banteay Chhmar to observe the daily lifestyle of the local people. It could be very interesting as everyone in the village start their day so early. There are opportunities to see small size production of charcoal ovens, Buddhist monks walking with monk bowl to collect food, students walk and bike to school. We might also visit Prasat Ta Promh which is a small ruined temple and topped by a well-preserved example of a Bayon-style four-faced Avalokiteshvara. Breakfast at the community restaurant then we say good bye the family that accompanied us and continue our journey south towards Sisophon city. En route, we can visit Banteay Top (Fortress of the Army) temple which a small but impressively tall with damaged towers. Nearby, there is a big lake that has a lot of lotus and some time there a number of water buffalos playing in the water. It’s highly photogenic.
After a lunch break at Sisophon city, our journey continues south to the rice bowl city. At arrival, we check-in to a comfortable hotel.
Later at around 3:30 pm, we drive to Phnom Sampov, 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 in this holy mountain. After your visit on top of this mountain, we come down and witness millions of bat flying out of their cave at 5:30 – 6 pm.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Battambang
- Battambang – Phare Ponleu Selpak Centre – USD12
Day 4: Battambang Lifestyles. (B/-/-)
We drive to Wat Kor district to visit a local village and learn about rural life in Cambodia, rice harvest, fruit farming and how the sugar palm is used. Board the Bamboo train (locals call Nori). These ‘local trains’ are bamboo platforms with wheels and they fly along the rail tracks offering great views of the surrounding countryside. Battambang is also known as the best preserve town from the French colony (1863-1953) so let’s witness some of those building including Wat Conding, old house built since 1907, provincial hall and the national bank. After lunch in town. Then, drive to Ek Phnom district and visit Doun Teav Village where rice paper production is the highlight of the local industry, and we then pass the local market of Psar Bra Houk (fermented fish paste) and also a few other interesting places including Bamboo sticky rice village, Wat Samrong Khnong. In the evening, perhaps walk along the riverfront where locals indulge in hobbies such as yoga and folk dancing.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Battambang
Day 5: Battambang to Phnom Penh. (B/-/-)
We leave behind the charm of this historic riverside city of Battambang and drive to the capital city Phnom Penh. We travel through Pursat province, passing through typical Cambodian landscapes of endless rice fields dotted with sugar palms.
Optional visit at Krokor district, to rent a boat to cruise out and experience life in this real floating community untouched by mass tourism Kompong Luong which is the largest Vietnamese floating community on the Tonle Sap Lake.
We continue passing through the busy riverside town of Kompong Chhnang and there may also be the opportunity to visit a local pottery village (Rolea Pa Ear District), as Kompong Chhnang is famous for producing undecorated items for the Cambodian home. Our last stop before we arrive at Phnom Penh is at Kampong Luong Commune (Punhea Leu District, Kandal Province) to see silver craftsmen. Here, silversmiths make tiny silver and copper boxes, often in animal shapes, are a popular souvenir. This is the only place in Cambodia and the king always order the product from here international welcoming.
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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