This 14-day tour highlights the beauty, history, culture and resilience of the Cambodian nation. From the magnificent jungle-tangled temples of Angkor to the mountain-hemmed white-sand beaches of the south, and all the rarely-visited villages of the North, this tour has something for every type of traveller. On your journey from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and back again, stop at such mesmerizing sites as the Cheung Ek Killing Fields and ancient temples of the Angkor Kingdom. This journey to the heart of Cambodia is sure to evoke every emotion from awe, to compassion and absolute relaxation.
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A guide will welcome you upon your arrival in Phnom Penh and transfer you to one of two recommended hotels: Raffles Hotel Le Royal or Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra. Check in and freshen up before an afternoon of sightseeing. Visit the Royal Palace, and the Silver Pagoda, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Marvel at the nearly 200-pound Buddha made of solid gold, made in 1907. The pagoda is filled with fascinating artifacts, each providing a window to the past.
Today begins with a somber tone as you visit Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and the Cheung Ek Killing Fields. It is in this very space where thousands of civilians were killed and buried in mass graves. You are sure to be moved by the reminders of such atrocious crimes against humanity in this important space honoring the dead. A trip to the Russian Market will provide temporary relief from an emotionally-trying morning. In the afternoon, visit a Dutch-Cambodian orphanage.
After breakfast, travel to Kampong Cham, with a stop or two along the way. Check in to your hotel before enjoying some sightseeing - visit the city’s male and female hills, Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei, respectively, and 12th-century temple, Nokor Bachey. Climb up Han Chey Mountain and take in a sunset view, followed by dinner at a local restaurant.
Enjoy breakfast before checking out of your Kampong Cham hotel. This morning, you will get to explore the rubber plantations, rubber being one of the region’s top exports. Check in to your hotel in Kratie before taking the unique opportunity to visit the Mekong dolphins on a boat excursion. Try some traditional cuisine at a local restaurant, and enjoy a relaxing evening.
A morning drive will bring you to the province of Stung Treng. Take in the beautiful plateau landscapes along the way. Check in, rest and refresh before an afternoon of teaching English to monks and the local disadvantaged.
A scenic boat ride will bring you to the village of Preah Rumkel, where you will meet a homestay family. This is a renowned eco-tourism site hemmed by Mekong River rapids, waterfalls and forested hills, providing a truly stunning vista. Interact and break bread with a local family who will welcome you to spend the night in their traditional wooden home.
Today you will explore the tropical forests of Preah Rumkel. By mountain bike and foot, make your way to the top of a hillside to fully appreciate the incredible panoramic views of the countryside below. Keep an eye out for wildlife in the RAMSAR flooded forests and conservation area. Enjoy a peaceful sunset over the Mekong and forest landscape, followed by a typical dinner and the region’s famous rice wine.
Enjoy a three-mile adventure walk with a local guide to breathtaking Sopheakmith waterfall. Take a motorbike transfer to Kompong Simi en route to Preah Vihear, where you will enjoy dinner and spend the night.
After breakfast, journey to the Thai border to visit the Preah Vihear temple. Climb to the top of Dangrek Mountain to take in the spectacular view of Thailand. Journey to the past on a history-based tour of this pre-Angkorian temple, a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site that is infamous for its border-straddling controversy. Travel to Siem Reap, and check into one of four recommended luxury hotels – Amansara, La Residence d’Angkor, Park Hyatt Siem Reap, or Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before a tour of the area’s ancient temples. Visit the 12th-century sites of Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat, and Bayon. Take in the sights of the South Gate with its massive statues depicting the churning of the Ocean of Milk. Continue on to the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Elephant Terrace, and Ta Prohm, one of the region’s most incredible sights. Hop on an Angkor Gondola at Angkor Thom, and travel from the south gate to the west gate. Serenaded by traditional music, allow your imagination to run free as you take in the sights and sounds around you. Round off the day with a climb to the top of Bakheng Hill for a spectacular sunset view over the ancient city.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before visiting Koh Ker temple, built by king Jayavarman IV, and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Next stop is Beng Mealea Temple, which, covered in a thick layer of lush moss, resembles a blue sandstone façade. Take the time to observe the locals making joss sticks – traditional incense – and other everyday activities that can be seen along the roadways. Return to the hotel for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before transferring to Sihanoukville. Relish in the beauty of the mountainous countryscape. Check in to one of two recommended hotels – Song Saa or Sokha Beach Resort. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy.
The last few days of your tour should be spent relaxing on the beach and enjoying the sights and activities of Sihanoukville. The area boasts fantastic and varied dive sites, with two shipwrecks. Sihanoukville is also known for its many architectural splendors; visit a number of pagodas, temples and cathedrals. Wat Chotyniec, located in the heart of the city, is a definite highlight.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before exploring Ream National Park. Just east of Sihanoukville, the park showcases Cambodia’s diverse wildlife. Featuring dolphins, monkeys, and mangrove forests teeming with diverse bird species, there is much to see. The choice is yours - either spend the rest of your day lounging by the pool or take in more of the area’s attractions.
On this, your last full day in Sihanoukville, enjoy free time. Reflect back on the incredible journey upon which you have just embarked, and enjoy your tranquil surroundings.
After breakfast at the hotel, say goodbye to this Cambodia and the little piece of paradise you have been enjoying. Transfer to Phnom Penh airport for the next leg of your travels, either home or to your next destination.
Raffles Hotel Le Royal is one of Phnom Penh's premier historic properties. First established in 1929, the hotel hosted an international clientele comprising globetrotters and adventurers, writers and journalists, royalty and dignitaries. Reopened in 1997 after a careful restoration, the grand historic hotel fulfills all the requirements of a modern world-class hotel with its facilities and amenities, but imparts an old-world charm through its style and decor. Raffles Hotel Le Royal has 170 guest rooms, suites and executive apartments, which are spread over three separate but interconnecting low-rise wings, set around the garden courtyard and swimming pools. There are five distinctive restaurants and bars, encompassing traditional French and Khmer cuisine at Restaurant Le Royal, Café Monivong and Le Phnom Deli, and the Elephant Bar, the home of the Airavata, a cocktail of secret ingredients. Located in the heart of Phnom Penh, Raffles Hotel Le Royal is only a 20 minutes’ drive from Pochentong International Airport and within easy access of the city’s attractions such as the Royal Palace, Central Market, Russian Market and the National Artefacts Museum.
Set on a riverside among landscaped gardens, the 12-storey colonial style Sofitel offers sweeping views of the Mekong River. Each of the 201 rooms comes with audio-visual HD connectivity and complimentary WiFi access. The rooms are equipped with Egyptian cotton sheets and includes a spacious bathroom with a double sink. Choose from the hotel’s four restaurants, serving a range of Italian to Japanese cuisines. Other facilities include two swimming pools, an on-site spa, a sports club and a lounge. The Sofitel is approximately 20 minutes from Phnom Penh International Airport.
Stylish elegance greets travelers at the luxurious Monorom VIP Hotel. Perfectly situated to serve as a base for exploring the fascinating historical area of Cambodia’s Kampong Cham, this hotel is just one street away from the Mekong river. Offering unrivaled views of the famous waterway, this is a stunning natural location. Tucked into the city center, the hotel is a short distance from the Kampong Cham Airport. Shopping at an authentic market and seeking authentic goods is inexpensive and convenient with the K.G. Cham market just a short walk away. Fifty-one rooms with six different styles provide a wide variety to suit any guest’s preference. Lush red and gold accents create a warm and welcoming atmosphere within the rooms. Modern amenities such as air-con, a stocked mini-bar and free WiFi makes staying in old-world elegance a current-day comfort. There are several restaurants located nearby the hotel featuring both incredible authentic eats as well as international cuisine. This is an ideal place to relax and enjoy the views from a private balcony when visiting this exotic area.
Responsible tourism at its finest, Le Tonle is a not-for-profit guesthouse that provides vocational training to underprivileged youth from Cambodia’s northeastern provinces. Stay in style and support a cause as you relax in the comfortable, airy rooms. True to traditional Khmer guesthouse-style, Le Tonle is a wooden-stilt house. Choose from four tasteful rooms that share two clean, bright modern bathrooms. Unique the world over, this rare experience allows travelers to be a part of an important resource development program. When indulging in the delicious Khmer cuisine at the on-site restaurant set in the beautiful, natural atmosphere of a garden, know the proceeds are going to a fantastic cause. Trainees benefitting from the restaurant and guesthouse make up the staff of local chefs. Just a few minutes’ walk from the winding Mekong River, this guesthouse is in the center of Kratie Town. You may even catch a glimpse of the critically-endangered Mekong Irrawaddy Dolphins, which can be spotted from this hotel.
Centrally-located on the riverside of the winding Sekong, this Cambodian hotel is the most luxurious in the area. Nearing Laos, Stung Treng is a small town in northeastern Cambodia that is considered a hub for many travelers. Several visitors stop through the town when passing between Laos and Cambodia. Fifty high-end rooms provide travelers seeking comfort a haven in Stung Treng city. Warm lighting, clean white linens and heavy drapes are ideal for sleeping. Cable television and air-con are rare amenities in the area that are available at the Golden River Hotel. Red and gold oriental accents greet guests as they enter the friendly reception area. Three different room styles service two to four people. Several fantastic restaurants serve up authentic and international fare just minutes away from the hotel. Stung Treng is a four hour bus ride from Kratie or five hours from Phnom Penh.
There is no better way to really get the sense of life in a community than to eat, talk, share and stay with the locals. Surrounded by the fast flowing waters of the Mekong River is the beautiful eco-reserve of Preah Rumkel, home to stunning scenery and welcoming, hospitable people. The family-run homestay is a window into the local lifestyle and guests are treated as part of the village, included in activities and festivities and given the opportunity to cook and eat authentic food and sleep in a simple, humble but charming wooden home. It’s certainly not five-star luxury but visitors will be comfy and cozy with their own mat, blanket and pillow while any sneaky mosquitos will be kept safely at bay with a personal net at night. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stay with locals in this almost untouched community is a memorable experience, not to be missed.
Renowned for the incredible Hindu Temple in the area, the Preah Vihear Boutique Hotel is the ideal home base when exploring the area. Luxurious modern comfort meets traditional Khmer culture in this unique area just south of the border between Cambodia and Thailand. Preah Vihear translates directly to “Sacred Sanctuary.” Located-centrally in the Cheom Ksan District, the hotel is only 18 miles from the famous UNESCO site, the Preah Vihear Temple, and just a ten minute walk from the lively Saem Market - there’s plenty to experience within the hotel’s vicinity. Guests can enjoy authentic Khmer cuisine or indulge in Western favorites at the on-site restaurant. Two styles of comfortable rooms are available for guests to choose from - either a deluxe double or deluxe twin room. Sliding-glass screen doors and wide windows allow plenty of natural light into the inviting, pristine rooms. Comfortable mattresses sporting fresh white linens allow for a good night’s rest, while special Khmer touches remind guests of their surrounding environment. A refreshing dip in the sprawling outdoor pool is the best way to cool down after spending a hot day touring the beautiful area. The hotel’s posh cocktail bar serves up refreshing cocktails, and guests should consider this a novelty, since this is the only cocktail bar in the Preah Vihear Province. The hotel is also home to a playground for the kids and a fitness center for guests.
Located approximately five miles from the famed Angkor Wat, Amansara is sleek, stylish and superbly private. Formerly the guest villa of King Norodom Sihanouk, the grounds were originally laid out in 1962 and designed to embrace both modern design and the rich artistic legacy of Cambodia. This tranquil oasis is surrounded by beautiful gardens and includes a curved slate swimming pool. The 24 suites are decorated in a classic Indochinese palette of cool gray, pristine white, dark timber and ivory, and all include a private courtyard and soothing water features; 12 suites are equipped with private swimming pools. The Roof Garden, shaded by trees, is the ideal venue for relaxing by candlelight with cocktails, or for invigorating morning yoga sessions. The Spa, which has four treatment rooms, focuses on therapeutic Cambodian techniques using organic products. Every suite has access to its own remork and driver. On the 2007 Zagat Survey list of the world’s best hotels, Amansara was ranked number two for service.
This traditional Khmer-styled hotel is located close to Angkor Wat, offering 62 spacious rooms and suites. Each are equipped with satellite flat-screen televisions, DVD players, Wi-Fi connectivity and a freeform terrazza bathtub. The rooms and suites are decorated with jewel-toned silk and bamboo furnishings with a floor-to-ceiling window. La Residence offers two on-site restaurants serving Khmer and barbecue cuisines, and a bar and lounge overlooking the pool and garden. Other facilities include the Condé Nast Traveler’s 2010 listed Kong Kea Spa, two shopping boutiques, a fitness center and a large outdoor swimming pool. La Residence d’Angkor is approximately 20 minutes from the nearest airport.
The Park Hyatt is a new addition to Cambodia’s select five-star hotel crowd. The hotel was previously Hotel De La Paix, one of the country’s top properties, and has been rebranded after a complete renovation. This new and exciting hotel is situated in one of Asia’s major emerging cultural destinations, providing ultimate indulgence and impeccable service. Designed by award-winning Bangkok-based interior designer Bill Bensley, Park Hyatt won Cambodia’s No. 1 hotel spot in Travel + Leisure and ranked No. 29 in its World’s Best Hotels 2010 list. Park Hyatt Siem Reap features 107 guestrooms, a choice of restaurants, a bar, fresh bakery, two swimming pools, a spa and fitness center.
A grand, historic hotel, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor opened its doors in the early 1930s. It is located on the main road to Angkor Wat and was planned so that it aligns on a north-south axis with Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. Now sensitively restored, the hotel’s classic style coupled with its renewed modernity complement the grandeur of Angkor Wat. The hotel has 131 guest rooms and suites, each tastefully appointed with Art Deco-styled furnishings and Cambodian objets d’art. Guest services include the Raffles Amrita Spa, a fitness center, and a host of classes in the Raffles Amrita Pavilion, from Khmer dancing to Tai Chi. Elegant dining options range from the formal Restaurant Le Grand, to the Café d’Angkor, to the wide selection of cocktails at the famed Elephant Bar.
Located just 5 minutes from Sihanoukville and occupying a splendid 23-hectare beachfront location, Sokha Beach Resort is the town's most finest property. Set in beautiful tropical gardens with its own private beach, the resort's luxurious rooms & suites are decorated in traditional Khmer style and all come with aircon, cable TV, iron/board, tea/coffee facilities and minibar. The resort has several restaurants & bars, with guests able to dine on local seafood right by the beach and enjoy a fine global selection of wines at Sokha Wine Bar. Leisure facilities include a spa, gym, swimming pool, tennis court and children's playground.