Begin your time in Cambodia by visiting the temples that draw hundreds of thousands of travelers here every year. The Angkor temples are an impressive culmination of religious devotion and human ingenuity, headlined by Angkor Wat, the biggest religious building in the world. While in Siem Reap, you will also deliver a water filter, brought in your luggage from the United States, to a local family of the Kampong Khleang community of villages. Global Basecamps has partnered with Waves for Water to provide clean drinking water to all 105 families in this community through the generosity of our travelers. This day will also provide an insight into local life on Inle Lake. After exploring the region around Siem Reap thoroughly, continue onto Phnom Penh, for an insight into the violent 20th century history of Cambodia, as well as the modern culture of the city. Then, spend two nights esconced at Four Rivers Floating Lodge, in the Cardamom Mountains. This unique camp, built directly on the flowing river, is a perfect natural getaway after Phnom Penh. Finally, finish your trip with three beautiful nights on Song Saa Island, a perfect private escape off the shores of Sihanoukville.
Welcome to Cambodia. Upon arrival in Siem Reap, after obtaining your Visa and clearing Immigration and Customs proceed into the arrival area. You will meet your private guide and driver who will transfer you to your hotel.
Siem Reap is the best option for an international traveler's base from which to explore the Angkor temples. If not for the tourism boom brought on by the awesome sites around the city, Siem Reap might have been another sleepy Khmer village. Instead we find a bustling tourist town, complete with a well-named Pub Street, food vendors, luxury hotels, backpacking hostels, and the international travelers that drive it all. Sure, you'll probably want to spend most of your time outside the city, but don't underestimate the awesome opportunity to hit the town and mingle, bargain, eat, and drink your way through Siem Reap.
Early this morning you will be met by your private guide and transferred to Angkor Wat to watch the sunrise. Angkor Wat is the largest and most breathtaking monument at Angkor. Built as the funerary temple for Suryavarman II, who ruled from 1112 to 1152, Angkor never fails to reward the first time or repeat visitor with its grand scale, surreal bas-reliefs and unbelievable attention to detail. Here, you will spend the morning exploring one of man's most magnificent creations, before returning to the hotel for a late breakfast.
Following a colorful morning sight and well deserved breakfast, you will continue on to visit the fortified city of Angkor Thom. This site was built by Angkor's greatest king Jayavarman VII who ruled from 1181 to 1201. You will also have time to explore the Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, and the Terraces of the Elephants and Leper King. From there, it's off to the South gate of Angkor Thom to the Bayon temple, before stopping for lunch at a local restaurant.
Later today, you will visit the majestic Ta Prohm. Built in 1186 and dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII, Ta Prohm is a temple of towers, closed courtyards and narrow corridors. Unlike the other temples of Angkor, Ta Prohm has been left to the elements and looks very much like the other temples must have looked when "rediscovered" by Henri Mouhot in the 1860s. At the end of your angkor adventure, you will be returned to your hotel to spend the rest of the evening as you wish. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning, you'll be met by your guide and driven to Kampong Khleang Floating Village - approximately one hour outside of Siem Reap. Imagine wooden houses on 10-meter-tall stilts, surrounded by water in the wet season, and on the flood plains of the lake in the dry season. You will drive on dirt road to the village. Along the way, you will see wooden houses and traditional fishing equipment, as well as small children waving to say hello as you arrive. You will meet with a local family who will welcome you into their traditional stilt home for some tea and coffee. You'll then proceed to walk around and explore the village to learn more about life on the lake and the traditional fishing techniques employed here.
After a delicious lunch, you'll begin your work with a water filter installation. Together with the assistance of your guide, you'll set up the water filter in the home of the recipient family, which will provide them with clean drinking water for the next five years. After this inspiring experience, you will be transferred back to Siem Reap this evening, where you will have the remainder of the day free to rest and relax at your leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)
Early morning you’ll depart for your tour of the countryside. Highlights of today’s tour include learning a few of the signature dishes of a local Cambodian family and taking a leisurely bike ride in the srok srai Khmer (Cambodian countryside).
In the morning we go for shopping at a local market then cycle to the family’s house in the countryside. As part of your cooking class you’ll prepare the dishes we’ll enjoy together with the family for lunch. Afterwards, ride through rice fields and small villages. If you are interested you can stop and pay a visit to some of these traditional Khmer houses and pagodas or chat with the local people. After a while you will take a rest and try some local drinks like sugar cane juice, a refreshing sweet drink poured over and drunk by every Cambodian in the countryside.
This afternoon you'll continue on an excursion to Beng Mealea, another seldom-visited ruin and a spectacular jungle temple. Almost no restoration of the area has been undertaken so the jungle is becoming one with the carved sandstone. Roots of kapok trees twist and wind their way around the carvings and gray galleries. Intricately carved depictions have been well preserved, including scenes from the sacred Hindu Vedas, such the bird-god Garuda giving birth to Vishnu, the god who preserves all things.
Drive back to Siem Reap and enjoy the rest of the evening free at your own leisure.
This morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Siem Reap and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Phnom Penh. Upon arrival in Phnom Penh, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel to drop off your luggage before continuing on your private city tour.
Your personal tour guide and driver will pick you up at hotel to make a trip to Tuol Sleng Prison, housed in a high school, to glimpse the devastating horrors that prevailed during Cambodia's ultra-radical Marxist movement. This excursion may prove distressing for some; it is however an important piece of Cambodia’s recent past. After, take an excursion to Choeng Ek, also known as the "killing fields," located just outside the city. Lunch will be at the Friends Restaurant, which provides under privileged street children with the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the hospitality business. Not only is the food delicious but all profits are reinvested into the Training Center activities.
Continue to visit the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. Although some 60% of the pagoda’s contents were destroyed under Pol Pot’s regime, what remains is spectacular. This is one of the best places in all of Cambodia where objects embodying the brilliance of the Khmer civilization can still be viewed; continue to visit the National Museum with its huge collection of Khmer sculpture and artifacts recovered from Angkor.
Return to the hotel and spend the evening at leisure.
Phnom Penh, once lauded as the Pearl of Asia, is making its comeback known. Restaurants, businesses, and hotels are opening daily, and the buzz of excitement can be palpably felt. The unbelievable spirit of the Cambodian people lives here, short miles away from evidence of a 20th century marred by extreme violence. Orange robed monks seem to be everywhere, motorbikes won't stop brushing by you, the foreign aroma of spice markets will assault your senses, and it's all part of the beautiful experience.
At 8:00 AM this morning, you will be met by your guide to head out on a day filled with fun. To begin, you will visit Pshar Kandal, to indulge in some local delights. These include fried noodles, BBQ beef and traditional snacks made from rice and coconut juice cooked in a clay pan, among others. Afterwards, you will move on towards Pshar Chas, to try a small noodle dish with coconut milk and spring roll slices and sample another sweet dessert.
On a happy stomach, it will be time to take a walk to Phnom Penh’s old French quarter. This is home to a selection of fine colonial era architecture. You will have the chance to admire a number of Belle Epoque and Art Deco designs, such as the grand post office and the old French administration building. Your walk then proceeds to Wat Phnom. Meaning, ‘Mountain Pagoda’ in Khmer, this is a Buddhist temple that is the tallest religious structure in the capital. Continue to the national library, before passing the famous Raffles hotel. From there, head to the large colonial built train station. This station is still used from time to time to transport goods, but is no longer commercially used and it’s closed to the public.
Proceed to Cambodia’s largest market and a true Phnom Penh landmark – Psah Thmey. Meaning, "Grand Market", this is an amazing art deco building built in 1937. At the time that it opened, it was the biggest market in Asia. The four wings of this gigantic yellow dome are teeming with stalls ranging from gold and silver, antique coins, money exchange, apparel, clocks, books, flowers, food, souvenirs, luggage and countless other products. There, you can also meet a traditional Cambodian fortune teller if you wish, for $5 USD. If you want to try more yummy local snacks, we recommend a refreshing Teuk Ampov - a popular Khmer drink consisting of sugar cane juice poured over ice.
Visit the beautiful Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda this afternoon, before your tour comes to an end. This is one of the best places in all of Cambodia where objects embodying the brilliance of the Khmer civilization can still be viewed. The historic National Museum with its huge collection of Khmer sculpture and artifacts recovered from Angkor, will be your final stop of the day. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Phnom Penh and transferred to your accommodations in Tatai.
Settle in and begin exploring the fabulous area with a stroll through the virgin forest of the Cardamom Mountains.
Your day, depending on the tide, starts at around 10 am for the 45-minute boat ride past Tatai village to the falls. Turning on to a tributary, you head into the heart of the Cardamom jungle to the far off sounds of exotic birds and hidden wildlife. Within minutes, you are at journey’s end, gazing down into the turbulent waters of the falls.
Soon it is time for lunch, maybe a few moments hydro-massage and a refreshing drink as you find some shade for a picnic and open your senses to the sights and sounds of the jungle. We will also arrange to transport some kayaks for your added fun and adventure.
After leaving the falls, we stop at the mouth of a small river where you can paddle your kayak to a traditional Cambodian farm. Here you will see rice fields and some fruit trees depending on the season.
Today you will be picked up at your hotel in Tatai and transferred to the coastal province of Sihanoukville.
Upon arrival in Sihanoukville, you will be transferred to the pier where you will board a luxury speedboat to the secluded Song Saa Island.
Here an unforgettable resort experience awaits you at Song Saa Island Resort, the island's only address.
Have fun the next two days enjoying the resort's facilities.
Included in your stay, are all meals and snacks available from the resort's restaurant, unlimited access to the house wines and spirits, beers and non-alcoholic drinks, including the villa's bar, which is restocked daily, free use of the resort's kayaks, sailing boats and snorkeling gear, and guided tours of the unique terrestrial and marine environments of the Song Saa twin islands.
This morning you will be transferred back to the mainland by yacht.
Once on the mainland, your driver will meet you and transfer you back to the airport in good time to board your onward flight to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap where you'll catch your international flight home.
This sophisticated boutique retreat is nestled in tropical gardens within what is referred to as Siem Reap Village, a few paces from the peaceful Siem Reap River. Only 6 kilometers from the renowned Angkor temples and 15 minutes from Siem Reap international airport. It takes a gratifying 4 minutes tuk tuk ride to reach the Old Market, the new fascinating National Museum and lively Pub Street. The Heritage is the ideal intimate base for an astounding Angkor experience. With only 26 suites and rooms, the staff can truly focus on a highly customized service, authenticity and tradition, while providing all expected modern facilities. The architecture, the beautifully spacious suites, the unequalled kindness and efficiency of the staff and its culinary delights make Heritage unique as a luxurious sanctuary.
La Rose Suites is a luxurious 5-star boutique hotel in the heart of Cambodia's bustling capital. Nestled on a quiet street near Independence Monument, the Royal Palace and National Museum, La Rose Suites is the perfect location for a walk in the local park or a stroll along the riverside promenade. Equally inspired by the charming architecture of French Indochina and the grandeur of Angkor Wat, La Rose Suites aims to please aesthetically while tempting your other senses.
Accessible only by boat, the retreat's 12 landless suites all float on their own bouyant platforms, moored to the riverbank. Outfitted with a celing fan, armoire and wood-paneled shower, each of the towering, safari-style tented rooms also provides a nearly 360 degree view of the tropical landscape. A boardwalk connects the rooms to a central lounge and dining area. With so much to do every day, you will be spoiled for choice. Kayaking down river with or without an experienced local guide, explore the mangrove waterways that reach back into the jungle, team up with some locals and try your hand at fishing for your supper. Excursions can be arranged to Tatai Waterfall, Koh Kong on the border with Thailand, local markets in nearby villages or discover the customs, natural cures and beliefs of the Cambodians that have lived in the Cardamom mountains and its forests for generations. Or maybe it’s spoil-yourself time for a refreshing swim in the river or just lounge by the restaurant terasse and its amazing view for the sunset.
In the warm sapphire waters of the Gulf of Thailand, Cambodia’s islands nestle like dazzling natural jewels. Song Saa Private Island lies secluded in this magnificent seascape, just 35 minutes by boat from the port of Sihanoukville. Most of the islands remain undeveloped – deserted oases of virgin rainforests, tropical reefs and glistening white beaches. As a guest, you’ll be among a handful of lucky adventurers to experience this beautiful, untouched paradise. Walk among old-growth rainforest, watch dazzling reef fish swim under your villa or see rare hornbills land on your balcony. In this private intimate setting, you will lose yourself in the natural world. As Cambodia’s first luxury private island resort, we are committed to maintaining the natural assets that make this location so unique. If you are in search of a truly private tropical island experience, where you can forget the bustling world, few places rival Cambodia’s islands.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.