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. 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 at the Cardamom Tented Camp, in the Cardamom Mountains. This unique camp, built inside Botum Sakor NationalPark, 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 temples of Preah Khan, 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 evening, you will be picked up from your hotel around 7:15 PM and driven to the Phare Cambodian Circus Show. The one hour performance begins at 8:00 PM and offers incredible entertainment. "Phare Ponleu Selpak" means “Brightness of the Arts” in the Khmer language. Phare is a Cambodian non-profit art organization that was founded back in 1994 by eight young Cambodians returning from refugee camps. Their purpose was to improve the development of local communities by providing education, in addition to leisure and professional artistic training. The circus performers are all very talented and passionate about their work. The shows change and rotate depending on the time you visit, but all of the performances focus on traditional and contemporary themes. This really is the rebirth of Cambodian dance and culture. At the end of your performance, you will be driven back to your hotel.
This morning, you will be met by your guide and driven to the Kampong Khleang Floating Village, located about one hour outside of Siem Reap. This fascinating village boasts wooden houses on 10-meter-tall stilts, surrounded by water in the wet season, and set on the lake's floodplains during the dry season. A drive along a dirt road into the village, showcases the region's wooden houses, traditional fishing equipment and small children waving to say hello. Upon arrival, you will be introduced to a local family and welcomed into their traditional stilt home for tea and coffee. Afterward, you will walk around and explore more of the village, to learn about their unique life on the lake and the traditional fishing techniques employed here. After a delicious lunch, you will begin the special water filter installation. With the assistance of your guide, you will set up the water filter in the home of a recipient family, which will provide them with clean drinking water for the next five years!
This afternoon, visit Beng Mealea, a former Angkorian capital and one of the most remote temple sites currently accessible in Cambodia. Until the late 1990's Beng Melea was considered unsafe because of its remote location in a Khmer Rouge held area and could only be accessed by 4WD. However, a new road has now been completed, making the journey much more comfortable. Good hiking shoes are a must for your exploration though! Spend the afternoon exploring Beng Melea, before visiting one last temple on the way back to town. (This service is on a private basis.)
You'll have an early morning departure for countryside tour. Today you will learn a few of the signature dishes of a local Cambodian family and take a leisurely bike ride in the sroksrai Khmer (Cambodian countryside). In the morning we go for shopping at a local market and cycle to the family house in the countryside. Start cooking the dishes you’ll enjoy together with the family during lunch. 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 such as sugar cane juice a refreshing sweet drink poured over ice – this is drunk by many Cambodians and is especially popular in the countryside. In the early afternoon you will cycle back to Siem Reap town.
This afternoon we'll take a scenic drive to Banteay Srei, loosely translated as "Citadel of Women." It houses some of the finest and best-preserved examples of classical Khmer bas-relief. The walls are densely covered with some of the most beautiful and intricate carvings of any Angkorian temple. The temple's relatively small size, pink sandstone construction and ornate design give it a fairyland ambiance.
Continue to the Cambodia Land Mine Museum. A child soldier named Aki Ra was forced by the Khmer Rouge to lay thousands of mines as a child, and has now devoted his life to clearing them and has so far removed over 50,000. The facility he runs is part museum, but also an orphanage, school and clinic to victims. Today you will finish your day tour with the sunset at Pre Rup Temple, The beautiful rusty-red hue of the laterite stone and brick used to build Pre Rup is accentuated during sunset and stands in brilliant contrast to the lush green of the jungle in the distance. Return to Siem Reap in the late afternoon.
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.
After you check into your accommodation your guide will pick you up and take you to lunch. Lunch will be at 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.
After lunch make a trip to visit the 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. Then, take an excursion to Choeng Ek, also known as the "killing fields,"- located just outside the city. Afterwards return to your hotel to spend the evening free at your leisure. We recommend visiting Phnom Penh’s charming riverside which is buzzing with activity and has many good restaurants.
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. (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 the Cardamom Mountains (Transfer Duration: Approx 4.5 hours driving + 1 hour boat ride).
Upon arrival Trapeang Rung bridge you will board a boat for your hour-long journey along the Preak Tachan River to Cardamom Tented Camp. Settle into your comfortable safari-style tent. This afternoon set off on an exploratory hike in the jungle around the camp. The diversity of the fauna will amaze you! Learn more about the conservation and protection work implemented by Wildlife Alliance.
After an early breakfast, Wildlife Alliance Rangers will meet you and together with an English-speaking guide embark on patrol over a network of abandoned poaching and logging trails through the dense forest. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. The half-day hike will stop by the Ranger Station, where confiscated snares, traps and improvised hunting rifles are on display. A Local Khmer lunch will be served. After lunch, enjoy some down time relaxing or swimming in the river.
Later this afternoon, you will kayak along Preak Tachan back to camp. If you are lucky, you might see some monkeys or unique birds during the kayaking! (This service is on a group basis.)
Today you can spend the day in nature as you see fit. There are a number of short trails starting at the lodge, perfect for exploring on your own. Alternatively, you can relax on the floating pier on the Preak Tachan River with binoculars at hand to spot birds. In the early morning and in the evenings, you'll often hear the whooping of Gibbons. Kayaks are also available to further explore the river. Lunch will be served at the riverside restaurant.
Optional: There is the possibility to embark on another patrol with Wildlife Alliance rangers.
This morning you will board the return boat back to Trapeang Rung (approx. 1 hour). Upon landing, you'll be met by your driver for your transfer to Sihanoukville Port (approx. 3 hours). From here you will board the resort speedboat (shared) to the secluded Song Saa Island (approx. 45 minutes).
Have fun the next two days enjoying the resort's facilities.
Included in your stay: All meals and snacks available from the resort's restaurant, unlimited access to the house wines, house spirits, house beers, cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks, mini bar restocked daily – with alcoholic, non-alcoholic beverages and selected snacks; Three pieces of laundry per person per day (non-accumulative); Free use of the resort's kayaks, sailboats and snorkeling gear; Shared Complimentary longtail boat excursion to Sala Song Saa Village Tour (subject to resort schedule); 15-minute foot ritual and 15 Minutes Neck/Head/Shoulder Massage (once per stay, from 10:00am - 1:00pm).
This morning you will be transferred back to the mainland by resort speedboat (shared).
Once on the mainland, your driver will meet you and transfer you to the Sihanoukville 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.
The eco-camp is equipped with nine comfortable safari-style tents located inside Botum Sakor National Park that minimize the human footprint on nature and promote sustainable tourism. Each of the nine tents provides you with a fully-enclosed and mosquito-protected 32.6m² canvas tent. In-room amenities are the standard of a 3-star hotel, including twin or Queen double beds, sufficient fans, bamboo and rattan furniture, bathroom facilities with hot water, rain showers and spacious patios with sun chairs.
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.
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