Experience Cambodia with Seven Senses
10 Days / 9 Nights
Experience off-the-beaten-track Cambodia on this unique tour of the country. After an exciting exploration in and around Angkor, head to the remote Beng Mealea, a prototype of Angkor Wat fully overgrown by vegetation. Explore Koh Ker, once the capital of the Khmer Empire, then head to Preah Vihear, by far Cambodia’s most dramatically located temple on the Thai border. Continue to O'Svay on the Lao border and spend overnight in a homestay at a small village. See the Mekong Dolphins. Explore remote villages and pagodas by motorbike, finally explore the hidden backstreets of Phnom Penh and experience the real life of the locals.
Our itineraries are suggestions and are fully customisable according to your needs, interests and budget.
Treat these itineraries as inspiration and one of our experts will create your uniquely tailored holiday with your requests in mind so that you can truly experience Cambodia with Seven Senses.
Day 1. Arrive Siem Reap, the Gateway to Angkor (-/-/-)
Meet your guide and driver upon arrival and be transferred to your hotel. Time to freshen up and rest.
In the afternoon meet with your guide and visit a small temple, where you meet with a local monk and receive a traditional monk blessing. The blessing is a traditional local ritual that is specially adjusted to bless your travels through Cambodia. Walk around the compound of the pagoda and learn more about the architecture and Buddhism. Continue afterwards with a short tuktuk ride to the local home of Sombai where a very special concept has been created that also happens to be delicious! Meet with the team of Sombai and learn more about the Infused Rice Wine and how this is being created. Taste the different wines and enjoy this special treat and festive welcome to Cambodia!
Day 2. Angkor Highlights by Jeep/Tuk-tuk or Bike (B/L/-)
Start in the early morning with a 1960’s Military Jeep Ride to Ta Prohm. Constructed in the Bayon style between the late 12th and early 13th century, Ta Prohm was left pretty much untouched by archaeologists. The trees that grow out of the ruins allow for a mysterious feeling filled with photogenic opportunities. Leave the temple at the backside and enjoy a short hike to the back entrance of Banteay Kdei, which is known also as the “Citadel of Monks”. Exiting the temple at the east side will bring you to Sras Srang. Continue with a nice walk of 30 minutes from Sras Srang to Batchum temple. Pass through a typical Khmer village with its wooden houses on stilts and observe the daily activities of its people. The jeep waits at this small temple that dates back to the middle of the 10th century. An early lunch is served nearby at a local home.
Continue by jeep to Angkor Wat, and enter from the East Gate. Around this time of the day, most people head back for lunch in town, leaving the masterpiece relatively quiet for exploration. King Suryavarman II constructed this magnificent temple and built it to become the largest religious monument in the world. Leave Angkor Wat through the West Gate and continue by jeep to the South Gate of Angkor Thom. Take the opportunity to photograph the impressive entrance to Angkor Thom, which translates to “Great City”. The jeep will drop you at a small temple, beautifully overgrown with trees called Palilay. From here walk through the forest to the Phimeanakas and the Baphuon, both structures built in the pyramid style in the 11th and 10th century respectively. Continue to the centerpiece of the city; the Bayon, which served as a Mahayana shrine dedicated to Buddha. Its most distinctive features are the 216 serene stone faces that seemingly face all directions. Visit the Terrace of the Elephants, which is a 300 meters long terrace. The south stairway is framed with three-head elephants gathering lotus flowers with their trunks. The central stairway is decorated by lions and garudas in bas-reliefs in a stance of support for the stairways. Likewise, the Terrace of Leper King was constructed in the 12th century. The curious name of this terrace refers to a statue of the Leper King that is on the platform of the terrace. Finally, visit the Victory Gate from where a short hike brings you to the East Gate, also known as the Gate of the Death. This gate remains beautifully untouched in a very quiet part of the complex surrounded by forest. It is the perfect place to end the day with a snack and cool drink before you return to town where you enjoy a free evening.
Note: Above temples are standard temples most people see. Not all temples we visit are mentioned. The program and timings are flexible depending on weather conditions.
Day 3. Kampong Phluk - Banteay Srei - Kbal Spean (B/L/-)
Depart after breakfast to Kampong Phluk, which is a cluster of three villages of stilted houses built within the floodplain of the Tonle Sap. Flooded mangrove forest surrounds the area and is home to a variety of wildlife. During the dry season when the water levels are low, the buildings in the villages seem to soar atop their 6-meter stilts. Enjoy an intriguing boat trip through the village and its mangroves and learn more about this exceptional way of life. Continue afterwards to a local monastery, where a special lunch arrangement awaits. Here you will be served a delicious meal, which is prepared on the spot. Continue afterwards to one of the jewels in the Angkor area, Banteay Srei, which dates back to the late 10th century. The enchanting temple is nearly everyone's favourite site. The special charm of this temple lies in its remarkable state of preservation, small size and excellence of decoration. It was built by a Brahmin of royal descent who was a spiritual teacher to Jayavarman V, which is unique as this makes Banteay Srei the only major temple built by a non-King. A special feature of the exquisite decoration was the use of hard pink sandstone. End the day in to Kbal Spean, at the slopes of the Kulen mountains. Start a 1500m hike uphill through beautiful forest. The stunning carvings in the sandstone river bed and river banks are identical to the ones found at Phnom Kulen. A small waterfall and the serene environment invites for a refreshing shower.
Day 4. Siem Reap - Beng Mealea - Koh Ker - Preah Vihear (B/L/-)
Leave Siem Reap after breakfast and drive towards the north. Visit Beng Mealea, which was built between the late 11th and the first half of the 12th century. It is assumed that King Suryavarman II ordered the construction of Beng Mealea, maybe even as a prototype of its larger brother; Angkor Wat, but no actual proof can be found in its depictions. The ruins of Beng Mealea are overgrown with vegetation, allowing a real “wilderness experience.” In recent years a wooden pathway has been constructed throughout the temple to allow people to observe the beauty of the temple in ease. However, most people venture off the beaten track and find their own way through the temple allowing them to experience the feeling the first explorers must have felt when they uncovered this magnificent structure. Continue to Koh Ker, which was the Capital of the Khmer Empire for a very brief period between 928 and 944AD. In this short time, some very spectacular buildings and immense sculptures were constructed. Left to the jungle for nearly a millennium and mostly un-restored, this great archaeological site has been rarely visited until very recently. The ancient Khmer city is in a distant jungle location with up to a hundred ruined temples including a huge stepped pyramid, the largest in the region. More ancient temples are being found in the jungle allowing for a true sense of discovery. Koh Ker is a paradise for those who want to witness how forceful the elements of nature can reclaim manmade structures. A picnic can be enjoyed in between the visits in the shade of the trees.
Continue afterwards to Sa Em, for your overnight stay.
Day 5. Preah Vihear Temple - Community Adventure in O'Svay (B/L/-)
Depart after breakfast for the majestically located Preah Vihear Temple. Purged on the cliffs of the Dangrek Mountains that border Thailand, Preah Vihear is by far Cambodia’s most dramatically located temple. Arrive at the foot of the mountain and climb aboard a pickup truck for the steep climb up to the temple. Explore the temple and be amazed by the size of the complex. Started by King Suryavarman I and finished by King Suryavarman II, the temple was listed as a UNESCO site on 7 July 2008. Return to ground level and transfer to O’Svay, located on the border with Lao, to board a local boat. The trip takes about 1 hour and passes unimaginable beauty. Different kinds of birds, some being endangered, beautiful river flora and fauna and untouched nature can be observed on the way. Arrive at Anlong Cheutteal and head for Rock Zero. This rock stands in the middle of the Mekong, between Laos and Cambodia and allows observing the Mekong Dolphins that swim in this deep pool. It is not the largest dolphin pool in the Mekong, but sightings are almost guaranteed in this beautiful spot. Hike a short distance through the forest and another 1.5km over a tarmac road before reaching the falls. A well-deserved cold drink is served and take in the amazing views that unfold in front of you. Return to O’Svay and check in with the local community for a wonderful homestay. Help the family at night preparing dinner or walk around the village. Enjoy dinner with the family and call it an early night.
Day 6. O'Svay - The Mekong Dolphins in Kampi - Kratie - Koh Trong (B/-/-)
Leave O’Svay in the morning and drive to Kampi. The Mekong is home to a number of deep pools in which fresh water dolphins live. Kampi is home to the largest amount of dolphins, which are critically endangered. Board a local boat and float around the waters of the Mekong. Continue afterwards to Kratie where you will board a local ferry to Koh Trong. This 9km long island is situated in the Mekong and is a true gem.
Day 7. A Countryside Adventure on Motorbike (B/L/-)
Take a ferry after breakfast to the mainland where motorbikes await. Choose to drive a motorbike yourself or hop on the back of one for an unforgettable rural experience. Drive southwards and visit Wat Rokakandal first. This beautifully restored pagoda dates back over a century and is now home to a craft center. Continue further south and take a ferry to cross the Mekong River. Once on the other side of the river head north and the experiences become very authentic. Villages beautifully located on the banks of the river are connected with shady dirt roads and paths. Pagodas are the community institutions and small schools with hundreds of kids welcome you warmly to their community. Meet with the local village elderly, the school kids and the people working hard at home. Find a suitable and quiet place with a perfect view over the Mekong to enjoy a simple picnic lunch. Cross the river once more at Vodthanak with a local ferry and continue from there 15km north to Wat Sarsar Mouy Roy (The 100 Pillar Pagoda). Of great historic significance to the region, the pagoda remains one of the largest in Cambodia. Enjoy local snacks and fresh coconut juice before moving south again back towards Kratie and further to Koh Trong.
Day 8. Transfer to Phnom Penh (B/-/-)
Leave Koh Trong in the morning and cross the Mekong by ferry to Kratie. On our way to Phnom Penh, we will visit several places. Our first stop will be at Wat Nokor temple, followed by the hills. One is called the men’s hill and the other one the women’s hill. Let your guide explain you the funny story behind it.
Day 9. Phnom Penh Walking Tour (B/L/-)
Meet your guide and tuktuk driver at 9AM and ride to the Independence Monument. The monument was built in 1958 and represents Cambodia’s independence from France, which they gained in 1953. Continue with a walk through the Independence Park and observe the Statue of the King’s Father and the Cambodia–Vietnam Friendship Monument. Hop back onto the tuktuk and head for the Central Market. The market was constructed in 1937 by the French and recently renovated. The art deco building is a unique landmark of the city. Nearby, one of Monivong Boulevard’s oldest buildings hosts an excellent view point over the capital’s busiest district and most famous street. Visit the Railway Station afterwards, which was built in 1932. A short walk away is the National Library. This beautiful building is home to impressive historical documents. Sit down at the library and learn more about Phnom Penh’s history. Lunch is served in a nearby local restaurant that serves many local favourites. Continue to the nearby Wat Phnom, which is considered to be the birthplace of the city of Phnom Penh. Also the near Old Quarters is an interesting visit with the Post Office being the center of attention. Opt to climb on top of the old abandoned hotel (at your own risk - The Old Colonial Hotel is a building in despair. The steps to the top are a bit shaky and the Monkey colony that lives at the building is not very friendly) for a great view of the “Colonial Square”. Ride further north and explore the little alleys that make up the old Chinese and Vietnamese Quarters. The alleys are so narrow at times that it feels like we walk through people’s living rooms. Small markets, chicken farms and all kinds of activities take place here. It is a real treat to explore! Enjoy a drink at the Chinese House, one of Phnom Penh’s most iconic restaurants before the ride continues south along the River Boulevard. Visit Wat Ounalom at the end of the afternoon. The Wat is beautifully located on the riverside and is possibly the city’s most esthetically famed pagoda. The last walk of the day brings you to the Conference Hall Building, designed by Cambodia’s most famed architect. The building is located at Chaktomuk, where the four rivers that bypass Phnom Penh all meet together.
End the day with a short transfer to the ferry pier of Phnom Penh and board a local ferry to the peninsula. Enter the Sokha Hotel and reach the 20th floor for a sunset cocktail and a view of the city unrivaled by any other sky bar.
Note: The tour can be adjusted and other sites like the Royal Palace, S-21, the Killing Fields or the National museum can be included against surcharge. Please let us know in advance.
Day 10. Departure (B/-/-)
Transfer to the airport to board your flight to your next destination.
The itinerary may be subject to change depending on circumstances.
PRICES AND INCLUSIONS
Projects you support while traveling this program:
A local family: As part of our commitment to help the local community, we always pay a small contribution when we visit a local home, have a lunch at a family’s home or when the family allows us to make use of any service or equipment they are able to offer us.
The Pagoda: A Pagoda is a community institution. If you had lunch on the grounds of a pagoda, or visited a pagoda and met with a local monk, we donate to that pagoda. The Pagoda usually uses the money for development of its grounds, which benefits the entire community they are located in as everyone is allowed to make use of the pagoda, its facilities and its guidance.
Kok Dong Community School: Even if you haven’t visited the Kok Dong Community School, we still support the school with materials, computers, and donations and any other materials and advice needed for the school to continue to develop the young minds of Cambodia.
10 DAYS / 9 NIGHTS FROM £1,450 per person + flights
based on 2 people travelling together
The price includes:
9 nights medium range hotel accommodation in twin/double rooms:
Air conditioned private vehicle with driver for the full duration of the tour as described in the itinerary
All tours mentioned in the itinerary with private English speaking guide
Meals: breakfast in the hotels, lunches according to the program
All entrance fees and permissions to the sites visited
The price does not include:
Return flights from the UK to Cambodia
Anything not specifically mentioned above
Visa fee for Cambodia
Tips to the guide and driver
Personal costs such as drinks, laundry, etc.
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