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Serenity of Cambodia with Mekong River Cruise

(12 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)

Siem Reap, Tonle Sap, Kompong Cham, Kompong Chnang, Phnom Penh, Kampot, Kep

 

A leisurely tour of Cambodia exploring the mystical temples of Angkor. The tour continues with a luxurious 3-night cruise on the Pandaw travelling from Siem Reap to the capital Phnom Penh across Lake Tonle Sap, stopping frequently along the way to explore towns and villages in this fascinating region of rural Cambodia. Explore the atmosphere of Cambodia’s exciting city of Phnom Pen. Finish with 3 nights at the atmospheric Knai Bang Chatt, located near the charming seaside town of Kep.

 

** All our tours are Exclusive Private Tours, so you will not be put together with other guests **

 

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Day 1: Welcome to Siem Reap

Fly to Siem Reap, CAMBODIA                                                           

 

Welcome to Cambodia. Upon arrival at Siem Reap Airport, obtain your Cambodia visa (please refer to your Special Program Note), and then clear Immigration and Customs.  After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire.

 

Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 3 nights in Siem Reap

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Shinta Mani Resort, Viroth’s Boutique Hotel, Pavillon d’Orient Boutique

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Park Hyatt Siem Reap, Belmond La Residence d’Angkor, Victoria Angkor Resort

 

Day 2: Siem Reap

Meals Provided:  Breakfast

 

These temples were built from the 9th to 12th centuries by a Khmer empire that controlled not only Cambodia but large parts of what are now Laos, Thailand and Vietnam as well. With their grandeur of scale and extraordinary delicacy in detail, the temples rank among humankind's most supreme artistic expressions. Spend the early morning visit the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century). See the South Gate with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, visit Bayon temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara), Baphuon (recently re-opened after years of restoration), the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephants Terrace, and the Terrace of the Leper King.

 

In the late afternoon and sunset hours, explore the most famous of all the temples on the plain of Angkor: Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Angkor Wat’s five towers symbolize Meru’s five peaks – the enclosed wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat, the ocean beyond. Sunset at Angkor Wat.

 

After dusk, you'll be returned to your hotel with the evening free to relax or explore independently.

 

Day 3: Siem Reap

Meals Provided:  Breakfast

 

Today, meet your personal guide and driver. Rise early to travel to Ta Phrom. Built in 1186, Ta Phrom was dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII. Its atmospheric dark gray sandstone towers and courtyards exude an aura of reverence and mystery. Unlike most of the other inner temples of Angkor, Ta Phrom has been left to the elements and looks very much as it must have when "discovered" by Henri Mouhot in the 1860s. Navigating through its narrow passages, immense kapok trees and jungle-covered ruins is an unparalleled experience and one of the highlights of Angkor. Next, you’ll visit Preah Khan or 'Sacred Sword', built by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. Sister temple to Ta Prohm, the cruciform corridors here are impressive and there are some wonderful carvings adorning the walls, including the spectacular hall of dancers. Look out for the curious two-storey structure that is almost Grecian in inspiration. This is one of the few temples originally dedicated to Buddhism and Hinduism. The original eastern entrance was for Mahayana Buddhists, while the other cardinal points represented the Hindu trinity of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. Next, to Banteay Kdei This temple was the first great Buddhist monastery in Cambodia, constructed by Jayavarman VII during the 12th and 13th centuries. Its system of galleries and vestibules that were added after the construction of the main towers makes it look like a cloister. It was built in sandstone, which has deteriorated quite badly. However, there remain some very beautiful lintels and pediments. Although it is in a ruinous state. You’ll then visit Ta Keo King Suryavarman I commissioned this temple in the 10th Century, but it was never completed so has no elaborate decoration like its contemporaries. It is a pyramid on 5 levels and is dedicated to Shiva. Some scholars contend this was due to an inauspicious lightning strike during construction. Others have suggested the high quality sandstone was simply too hard to carve in detail.

 

Later this afternoon, journey north to visit Banteay Srei. This petite pink temple is the jewel in the crown of Angkor-era sculpture. The elaborate carvings here are the finest found in Cambodia and the name translates as ‘Fortress of the Women', thanks to the intricate detail here, considered too fine for the hands of a man. Originally believed to date from the latter part of the Angkor period, inscriptions at the site suggest it was built by a Brahman in 967. However, some architectural historians have suggested that the inscriptions may date from an earlier structure on this site and the temple is in fact later, marking a high-water mark in Khmer sculpture. Stop at a local village to visit families who are producing palm sugar. Make a short stop at the Land Mine Museum, a rather humble look at the land mine problem, past and present, in Cambodia. Finish your tour with visit Banteay Samre, one of the most complete complexes at Angkor due to restoration using the method of “anastylosis”. The name Samre refers to an ethnic group of mountain people, who inhabited the region at the base of Phnom Kulen and were probably related to the Khmers. No inscriptions have been found for this temple, but the style of most of the architecture is of the classic art of the middle period similar to Angkor Wat.  The proportions of Banteay Samre are splendid. A unique feature is an interior moat with laterite paving, which when filled with water must have given an ethereal atmosphere to the temple.

 

This evening, walk up Phnom Bakheng for a sunset view of Angkor Wat and the surrounding areas. This view provides a wonderful overview of the entire area. (Please note that this site becomes very crowded at sunset, so you may choose to walk up to Pre Rep instead.) 

 

Day 4: Siem Reap – Lake Tonle Sap – Pandaw Cruise

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Private transfer from Siem Reap to the Pandaw cruise boat: After breakfast you will be transferred to the Pandaw cruise boat in Kampong Cham for the cruise from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. Embark the Pandaw in the early afternoon.

 

Pandaw Cruise: The Pandaw sets sail upstream towards Kampong Chhnang and the great Tonle Sap Lake. Wind through the jungle and as the river narrows you will be able to observe the locals going about their daily routines on the riverbanks. Later in the evening there is the opportunity to meet your fellow passengers at a special welcome dinner.

 

Accommodation: Spend 3 nights on board the RV Pandaw (Main Deck Cabin or Upper Deck)

 

Day 5: Pandaw Cruise: Tonle Sap – Kampong Cham

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Pandaw Cruise: This morning you will visit the hilltop pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey. Dating from the 8th century, these ancient brick structures characterize the architecture of the Chenla Empire which predated the glories of Angkor. After lunch set out on an exploration of the Kampong Cham area. You will travel by bus to the 12th century Angkorian temple of Wat Nokor. This colourful temple is unique in Cambodia, as a modern wat set within the ruins of an ancient temple. Continue on to the eco-village of Cheungkok and the Pandaw supported orphanage at Kampong Cham before returning to the boat in the late afternoon.

 

Day 6: Pandaw Cruise: Kampong Chhnang

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Pandaw Cruise: Set sail on the Tonle River which connects Tonle Lake with the Mekong and Basaac Rivers that merge at Phnom Penh. This river journey is one of the highlights of the trip. The Pandaw winds its way through jungle, and as the river narrows you feel as though you can almost reach out and touch the houses and people who come wave at the ship. Temples abound along the river banks at Kampong Chhnang, and you will see a rich tapestry of Cambodian rural life. This is a busy rural port town with bustling markets.

 

Mooring mid-stream, you take a wonderful motor boat excursion into the lakeside wetlands that form the mouth of the river. Here a stunning variety of birdlife may be seen and of considerable interest are the great fish traps, some hundreds of feet long, which net a huge tonnage of fish after each monsoon as teh fish migrate from the falling lake into the Tonle River

 

Day 7: Pandaw Cruise: Arrive in Phnom Penh

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Pandaw Cruise: Today you reach the capital of Cambodia which retains much of its French charm. After a full buffet breakfast this morning, say goodbye to the staff and disembark. After disembarking the Pandaw at Phnom Penh's central port, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. This city was once considered one of the most beautiful in Orient, and despite its recent turbulent history it still retains a colonial charm.

 

After getting settled, you'll head out with your guide and spend the afternoon visit the Royal Palace built in 1866 by King Norodom. See the different structures of this pagoda-style compound and stroll in its beautiful garden. Visit the Silver Pagoda so named because of its floor that is comprised of 5,000 silver tiles. A gold Buddha encrusted with 9,584 diamonds and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha are also housed here. Next, visit the National Museum. Built in 1917 it is an exceptional example of traditional architecture and is exclusively devoted to preserving and displaying Khmer art and sculptures. Hundreds of pieces are housed here including both pre-and post-Angkorian pieces. Continue to visit to the city's namesake, Wat Phnom. Founded in 1373, the pagoda was built to house Buddhist relics washed ashore by the river. Later this afternoon enjoy one-hour sunset cruise on the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers. The boat will pass past floating villages, providing great views of the city’s rapidly changing skyline.

 

Accommodation: Stay 2 nights in Phnom Penh

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: La Rose Suites, The Pavillon, Arunreas Hotel

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra

 

Day 8: Phnom Penh

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Today, meet your personal guide and driver and drive to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek (16 km south of Phnom Penh). Between 1975 and 1978 about 17,000 men, women, children and infants (including nine westerners) detained and tortured at S-21 prison were transported to the extermination camp of Choeung Ek. They were often bludgeoned to death to avoid wasting precious bullets. Fragments of human bone and bits of cloth are scattered around the disinterred pits. Over 8,000 skulls, arranged by sex and age, are visible behind the clear glass panels of the Memorial Stupa, which was erected in 1988. You'll then continue to visit the notorious Tuol Sleng Museum. In 1975 Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot's security forces and turned into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). It soon became the largest such center of detention and torture in the country. More than 17,000 people held at S-21 were taken to the extermination camp at Choeung Ek to be executed; detainees who died during torture were buried in mass graves in the prison ground. Room after room the museum displays photographs of men, women and children covering the walls from floor to ceiling; virtually all the people pictured were later killed. Next, continue visit the Russian Market (Psah Tuol Thom Pong), a lively outdoor market where you will find antiquities, silver and gold jewelry, gems, silk, kramas, stone and wood carvings, as well as T-Shirts, CDs and other souvenirs.

 

Afternoon at leisure: This afternoon is at leisure to relax at your hotel, or explore the town of Phnom Penh.

 

Day 9: Phnom Penh – Kampot – Kep

Meals Provided:  Breakfast

 

Road journey from Phnom Penh to Kep via Kampot: After breakfast this morning depart Phnom Penh for Kampot and travel towards the old French seaside resort of Kep with sightseeing en route. Situated on the south bank of the Teuk Chhou River, Kampot is one of the most charming places to visit in Cambodia. It was once a bustling trading port, populated mostly by Chinese merchants, the relatives of whom still live there today. In town, there are colonial shop houses whose architecture is characteristic of the 1900s. Visit the colorful and lively market where many bargains are to be found. Discover the French colonial and post-colonial Kampot, Chinese way of life, architecture and institutions. Finish your excursion with a Kampot pepper farm. Next, we continue to the visit Phnom Chhnork, a large cave that contains a 7th century brick temple in remarkable condition, this hidden temple is a very sacred place for local Khmers. Continue to the coastal village of Kep. This quiet fishing village is the ideal place to relax at the end of your holiday. On arrival in Kep check in to your beachside accommodations and enjoy the remainder of the day and evening at leisure. Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 3 nights in Kep

 

Medium Class 3 Star Hotels: Veranda Nature Resort, Samanea Beach Resort

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Knai Bang Chatt

 

Day 10: Kep – Rabbit Island – Kep

Meals Provided:  Breakfast & Lunch  

 

Guided excursion to Rabbit Island: After breakfast you will be transferred to the port from where you will take a local fishing boat to Koh Tonsay (perhaps better known as Rabbit Island). The boat ride will take 40 minutes and on arrival you will have a day to explore the island or relax on the beach. Today's lunch will be served at a beachside restaurant which is famous in the region for its signature dish of swimmer crab and Kampot pepper.

 

Late afternoon you will begin the return journey to Kep by boat and then by car and enjoy the remainder of day free at leisure to explore more of Kep independently.

 

Day 11: Kep

Meals Provided:  Breakfast

 

Today is at leisure to relax at your hotel, or explore more of the local area independently.

 

Day 12: Kep – Phnom Penh

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Road journey from Kep to Phnom Penh: You will have free time in the morning and afternoon until your guide and driver picked up for the drive back to Phnom Penh airport to check in for your return flight home or next destination. We wish you a safe and pleasant journey.

 

 

Price guideline:

 

The above tour costs from $2,385*per person, based on 2 people sharing a double or twin room.

 

*Please note this price is subject to change at the time of booking, and depends on the date of travel and the availability of accommodation.

 

Our price includes (Private tour): 

• Accommodation base in a shared double or twin room throughout

Daily buffet breakfast at hotel and all hotels taxes and service charges.

Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary.

Travel by private, air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced, safe driver.

Private sightseeing with local, English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary.

Meals included as indicated as in program: B: breakfast, L: lunch & D: dinner.

Boat cruise as specified in the programmed.

Entrance fees according the above program.

Local bottled water while sightseeing and transfers.

VAT and all taxes and service charge.

 

The price does not include

International flight tickets and Visas

Any items of purely personal nature such as laundry and telephone calls

Personal, travel and health insurance

Early check in and late check out

Drinks during meals

Meals that are not specified

Gratuities/tipping to tour guide, driver and hotel staff and restaurant’s staff

 

 

All of our itineraries can customized as you wish, add extra days, change a hotel, and see different sights. For information on this or our other tours please email us at: info@globaltravel-asia.com