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Cambodian Culture & Coast

(14 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)

Siem Reap (Angkor Wat), Kompong Thom, Phnom Penh, Tatai, Sihanoukville, Kampot, Kep

 

Get off the beaten track and explore the best of Cambodia on this epic overland journey from Siem Reap to charming seaside town of Kep. The adventure starts at the majestic temples of Angkor, where you have two days to experience the ruins at your own pace. Board a private boat for the spectacular journey across the waterways of Lake Tonle Sap to Battambang, a charming provincial town in Cambodia’s “rice bowl”. After exploring the area's colonial heritage and fertile countryside, drive south to Phnom Penh via the ancient temple of Udong. Spend a day soaking up the unique atmosphere of the capital city. Continue your journey northeast along the coast until reaching the Tatai River, on the southern fringe of the Cardamom Mountain range. Stay two nights here in a luxurious tented villa on stilts, from where the surrounding forests and waterfalls can be explored by kayak and boat, then head south to the atmospheric riverside town of Kampot. Finish with 3 nights at the luxuriously converted colonial villa in the French-discovered seaside resort 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 4 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

Meals Provided:  Breakfast

 

This morning you will be met at your hotel at 8.00am and travel to the lost temple of Beng Mealea, the titanic of temples, a slumbering giant lost for centuries in the forests of Cambodia. It is the most accessible of Angkor’s lost temples, a mirror image of Angkor Wat, but utterly consumed by the voracious appetite of nature. Constructed by Suryavarman II (1113-1150), the builder of Angkor Wat, the forest has run riot here and it is hard to get a sense of the monument’s shape amid the daunting ruins. Here it is possible to enjoy an Indiana Jones experience clambering about the vast ruin. For those who want a more gentle adventure, there is also a sturdy wooden walkway running right into the heart of the temple. It is also possible to visit a nearby Angkor-era quarry from where stone was cut to build these massive monuments.

 

Later this afternoon, depart Siem Reap for a tour of the surrounding countryside and take an ox-cart ride through the villages and the rice fields. At the end of your ride, have a fresh coconut drink with the family and do not hesitate to talk with the local people to get to know more about their lives. Then drive to the fishing village of Kompong Pluk (if the road is passable) near Siem Reap and board a private boat. Visit Kompong Pluk village with its houses standing on stilts and board a pirogue to discover the seasonally flooded forest. Enjoy the natural splendor of the country during a cruise across the Tonle Sap Lake to the village of Chhong Kneas. Visit the floating village and discover the centuries-old lifestyle of the inhabitants of the lake.

 

Day 5: Siem Reap – Kompong Thom – Phnom Penh

Meals Provided:  Breakfast

 

Road journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: This morning depart Siem Reap and head South West to Phnom Penh. Break the journey at en-route, visit traditional villages and stop at the ancient Naga Bridge (Spean Pratpo), located 40 km from Siem Reap. Continue your journey to the temples of Sambor Prei Kuk.

 

Guided tour of Sambor Prei Kuk: The impressive pre-Angkorian capital of Isanapura, known today as Sambor Prei Kuk, was the first major temple city in South-East Asia. The brick temples of Sambor Prei Kuk are a peaceful contrast to their more illustrious relatives at Angkor. Explore the main temples here, including Prasat Tao with its elaborately coiffured lions and Prasat Sambor, with its crumbling sanctuaries. You will pass Kompong Thom Province, stop for a Village called Samnak Village’s stone sculptors carving out their giant Buddhas. The craftsmen use rocks from Phnom Santuk’s foothills to craft spectacular statues of all shapes and sizes.

 

Later continue to the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. This city was once considered one of the most beautiful in Orient, and despite its recent turbulent history it still retains a colonial charm.

 

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

 

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 6: 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.

 

After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to discover 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. Finish your tour at 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.

 

Day 7: Phnom Penh – Tatai

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Road journey from Phnom Penh to Tatai: After breakfast, depart from Phnom Penh to Tatai on a scenic 290km journey through the Cardamon Mountains (5 hours). Arrive at the Tatai Bridge and take a 30 minute boat ride to the 4Rivers Floating Lodge, your home for the next two nights, built on the river with gorgeous surroundings and peaceful seclusion, privacy and luxury far away from the beaten trail - the Four Rivers Floating Loadge must be one of the most unique and unusual properties we have come across. Situated on the curve of a river in the little explore Cardamom Mountains, close to the border with Thailand, it offers an unforgettable and magical escape. Spend time at leisure in the afternoon to fully enjoy the peace and quiet at the floating Resort. Go for a swim in the fresh river or take a kayak to discover the mangroves near the Resort.

 

This late afternoon enjoy the Paradise Regained - Sunset Cruise, departure at 4.30pm, 2-3 hours or as long as you are enjoying yourselves. Leave your worries behind and cruise off into the Cardamoms’ superb sunset aboard our boat. Snuggle up with that special someone as the sun paints the sky with colors that change from brilliant blues to deep yellows, oranges, pinks and reds. Its spectacular lights add a whole new dimension to your 4 Rivers experience. As your boat cruises the waters of Tatai River with a warm ocean breeze, the descending darkness embraces you in the lush green of the forest and brings the misty mountains closer as the tropical sun dips to the horizon and transforms the skies into a spectacle showing off magnificent shades … Before the sun sets, with the calm waters and the natural sounds of the surrounding forest to complement the romantic mood, you can sit back, relax and indulge your senses, with a glass of wine, on an unforgettable 4 Rivers Sunset Cruise. Toast the end of a perfect day in paradise as the sun’s flare dies down and the velvet darkness of the night descends …a prelude to a magical evening at 4 Rivers. Dinner at the Resort.  After 9pm take a short boat trip (or kayak) under a sky full of stars and see the hundreds of fire flies up in the trees at the river, a truly magnificent view.

 

Accommodation: Stay 2 nights at the 4 River Floating Lodge (Floating Tented Lodge)

 

Day 8: Tatai

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Boat and kayaking trip to the Tatai Waterfalls: This morning, take a boat trip to Tatai Waterfall. Nature’s Spa – Tatai Waterfall by boat. One of the must-sees of the region, departure at 10am, 5-6 hours or as long as you are enjoying yourselves. Some degree of fitness is necessary for enjoying this trip to the full. Away from the tranquility of 4 Rivers Floating Lodge, the thunder of the majestic Tatai Falls reveals the river’s true power as it drops 6 meters to the rocks below. Your day, depending on the tide, starts at around 10am 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 its secretive wildlife. Within minutes you are at journey’s end, gazing down into the turbulent waters of the falls. Soon it’s 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; you will see rice fields and some fruit trees depending of the season. Return to the lodge in the afternoon. Please note that this excursion is shared with other guests at the lodge.

 

Day 9: Tatai – Sihanoukville

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Morning Trek: Early morning enjoy Rainforest Symphony - Dawn Jungle Trek. It’s your time to shine if you’re a bird watcher or early riser. Enjoy firsthand the sights and sounds of the jungle as you venture forth into the undergrowth with your camera and experience the beauty of one of the world’s largest rainforests. This trek offers a taste of the true jungle, an opportunity to observe small wildlife and have the added bonus of a morning exercise. It provides a sense of achievement and the chance to cool off in beautiful surroundings. After an early coffee in our restaurant kayak upstream the small channel right behind 4 Rivers. The climb starts shortly after on a fairly steep path for about an hour. There is a short break in a clearing near the top and you will return just in time for a 4 Rivers breakfast. There are snakes, scorpions and spiders on the trek; some are poisonous. However animals are shy and avoid human contact. Respect for nature and a live and let live policy are adopted.

 

Boat and road journey from 4 Rivers Eco Lodge to Kampot: This afternoon check out resort and drive to Sihanoukville. Cambodia’s premier beach location is Sihanoukville located on a peninsula and surrounded by long stretches of sandy beaches. The laid-back atmosphere and excellent seafood are Sihanoukvilles major draws while a party can always be found going on in the town center. Ochheuteal Beach is the most popular beach and it attracts a large weekend crowd. Otres beach is just 15 minutes down the road and provides a peaceful escape.

 

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

 

Accommodation: Stay 2 nights in Sihanoukville

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: TAMU Hotel, Sokha Beach Resort, Independent Hotel

 

Day 10: Sihanoukville

Meals Provided:  Breakfast

 

Spend the day relaxing by the pool or take a stroll along the beach.

 

Day 11: Sihanoukville – Kampot – Kep

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Road journey from Sihanoukville to Kep via Kampot: After breakfast this morning depart Sihanoukville 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 12: 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 13: Kep

Meals Provided:  Breakfast

 

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

 

Day 14: 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 $2,260*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