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Mystic Angkor & Beautiful South

(13 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)

Siem Reap (Angkor Wat), Sihanoukville, Kep, Phnom Penh

 

Discover the architectural history of Cambodia and soak up the atmosphere of the countryside away from the usual tourist routes. This tour aims to show Cambodia from a slightly different viewpoint than the usual temples and beach route. Scattered throughout Cambodia are some wonderful examples of old French colonial architecture. Much of it left in a state of gentle decay, ramshackle vestiges of a bygone era. Starting at the magnificent temples of Angkor you will travel by road through the country on a French colonial trail, ending your trip with a few days rest on the tropical beaches of the south.

 

** 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.

 

Lodging: Pavillon d’Orient Boutique, Shinta Mani Resort, Park Hyatt Siem Reap

 

Day 2: Siem Reap

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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Pavillon d’Orient Boutique, Shinta Mani Resort, Park Hyatt Siem Reap

 

Day 3: Siem Reap

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. You'll then continue to visit Banteay Samre, built in the third quarter of the 12th century. It consists of a central temple with four wings preceded by a hall and accompanied by two libraries, the southern example remarkably well preserved. Two concentric walls enclose the ensemble.

 

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.) 

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Pavillon d’Orient Boutique, Shinta Mani Resort, Park Hyatt Siem Reap

 

Day 4: Siem Reap

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.

 

We then head into the bush to the remote Angkor capital of Koh Ker is an Angkorian site in northern Cambodia 70 miles northeast of Siem Reap; it was briefly the capital of the Khmer empire between 928 and 944 under king Jayavarman IV and his son Hasavarman II. After the Khmer empire had been established in the Angkor area (Roluos), Jayavarman IV moved the capital in 928 to Koh Ker. Here a vast number of temples were built under his reign, until his successor returned to the Angkor area about twenty years later. The Koh Ker site is dominated by Prasat Thom, a 30-meter-tall temple-mountain raising high above the plain and the surrounding forest. Great views await the visitor at the end of an adventurous climb. The area was only recently de-mined and the road improved. This makes Koh Ker very attractive for anyone who would like to experience what Angkor must has been like half a century ago. Picnic lunch at Koh Ker.

 

After exploring Koh Ker through the afternoon, begin the drive back to Siem Reap arriving this evening for a well-deserved opportunity to freshen up and good night's rest.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch

 

Lodging: Pavillon d’Orient Boutique, Shinta Mani Resort, Park Hyatt Siem Reap

 

Day 5: Siem Reap – Sihanoukville

This morning, 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 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.

 

Later this afternoon, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Sihanoukville.

 

Fly Siem Reap to Sihanoukville on Cambodia Angkor Air K6131, departing 14:25, arriving 15:15

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

 

Welcome to Sihanoukville. Upon arrival at Sihanoukville Airport. 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. 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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Tamu Hotel, Sokha Beach Resort, Song Saa Private Island Resort

 

Day 6: Sihanoukville

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

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Tamu Hotel, Sokha Beach Resort, Song Saa Private Island Resort

 

Day 7: Sihanoukville

Another day to catch up on your rest and enjoy your surroundings.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Tamu Hotel, Sokha Beach Resort, Song Saa Private Island Resort

 

Day 8: Sihanoukville – Kampot – Kep

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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Veranda Nature Resort, Samanea Beach Resort, Knai Bang Chatt

 

Day 9: Kep – Rabbit Island – Kep

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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch

 

Lodging: Veranda Nature Resort, Samanea Beach Resort, Knai Bang Chatt

 

Day 10: Kep

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

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Veranda Nature Resort, Samanea Beach Resort, Knai Bang Chatt

 

Day 11: Kep – Phnom Penh

You will have free time in the morning and afternoon until your guide and driver picked up for the drive to Phnom Penh. You’ll 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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: The Pavilion, La Rose Suites, Raffles Hotel Le Royal

 

Day 12: Phnom Penh

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.

 

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

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: The Pavilion, La Rose Suites, Raffles Hotel Le Royal

 

Day 13: Depart Phnom Penh

Today free at leisure until your guide and driver transfer to the Phnom Penh airport in time for your flight to next destination. We wish you a safe and pleasant journey.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

 

Price guideline:

 

The above tour costs from $1,665*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

Domestic flight tickets: Siem Reap – Sihanoukville on Economy Class

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