A terrific 12-day itinerary for those want to delve into authentic Cambodia and adventurous cycling journey, hiking and get involved to the wildlife.
Explore most highlighted cities of Cambodia with Phnom Penh vibrant and historical capital, Siem Reap province where situating the mysterious Angkor Temples and even the most isolated temples. The land expedition will introduce Mekong riverside town Kratie where you can spot fresh water Irawaddy dolphin. Kratie also is a gateway to mountainous regions of Laos with Red Earth Ban Lung featured by the gigantic volcanic lake, then Stung Streng nearby border with Laos and the Preah Vihear near borders with Thai and Laos where sitting the pilgrimage and a UNESCO Heritage temple Preah Vihear.
There are plenty of chances to do cycling and sailing with local boat in each region to admire Cambodia’s charms and intermingle with locals in this adventure tour.
Welcome to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital located in the center of the country where stays the confluence of Tonle Sap and MeKong rivers. Phnom Penh is characterized by the combination of Khmer cum French-colonial cultures and architectures. Touring through different alleys and corners of Phnom Penh is intriguing.
Upon arriving at Phnom Penh Airport, your driver and local tour guide will welcome you; then transfer to hotel for check-in. Rest of the day is at your leisure to get off jet lag.
Today, you will have great time exploring Phnom Penh. The first stop is Royal Palace whose history date back 1866. There, the visitors can find nation’s major treasures on display as well as other valuable gifts from dozens of countries. One of most outstanding relics is the 90-kilo gold Buddha encrusted with 9,584 diamonds and the emerald baccarat crystal Buddha since 17th century. In the same compound toward the south, you also can spot the Silver Pagoda. The other names of this pagoda are Wat Preah Keo and Temple of Emerald Buddha. They call it silver pagoda as the floor is covered with 5 tons of glistening silver.
Next, move on to the National Museum constructed since 1917 with an exclusive dedication to Khmer arts. You will find many relics and artifacts since the Pre-Angkor and Angkor periods. Move on to the Wat Phnom on a peaceful hill of 27m high which is the highest peak of the city. People said it was constructed by a woman in 1372 whose name is Penh to house the sacred relics.
This afternoon, you will visit the Toul Sleng which once a secondary school. The Khmer Rouge then used it as the Security Prison 21 (or S21). Lastly, you will stroll around the Russian Market featuring a splendid colonial architecture.
After the lovely breakfast at hotel, you will kick off the energetic day by cycling to Diamond Island. Crossing the river by local ferry, you then will start cycling through villages and stop to visit the local houses, try out subtropical fruits as well as drinks. Next, take the second ferry to Koh Oknha Tei Island with experiences of narrow paths, Buddhist pagoda, villages and farming plantation. The last island by a cross of bridge is Koh Dach or Silk Island where you will have chance to visit the weaving houses and traditional way of silk making. Finish the journey at silk island, you will cross river and head back to hotel in Phnom Penh. On your own account to chill out at hotel or get around the town.
After check-out hotel this morning, you will travel around 4 hours to Kratie - a province lies next to Mekong River. Not only renown as the region of fresh water Irawaddy dolphin in Cambodia, Kratie is also open the gateway to the jungles in the northwest of Cambodia.
This afternoon, you will take local ferry to reach Koh Trong Island. Take the bicycle and traverse pleasantly around the luxuriant countryside scenes up-close. Rest of the day will be at leisure.
This morning, you will board on the venture spotting the Irrawaddy dolphins in Kratie province. Kampi is the best place to find those endangered species and observe them playing. The motor boat will bring you through lush and mighty Mekong; and then its engine is off when approaching the area. Stay focused and hear the peculiar spitting whenever they come up out of water and take a glimpse of the mammals.
Next, you will proceed to Phnom Sambok Pagoda. Climbing up some 200 steps, you will reach the peak of the hill where situated the Phnom Sambok Pagoda and gain a fascinating view. The appealing frescoes and interesting paintings in the pagoda explain Buddha’s power over the evil is also a highlight. Finishing there, you will go back the hotel with chances to capture the bucolic countryside landscape on the way.
This morning, you will leave Kratie for Banlung a sleepy provincial also called Red Earth due to the land’s color. When arrive, you will have a half day excursion by cycling to explore the town and the Yeakloam 700,000-year-old volcanic lake of 48m deep embraced by the graceful forest. Enjoy the cycling around shaded bank till reach a local sala set up on the shore to rest and admire the surrounding biosphere. There, you can try the local snacks like sticky rice, papaya salad, BBQ chicken, etc. prepared by the local people from minority villages. There are docks for those wish to go for a swim in the emerald water.
If you’re not tired yet, let’s set out for Wat Rahtanharanm and get to the hill to see the sunset on top of Banlung.
Carry on your journey from Banlung to Stung Treng Province where border with Laos. You will set off your bicycle and explore the surrounding areas. Begin riding from the bank of Sakong River till reaching the confluence with Mekong; then the east riverbank. You’ll venture by tarmac, sandy trails, wooden bridges and local villages.
Set off today by 2.5-hour drive to Preah Vihear province where border with both Laos and Thailand. Preah Vihear is renown as “mother of mountain temples”. You will hike up and discover the most holly as well as stunning one – Preah Vihear Temple dating back the 11th century. This Hindu temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site atop a 525m cliff. You not only unveil the sanctuaries set over an axis of 800m but also cast over the breath-taking view toward countries’ border. Coming off the cliff, you will drive to hotel in Preah Vihear for overnight.
Today you will head to Siem Reap Province where sited the impressive legendary Angkor Temples. On the way, you will stop by Koh Ker one of the former and remote Angkor Temples. According to the ancient inscriptions, Koh Ker was the capital of Khmer Empire during the period from 928 to 944 CE. Next, visit Beng Mealea Temple whose construction was happen in the same plan floor with Angkor Wat Temple. Beng Mealea means “Lotus Pond” and was built as a Hindu temple however there are carvings in the compound depicting Buddhist motifs. Upon your arriving in Siem Reap, you will check in hotel and have free time for relaxation.
After breakfast at hotel, you will meet up your tour guide and tuk tuk driver. Experience the local popular transfer and unlock the mysterious temples in Angkor Thom which mean “the big city”. Wander about Angkor Thom Southern Gate, you will catch a sight of Bayon Temple built in 12th – 13th century. This temple is unique with 54 giant towers with 4 facets each. After roaming around Bayon Temple, you will head to Baphuon in walking distance. This temple’s restoration by the French architects just finished currently. Carry on, you will see the Terrace of Elephants lengthen 350m and the nearby Terrace of the Leper King where with the public ceremonies happened.
In the afternoon, pay a visit to the most renowned and largest temple – Angkor Wat. This is one of the most inspiring monuments with 800m long bas-relief and 55m tower rise. Lastly, enjoy the Angkor sunset at Pre Rup Temple.
This morning, you will travel to local villages to experience the lifestyle there. Join with local and prepare your own breakfast. You will learn how to create the rice noodle in traditional way. Continue to another village where bamboo sticky rice making and coconuts harvesting are the main expertise. There, you will taste the delicious snacks with fresh coconut toppings. On the way, you also stop to see the local stalls and observe how Cambodian process and make sugar palm. Apart from this, you also learn how to make handicrafts from palm leaves. After all exciting experience, travel back to Siem Reap. Along the way, you will stop to visit Banteay Srei Temple. This unique pink sandstone temple has another name is “Citadel of Women” as its exceptional sculptures.
After breakfast at hotel, you will have free time to enjoy the property or getting around the town. At good time, you will proceed to Siem Reap Airport for your flight to next destination.
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10 days 9 nights
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10 days 9 nights
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