Culture - History
Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang
Explore Cambodia in 10 days and learn more of the country’s history as well as culture. Phnom Penh is a capital city witness the most vivid up and down of Cambodia. It was said to be the “Pearl of Asia” during French colonial time; then suffer from the fierce killing by Khmer Rouge since 1975. Due to its location where meeting Mekong River and country’s gigantic lake Tonle Sap, Phnom Penh was chosen as the capital where sitting many royal buildings and palaces for your admiration. Siem Reap, is less modern but a must because of its ancient Angkor Temples in the jungles with draw your high attention. Getting along Angkor temples, more of Cambodian culture, religion and histories will be reveal. The last province is Battambang which is just roughly 3.5-hour drive from Siem Reap featuring a breathtaking countryside and wonderful opportunities to interact with the local people and gain authentic local experiences. This province is also the hometown of Phare Circus Show.
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 and French-colonial cultures and architectures. Touring through different alleys and corners of Phnom Penh is intriguing.
Upon your arrival at Phnom Penh Airport, your driver and local tour guide will welcome you; then travel 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 Cambodia’s capital. 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 valuable gifts from other countries. One of the 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 side, 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 its 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 made 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 the secondary school. The Khmer Rouge then used it as the Security Prison 21 (or S21). Lastly, see the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek where reveal the annihilating history of Cambodia.
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 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. Chill out at hotel or get around the town on your own.
In the morning, you will travel to Phnom Penh Airport and catch a short flight of 50 mins to Siem Reap. Upon arriving, you will be welcomed by your local guide; then travel to hotel in Siem Reap for check in.
In this afternoon, depart from Siem Reap 50km to the south-west of the province for Kompong Khleang Village. Being one of 5 main floating communities on Tonle Sap Lake, Kompong Khleang is the farthest one with more authentic culture and incredible views. The houses in this village are on stilts which will come out differently depending on water level. There, you can observe the floodplains, fields and daily life of the villagers. A boat trip will bring you through canals and then the large lake with floating houses on the water. Finishing the boat ride, you will head back to Siem Reap center.
Pay a short visit to Mr. Theam’s house, one of the most famous Cambodian artists, and admire his studio of impressive collections on the aesthetics and culture of Cambodia.
After breakfast, travel through the road of hundred years old tree for the majestic Angkor Temples. Walking through the southern gate, you will enter Angkor Thom meaning “big city”. Suddenly coming out is the Bayon Temple in unique architecture with 54 towers of each adorned with 4 faces. There are assumptions that those faces depict both faces of Buddha and the King Jayavarman VII. The walk then will lead to Baphuon temple, a three-tiered temple mountain date back to 11th century. This temple restoration has just finished by French architects not so long ago. Meandering along the path, you will find an outdoor place where the Royal family hold public events with Terrace of Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King.
In the afternoon, visit the Angkor Wat, the most renown and the largest one. Angkor Wat iconic temple is also the masterpiece of Khmer architecture with finest carvings of reliefs and religious sculptures. Last but not least is the Ta Prohm Temple the one modestly nestles in the tropical jungle. The huge trees’ roots embrace the walls and roofs of temple making this the bespeak most atmospheric ruin Angkor Temple.
Your journey to Banteay Srei Temple takes around 50-minute drive passing by the peaceful countryside with sugar palm gardens and rice fields. Bantey Srei is another unique architecture of Angkor Temples in Siem Reap as it’s the only one built in red sandstone. By its elaborative sculptures and carvings, Banteay Srei Temple is also called the citadel of women. Thereupon, you will head to Bong Thom Village to meet up with local people and know more about their daily lives. Begin with the processes of making Cambodian traditional noodles and prepare a local breakfast bowl yourself. Move on to the other villages and observe their works on making bamboo sticky rice, harvesting coconuts. You also visit palm sugar palm stalls to learn more about making palm sugar and handicrafts from palm leaf.
Travel 3 – 3.5 hours by land from Siem Reap, you will visit the second largest city of Cambodia Battambang introducing bucolic countryside, disrepair colonial architecture and riverside setting. On arrival, board the tuk tuk to explore the town and its neighboring. Start off with a stop at the Wat Ek Phnom, an ancient temple from 11th century. The expedition then will have your up-close observation of the region typical houses, small streams, local people and their daily works of preparing sticky rice, making knife and the traditional fish paste prahok.
The pleasant cycling journey will be included with visit to a local market with regional goods on offer. Then, you will visit the old French colonial architectures with riverfront buildings and then Wat Tahm-rai-saw. Visit the Governor’s House in Battambang and get to know more about city’s history; and then the Provincial Museum of Battambang. Have a traditional lunch at a local family of 3 generations, you will have a more insightful understand on local culinary as well as their cultures.
Move to the Phare Poneak school afterwards, a school founded since 1994 who support and train the poor, young Cambodian with artistic skills as well as formal education. The trainees there have performed extraordinary circus and dancing in both Battambang and Siem Reap. You will spend 1 hour here to learn more about this school their mission and stories.
In the evening, enjoy the Phare Circus Show in the place where it was born. The show begins at 7pm and will last for 1 hour.
Experience the local bamboo train used since the wartime as the local do, you will see further of the rural landscape and the countryside along Banon hills. Then back to main town and have free time for chilling out at a riverside café or relax at hotel. Check-out hotel, you will travel by land back to Siem Reap.
Enjoy the free & easy time till the transfer from Siem Reap City to airport for your flight to next destination.
Accommodation in double/twin sharing basic
Daily breakfast at hotel and meals as indicated in the program
Private air-conditioned transfer
Excellent English-speaking guide (other language on request)
Entrance fee, boat trip, cycling for sightseeing as mentioned
Phare Circus school visit and show in Battambang
2 bottles of water per person per day
International and domestic flights
Tips and gratuities for guide, driver, etc.
Personal expenses and services not mentioned
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