The itinerary has been created by our local agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.
Arrival in Phnom Penh international airport by flight.
Upon arrival Phnom Penh Airport, you will be meet and greeted by your English speaking tour guide with your private chauffer and then transfer to your hotel for check in.
Lunch free at your own account.
This afternoon we explore the stunning Royal Palace complex, home to the Cambodian royal family and a symbol of the nation. We begin amid the beautiful royal gardens, landscaped with tropical plants and studded with gleaming spires. We enter the Throne Hall where the royal receptions are held and the Cambodian king's coronation took place. We then pass the Napoleon III Pavilion made from iron, a gift from the French emperor in the 19th century. We continue to the Silver Pagoda, named after the 5000 silver tiles covering the floor, each weighing 1kg. Inside are some of the country's most cherished treasures, including a life-size gold Buddha studded with 9584 diamonds, the largest weighing 25 carats. There is also a delicate emerald Buddha made of baccarat crystal, which gives the temple its Khmer name of Wat Preah Keo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). We leave the Royal Palace and continue to the nearby National Museum, home to the world's finest collection of sculpture from the Angkor period. The exquisite building was completed between 1917 and 1920 and features a lush courtyard garden surrounded by collections from the pre-Angkor, Angkor and post-Angkor periods. We concentrate on the incredible sandstone sculpture from Angkor, as well as the intricate bronzes.
Welcome Khmer Set Dinner at local “Palais de la Poste Restaurant”(drink excluded).
We meet the best chef in Cambodia, Luu Meng at his restaurant, Malis, and spend the morning learning the secrets of the Cambodian kitchen, a cuisine laced with subtle spices and tempting aromas, from the master himself. First we will visit the wholesale market with chef to select fresh vegetables and ingredients. Back at chef’s kitchen, we will choose from a selection of favourites, including meat, fish and vegetarian options and chef will show us how it’s done, as well as guiding us in our own preparation. Once we finish the master class, we enjoy the fruits of our labour, eating our very own creations, the recipes for which you can take home and impress your family and friends.
Afternoon, rest the day free at leisure at your hotel.
Evening Phnom Penh Street Food Safari: The street food of Bangkok and Saigon is well known to culinary adventurers, so it should come as no surprise that the Cambodian capital also has a thriving street scene. Discover the delights of Phnom Penh’s street food with a tour of local markets and back streets. This walking tour starts at Psar Thmei (Central Market, psar means market in Khmer), an art deco masterpiece dating back to 1937. Sample a local drink such as fresh coconut juice or sugar cane juice, try some local insects such as crickets or spiders and sample some Cambodian sweet treats like local waffles, this market is a hive of activity and offers some great photo opportunities. Continue to Psar Tapang via some small back alleys to see local life in action. Try barbecued skewers at the popular street stalls here before continuing to Psar Kandal to try a popular fruit shake known as tukalok. Continue to the bustling Psar Chaa (Old Market) which spills out on to the street and includes some colourful fruit stalls on the east side. The street food safari ends with a local barbecue dinner at a popular riverside restaurant near the Night Market. After dinner, guests can be dropped at the hotel or explore the Night Market or nearby bars at their own leisure.
* This tour operates from 4.00pm to 7.00pm and includes transport to the start and finish point. The tour is on foot, so clients should bring a hat and sunscreen. Complimentary drinking water is provided and the tour includes all food and drinks.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
We come face to face with the horrific crimes of the Khmer Rouge. Tuol Sleng was a former high school that the Khmer Rouge turned into a centre for interrogation, torture and death. Today it is a museum of torture and serves to remind visitors of the terrible atrocities that came to pass in Cambodia. 17,000 people passed through the gates of this prison and only seven lived to tell the tale. The Khmer Rouge were meticulous in their record keeping, photographing all the prisoners and many of these haunting black and white images are on display in the cells. Enemies of the revolution were killed here, as well as many Khmer Rouge loyalists, denounced by an ever more paranoid political party. It became a production line for killing, as those that worked within its walls were unwaveringly loyal to Pol Pot. The party did not make mistakes, so those sent here had to be guilty. The role of the prison was not to prove innocence but to confirm guilt. Tuol Sleng is a profoundly moving experience and not everyone will want to visit. However, it is key to understanding the hell into which Cambodia descended and how far it has come in the years since. We then travel out of town to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Prisoners from Tuol Sleng followed this same route to their fate. An old Chinese cemetery, Choeung Ek was turned into an extermination camp for political prisoners. The remains of 8985 people were exhumed from mass graves and are kept in a memorial stupa here. Despite the horrors of the past, it is a peaceful place to go and a tranquil spot to reflect on the tragic events that engulfed Cambodia and its people.
Phnom Penh – PSE visit and Lunch: We travel to visit the School of Hospitality and Tourism of Pour un Sourire d'Enfant (PSE) www.site-pse.org, a French NGO supporting children from the garbage dump. We then take a tour of the PSE facilities where both schooling and work/life skills are available to the children and youths as a way of escaping the poverty of their lives spent on the city’s main garbage dump. We take lunch here, where their Lotus Blanc restaurant serves excellent international and Asian cuisine.
Afternoon we leave Phnom Penh and travel north towards the provincial capital of Kompong Thom. En route, there is the chance to pause at Skuon, affectionately known as 'Spiderville', where it is possible to sample the local delicacy of deep fried tarantula. Later, we continue northwest on National Highway 6. This was an old Angkor road and we stop in Kompong Kdei to see one of the ancient Angkor bridges that were built to span the rivers. Spean Praptos or the Praptos Bridge has more than 20 arches and is a spectacular sight, reinforcing the impression that the Khmers were like the Romans of Southeast Asia. We continue to Siem Reap and check into our hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch at PSE.
On our morning tour you'll get the chance to try Cambodia's best breakfast dishes, tasty treats, and tropical fruits, with photography opportunities along the way. We will take you into the bustle of Siem Reap's food markets and street food stalls, sampling food all along the way, then head on as scenic drive through rice paddies and temples to a village that is known for a quintessentially Cambodian dish, where you'll see the rice noodles being made by hand, and then get to try the finished product.
Afternoon Banteay Srei and Cambodia Landmine Museum: Located slightly further a field is the elegant temple of Banteay Srei built by a Brahman in the 10th Century that boasts impressive intricate carvings that have stood the test of time. The famous pink sandstone structure bears a series of beautiful sculptures, lintels, pediments and friezes. These, it is said, must have been carved by women as the detail is too fine for the hands of a man. This gives us the origin of the Khmer name, Fortress of the Women. Returning to Siem Reap you visit the Cambodian Landmine Museum; this excellent little museum provides information about mines and tumultuous past. Also, on display are some of the many varieties of landmines and UXO that have already been cleared.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch at local.
We explore some of the most impressive temples at Angkor on two wheels, taking advantage of back roads and jungle paths to get off the beaten path and experience Angkor without the crowds. Leaving SIem Reap early, we use a forest path to avoid the traffic and wind our way past the walls of Banteay Kdei to the North Gate of Ta Prohm. The ‘jungle temple’ has been abandoned to the elements, a reminder that while empires rise and fall, the riotous power of nature marches on, oblivious to the dramas of human history. Left as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhot in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones, man first conquering nature to create, nature later conquering man to destroy.
We then cycle on to Ta Nei, a small temple that has been forgotten in the jungle and sees few visitors. We have to carry the bikes across an old French dam to cross the Siem Reap River. We then enter the immense walled city of Angkor Thom, the masterpiece of King Jayavarman VII, through the Victory Gate and continue to East Gate. We then ascend the walls of Angkor Thom and ride around the southeast quadrant to stop at atmospheric Prasat Chrung, a seldom-visited temple overlooking the vast moat of Angkor Thom. We then cycle from South Gate to the Bayon and explore the main temples of Angkor Thom, including Baphuon, Phimeanakas, Preah Palilay, Terrace of the Leper King and Preah Pithu. Bayon temple is famous for its enigmatic faces of Lokesvara, the Buddha of Compassion, said to bear an uncanny resemblance to the great King Jayavarman VII himself. Baphuon is nicknamed the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle as the French took it apart stone by stone in the 1960s for restoration, only for all records to be destroyed by the Khmer Rouge. Cycling along the back paths to the lesser known temples of Angkor Thom such as Preah Palilay and Preah Pithu is a rewarding experience. Later we head back to town.
Note: Cycling English speaking tour guide, bike cycling and Tuk Tuk for small group. Big group is subject to use minivan.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch at local.
This unique cooking class follows in the footsteps of the famous and infamous television chefs that have passed through Cambodia on their global culinary journeys. This course takes us deep into the Cambodian countryside around Siem Reap where we visit the local market of Roluos, a traditional town far removed from the tourism industry around Angkor. After browsing the local market for some fresh ingredients, we travel to the beautiful wooden house of Sala Roluos, the architecture of which boasts a contemporary take on a traditional Cambodian design. This was the location where Gordon Ramsay learnt to cook stuffed frog with kreung paste, a delicious Cambodian dish involving lemongrass, turmeric, garlic and more, as part of his Gordon's Great Escapes series. Guests will learn this dish in the same surrounds using a more traditional meat such as chicken. Other celebrity chefs have passed through Cambodia and we will take inspiration from their journeys. Kitchen Confidential chef Anthony Bourdain visited Cambodia for his No Reservations show and we will learn how to make delicious fresh spring rolls as he did when in Cambodia. Finally we will look to Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey for inspiration and learn to cook amok, Cambodia's national dish involving a mild baked fish curry in banana leaf. Note that the menu can be varied to take into account dietary requirements or individual tastes.
Afternoon we travel back in time to one of the earliest capitals in the Angkor area, Hariharilaya, now known as Roluos. We begin with a visit to the brick temple of Lolei, originally set on an island in the centre of the Indratataka baray (reservoir). This temple has some well-preserved sandstone carvings and the vast stone doors are carved from a single piece of stone. We continue to Preah Ko (sacred cow), named in honour of Shiva’s mount, Nandin. This temple owes more to the pre-Angkorian brick sanctuaries of Cambodia’s earlier Chenla Empire than the sandstone behemoths that came later. Originally coated in stucco and painted, there is still some of the ancient plaster visible on the rear towers. Finally, we encounter Bakong, the earliest of the Temple Mountains, which later became the signature of Khmer kings. It is a giant pyramid, its cardinal points marked by giant elephants. We climb to the summit for views over the surrounding countryside. For those that are interested, we can offer a short diversion to the small country town of Roluos, a world away from the hive of activity that is Siem Reap.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
Rising at the crack of dawn, we journey out to the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat. Believed to be the world's largest religious building, this temple is the perfect fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers. Built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, this is most famous temple at Angkor. We stay at Angkor Wat to enjoy a picnic breakfast. As the crowds return to their hotels, we venture into Angkor Wat to enjoy its magnificence in peace and quiet. We begin by unraveling the mysteries of the bas-reliefs that tell of tales from Hindu mythology and of the glories of the Khmer empire. Stretching for almost one kilometre, these intricate carvings are a candidate for the world’s longest unbroken piece of art. Following in the footsteps of the devout and the destructive before us, we then continue to the upper levels of the inner sanctuary. The final steps to the upper terrace of Angkor are the steepest of all, as pilgrims of old were to stoop on their pilgrimage to encounter the Gods. Finally the pinnacle, the sacred heart of Angkor Wat, a blend of spirituality and symmetry so perfect that few moments will measure up.
Lunch free at leisure.
Ox-cart Tour Around Chreav Community to Learn about Local Life and Nature: Transfer to the pretty commune of Chreav near the Tonle Sap Great Lake where we experience an ox cart ride around village to visit some local farms in the area which are growing fruit and vegetables. Join a birding expert to spot local birdlife on the edge of the Tonle Sap Lake which is a vast wetland and potentially see a variety of large water birds depending on the season. Later, travel to Green Home, a local homestay initiative to try a delicious traditional Cambodian lunch.
Afternoon is free at leisure.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
At the convenience time, you will be collected and transferred to Siem Reap Airport for your departure flight back home
The price reflects this specific tour itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.
|Season||Price Per Adult|
Prices Starting From
|From February to March||£1,480|
|From October to December||£1,480|