On arrival at Phnom Penh Airport, you are met and transferred to hotel. The capital city of Phnom Penh was once considered the loveliest city of Indochina. Despite its recent turbulent history, it still maintains considerable charm. A city tour acquaints us with some major sights of Phnom Penh. The private quarters of the Royal Palace are now home to the royal family and are therefore very close to the public. At the northern area of the palace grounds is Silver Pagoda, the most sacred shrine in the country. We visit both structures as well as the legendary temple of Wat Phnom, which provides an interesting view over the environs. O/N in Phnom Penh.
Today we continue seeing Phnom Penh with the Royal University of Fine Arts, where the young Cambodians learn the ancient arts of their ancestors. A view of numerous children practicing the graceful movements of the beautiful national dances is impressive. The next stop of our trip is the National Museum, exclusively dedicated to Khmer art and sculpture. The majority of the exhibits are from the Angkor period from 9th to 15th centuries, but some date from as early as the 4th century. Heading out of town we visit the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the notorious ?Killing Fields? of Choeung Ek, which will give us a deep insight into the painful bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge. We have time for an exploration of Psar Toul Tom Pong, also called the ?Russian Market?, where anything and everything is for sales. O/N in Phnom Penh.
The journey southwards begins as we depart Phnom Penh and make our first stop at Phnom Chisor Temple dating back from the 11th century. A 500 step path leads up to the top of the hill from where we can enjoy fabulous views over the surrounding countryside. We get on our car to the quiet town of Takeo before taking a short cruise to Angkor Borei town, located just a few kilometer navigation from the Vietnam border. There is a small museum which displays several reproductions of sculptures from the nearby ruins and few artifacts dating as far back as the 4th century. After seeing this pleasant place, we continue our boat trip to visit a pre-Angkorian style temple of Phnom Da and a nearby temple of Asram Maharosei. The steep path over some big rocks makes Asram Maharosei different from other temples in Cambodia. O/N in Kampot.
An early morning start to drive uphill to Bokor National Park. At an elevation of over 1,000 meters, Bokor was founded in the early years of the last century as a hill resort for French administrators when the heat on the plain became unbearable. There are some remains of the French colonial period and many small waterfalls. The road conditions are very poor, but view from the top of the mountain is all worthwhile. We then travel by roads along the southern coast towards Sihanoukville, which has long been a place of relaxation for Cambodians. O/N in Sihanoukville.
The lovely beaches of Sihanoukville are some of the most unspoiled in all of Southeast Asia although the fast growing of tourism. There are some 10 km of beach stretching the whole length of the town and dozens of small islands just a short boat ride away, which make for a perfect tropical getaway, with facilities for swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving. This free day will provide you some great opportunities to soak up the sun and sea as much as you want by spending your time swimming or lazing on a beach. O/N in Sihanoukville.
Today we have a half day free for relaxation. Off the beach you can rent a boat to explore the nearby coastal islands or the Ream national park which is well known for the mangrove forest and the eco-system. These optional activities are not included; however our guide will be on hand to advise you with valuable information. In the early afternoon we depart Sihanoukville for Phnom Penh and traverse the spectacular rural landscape. O/N in Phnom Penh.
Transfer by private vehicle, escorted by English or French speaking guide to Battambang, the second largest city in Cambodia, Battambang is located on both the highway and railroad linking Phnom Penh with Thailand. On arrival, we enjoy a walk around this colonial styled town and visit some outlaying hilltop temples as well as the infamous cave, which used as execution field under the Khmer Rouge rule. There are also some opportunities to take a drive along tiny winding tracks into some small villages where tourists hardly ever venture. O/N in Battambang.
Apart from the scenic countryside, this town has a lively market place and many Angkorian as well as post Angkorian sites, some of which are Wat Ek and Wat Toul Bassaet, Phnom Sampov, the BAT CAVE and the Khmer Villages. O/N in Battambang.
Upon leaving the town we set off on scenic trip crossing Tonle Sap Lake to Siem Reap, our base for visiting the world famous temples of Angkor. No express boat so we travel by local boat navigating along a large river system and small canals before arriving on Tonle Sap Lake. The journey is long, but very interesting since we pass by floating villages, friendly children on small boats and fishmen at work. After checking into hotel in Siem Reap, we drive to the archeological area to discover the South Gate of Angkor Thom, famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone, the impressive Bayon Temple, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King, and the largest and most complete structure of Angkor Wat. O/N in Siem Reap.
The jungle covered temple of Ta Prohm is an incredible sight. There are enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers which embrace themselves in the stone foundations of the structure giving the impression of man's creation being reclaimed by the powerful forces of nature. We explore this masterpiece as well as some of the surrounding temples including Banteay Kdei, Sra Srong, Ta Keo, Thommanon and Chau Say Tevado. The grand circuit with Preah Khan, Kravan, Neak Pean, Krol Ko, Ta Som, East Mebon and Pre Rup Temples, is also visited this afternoon before we walk up to Phnom Bakheng Hill for a view of the spectacular sunset over these sandstone monuments. O/N in Siem Reap.
Heading out of town we make our way by travelling on a newly paved road to the intricately carved and well preserved temple of Banteay Srei. Along the way we make stopover at the Preah Dark village and the River of 1000 Lingas, locally named Kbal Spean. We follow these with a visit the Banteay Samre Temple adorned with impressive reliefs depicting scenes of Vishunu as well as Krishna legends. We also have time today to explore the ancient Khmer civilization site of Hariharalaya which flourished in the late 9th and earlier 10th centuries. These are the earliest temples in the Angkor area and are referred to the Rolous group. O/N The trip ends after your transfer to Siem Reap Airport for departure.
Transfer in private air-conditioned vehicle with driver and truck on bad road conditions + Meal as mentioned: B = breakfast + Accommodation: twin sharing room at the below mentioned hotel or similar one + English or French speaking guide + Transfer Phnom Penh ? Battambang by private vehicles + Boat trip Battambang - Siem Reap + Entrance fee to indicated sights
Other meals, tip, drinks, airport tax, single room supplement, personal expenses, travel visa, flight in/ out Cambodia, any optional additional tours or activities during free time.