Cambodia in Depth - 10 Nights / 11 Days

Tour Type: Private Tour

Duration: 11 Days

Destinations: Siem Reap / Koulen Mountain / Battambang / Phnom Penh / Sihanouk Ville

Featured Highlights:

Escape the tourist crowds and visit off-the-beaten track sites including Banteay Srei, the Rolous group and Kbal Spean. Get an in-depth look at Battambang, Visit cottage industries, bike to historic sites, travel by bamboo train, meet friendly locals and see the real Battambang. See the many sides of Phnom Penh The capital’s diversity shines through with visits to historic sites, both glorious and tragic, and incredible cultural encounters.

 
DAY1: Siem Reap Arrival
 
DAY2: Siem Reap – Temples Tours
 
DAY3: Siem Reap – Banteay Srei - Kbal Spean 
 
DAY4: Siem Reap – Battambang 
 
DAY5: Battambang City Tours
 
DAY6: Battambang – Phnom Penh 
 
DAY7: Phnom Penh City Tours
 
DAY8: Phnom Penh - Sihanouk Ville
 
DAY9: Sihanouk Ville 
 
DAY10: Sihanouk Ville
 
DAY11: Sihanoukville – Phnom Penh
DAY1: Siem Reap Arrival
Welcome to Siem Reap in morning arrival, the charming gateway to the famed Temples of Angkor. You will be greeted by your local English speaking guide, who will accompany you to your hotel for check in. Settle in and enjoy some time at leisure to refresh.
This afternoon, get a first glimpse of Angkor today at the early temples of the Roluos Group. Roluos is the site of an ancient center of Khmer civilization known as Hariharalaya. It was the first town built by the Angkorian kings in the 8th and 9th century and consists of three main temples: Bakong, Lolei and Preah Ko. The surrounding countryside with its paddy fields and sugar palm trees is very typical for Cambodia – enjoy the natural beauty on a cow cart ride, a fun way to get in touch with rural Cambodia and its friendly people. In the contemporary Roluos Pagoda in the vicinity of the monuments, Buddhist monks will celebrate a private blessing ceremony for you, wishing you health and a safe journey – a very special experience!
 
Optional Tour: Enjoy the spectacular view from above as you depart on a tethered helium balloon flight that will lead you up for an amazing aerial view of Angkor Wat, and other ruins amongst the surrounding jungle and rice paddies glimmering down below.
In the evening enjoy a welcome dinner at Viroth’s Restaurant. One of the long-time residents of Siem Reap, Viroth’s is famously known as one of the best upscale restaurants in town. Boasting an extensive menu of Khmer and other Asian favourites, and set in a chic, contemporary, intimate and mostly outdoor setting, this restaurant is definitely one to try whilst visiting the temples. Overnight in Siem Reap.
 
DAY2: Siem Reap – Temples Tours
After breakfast, discover some of the other main Angkor sites on a leisurely bicycle ride about 2-3hours. First, head to the ancient city of Angkor Thom. Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall drawing a perfect square. You will enter the city from the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant faces. On each side of the entrance path, a row of 54 gods or demons is holding the sacred Naga snake.
From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its 54 towers with enigmatic faces representing the 54 provinces of the Great Khmer Empire. The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate bas-reliefs. Stroll through the grounds of the former Royal Palace to discover some small hidden temples that are rarely visited.
 
Return to the hotel for a relaxing break during the midday heat. Spend the early afternoon exploring Siem Reap’s colorful markets. Visit Artisans d’Angkor, established in 1992 in order to support Cambodian arts and crafts, and to help young people find work in their local villages by continuing the practice of traditional arts. Discover how wood and stone carvings, lacquering, gilding, and silk paintings are created.
End your day with a tour to the temples of the Small Circuit. The most illustrious of these is Ta Prohm, built in the mid 12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes the ‘Tomb Raider Temple’ one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. Your visit will also include Banteay Kdei, a Buddhist monastery from the late 12th Century, and Sra Srang, also known as the “pool of ablutions”. Return to the hotel. Overnight in Siem Reap.
 
DAY3: Siem Reap – Banteay Srei - Kbal Spean 
Start early at 4:30am to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat – it surely is a memorable experience to see the first sunrays slowly appear over the five iconic towers. After a breakfast at Angkor Café right in front of the monument, explore the famous temple in depth. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing Mount Meru, the home of the gods. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people. Then, travel to the countryside to see the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srey. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” remains the best preserved temple in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs. Banteay Srey is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.
 
Continue north to Kbal Spean, one of the earliest Hindu pilgrimage sites in Cambodia. A short 3 km trek up the hill through dense jungle will reward you with excellent views over the plains and the Kulen hills. At the top, be surprised about the “River of 1000 Lingas” with some remarkable stone carvings of Hindu gods, animals and other symbols in the river bed. During the raining season, you can enjoy a refreshing bath in the waterfall, which is extremely popular with the local families. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the waterfall.
Please note the trek is fairly easy going but as the walk s up hill and on uneven ground it is really only suitable for clients with a good level of fitness and not suitable for clients with mobility problems.
 
On the way back to Siem Reap, stop at the Landmine Museum which promotes mine awareness. Mr. Aki Ra, the museum founder, was trained as a child soldier during the Khmer Rouge regime and is working today as a de-miner. The museum serves also as a rescue center for a number of landmine amputee children that Aki Ra has brought off Phnom Penh’s streets or from impoverished rural communities. Transfer back to Siem Reap in the afternoon for some time at leisure. Overnight in Siem Reap.

DAY4: Siem Reap – Battambang (174 km): 3 hrs
After an early breakfast, embark on a private boat that will take you on a fascinating journey across Tonlé Sap Lake to Battambang. You will pass floating villages and flooded forests, portraying life on this body of water that forms Cambodia’s heart. Packed lunch on board. (Duration 6-7 hours). (Note: This boat trip is only possible in the high water period from July to December as water levels are too low during the dry season and transfer times can be extremely long. From January to June alternative transfer by road.)
Arrive in Battambang and enjoy some rest at the hotel. This afternoon, explore some of the many cultural villages around Battambang, where you will learn how the locals produce rice paper, prahoc (typical Cambodian fish paste), grolan (sticky rice stuffed in bamboo), and other Khmer treats.
Tonight, a special visit awaits you at Phare Ponleu Selpak. School of Music, Visual & Performing Arts - Phare Ponleu Selpak combines the arts to provide education, support and entertainment to the poor communities. This project is a success story of how humanitarian aid work can turn into a display of zest for life, genuine warmth and creativity, against all odds. A visit to one of their circus shows will leave you with a lasting memory of the wonderful Cambodian people and should not be missed when in Battambang! (NOTE: The circus performance is only performed regularly on each Monday & Thursday. On other days private performances are available on request and for a supplement. Alternatively they perform daily in Siem Reap).
 
Dinner this evening is at the stylish Jaan Bai (meaning ‘rice bowl’ in Khmer), a social enterprise restaurant established by the Cambodian Children’s Trust to provide training and employment for disadvantaged youths, with all profits going to support the activities of the Trust. The restaurant was set up with the expertise and ongoing support of Asia’s best chef, David Thompson, of Nahm Restaurant in Bangkok, and restaurateur John Fink, owner of Australia’s best restaurant Quay in Sydney. Overnight in Battambang.
 
DAY5: Battambang City Tours
Spend the morning on a tour that combines walking, a boat ride and then cycling along and across the Sangke River to experience Battambang daily life. The tour includes prayers with monks as well as rich explanations of the city’s design and artistic heritage.
Begin the tour at 7.30 a.m. at the offices of Battambang Bike and get fitted for your bicycle (either a mountain bike or sturdy basket bike).
Watch a few minutes of film footage which will help you imagine how developed the town was in its heyday. Battambang has passed from Cambodia to Thailand and back again several times in its history and has an excellent collection of early 20th century French colonial architecture that is better preserved and respected than in many other parts of the country.
 
A tour of the main market, Psar Nath includes trying a local coffee. Then walk the few metres to the river and cross a couple of minutes on a local boat to the other side of the Sangke River. Visit Wat Povil temple and take the opportunity to pray with the monks (Note: the monks may observe different rituals according to their calendar though can be seen on a daily basis). It is usually possible to accompany the boats back across the river as they begin their morning alms collection.
Once back on the other side it is time to begin the bike tour. The historic 2.5 Street is visited along with a Thai temple before you arrive at a smaller market. Again time for a coffee or a sugar cane juice. Continue a short distance to Wat Kor Village, known for its many old Khmer heritage houses built around a century ago. Visit one of the best preserved homes.
Cycle along the river and cross a suspension bridge where only motorbikes and bicycles can pass. On the way back into town there is another short drinks stop before arriving back in the town at approximately 12:45 p.m.
 
The Battambang Bike Set up by a Canadian national who is a lover of architecture and cycling know as Jam. The above tour was designed exclusively for Exotissimo though alternatives can be provided such as dedicated architecture or amateur photography rides. All their tours are pay-as-much-as-you-can for Cambodians in order to provoke interest about their history and the city. The long term goal of Battambang Bike is to pass ownership to a Cambodian to provide a substainable and well structured business. Take a break back at your hotel.
In the afternoon head to the Bamboo Train station. The Bamboo Train has been set up by the villagers in order to facilitate the transportation of goods and persons as there are no regular trains running any more. The “train” itself is very basic: one bamboo platform on 4-wheels is activated by a small motor. Sitting on the platform, you will travel the 8 km to the next station through beautiful landscape and rice paddies (depending on season of visit). A true rollercoaster ride without loops!
(Note: the train tracks from Battambang to Phnom Penh are currently being rebuilt. The long term future of the bamboo train ride cannot be guaranteed. Should the service stop we will arrange alternative sightseeing).
 
After head towards Phnom Sampeau, meaning “Ship Hill” in Khmer, due to its distinctive shape, and one of the few hills standing out in this otherwise pancake-flat plain. From the small temple on the top, you will have a fantastic view over the typical landscape of paddy fields and sugar palm trees. Phnom Sampeau is home to the notorious killing caves, which are cruel reminders of Cambodia’s troubled past. Serenity and inhumanity represented in one place make this an interesting visit…Your visit will last until dusk – a time when millions of bats emerge from a cave and create patterns as they fly in tandem across the sky – a nightly spectacular show of nature ! Overnight in Battambang.
 
DAY6: Battambang – Phnom Penh (330 km): 5 hrs
Depart Battambang for the overland transfer to Phnom Penh (duration 5½ hours not including stops).
Starting early travel first to Kampong Chhnang, known for its traditional pottery, with many kilns at work in this province. In a village near Kampong Chhnang, to see the different aspects of pottery making and also experience the production of traditional rice wine.
Continue to Oudong, the former royal capital of Cambodia. The drive passes through many rural villages and pagodas, and you will the temple mountain with its dozens of stupas from afar. Upon arrival at Oudong enjoy a traditional Khmer lunch at a picnic hut at the foot of the hill.
Then, climb the stairs to the top of Oudong Mountain and enjoy magnificent views over the plains below. Your guide will explain the history of the area and its buildings as well as the religious culture of the Cambodian people. Take your time to soak in the magnificent views over the plains below.
 
Before heading to Phnom Penh stop to take a look at the spectacular Vipassana Dhura Buddhist Meditation Center, also located in Oudong. Your guide can explain more about the school of Vipassana (Insight Meditation) as you tour the center. Don’t forget to see the impressive jade Buddha, the mummified monk and the brightly painted walls telling the story of the Ramayana, the epic Sanskrit poem that decorates many pagodas seen around the country. From here, it is not far to Phnom Penh where you will reach in the late afternoon. Check into your hotel.
The evening is at leisure. Overnight in Phnom Penh.

DAY7: Phnom Penh City Tours
This morning you will be greeted by a driver who will take you on a tour to the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in a Cyclo, an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore this lively city. First, visit Wat Phnom, which is situated near the northern boundary of the city. The site contains some good examples of Khmer architecture and statues.
Continue along the lively riverfront to the Royal Palace. This palace dates back to 1866 and houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. Its original name is Wat Prakeo, meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In this temple you will view a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze.
 
Your next stop is the National Museum, built in traditional Khmer style. It houses the world's foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artifacts from the 4th to the 13th centuries. Over 5,000 pieces are on display, constituting the repository of the Kingdom's cultural wealth. In addition, the roof space is home to a large bat colony!
For lunch you will be treated to a delicious Khmer meal at the Sugar Palm restaurant. This iconic boutique restaurant is set in a converted colonial villa and serves up some of the best local cuisine in the city.
This afternoon, gain insight into Champey Academy of Arts (CAA) is a non-profit school offering the youth of Phnom Penh free training in Cambodian traditional arts including dance, music, drawing and painting. Champey’s mission is to inspire young people to preserve, protect and promote their nation’s culture.
 
Continue to see the Cambodia’s recent dark history on a visit to the remarkable Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in the former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture center named ‘S-21’. A grim, but important visit that will allow you to dig below the surface and understand Cambodia better.
Enjoy dinner at the renowned Foreign Correspondents’ Club located on the Riverside. The building is a colonial gem with great views of the confluence of the Upper Mekong, Lower Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap rivers. Dinner is à la carte with a good selection of both Western and Asian dishes. Overnight in Phnom Penh. 
 
DAY8: Phnom Penh - Sihanouk Ville
After breakfast transfer with driver only to the beach resort of Sihanoukville (duration 4 hours). Arrive around midday and check into your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Sihanoukville.

DAY9: Sihanouk Ville 

Breakfast at the hotel.
Enjoy your day at leisure or enjoy with the optional tour.

Ream National Park (Sihanoukville)
The park was established in 1993 on a 210 km² area on the Gulf of Thailand that includes thick pristine jungle, mangrove forests and off-shore coral reefs. It's a nature lovers paradise with nearly 200 bird species, many kinds of monkeys and it is also the habitat of the pangolin. You will be transferred to one of Ream’s most scenic isolated beaches, called Koh Sampouch. You will have lunch at local restaurant on the beach.
Overnight in Sihanoukville.

DAY10: Sihanouk Ville
Breakfast at the hotel.

Enjoy your day at leisure or enjoy an optional tour.
Three Islands tour (Sihanoukville) Take a boat trip departing 9am to explore three islands giving you the chance to snorkel, fish or just rest and relax. You will be visited three islands at Koh Chaloh, Koh Tres and Koh Takiev and will see colorful corals and fishes at the island. At Koh Takiev Island enjoy swimming with in the clear waters or relax on a long yellow sandy beach with a coral reef and snorkeling. You will have lunch at Koh Taiev Island. (Please advise at the start of the tour which option you prefer). In the afternoon return to Sihanoukville to arrive 4 5pm. Overnight in Sihanoukville.

DAY11: Sihanoukville – Phnom Penh (230 km): 4 hrs
Breakfast at the hotel and free your own Liesure 
This afternoon you will transfer back with driver only to Phnom Penh

TOUR COST INCLUDES:

  • Accommodation with daily breakfast at hotel and home-stay
  • Meals : as mentioned in program (B: Breakfast, L: Lunch and D: Dinner)
  • Airports transfers & Transport by air con. vehicles as per program
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees as specified
  • Local English speaking guide as per program
  • Kayaking along Mekong River
  • All boat trip as mentioned in program
  • Cold water and towel during tours

TOUR COST NOT INCLUDES:

  • Visa fee to Cambodia: 30$
  • International air ticket in-out Cambodia
  • Accommodation in Phnom Penh & Siem Reap
  • Other meals, drink, personal expenses, tips
  • Travel insurance 
  • Other not mentioned in “ INCLUDES “ .

Passion Indochina Travel will provide you with a dynamic professional local private tour guide, a private chauffeur and a transportation that suits your style and gives you pleasure, comfort and security through every points of your destination. All our tour guides in our company are registered English Speaking Guides, they are passionate about their city and they take pride in sharing it with others.With our private local tour guide, you’d get the chance to see and learn more among the historic places in the world and their cultures. Be amazed with the breathtaking scenery of Asia and enjoy some once in a lifetime adventure!

 Private Tour Guide

The tour guide is always punctual on every destination he/she is needed. You will be picked up at the airport and will be escorted to your hotel and tend to your stuff til their services is needed again. They will also assist you at the airport at every departure, seeing to it that you have checked in and passed through the security checkpoint. All the tour guides in all your choices of destination are Locals. Since they know all the areas of the tours you're taking, they make sure that they share to you all the information may it be historical facts, dates and anecdotes or tell stories about the tour sites to make it more interesting and entertaining. They would also suggest the best spots for picture taking.Our tour guides are also flexible when it comes to the itinerary changes if there's any unexpected reason and will be more than accommodating to any alternative suggestions just to ensure that you will have an incredible experience.

Private Chauffeur Services

Arrive in the comfort of your style. Depending on the group size, and the tour packages of your choice, we would accommodate you with the best transportation and a professional Chauffeur to assist you wherever and whenever you need. They would be happy to transport you.