GRAND TOUR CAMBODIA

Length

22 DAYS

Type of tour

CULTURAL/NATURE

Type of Service

PRIVATE

REQUEST QUOTATION

TRIP OVERVIEW

  A long journey discovering the wonders of Cambodia, from the mysterious temples of the Angkor archaeological site to the provinces off the beaten track, all the way to the tropical beaches of Koh Rong Island.

Experience the diverse beautiful landscapes and authentic culture.

Immerse yourself in this adventure through remote areas inhabited by ethnic tribes who live in harmony with the environment and off the beaten track.

Soak up the magical atmosphere of the ancient temples of the Angkor archaeological site with our knowledgeable history experts, visit the Cambodian countryside and meet the locals to learn about their traditions and daily lifestyle.

Glide on the waters of the Mekong River at the Irrawaddy Dolphin Sanctuary to get an up-close look at this rare species only found in four rivers in the world.

Trek in the tropical jungle and discover a hidden corner of Cambodia where a local ethnic group still practice animal sacrifices for funeral rites.

Visiting remote provinces, more than in other places, requires an appropriate ethical attitude in respect of the environment and ethnic groups.

This itinerary can be customised based on your actual travel needs and can be combined with other tours. 

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DOWNLOAD ITINERARY

Length : 22D 20N
From : PHNOM PENH
To : PHNOM PENH
Destinations  : Phnom Penh, Kratie, Sen Monorom, Banlung, Stung Treng, Sra Em, Siem Reap, Battambang, Kep, Kampot, Bokor, Koh Rong

ITINERARY

01. ARRIVE IN PHNOM PENH

Welcome meeting with our staff upon arrival at Phnom Penh international airport and transfer to the hotel.

Included : Private pick up at the airport, accommodation

02. TRANSFER TO KRATIE

Wat Nokor Temple © Gabriele StoiaWat Nokor Temple

We begin this long journey travelling east towards Kratie city. Along the way stop in Skuon market known for its curious food amenities, especially fried spiders. Continue through a rural landscape along rice crops and rubber tree plantations.

At Kompong Cham we visit Wat Nokor with its striking contrasting structure combining a Theravada Buddhist pagoda built within the walls of a Mahayana Buddhist temple.

Stop at a rubber manufacturing workshop to observe the fascinating production cycle.

Upon arrival in Kratie, transfer to Koh Trong Island in the middle of the Mekong for an overnight stay.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation

03. KRATIE

Irrawaddy dolphin Kratie © Gabriele StoiaIrrawaddy dolphin – Kratie

We spend the day visiting Kratie province, one of the least visited in Cambodia.

After breakfast we explore the enchanting island of Koh Trong by bicycle to observe the simple lifestyle of the countryside, its peaceful landscapes and the floating houses on the Mekong. Meet the local farmers and visit the grapefruit plantations.

We travel to Kampi village on a tuktuk, the typical local vehicle, and on board a small private boat we sail the Mekong to the Sanctuary of the famous Irrawaddy Black Dolphins: a unique experience to spot this rare species only found in 4 rivers in the world.

Enjoy the sunset from the top of Phnom Sambok, the hill covered by several type of trees and home to a small temple housing Buddhist monks and nuns.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation

04. TRANSFER TO MONDULKIRI

Mondulkiri Waterfall © Gabriele StoiaBou Sra Waterfall, Sen Monorom

We continue our journey towards Vietnam’s border and reach Sen Monorom, the provincial capital of Mondulkiri, one of Cambodia’s most remote and least populated provinces, known for its rich vegetation and the mighty waterfalls.

In the afternoon, we visit the Bou Sra waterfall, considered to be one of the most beautiful in the country.

Afterwards, we stop at the Doh Kromom Hilltop Pagoda, from which we can enjoy the incredible panorama of the dense forest.

We finish at the Samot Cheur, or ‘Ocean of Trees’, to end the day with a beautiful sunset.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation

05. JUNGLE TREKKING

Elephant Trekking © Gabriele StoiaElephant Trekking in Mondulkiri

We spend the day in the dense Mondulkiri forest trekking (*)(**) led by an official tribal guide from the area’s ethnic minority, learning about village traditions, anecdotes, religion and culture.

After a short hike we reach the Elephant Camp where the tribal guide will give us an insight into the life of Mondulkiri’s elephants, explaining in detail the correct behaviour to adopt to respect these magnificent animals as well as how to feed them.

In respect of the elephants and to avoid the stress of exploitation for tourism and profit, we do not support, and therefore do not provide, elephant back rides.

We stop at the Leng Truk waterfall to relax and have lunch in the beautiful natural surroundings. After lunch you can enjoy an unforgettable experience at the ‘afternoon bath’ with the elephants.

We then say goodbye to the elephants and their ‘mahut’ and conclude the trek by returning to Sen Monorom.

(*) It is possible to choose between several hikes according to their extent and level of difficulty.
(**) The path of the trek may vary according to weather conditions.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, lunch, tour guide, tribe guide, tickets and private transportation

06. TRANSFER TO RATANAKIRI

Gem mines Banlung © Gabriele StoiaGems Mine at Bokeo, Banlung

After breakfast we move on to Banlung, capital of the remote Ratanakiri province.

Visit the Gem Mines at the Bokeo village, known for the extraction of zircons famous throughout the world for their distinctive blue colour.

Along the way we stop at a rubber tree plantation to closely watch the extraction of latex.

In the afternoon we visit Yeak Laom Lake: with a perfectly circular shape and an exceptional diameter of 720 metres, the lake lies on a 4000-year-old volcanic crater and reaches a maximum depth of 50 metres.

The extremely clean water and excellent visibility offer the opportunity for a refreshing swim. The basin’s perimeter is completely accessible by following a path through the dense forest populated by many species of exotic birds.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation

07. VISIT TRIBAL VILLAGE aND ANIMIST CEMETERY

Tribal cemetery © Gabriele StoiaAnimist cemetery, Kachok village

A unique and extraordinary experience awaits us today: a visit to Kachok village and to the tribal cemetery.

From Banlung we head north for about 1h30 following a dirt road that leads to Vernsai village where we board on a typical long tail boat and sail the Tonle San river for about 1h.

Once in the village, we carry on through the forest to the animist cemetery, where funeral rituals with animal sacrifices still take place. The tribal guide will give us a detailed explanation of the meaning of the symbols as well as of the wooden statues representing the deceased.

On the way back to the city we stop at an authentic local village to have an insight into the daily rural lifestyle.

In the afternoon we visit the beautiful Kachanh waterfall where you can take a refreshing dip.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tour guide, tribal guide, tickets and private transportation

08. TRANSFER TO SRA EM

Sopeakmith waterfall © Gabriele StoiaSopeakmith waterfall, Stung Treng

After breakfast we visit the Banlung tribal market where interesting amenities and rudimentary hunting tools can be easily found.

Later we leave the remote province of Ratanakiri to move further north to Stung Treng province, near Laos border.

Following a north diversion for 50 km on a dirt road through an uninhabited area we reach the Sopeakmith waterfall, also known as the incredible “Cataracts of the Mekong“, where the river reaches a maximum width of 12 km. It is so strong that it creates multiple waterfalls with several jumps of different heights.

In the late afternoon we reach Sra Em, in Preah Vihear province.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation

09. PREAH VIHEAR AND KO KER

Prasat Thom - Koh Ker © Gabriele StoiaPrasat Thom temple, Koh Ker

After breakfast we travel north to the Preah Vihear temple, the wonderful Khmer temple off the beaten track and an UNESCO World Heritage since 2008.

At the base of the Dangrek Mountains we board a private pickup truck to drive up the steep slope to the top of the plateau.

The temple tour develops on an 800-metre uphill route towards the top of the hill passing through shrines, several ‘gopuras’ (monumental gates) and courtyards with different artistic styles and decorations.

We then proceed to the Koh Ker archaeological site (120 km, approx. 2h30). We visit some of the best-preserved sanctuaries including the Neang Khmaw temple situated on a small hill, the Pram temple, and the Prasat Krohom

Prasat Thom is without doubt the most impressive and iconic structure on the site, with its pyramid shape rising in seven levels to a height of 35 metres. The upper level offers a sublime view of the forest.

Return to Siem Reap and check-in at the hotel.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation

10. ANGKOR ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE

Preah Khan Temple © Gabriele StoiaPreah Khan Temple

We begin our journey with the Angkor archaeological site by visiting Prasad Kravan, the complex dedicated to the Hindu cult known for the impressive and unique brick sculpture of the deity Vishnu.

We then visit Pre Rup, the “temple mountain” dedicated to the God Shiva and Banteay Srei temple, also known as the “citadel of women”. It is considered the “jewel of Angkor” for the artistic refinement of the bas-reliefs carved on pink sandstone.

Visit the Buddhist Ta Som temple, small yet extremely charming, Neak Pean a representation of the mythical Himalayan Lake Anavatapta whose waters are thought to cure all illnesses, and Preah Khan temple, “The Great Sword”, built by Jayavarman VII on the battlefield for the reconquest of the kingdom invaded by the Champa Empire.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation

11. ANGKOR ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE

Angkor Wat, Siem ReapEast gate Angkor Wat

After breakfast we begin the journey to Angkor Wat temple, the largest religious building in the world built on an area of 2 million square meters.

Then there is Ta Prohm temple, one of the most enchanting and popular tourist sights, surrounded by huge roots of hundred-year-old banyan trees.

During the afternoon we visit the temples complex of “The Great City” Angkor Thom, where Bayon temple stands out for his distinctive feature: 216 giant stone faces which jut out from the 54 towers. 

The day ends with a visit to the Terrace of the Elephants, the Terrace of the Leper King and the Phimeanakas temple.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation

12. FLOATING VILLAGE AND BEANG MELEA TEMPLE

Villaggio galleggiante Kompong Kleang, Siem ReapKompong Kleang floating village

Today an extraordinary visit awaits us to one of the most unspoilt and off the beaten track floating village in Cambodia, giving us an insight into the local fishermen’s way of life on the Tonle Sap Lake.

We head in the morning to Dom Dek village. Time permitting, we stop at the colourful and authentic local market.

We make a detour to experience the surreal atmosphere of Kompong Kleang village: a long dirt path lined with houses built over stilts up to 10 meters high to survive the flooding of the rainy season. Uncover the daily life of the villagers. The locals here make their living fishing, as it once was.

We then sail along the canal into Tonle Sap Lake on a traditional wooden boat. Further on we reach the floating village: a community that has lived and worked on the water for centuries. In the village there are schools, shops, workshops and floating restaurants besides houses.

In the afternoon we continue to Beang Melea temple, one of the last Hindu shrines built before the introduction of the Buddhist religion.
This is one of the most fascinating visit as no major conservation or restoration work has been done. Furthermore, this site is surrounded by the jungle.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation

13. TRANSFER TO BATTAMBANG

Banteay Chhmar temple (© Gabriele Stoia)Banteay Chhmar temple

Early in the morning we leave Siem Reap towards Battambang, the second largest city in Cambodia.

On the way, we visit another must-see Khmer architectural masterpiece, the Banteay Chhmar temple, built in the late 12th century which is still surrounded by vegetation and off the beaten track.

Once in Battambang, we visit the cultural village of Wat Kor, where we see some authentic Khmer wooden houses built in the 1920s during the French colonial era, which still stand today thanks to their solid construction and top-quality materials.

Among them it is possible to visit the house that once belonged to Noun Chea, ‘Brother Number 2’, a high-ranking official during the Khmer Rouge dictatorial regime.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation

14. BATTAMBANG

Bamboo Train © Gabriele StoiaBamboo train in Battambang

We spend this day sightseeing around Battambang as a local.

We cycle (or take a tuktuk) to the 11th-century Angkorian temple Ek Phnom, along a route through the beautiful countryside. We stop at a house known for producing the famous ‘rice discs’ used to prepare the tasty spring rolls.

Moving on we reach Prasad Banan, the Angkorian temple at the top of the hill reachable by climbing the original stone staircase of 358 steps.

In the afternoon we take the thrilling ‘bamboo train‘ ride on board of a motorized bamboo platform on the old railway line to venture into the Cambodian countryside.

We end the day with an extraordinary visit to the cave on Phnom Sampeu Hill to watch the incredible spectacle of millions of bats that swarm daily at 5.30pm towards Tonle Sap Lake to eat.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation

15. TRANSFER TO PHNOM PENH

Oudong MonasteryOudong Monastery

Let’s carry on our journey to the capital Phnom Penh. The long transfer from Battambang gives us the chance to see the Khmer people’s lifestyle as they carry out their daily activities.

We stop at Pursat town for a visit to the steatite, or soapstone, workshop, where religious statues and a variety of different artifacts are produced.

We then visit the terracotta workshops at Kompong Chhnang village.

In the afternoon we reach Oudong, former capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia from 1818 to 1866.

Visit the Oudong Monastery, the largest in Cambodia, and the nearby hill where we can admire the sacred stupas that preserve some relics of the Buddha and from where we can enjoy an incredible panorama.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation

16. PHNOM PENH

Throne Hall - Royal Palace © Gabriele StoiaThrone Hall – Royal Palace

Explore the charming capital city of Phnom Penh, once known as the ‘Pearl of Asia’, one of the most beautiful cities built in Indochina in the 1920s that retains its colonial and traditional Khmer charm.

We visit the Royal Palace, today home of the King, where the Throne Room and the Silver Pagoda stand out.

Next up is the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (or ‘S-21 School’), which bears witness to the dramatic period during the Khmer Rouge regime.

We end the day at the suggestive and colourful local market.

 

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tickets, tour guide and private transportation

17. KEP - KAMPOT

Ta Prohm Tonle Bati © Gabriele StoiaTa Prohm at Tonle Bati

We leave the capital in the morning and start the journey to the south of Cambodia.

Stop at Tonle Bati the small lake close to 2 Angkorian temples: Ta Prohm and Yeay Peau.

We continue to Phnom Chisor ‘The Mountain of the Sun God’, where a well-preserved archaeological complex dating from the 10th-11th centuries can be reached by climbing the 412-step staircase where you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view.

Transfer to Kep, the quiet town founded in 1908 as a seaside retreat for the French elite, now known for its delicious seafood, especially crabs, and the famous ‘Crab Market‘.

Proceed to Kampot, the regional center of the French colonial administration in the 19th century. This town it was developed according to classical French colonial architecture. Many buildings are still visible even though, unfortunately, they are in poor condition. The area is renowned for pepper production, in particular for the famous organic certificate Kampot Pepper, a tradition that dates back to the 13th century when the first Chinese growers moved to this area.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tickets, tour guide and private transportation

18. BOKOR NATIONAL PARK

Colonial building at Bokor National Park © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelInside one of the colonial building

In the morning transfer to Bokor National Park in the Damnei Mountains at 1000 mt. above the sea level.

This large national park in Kampot Province is mainly known for the abandoned Bokor Hill Station, a remote settlement build by the French colonialists in 1921, and for the Catholic church nearby built in 1928, a very rare sight in Cambodia.

Several modern structures have been built in the area over the past few years, yet there are still dozens of striking, ghostly-looking abandoned dwellings, once inhabited by French officers, that can still be visited.

Nearby is the Popokvill Waterfalls, a popular weekend destination for locals.

In the afternoon we visit a local pepper plantation before heading back to Kampot.

Included : Accommodation, breakfast, tickets and private transportation

19. KOH RONG ISLAND

Koh Rong Island © Gabriele StoiaBeach at Koh Rong Island

After breakfast we visit the colourful local market in Kampot where various species of fish are sold.

Later, transfer to Sihanoukville pier and board the speedboat for Koh Rong, the second largest island in Cambodia.

The rest of the day is at your leisure to relax on the beautiful white beaches and to explore the island at your own pace.

Included : Tour guide, speedboat, private transportation and hotel

20. KOH RONG ISLAND

Koh Rong Island © Gabriele StoiaBeach at Koh Rong Island

Free day to relax on the beach or snorkel, dive, kayak or trek in the jungle.

Included : Accommodation and breakfast

21. KOH RONG ISLAND

Koh Rong Island © Gabriele StoiaBeach at Koh Rong Island

Free day to relax on the beach or snorkel, dive, kayak or trek in the jungle.

Included : Accommodation and breakfast

22. DEPARTURE

Board the speedboat from Koh Rong Island to Sihanoukville piear and transfer to Phnom Penh international airport in time for your departure flight.

Included : Breakfast, speedboat and private transfer to the airport

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Angkor, Battambang and Phnom Penh

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