Cambodia’s incredible beauty, fantastic food and unique culture are even better when combined with some outdoor adventure. Get active on a nine-day exploration of the country’s verdant countryside, Khmer history and welcoming communities – hiking, biking and kayaking through its heart. Explore Phnom Penh and visit the haunting monuments dedicated to Cambodia’s tragic past, take to the Mekong for an island homestay, get up close with Irrawaddy dolphins and explore spectacular flooded forests, then discover the ancient temple ruins of the incredible Angkor complex by foot and mountain bike. From Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, you’ll see Cambodia in all its natural glory.
Days : 9
Price : From AED 4,544*
*Per person twin sharing and excluding flights
Trip Style : Classic
Trip Type : Individuals
Physical Grading : 3
Sua s'dei! Welcome to Cambodia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. If you have free time in the afternoon, perhaps stroll the streets of Phnom Penh and explore the city, taking in the interesting French colonial architecture. Phnom Penh is set at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers, and life centres around the lively riverfront area. This evening you could join the locals as they come to take in the air, snack on the street hawker food and enjoy impromptu waterside entertainment, or head up to the Foreign Correspondent Club’s rooftop bar for a drink and some riverside views.
Start your adventure on mountain bike, crossing the river by local boat, and then cycling through the villages on an island in the Mekong River. The island is famous for silk weaving, agriculture and aquaculture. Stop to see locals at work in the village and enjoy cycling on quiet roads through orchards and along rice paddies. Afterwards, return to Phnom Penh for a free afternoon at your leisure. Your leader can help you organise many optional activities, or you are free to explore at your own pace. Phnom Penh remains a living relic of the country’s past struggles, with the sobering Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek telling the story of the bloody legacy of the Khmer Rouge. Otherwise, you could visit Wat Phnom – the temple that gave rise to the foundation of the city in the 15th century, or the Royal Palace complex’s Silver Pagoda – Cambodia’s most sacred temple.
This morning, leave early and make tracks for Kratie (approximately 6 hours). En route, pass through Skuon – a small town known for its unusual delicacy of tasty spiders. Try one if you’re game! Onwards to the town of Kratie on the banks of the Mekong. Board a local boat from Kratie waterfront to Koh Trong for your homestay – approximately 280 families call this 6-kilometre island home. The island is famous for growing the citrus fruit pomelo – some of the best in Cambodia – as well as rice and other agricultural products. Your homestay is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself into everyday Cambodian life, and this evening you'll enjoy a traditional Khmer dinner. With hammocks strung up beneath the house, this is an ideal place to unwind. Take a leisurely cycle around the island’s perimeter through traditional Khmer villages, fruits orchards and rice fields, observing daily rituals and routines of traditional village life.
After breakfast, take a 1-hour guided walk, getting a chance to see how the locals live, and to learn more about local culture in this part of Cambodia. During the days of the Khmer Rouge, much of the island’s forested interior was cut down. Villagers have started a three-planting project at Wat Ty Pram Kbal Koh Trong in response. You’ll have the opportunity to contribute to the project by helping to plant a tree in the pagoda grounds. Afterwards, say goodbye to your island hosts and head back to the mainland. There’s time to wander down the river boulevard and explore the local market in Kratie before travelling 2.5 hours to Stung Treng. Stop at Wat Phnom Sambok – an 18th-century Buddhist monastery – along the way. Sitting atop a hill, climb to the top for a view of the lush forested surrounds. Also enjoy an optional lunch at Kampi Creek, where it’s possible to spot dolphins, before arriving in Stung Treng.
Start early to make the most of a full day of activities. Travel by private minibus to the village of Voeun Kham (approximately 2 hours). From there, catch a local boat to cruise the Mekong River to the fierce Sopheakmit Waterfall. Situated on the Cambodia–Laos border, the thundering falls crashing over limestone crags and boulders is a spectacular sight. Moor the boat at a local family's home and hike through jungle to a lunch spot overlooking the falls. The hike will take approximately 2 hours. Return to the boat and continue through a gorgeous stretch of the Mekong River, which is home to many bird species and the village of Osvay (approximately 1-hour cruising). Pass through the Anlong Cheuteal Irrawaddy dolphin pool, where on rare occasions it’s possible to spot freshwater dolphins. Next it's into a kayak to paddle amongst this spectacular scenery of flooded forests to Vuen Sien village (approximately 2 hours). After a full day exploring this glorious stretch of nature, return to Stung Treng by private minibus for the night (approximately 1 hour).
This morning, set out on your journey to Siem Reap, travelling by private minibus through Cambodia’s countryside and small towns (approximately 4.5 hours). En route, stop at Beng Mealea – a spectacular hidden jungle temple. Drive onwards to one of Cambodia’s most popular destinations at Siem Reap, the gateway to the famed Angkor complex. With its cafes, bars, restaurants, food and drink stands, Siem Reap caters for all persuasions. A visit to the old market is a must, even if you're not looking for souvenirs – wandering through the stalls and surrounding shops, the silks, cottons, sarongs, silver and statues are a kaleidoscope of colour and a feast for the eyes. One arrived, your leader will take you on an orientation walk to help you get acquainted with this bustling town.
Temple hop with your local guide today to make the most of your visit to the world-famous Angkor complex, built between the ninth and 13th centuries when the Khmer empire was the pre-eminent influence in South East Asia. These ruins include Angkor Wat, Bayon and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm. Also included today is a visit to Phnom Bok – one of the least-visited sites within the Angkor complex. Climb up 633 steps to the temple ruins at the top of the hill for an amazing view of the surrounding countryside, and enjoy exploring this small temple and remains of a 5-metre-long sandstone fertility symbol. After you’re temple-d out, head back into Siem Reap for a free night. You might like to check out Phare – the Cambodian Circus. Coming from disadvantaged households, the performers have gained international recognition through their art. Like a Cambodian Cirque Du Soleil, modern Khmer tales mix theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling, aerial acts, and contortion.
This morning, get set up on mountain bikes for a ride around the Angkorian ruins. By taking the bike you can avoid much of the walking crowds and get a unique perspective on this amazing site. Take the back roads along the river through local villages and into the Angkor complex. On your return to Siem Reap, you’ll cycle along the wall of the ancient city of Angkor Thom. With the moat on one side and thick jungle on the other, you’ll feel like you’re discovering ruins untouched by the tourist hordes. Tonight, gather together with your travel crew and venture out to a local restaurant to celebrate your active adventure with an optional group dinner.
As there are no activities planned for today, you can leave your accommodation at any time. If you have extra time you might like to schedule an Angkor zip-line and canopy walk adventure, a tasty Khmer cooking class, treat yourself with high tea at Raffles Hotel, or simply relax by the pool. If you wish to spend more time in Siem Reap, we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
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