Day 1: Arrival in Phnom Penh. Upon arriving in Phnom Penh, your guide will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. In the afternoon, explore the rich history and waterways of the capital city. Visit the opulent Royal Place, home to Cambodia's Royal family, and the National Museum, with its superb collection of Khmer art. End the day with a boat ride along the Mekong and Tonle Rivers, and watch the sun set as you cruise up and down Phnom Penh's famous quay, which is lined with French-colonial style buildings. Overnight at Intercontinental Hotel, Phnom Penh. Includes: (L), (D).
Day 2: Phnom Penh-Kampong Cham-Kratie. Driving to Kampong Cham, soak in the scenery of rural Cambodia as you drive pass cashew nut plantations, rice fields, and traditional villages. Tour the town center of Kampong Cham, a former French trading post on the banks of the Mekong before continue to Wat Nokor, an evocative 11th century sandstone Buddhist shrine. End your day's journey in the sleepy riverside town of Kratie. Overnight at Udom Sambath, Kratie. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Kratie. This morning, stroll through this laid-back northern town, perhaps even visiting the local market where vendors sell everything from fresh fruits and meats to motorbike tires and helmets. Set out for a countryside tour and then board a boat in the afternoon to try and catch a glimpse of the endangered, freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins. Although only about 100 remain in the world, the waters around Kratie have been known to house several pods of these unusual animals. Overnight at Udom Sambath, Kratie. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Kratie-Kampong Thom. Depart for Kampong Thom passing through lush grasslands, home to a plethora of waterbirds, and watch out for ox-carts along the road, the main form of local transportation in this region. Although there are almost 1000 steps, climbing up Phnom Santuk Mountain offers spectacular vistas of the surrounding countryside and houses a small pagoda at the top. After soaking in the view, descend the steps and continue by road to Kampong Thom. Overnight at Stung Sen Hotel, Kampong Thom. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Kampong Thom-Phnom Penh. Sambor Prei Kuk, 30 km north of town, is a jungle-enclosed temple complex that receives very few tourists due to its remote location. However, a visit to these Pre-Angkorian ruins should not be missed. As you travel through the ruins on bike and foot, you will be awe-struck at the melding of architecture and nature, as the brick structures here blend seamlessly with the nature surrounding them. After lunch in Kampong Thom, return to Phnom Penh for the evening. Overnight at Intercontinental Hotel, Phnom Penh. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Phnom Penh-Battambang. Today's drive takes you west to Battambang, Cambodia's second largest city, yet worlds away from the buzz of Phnom Penh. After checking in to your hotel, visit Wat Ek Phnom, an 11th century temple situated on a small hill and surrounded by lily ponds and moats. Overnight at La Villa, Battambang. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Battambang. In the morning, make an excursion to Phnom Sampoeu to visit the Memorial for Khmer Rouge victims, before continuing on to Phnom Banan, where a gorgeous brick pagoda sits atop a hill in the middle of the countryside. A dramatic reminder of the Pol Pot Regime is the Komping Puoy Resevoir, where thousands died working on this gigantic civil-engineering project which was part of the Regime's plan to irrigate the countryside. Overnight at La Villa, Battambang. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Battambang-Siem Reap. After breakfast, transfer by road to Siem Reap, the gateway city to the Temples of Angkor. En route, stop at a Silk Farm where you can see every step of the process starting from the raising of silk worms to the spinning, dying, and weaving of the silk. After checking in to your Siem Reap hotel, begin your guided temple touring with visits to Pre Rup, East Mebon, Ta Som, Neak Poan and Preah Khan. Overnight at Angkor Century, Siem Reap. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Siem Reap. This morning, take an excursion to Banteay Srey. This petite pink sandstone temple is amongst the oldest of the Angkor monuments, being built in the 10th century, and is covered in intricate carvings. The highlight of this afternoon's tour is the fabulous Ta Prohm Temple, where, over the years, the roots of enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers have embraced the temple. Overnight at Angkor Century, Siem Reap. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Siem Reap (Koh Ker and Beng Mealea). Today leave Siem Reap town for a full day trip to Koh Ker and Beng Melea. Koh Ker is a former capital of the Khmer Kingdom, pre-dating Angkor, and is home to many spectacular 10th century temples. Continue to the remote Beng Mealea, a temple often missed out by the crowds due to its location and jungle surroundings. However, it offers excellent photo opportunities of tree covered structures and hidden carvings and hallways. Overnight at Angkor Century, Siem Reap. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Siem Reap. Your final day of temple touring commences at the South Gate of Angkor Thom where gigantic moats, archways, and 8 meter high walls surround the "great city". Inside, dozens of temples fill the area, including the mysterious Bayon with its face-covered towers dominating the skyline. This tour saves the best for last as you cap off your temple exploration with a visit to the magnificent 12th century Angkor Wat. As the afternoon casts its light on to the bas-reliefs and towers of this incredible structure, reflect upon the magnitude and splendor of the temples of Cambodia. Overnight at Angkor Century, Siem Reap. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Siem Reap departure. After breakfast, take a boat trip on the great lake Tonle Sap where you'll see Vietnamese and Cambodian fishing villages of bamboo-thatched, stilted houses, and sunken forests. Or, choose to visit Artisans d'Angkor where young Cambodians are being trained in traditional arts and crafts, such as wood and stone carving. Your tour will end with your transfer to Siem Reap Airport for your onward flight. Includes: (B), (L).
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Asia Cambodia Local Culture Cultural Journey
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