- Duration: 14 days, 13 nights
- Destination: Bangkok, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Kep, Tatai, Koh Chang
- Category: Culture, history, nature, beach
- Class: 4 stars
- Description: Another quality country combination tour visiting the two kingdoms of Thailand and Cambodia and ending on the tropical island of Koh Chang.
Day 1: Arrive Bangkok. Arrive Bangkok International Airport where you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel for check-in.
Day 2: Bangkok. Among the best ways to explore Bangkok is by boat. A cruise along the Chao Phraya River - the city's lifeblood - and the canals of Thonburi reveal scenes at odds with the bustling, modern inner city. Visitors get a glimpse of the serene and simple lifestyle of riverbank dwellers. This picturesque view is what earned Bangkok the title of "Venice of the East". En route, stop at Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn, one of the most attractive temples in Thailand. The boat trip ends at Chang pier, from where you walk to the Grand Palace (200 meters/yards).
The Grand Palace was the seat not only of the king and his court, but contained within its crenellated walls the entire government administration. The architecture is vibrantly Thai though there are some European designs as well. Brilliantly colored and gilded, and decorated with intricate detail, the overall effect is dazzling. The palace served as the official residence of the kings of Thailand from the 18th to the mid-20th century.
The most famous building on the palace grounds is Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple (wat) in Thailand. Construction of the temple began when King Rama I moved the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok in 1785. Unlike other Thai temples, it does not contain living quarters for monks; rather, it has only the richly decorated holy buildings, statues, and pagodas.
The main temple building is the central ubosoth, which houses the Emerald Buddha. Though green in color, the Buddha is actually carved from a single piece of jade, and though only 17 inches tall, is the most revered object in Thailand. Also within the grounds are several palaces, used for various occasions: the Funeral Palace, Reception Palace, Throne Hall, Coronation Hall, and the Royal Guest House. The majority of halls and palaces can be viewed from outside only, but the exteriors are captivating enough to please. Includes: (B).
Day 3: Bangkok - Siem Reap. Breakfast at the airport followed by a morning check-out and transfer to the airport to check-in for your flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival in Cambodia and transfer to your hotel for check-in, your rooms may not be ready for immediate occupancy therefore we will begin with sightseeing. Includes: (B).
Please note: We will skip Preah Koh, Bakong and Lolei if guests arrive around or after Lunch time.
Day 4: Siem Reap. Visit the nearby floating fishing village of Chong Kneas, complete whit schools, restaurants, shops and even a hospital, all moored in the middle of this massive lake. Includes: (B).
Day 5: Siem Reap - Phnom Penh. Early morning drive to the ancient Khmer Bridge of Kampong Kdai, then continue to Kompong Thom and visit the Temples dating from the seven century (616-635) Sambor Prei Kuk, the ancient Chenla capital was built by the king Ishanavarman I and dedicated to Shiva. The main Temples are square or octagonal brick tower-shrines on high brick terraces with wonderful ornamentation in sandstone, especially the lintel stones. These Temple are worth visiting: for many years they were in a Khmer Rouge stronghold dominated by the commander Ta Mok. After lunch in Kompong Thom (not included) drive to Phnom Penh and on the way visit the village of Skun, famous for its spider specialities. Check In at your hotel in Phnom Penh, rest of evening at leisure. Includes: (B).
Day 6: Phnom Penh. Start the day with a short intro tour on a cyclo! Afterwards, visit the National Museum, built in 1917 in traditional Khmer architecture and inaugurated in 1920 by King Sisowath. The museum houses more than 5000 artefacts and it is the world best collections of Khmer archaeological, religious and artistic artefacts – notably sculpture – throughout the ages. Most of the exhibits date from the Angkor period but there are several examples from the pre-Angkor era, from the kingdoms of Funan, Chenla and Cham.
The Silver Pagoda (or the temple of the Emerald Buddha), was originally built by King Norodom in 1892 to enshrine royal ashes and then rebuild by King Sihanouk in 1962. The Pagoda’s steps are of Italian marble, and inside, its floor is comprised of more than 5000 silver tiles, which together weigh nearly 6 tonnes. In the centre of the pagoda is a magnificent 17th emerald Buddha statue made of Baccarat crystal. In front is a 90 kg golden Buddha studded with 9584 diamonds, dating from 1906. It was made from the jewellery of King Norodom.
The Royal Palace was mainly built by the French in 1866 on the site of the old town. The main building on the compound is the Throne Room. It was built in 1917 in Khmer style; it has a tiered roof and a 59-meter tower, influenced by Angkor’s Bayon Temple. It was used for coronations and other official occasions such as the reception of foreign ambassadors when they presented their official credentials.
The Tuol Sleng Museum, called also the “Museum of Genocide”, was a high school before it became the main torture and interrogation centre during the Pol Pot period, between 1975 and 1978. Countless people died under the torture and were thrown into mass graves in the school compound. Others were taken to Choeng Ek for their execution (which you will be visiting tomorrow). Only seven prisoners survived because they were sculptors and could turn out countless busts of Pol Pot.
The Museum exhibits, trough display of torture implements, photographs and paintings, the scale of the Khmer Rouges atrocities. All their victims were methodically numbered and photographed. This pictures now cover the museum’s walls Finally visit the Wat Phnom located on a man-made hill, 27 meters high, in the middle of Phnom Penh. The pagoda was built for the first time in 1372 to house four Buddha statues said to have been deposited by the waters of the Mekong River. Complete your visit with a relaxing Mekong sunset cruise. Includes: (B, L).
Day 7: Phnom Penh - Kep. Today’s visits include Tonle Bati Lake, Phnom Chissor Temple and Phnom Da Temple. Before leaving Phnom Penh you will stop at the Killing Fields of Choeng Ek. The hightlitght of today will be the excursion to the last religious center of the Funan Kingdom: The temple Phnom Da is located 70 km from Phnom Penh in the province of Takeo. Departure by car from Phnom Penh to Takeo City. The way to Takeo takes you through some of Cambodia's most beautiful countryside. Speed boat ride to the temple on an old water channel constructed in the mid 6th century.
Today this channel is still used for transportation between Cambodia and Vietnam. Along the river you can see duck farms, rice fields and fishing villages. Arrival at Phnom Da temple. The temple was constructed in the middle of the 6 century. It is a one tower temple built on the top of a mountain representing the mountain “Meru”. Visit a unique Indian-style sandstone temple, the Asram Maharosei. There is no other temple in Cambodia constructed in this style. On the way back, we visit a small museum with sculptures from the time of the Funan. Lunch in Takeo (not included). Continue to the nice sea side village of Kep. Drive around the village before checking in tour hotel.
Day 8: Kep. Today you will visit the country side of Kep and Kampot. Start the day with the visit of Kampot Market, a cave, Pepper and Durian Plantations, Salt Fields (seasonal) and abandoned French colonial villas. Enjoy what Kep is famous for: a authentic sea food lunch. Afternoon return to your hotel and enjoy the beautiful Knai Bang Chatt Resort and Pool. Includes: (B, L).
Day 9: Kep - Tatai. Transfer without guide to Tatai, Koh Kong Province. The Lodge’s boat will pick you up at Tatai bridge, from there you will reach your floating resort in less then 20 minutes. Enjoy the nature and the calm in this extraordinary eco hotel. Afternoon At leisure. Take your own kayak and explore the mangroves (free rent). Includes: (B).
Day 10: Tatai. Day at leisure or book a tour on spot. Includes: (B).
Day 11: Tatai - Koh Chang, Thailand. Transfer without guide to the Thai Border at Cham Yeam/Hat Lek. Includes: (B).
Days 12-13: Koh Chang. Free days at leisure to relax. Includes: (B).
Day 14: Depart Koh Chang. Pick-up from from your hotel at the designated time and transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Includes: (B).
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