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Cambodia's Shrines and Shores 10 Days/9 Nights

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 10 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 16 people
Destination(s): Cambodia  
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 1030 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 1650 US Dollar (USD)

Cambodia has gained great acclaim among tourists who wish to visit a place rich in ancient history and amazing temple architecture. Angkor Park near Siem Reap is home to over 100 such temples, most of which date back to a period covering the 9th to 13th centuries. Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom, Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, the Terrace of the Elephants, the Terrace of the Leper King, Preah Kahn, Neak Poan and the Eastern Mebon are among the must-see temples and buildings in this area. There are also many fascinating temples and shrines, and more amazing photo opportunities, outside of Siem Reap and Angkor in places like Roulous and Kampong Thom.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive Siem Reap-Angkor–Siem Reap. Arrival at Siem Reap International airport where you will be met by your guide and driver. Siem Reap is the provincial capital of Siem Reap province. Through this small town crosses a river, which comes from the Kulen Mountains. Siem Reap is the gateway to visit the Angkor Park, which is over 40 km2 and home to more than 100 temples dating back from the 9th to the 13th century. We enjoy lunch town at a great restaurant where you will be briefed by your guide about your trip through Cambodia. This afternoon after lunch we transfer by motor trailer (TukTuk) to the biggest religious Hindu edifice in the world: Angkor Wat.

The magnificent Angkor Wat Temple was built by Suryavarman II. In the early 12th century Angkor Wat was constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing Mount Merou, home of the gods. Considered the masterpiece of the Khmer architecture, this Vishnuite temple is the King’s funerary temple, which is why the temple is orientated to the West. Inside the temple the walls are covered by carvings and bas-reliefs depicting the Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Angkor Wat is well known for the 2000 Apsara Dancers decorating the entire temple. But like most people say; it takes a life time to discover all the wonders of this temple. We will transfer back to the hotel by Motor Trailer (TukTuk) to freshen up. We gather at 7:30 PM at the lobby for our dinner at a very atmospheric restaurant. Overnight in Siem Reap. Includes: (L), (D).

Day 2: Siem Reap–Roulous Group–Kampong Phluck-Siem Reap. Breakfast will be enjoyed at your hotel. This morning we transfer to Roulous temple group. Roulous was constructed in the 8th and 9th century and consists of three main temples; Bakong, Lolei and Preah Ko. The Roulous Group is the site of an ancient center of Khmer civilization known as Hariharalaya. Prasat Prah Ko, one of the oldest temples, is located at Roluos between Bakong and Lolei. It was built in the late ninth century (879) by King Indravarman I, dedicated to Shiva (Hindu), and a funeral temple built for the king's family and the previous King Jayavarman II and his wife. Prasat Bakong was built in late ninth century (881) by King Indravarman I, and dedicated to Siva (Hindu), it followed the Prah Ko art style. Bakong was the center of the town of Hariharalaya. It was profaned during fighting and the court moved once again. Indravarman's son Yacovarman I was sacred in 889. The court was displaced to a site 15 km northwest of Phnom Bakheng, establishing the first city of Angkor.

Prasat Lolei is a small temple and not only the last to visit at the Roulous Group but it was also the last temple constructed there before King Yasovarman I moved the capital to the Angkor area. You will find there some exquisite carvings and inscriptions on the lintels. Our exploration is through Siem Reap’s beautiful countryside and will get you in touch with rural Cambodia and its friendly people. We enjoy an ox cart ride through the temples and the countryside before we continue to Kmapong Phluck floating village. Here we get on the local boat and explore the floating village of Kampong Phluck. The boat ride will take about 1 hour along the flooded forests and houses. In Kampong Phluck we will de-board and look at a local house where lunch will be served. After lunch we continue over the water and explore the flooded forest and enjoy the scenery of the mighty Tonle Sap Lake. Enjoy life on the water a bit more before we head back to the port where your transportation is awaiting you. The remainder of the afternoon is free to fill in or to enjoy optional tours to the Angkor National Museum. We freshen up for dinner at trendy local restaurant. Overnight in Siem Reap. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 3: Siem Reap–Angkor Complex–Siem Reap. Breakfast will be enjoyed at your hotel. This morning we transfer by private vehicle to the entrance of Angkor Wat once more and head a bit further to Ta Prohm. This temple was built in the memory of King Jayavarman VII’s mother. When found by the French conservationists at the end of the 19th century, they deliberately left this temple in the same condition as it was discovered; overgrown by strangler fig and silk-cotton trees, giving the temple a mystical and romantic appeal. After our Ta Prohm Exploration we continue to Angkor Thom, which was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. The city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall; each side of the city is 4 km long. It draws a perfect square on the map and you can access the town through 5 gates; 4 of gate used for exiting the dead out of the city.

After passing through the south gate, you will go down along this shady road to the Bayon Temple. This temple lies exactly in the center of the city. The particularity of this monument are the 54 towers representing the 54 provinces of the ancient Great Khmer Empire. Each tower has 4 Bayon faces. This is the only temple in Cambodia depicting scenes of every day life at the time of the empire. From the Bayon we continue to the Baphuon. You will pass by the Phimeanakas, which was the location of the Royal Palace. The only remaining structures are a pond and a small temple. The Palace was made of wood and did not survive time and the wars. Afterwards we continue to the Terrace of the Elephants. This Terrace was the place where the parade was done for the King. Next to it is the Terrace of the Leper King, depicting the water world. We enjoy lunch at the Angkor Café before we explore the temples on the Grand Circuit, Preah Kahn, Neak Poan and the Eastern Mebon. After these magnificent temples and intensive visits we transfer back to Siem Reap for a well deserved dinner with tradtional Khmer Ballet. Overnight in Siem Reap. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 4: Siem Reap–Kampong Thom-Phnom Penh. After a buffet breakfast at the hotel we will start our transfer to Kampong Thom situated 140 km away. The transfer takes about 2.5 hours to the famous temple site of Sambor Prey Kuk. After having explored Angkor Wat, Sambor Prey Kuk is a magnificent and quiet jungle exploration. The road to Sambor Prey Kuk will lead us over quiet inland roads with beautiful views of paddy fields and many local villages with traditional life styles. Sambor Prey Kuk was built in the Chenla period between the 6th and 7th period and hosts a number of well preserved temples scattered around the jungle. Small and sandy tracks link the 3 main temples sites in a loop of around 8 km. This loop is best done by foot or bicycle. We can rent local bicycles and enjoy a beautiful ride along the temples over small and shady paths with breathtaking views. Around lunchtime we finish up our bike ride of 8 km and settle for an excellent prepared lunch by the local community. We eat like the locals like to eat in picnic style in small wooden huts on the river side. After lunch we transfer the remaining 170 km (3 hours) towards Phnom Penh.

Cambodia's capital is a vibrant bustling city nestled majestically on the banks of the confluence of the mighty rivers of the Mekong and the Tonle Sap. These rivers then split again, at the Mekong and the Tonle Bassac, at a place known to the Khmers as Chaktomuk, meaning four faces. Phnom Penh is a veritable oasis compared to the modern nature of other Asian capitals. With wide tree-lined boulevards and low-rise buildings, Phnom Penh still reflects the colonial days of this former French playground. Many French colonial buildings are still in evidence today and add to the charm and ambiance of the city. Over recent years the development of Phnom Penh has been dramatic, with a wide range of western hotels and restaurants now available for both the discerning and budget conscious visitor. We check into our hotel and enjoy some free time before we transfer for dinner to Thury, an atmospheric and well established Restaurant. Overnight in Phnom Penh. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 5: Phnom Penh. Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before we will be transfered to visit the Silver Pagoda (or the temple of the Emerald Buddha), formerly a wooden building, which was rebuilt in 1962 in concrete and marble. The pagoda is floored with over 5000 silver tiles each weighing 1 kilogram. It is famous for its 90 kg solid gold Buddha made in 1907 with accompanying Emerald Buddha, said to be made of baccarat crystal. Sharing the pagoda are many other interesting artifacts and jewels. This was one of the few temples to remain intact during the Khmer Rouge regime. Photography is allowed in the outside exhibition areas only. It should be mentioned that exposed knees and shoulders are considered disrespectful. Overnight in Phnom Penh. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 6: Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville. Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast our private transportation will pick you up from the hotel and transfer you the 230 km to Sihanoukville. It’s a smooth drive to Sihanoukville over highway 4. The transfer will take about 4 hours in total by private vehicle. Upon arrival in Sihanoukville we will check into our hotel. Your afternoon is free to fill in with either sunbathing at the (private) beach or the swimming pool. Sihanoukville, also known as Kampong Som, is a port city in southern Cambodia on the Gulf of Thailand. The city was founded in 1964 to be the only deep water port in Cambodia (in part due to the waning power of the French leading to the Vietnamese tightening their control over the Mekong Delta and hence restricting river access to Cambodia) and its beaches have made it popular as a tourist destination. The minibus is at your disposal in Sihanoukville this day and could transfer you anywhere you wish to go. You will be free to fill in lunch and dinner. Overnight in Sihanoukville. Includes: (B).

Day 7: Sihanoukville–Ream-Sihanoukville. After a great breakfast at the hotel we transfer 18 km to Ream National Park. Ream offers a unique experience for visitors interested in exploring Cambodia’s natural and cultural environment. The park covers 21,000 hectares, which include two islands of Koh Thmei and Koh Ses, which provide excellent examples of Cambodia’s rich and diverse coastal environment. Upon arrival in Ream we get a short briefing from our local guide. We start a magnificent half day tour boating through the mangroves of Ream National Park. This amazing experience teaches you about the flora and fauna of the park and you can observe the local life of fishermen. We end up at the mangrove viewing tower from where we have an excellent view over the mangroves we just boated through. A snack and drink will be provided to fuel up again. We continue our boat trip to the beaches of Koh Sam Pouch. These 6 km of white sand beaches are magnificent and no one is there except you. We enjoy lunch on this deserted white sand beach and your afternoon can be spend swimming or snorkeling (you will have to bring your own equipment) till the late afternoon. We transfer back to Sihaoukville where you will be free to enjoy dinner. Overnight in Sihanoukville. Total boating time: 7 hours (including time at the beach and Mangrove tower). Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 8: Sihanoukville–Kep. After breakfast at the hotel we transfer 120 km to Kampot. Before we veer off to the east we visit the Kbal Chhay waterfalls near Sihaoukville. These waterfalls are spectacular during the wet season and just into the dry season. Here we enjoy bathing and a snack and a drink and as much time as you like to explore the waterfall and it surroundings. The Kbal Chhay Waterfalls of Sihanoukville, Cambodia is actually a collection of 3 meters to 5 meters high waterfalls which originates from different sources along the mountain ranges. However, only three out of the collection can be sighted. Besides being just a picturesque sight, the location of the Kbal Chhay Waterfalls in Sihanoukville is also a popular picnic spot where you can spend you day amongst the greenery and serene natural ambiance of Kbal Chhay Waterfalls in Sihanoukville. The falls were found in 1960 and were used as clean water sources providing Sihanoukville with water.

After our visit to the falls we continue to Kampot, a sleeping riverside town along the coast in southern Cambodia. Kampot is a silent retreat with many French colonial buildings still standing strong. The town is a peaceful experience with magnificent views over the Elephant Mountain Range. We enjoy lunch at a magnificent wooden restaurant with views over the river and a short walking trail through town to observe the beautiful colonial buildings. After our short walking tour through town, we continue to Kep where La Veranda resort awaits us. La Veranda is beautifully located in the hills of Kep overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. Its naturally designed cabins are beautifully equipped. Overnight in Kep. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 9: Kep–Phnom Penh. Enjoy a breakfast with a magnificent view at the resort. This morning you are free at leisure to enjoy the quiet environments of Kep and the beach close to the resort. The beaches of Kep aren’t as appealing as the ones in Ream National Park, but they are quiet and joyful with great views of the islands laying in front of Kep’s coast. We enjoy lunch at the resort before transferring back to Phnom Penh for a final night in Cambodia’s capital. We return back to Phnom Penh for a nearly 2.5 hour drive. The road is in good conditions and passes beautiful green paddy fields and lime stone rock formations. Upon arrival, if time allows you may want to consider doing an optional transfer to Toul Tom Pong also knows as the Russian market where for sure you can buy anything you like from clothes to souvenirs to DVD’s! At night you will be free for dinner. Overnight in Phnom Penh. Includes: (B), (L).

Day 10: Phnom Penh-Out. After breakfast we transfer you to the airport where we will have to say goodbye. We hope you enjoyed your stay with us and are looking forward to welcome you once more! Includes: (B).

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- Accommodation based on double/twin room with breakfast
- Transfer and back-up by private A/C vehicles
- Airport transfers from and to airport
- Meals as indicated in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
- English speaking (adventure) guide
- All entrance fees as indicated in itinerary and 3 day Angkor Pass
- Cycle exploration in Phnom Penh
- Boat trips indicated in itinerary
- International flight reconfirmation (if any).

Price Excludes:
- Alcoholic drinks and drinks at mealtime, optional visits, personal expenses (telephone, laundry, etc)
- Visa on Arrival for Cambodia (USD 20)
- Personal travel insurance (must include helicopter evacuation for Cambodia)
- Tips for guide, driver, boat crew and hotels’ porters
- Meals not indicated in the itinerary
- All air tickets with airport and departure taxes (Cambodia USD 25)
- Other services not clearly indicated in the Package Inclusion above.