ITINERARY BY DAY
Day 1: Phnom Penh
Begin your half-day tour with a visit to the Royal Palace overlooking the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers. Built in 1866 by King Norodom, the palace is now home to the reigning monarch.
Within the palace grounds you will find the Silver Pagoda, its floor covered by 5,000 silver tiles each weighing 1kg. But that’s not all, there is a beautiful emerald and crystal Buddha sitting on top of a gilded pedestal, and life-sized Buddha made from solid gold weighing 90kgs and encrusted with 9,584 diamonds, the largest weighing in at 25 carats!
Day 2: Phnom Penh - Tamao Wildlife Sanctuary
Today you will drive about 40 kilometers south of Phnom Penh to the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Sanctuary. This small zoo is supported by Free the Bears, an Australia non-profit organization that rescues Moon and Sun Bears from Asia’s illegal wildlife trade, providing these furry ones with food and shelter. Say hello!
Day 3: Phnom Penh – Silk Weaving Island - Siem Reap
Take a trip to Silk Island just a short boat ride outside of Phnom Penh. Meet the families who are still maintaining the old traditions of hand looming silk and dying it to bright hues. You’ll be amazed by the homemade spinning wheels made from old bicycle parts. Watch as the silk is transformed from a cotton wool-like texture into thread. If you like you can try your hand at weaving or purchase silk items direct from the family.
This afternoon, fly to Siem Reap the gateway to the temples of Angkor. Spend the afternoon relaxing at the hotel or take a walk around the town.
Day 4: Siem Reap – Angkor Complex
Bring out your inner explorer as today you will see the majestic temples of Angkor. Start with ride on a tethered balloon to view the vast Angkor complex. The balloon has a large circular walkway to take in the best views – the kids will love it! Then it’s back down on the ground to explore the mighty Angkor Wat. See the Apsara’s dancing on the walls and call out your name in the hall of echoes. Next up is the magical Ta Prohm where giant tree roots snake around the temple and tall trees sprout out of the roof. Head back to town to escape the midday heat and take a dip in the pool.
Day 5: Siem Reap – Angkor Thom Complex
Start the day with an elephant ride past the temples, you’ll feel like Khmer royalty! Explore the temples of Angkor Thom today the main highlight is the Bayon with its hundreds of smiling faces and the stories of the Khmer empire carved along its walls. See the Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King, and climb up to the top of Phimeanakas, shaped a bit like a pyramid with great views over the temples.
Day 6: Siem Reap – Kulen Mountain
Today drive about two hours to Phnom Kulen, where the river is filled with hundreds of lingas and an eight metre reclining Buddha is cut into the face of the mountain. Enjoy a picnic lunch by the waterfall and take a swim in the chilly waters.
Day 7: Siem Reap – Tonle Sap Lake
Hop aboard a tuk tuk, and whizz your way toward Tonle Sap Lake. As the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, it plays host to dozens of species of birds, fish and mammals. Take a boat trip to see floating villages and the kids can go fishing. Walk through some lakeside pagodas and stilt houses before returning to Siem Reap.
Day 8: Siem Reap – Local Community Village Homestay
A homestay is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of the country you are visiting. Drive about an hour to reach a small rural village. Jump onto an ox cart a local method of transport out here and ride the remainder of the way to the village. Depending on the season, get hands-on and help your host family with fishing, farming, or animal husbandry duties. It’s a great eye-opener for the kids.
Day 9: Local Homestay – Departure
Wake up and enjoy breakfast with your host family before saying your goodbyes and returning back to Siem Reap for your onward journey.