Discover Cambodia’s Cultural Heritage

9 Days / 8 Nights

  Siem Reap - Battambang - Phnom Penh

9 Days / 8 Nights

Discover Cambodia’s Cultural Heritage

  Siem Reap - Battambang - Phnom Penh

Take a trip into Cambodia’s turbulent past on this nine-day journey of Siem Reap, Battambang and Phnom Penh. Witness the glory of the ancient Khmer empire at the majestic temples of Angkor, admire the unique landmarks designed by the country’s foremost architect and be taken aback learning about the tragic events of the Cambodian genocide at several Khmer Rouge sites. Complete with culinary adventures, local encounters and a relaxing sunset river cruise, this trip highlights Cambodia’s rich cultural heritage and the resilience of its people.

 

JOURNEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore the majestic temples of Angkor with a vintage jeep
  • Experience rural life in a Cambodian village
  • Enjoy a hands-on cooking class and learn about the culinary heritage of Khmer cuisine
  • Learn about the country’s dark past during the Khmer Rouge rule  
  • Witness the capital’s unique and varied architectural landmarks

TOUR INCLUSIONS

  • Transfers and tours by air-conditioned vehicle (Except for vintage jeep tour; no air-condition)
  • English-speaking guide during guided tours
  • Permissions, entrance and sightseeing fees
  • Drinking water
  • Tour of the temples of Angkor
  • Cycling tour
  • Sunset cruise on the Mekong river
  • Cyclo tour of Phnom Penh
  • Cooking Class
  • Evening Vespa food and nightlife tour
  • Architecture tour of Siem Reap
  • Meals as mentioned

ITINERARY

DAY 1

Siem Reap

DAY 1 - Siem Reap

Welcome to Cambodia! Upon arrival in Siem Reap, transfer to the hotel in the city centre to check-in. Take some time to relax before heading out again in the evening on an interesting orientation walking tour around town. Explore the cluster of stalls at Psar Chas “Old Market” and witness the vibrant lights of the famous pub street, the heart of the town’s nightlife scene. Continue strolling along some of Siem Reap’s picturesque alleys, lined with quaint restaurants and unique shops, before sitting down in a local restaurant to sample an array of traditional Cambodian dishes. Full and content, return to the hotel and enjoy a good night’s rest.

DAY 2

DAY 2 - Siem Reap – Angkor Complex

Get ready to witness one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world and spend the day exploring the majestic temples of Angkor. After breakfast, hop aboard a vintage jeep and venture out to the expansive complex with a knowledgeable guide who will point out the most interesting details and share captivating stories about the ancient empire.

Enter the former Khmer kingdom, Angkor Thom, through the South Gate, passing rows of gods and demons, on the way to the Bayon Temple. Famously decorated with hundreds of smiling faces, the temple also features two sets of bas-reliefs, depicting scenes from the ancient empire.

Next, climb to the top of the pyramidal Phimeanakas Temple and take in the scenic views of the surrounding countryside and temples. Continue to the Royal Terraces – the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of Leper Kings – before heading to Ta Prohm. Made famous by Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider film, the decaying structure, entwined and overgrown with giant tree roots, is one of the most imposing temples in the Archaeological Park.

Escape the midday heat and stop for lunch at a local restaurant. With renewed energy, continue the temple exploration and explore the magnificent Angkor Wat. The famous temple complex is one of the largest religious monuments in the world and features five iconic lotus towers, depicted on Cambodia’s flag.

End this memorable voyage into the ancient Khmer Kingdom at Pre Rup Temple and watch as the sun slowly disappears beyond the jungle before returning to the hotel in Siem Reap.

DAY 3

DAY 3 - Siem Reap – Cycling in the Countryside

After breakfast, embark on a cycling tour of Siem Reap’s countryside and get insight into the real life in rural Cambodia. Pedal past lush rice fields, water buffalos and local farmers, stopping to rest or take photos along the way. Arrive at Prasat Prei Monti Temple, a 9th century structure located in middle of the jungle. Despite it’s crumbling state, it’s a stunning monument reminiscent of the temples found at Angkor.

Continue to a local homestead, enjoy some refreshments and lend a hand to the local family in their daily tasks, including preparing soil, harvesting crops and watering the farmland. An experience that allows travellers to know the local community and get a taste of life in the Cambodian countryside!

Lastly, stop at a recycling showroom where local women crochet using discarded plastic material and end this adventurous morning bike tour with a much-deserved lunch at a local restaurant.

Spend the rest of the day at leisure, relaxing by the hotel pool or venturing out independently and strolling along Siem Reap’s lively riverside.  

DAY 4

DAY 4 - Siem Reap – Cooking Class – Vespa Food Tour

Spend this morning delving into Cambodian cuisine with a hands-on culinary class. Whilst not claiming the same fame as Thai or Vietnamese specialities, Khmer cooking boasts a number of unique and delectable dishes. Before getting ready to chop, mix and fry, stop by a nearby morning market and pick up some fragrant herbs and colourful vegetables. With all the ingredients sorted, the cooking class can begin. Under the guidance of an expert chef, learn about Cambodia’s culinary heritage and prepare an array of delicious dishes, including the traditional Amok. After sampling the various creations, head back to the hotel and enjoy some free time in the afternoon.

In the early evening, continue the culinary journey and discover some of Siem Reap’s most exciting eateries and nightlife spots. Led by a local guide, this foodie tour takes travellers all over the city on the back of a Vespa motorbike. From a hidden cocktail bar and a traditional Khmer beer garden to an authentic night market, taste Cambodia’s signature dishes, sample spice-infused rice wine and dare try some crispy insects, an essential part in the Khmer diet. After this tastebud-stimulating adventure, get dropped off at the hotel by the friendly Vespa drivers.  

DAY 5

DAY 5 - Siem Reap – Battambang – Wat Phnom Banan – Phnom Sampeou

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before embarking on a scenic drive through the picturesque countryside to Battambang. Upon arrival in this charming riverside town, enjoy lunch and travel to Wat Phnom Banan, an 11th-century temple located on top of a 400-metre-high hill.

Next, hop aboard the bamboo train and experience a fun ride to Phnom Sampeau. Steeped in myths and legends, enjoy a breezy hike to the top of the mountain and take in the stunning panoramas across the Cambodian countryside. Visit the hilltop pagoda and, on a more somber note, learn about the mountain’s many caves which were utilised as ‘killing caves’ by the Khmer Rouge. Get the opportunity to witness the famous Bat Cave and watch as a steady stream of bats leave the cave when dusk falls in the search for food.  

DAY 6

DAY 6 - Battambang – Countryside Cycling

After a relaxed breakfast, hop aboard a bicycle and spend the day exploring rural Battambang. Admire several beautiful, French colonial-style buildings and whizz along countryside roads until reaching a rural Muslim village. Here, meet the local families and hear about their daily life, family history and local traditions before travelling to another small village. Learn about the traditional houses and get to know an ex-soldier. Listen to him as he tells captivating stories about his past and his current work as a fortune teller and healer.

After lunch at a family home, continue riding through rice fields and visit a Buddhist temple before returning back to town.

DAY 7

DAY 7 - Battambang – Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum & Killing Fields – Sunset River Cruise

Enjoy a laid-back breakfast before hitting the road again, bound for Cambodia’s capital. Upon arrival in Phnom Penh, check into the hotel and freshen up.


Prepare for an interesting, yet sobering afternoon learning about the horrors of Cambodia’s tragic past at two former Khmer Rouge sites. First visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, known as S21, before travelling to the outskirts of town to the notorious Killing Fields. Listen to an informative audio guide, retelling the heartbreaking details, whilst wandering these pivotal sites.

After this memorable history lesson, end the day on a much lighter note and head to the pier to embark on an evening sunset cruise. Float along the tranquil river, letting the events of the day sink in, and observe locals in their daily routine. Pass by the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and Wat Ounalom and take photos of Phnom Penh’s skyline as the setting sun bathes the city in a soothing orange glow.    

DAY 8

DAY 8 - Phnom Penh – Cyclo Tour

After breakfast, head out on a morning tour of some of Phnom Penh’s riverfront highlights. Instead of walking, kick back on a cyclo and travel to the Royal Palace – home of the Cambodian king and one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Next, visit the close-by Silver Pagoda and National Museum, whilst learning more about the capital’s past, from the French Protectorate to the Khmer Rouge.

With a focus on Khmer Architecture, continue the city exploration in the afternoon and tour some of the landmarks designed by Vann Molyvann, one of the country’s foremost urban planners. Often described as “the man who built Cambodia”, Molyvann was a pioneer of the “New Khmer Architecture” movement, combining modern, international styles with local traditions and materials. From the Royal University of Phnom Penh and Vann Molyvann's 100 Houses Social Housing project to the National Olympic Stadium, witness the signature characteristics of this unique style.

DAY 9

DAY 9 - Phnom Penh

Enjoy a last breakfast in Cambodia and transfer to the airport in good time for an onward flight.

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