Cambodia’s culture and history is on show in this exploration starting in Siem Reap with a bird’s eye view of Angkor Wat from a helium balloon. You will also visit local villages, explore less visited temples, and enjoy a boat ride along the Mekong River. Phnom Penh is home to the astounding Silver Pagoda and museums commemorating the turbulent times of Pol Pot. The delicious Khmer cuisine will delight, and your trip ends with time to kick back and relax in the beautiful and unspoiled beach resort of Sihanoukville.
Duration11 Days / 10 Nights from NZD $4,095*
Type of Journey
• Siem Reap • Angkor Temples • Phnom Penh • Sihanoukville • Battambang
Departure DatesDeparts daily. Itinerary also available in reverse.
• Tailor-made journey
• Local English speaking guides
• 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners
• 10 nights’ accommodation in selected category
• Transfers and transport
• Sightseeing and entrance fees
5 Jan – 31 Mar; 1 Oct – 20 Dec
1 Apr – 30 Sep
7285Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
Day 1: Siem Reap
Upon arrival into Siem Reap, you will be met by your English speaking guide and transferred by private car to your hotel.
Day 2: Siem Reap
Start the day with a transfer to the picturesque Ta Prohm. This beautiful temple is overgrown with fig trees, giving a haunting yet exotic atmosphere. The magnificent roots of the trees have merged over the centuries with the temple’s huge stone blocks, emphasising a ‘forgotten city’ feeling. Take your time to walk through the temple from the east entrance to the west entrance (approximately 2 kilometres), where your vehicle will be waiting.
Continue to Angkor Thom, the ancient royal city of the Khmer Empire with its centrepiece, the Bayon temple. As you approach, you will notice the enigmatic faces of former King Jayavarman VII facing in every direction. Your guide will also take you to the Terrace of the Elephants, which served as a platform from where the King could welcome back his victorious army, and the Terrace of the Leper King, which holds detailed carvings winding along a narrow passage way that leads to the Baphuon complex. Return to Siem Reap for a well-deserved rest.
Day 3: Siem Reap > Beng Mealea > Banteay Srei > Siem Reap
Depart this morning on a pleasant drive of about 1.5 hours through the Cambodian countryside to Beng Mealea, a sprawling jungle temple constructed in a distinctly Angkor Wat style by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. It preceded and may have served as a prototype for Angkor Wat. Contrary to Angkor, few carvings or bas-reliefs are evident. Today the temple is largely overrun by vegetation and the stone walls are crumbling, which adds to its charm in a unique way. Accessibility has improved as elevated walkways have been set up throughout most of the temple, although to see all corners does require a sense of adventure as you will need to climb over stone blocks or walk through narrow passageways.
Drive on for lunch in a traditional Cambodian restaurant, then head to the elegant Banteay Srei temple. This red sandstone temple is one of Angkor’s most significant structures as its walls are decorated with elaborate carvings which have been preserved remarkably well. They provide an excellent insight into the Angkor civilisation and their beliefs. It was built in the 10th century and was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
Day 4: Siem Reap > Battambang
Depart Siem Reap after breakfast for the 3 hour drive to Battambang, a peaceful provincial town established in the 11th century and rich in beautiful, colonial architectural heritage, century old traditional wooden houses and Angkorian Temples.If you wish you may choose to stop in Puok District to visit the National Silk Centre for a fascinating look into silk creation and the growing and harvesting of mulberries.
On arrival in Battambang, the afternoon is at leisure to relax by the pool or explore the night market and excellent local restaurants.
Day 5: Battambang > Phnom Penh
Visit the village of Wat Kor, home to many Khmer houses from the 1900s. Take a tour of Kor Sang, one of the traditional houses that is today owned and occupied by the grandchildren of the original builders. Inside the house you will see original pieces of furniture, and the grounds around the building feature sapodilla and golden plum trees that are approximately 100 years old. This afternoon, transfer by road to Phnom Penh, a journey of approximately 4 hours.
Day 6: Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh’s ochre-coloured colonial buildings, bustling squares, trendy cafes, and frangipani-lined boulevards create an atmosphere that is unlike any other city in Southeast Asia. Spend a full day exploring this charming city which boasts a rich blend of Khmer and colonial architecture.
Visit the National Museum, which houses Khmer art and sculptures from different periods of Cambodian history. You will also see the Royal Palace, built in 1866 by the French for King Norodom. It is also home to the Silver Pagoda, named for its floor made of 5,329 silver tiles. The palace has been inhabited by kings at all times with the exception of the period when the radical Khmer Rouge party took control in 1975. Under its leader Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge seized power and declared ‘year zero’. Opt to learn more about these turbulent years when visiting the infamous Tuol Sleng Museum in the afternoon. Return to your hotel or head to one of the riverside cafes or bars where you may want to take in the sunset.
Day 7: Phnom Penh > Koh Dach > Phnom Penh
For those who are interested in Cambodian silks and silk weaving, set aside a full day for a boat trip to the rural weaving village on Koh Dach, a nearby island about an hour’s boat trip up the Mekong River. The weaving village is a typical rural Cambodian stilted village, dedicated almost entirely to silk weaving – people operating hand looms under most of the houses, others dying and spinning silk on spinning wheels made of bicycle parts. Cycle from your hotel to the pier and catch a local boat to Koh Dach, then cycle around the villages (approximately 10 km). Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant and interact with the locals before returning to the pier for your boat journey back to Siem Reap. Note: Because of the remoteness of Koh Dach it is not possible to supply a back-up vehicle for this trip.
Day 8: Phnom Penh > Sihanoukville
Transfer by road to Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s premier beach resort on the Gulf of Thailand, a journey of 4.5 hours. The rest of the day is free to enjoy Sihanoukville’s white sandy beaches and crystal clear sea.
Days 9 & 10: Sihanoukville
Days at leisure to relax on the beach.
Day 11: Sihanoukville > Phnom Penh
Free time at leisure until your transfer to Phnom Penh Airport for your departure flight.
• Surcharges apply over Christmas, New Year, Chaul Chnam Thmey and Cambodian New Year. Please enquire for details.
NB: If travelling during Chaul Chnam Thmey, the Cambodian New Year, many shops, restaurants and businesses are closed during this period or may operate on a limited schedule. Departing Phnom Penh or Siem Reap by road may be difficult during this period since many locals will travel over the holiday as well. Flying between cities should be fine, although please allow for some delays and more traffic than usual. Local attractions in the countryside and around Phnom Penh will be crowded with domestic visitors, who usually travel with their entire family. It is recommended that during the Khmer New Year period, smaller local attractions like streams, waterfalls and parks are avoided as they will be very overcrowded with locals on holiday.