This journey is designed with the active traveler in mind who enjoy to visit the local attractions by bike and is interested to discover local customs and culture with close interactions with locals. Your journey begins in Phnom Penh and the visits to the dark recent chapter in Cambodian history with the humbling sights of the Killing Fields and Toul Sleng Prison.Afterwards, we are leaving this dark history behind and focus on the bright present and future. We explore the beautiful scenery of Silk Island before we proceed to the ancient city of Siem Reap to bike between the ruins of World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat and discover more hidden temples for a lost world experience.
Day 1: Phnom Penh
Day 2: Phnom Penh
Day 3: Phnom Penh – Oudong – Phnom Penh
Day 4: Phnom Penh
Day 5: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap
Day 6: Siem Reap
Day 7: Siem Reap
Day 8: Siem Reap
DAY 1: PHNOM PENH
Upon arrival Phnom Penh airport, your tour leader will meet and transfer you to the hotel. Your tour leader will brief you on everything you would like to know about the area, from the history and culture to distinctive and enlightening curiosities. Phnom Penh has really come into its own in recent years. Repopulated after Vietnam ousted the Khmer Rouge in 1979, the rebuilding and development of this vibrant city continues to pick up pace. It is now a safe place to move around and day and nightlife are flourishing, as is the local arts scene.
After checked-in your hotel, the remainder of the day is free at leisure or personal exploration.
DAY 3: PHNOM PENH – OUDONG – PHNOM PENH
In the early morning, we cycle along the Oudong Trail. The route begins along the railway tracks, before rolling out into the countryside, and continuing through rice paddies and villages to Oudong Mountain. Visit the temple and enjoy the views from the mountain before transferring back to hotel.
DAY 4: PHNOM PENH
After breakfast we take a break from the busy streets of the city and cycle to get the ferry across to Koh Dac where is a quiet little island in the Mekong River. Also known as Silk Island, a large percentage of the inhabitants weave silk on traditional looms. There we cycle and walk around the island for an insight into local weaving traditions but equally an insight into daily rural life away from the hustle and bustle of the city, a life still enjoyed by the majority of Cambodia’s population. We return in the afternoon with time to visit some of Phnom Penh’s markets or time to soak up the last hours of the day watching the world go by from one of the many great cafes and bars in the city or free at leisure or personal exploration to National Museum and Wat Phnom.
DAY 6: SIEM REAP
Today we immerse ourselves in one of the most astounding archaeological sites in the world. The magnificent Angkor complex of temples is scattered over an area of 200 square kilometers, with only Egypt’s Nile Valley providing any kind of comparison in terms of such a vast array of monuments. The Khmer kings ruled from this ancient seat, reigning over the largest, most prosperous and sophisticated kingdoms in the history of South East Asia. At the height of their power, the kings of Angkor controlled territories that extended from the tip of the Indochina peninsula, northward to Yunnan and from Vietnam, westward to the Bay of Bengal.
We start our exploration this morning by bicycle. Making an early start to avoid the crowds and enjoy the relative cool of the morning, we use a support vehicle to take us into the temple complex avoiding the busy roads that service the temples. Today’s cycle focuses on Angkor Thom, the walled city built by Jayaverman VII in the 12th Century. It has the greatest concentration of temples in the Angkor complex and is heavily forested providing shade and atmosphere. This tour focuses more on the excitement of discovery and exploration.
We start early at Ta Prohm when the birds and parrots outnumber the tourists. Ta Prohm is one of the highlights of any visit to Angkor, giant trees spread their roots across the temples giving the impression that nature is very much in control. Shrouded in dense jungle the temple of Ta Prohm is ethereal in aspect and conjures up a romantic aura. It was built about mid-12th century to early 13th century (1186) by the King Jayavarman VII, dedicated to the mother of the king (Buddhist). It made famous by the movie Tomb Raider.
We then cycle through the villages via back-roads and alternative approaches visit other temples and really feel the magic of Angkor. En-route we take an indepth look at the Terraces of the Elephants and the Leper King, the Royal Palace, and Baphoun until we reach Bayon, is perhaps Angkor’s most moving temple. The base reliefs are among the most interesting in Angkor and offer an insight into the past. They show re-enactments of the war against the Chams and also scenes of daily life depicting childbirth, pig fights, drinking and farming. There are also 54 standing towers each bearing four faces of a figure believed to represent both Loksvara (the Bodhisittva of compassion) and the great King himself. These faces literally come to life with the changing light of the rising sun. We time our visit when most other visitors have departed to encourage a truly magical experience! We then move on to the best preserved South Gate before we break for lunch.
Our exploration of Angkor continues in the afternoon as we visit some of the most well preserved carvings in the region at Angkor Wat, one of the world’s most impressive temples constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries and the largest Hindu structure in the world. The temple is home to hundreds of fine carvings of Apsara and Hindu mythology. Stroll around the massive hallways to discover small shrines still in use today by the local people. Return to one of the grass terraces in front of the five massive towers of Angkor Wat to watch the sunset before transferring back to your hotel.
This evening we enjoy a wonderful dinner performance of traditional Apsara and Folk dances. Although not as famous as Thai dance, Khmer Apsara dance is actually where Thai dance originated from. Tonight we are entertained by dances originally saved for Royal audiences in Siem Reap’s most beautiful.
DAY 8: SIEM REAP
Free time until guide picks up and transfers you to airport. We wish you a comfortable journey home and we are sure you will take some wonderful memories of Cambodia with you.
DAY 2: PHNOM PENH
Today we take a closer look at the genocidal past and learn why Cambodia was referred to as the Killing Fields. Although the Khmer Rouge only ruled the country for a period of 3 years, 8 months and 21 days, this chapter of history devastated the county, its heritage and its people.
Toul Sleng is a former high school that the Khmer Rouge used as a centre for torture and interrogation; it now serves as a museum of torture. Of the 17,000 people who passed through the gates of S21 only 7 survived to tell the tale. We also visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek; this is where prisoners from S21 were taken to be executed. Formerly a Chinese cemetery Choeung Ek became a mass grave where the remains of 8985 were found. This is a sobering experience and although it’s very interesting it may not be for everyone.
In the afternoon, back to city and stop for lunch at PSE (Pour un Sourire d’Enfant). This is a fantastic project that has rescued thousands of children from scavenging on the rubbish dumps around Phnom Penh. We learn more about their excellent work and have a look around the project.
This afternoon we visit the Royal Palace, which is what the current Cambodian Monarch King Sihamoni calls home. Inside the Palace complex we will explore the manicured gardens and the Silver Pagoda with its floor made from over 5000 silver tiles. Inside is a life sized Buddha encrusted with 9584 diamonds.
We then take a cyclo tour including some of the architectural landmarks of the city. We’ll travel along the Tonle Sap River, Past the Post Office and Le Royal Hotel (The Raffles) and circumnavigate Wat Phnom. The cyclo is the ideal way to enjoy the frenetic pace of Phnom Penh’s street life; actually you become a part of it, from the relative comfort of one of South East Asia’s iconic modes of transportation.We conclude our afternoon with a refreshing drink on the balcony of the restaurant or café overlooking the river and the busy streets.
DAY 5: PHNOM PENH – SIEM REAP
We leave Phnom Penh this morning and head to Siem Reap by private vehicle. We roughly travel around the Tônlé Sap River which flows into the shallow Tônlé Sap Lake, the largest of South East Asia’s lakes. Numerous streams feed the lake and it then drains by the Tônlé Sap River west to the Mekong River. During the wet monsoon season of June to November, the high waters of the Mekong River reverse the flow of the Tônlé Sap River and increase the size of the lake from about 2,600 to 10,400 square kilometres. As it begins to recede again, the lake’s huge stocks of fish are easily trapped in nets and bamboo traps or simply caught in the branches of trees.
On the way to Siem Reap, we make a stop at the town of Skuon, where the local delicacy is fried spiders! We also make another stop at Kampong Kdei to visit the Ancient Bridge. It is the highest and longest of the 800 years old ancient bridges, spanning approximately 85m and 14m high. Though it was originally agreed by competent authority that the ancient bridge was to be rehabilitated without any bypasses, cultural heritage considerations soon took precedence. The bridge was built in the 12th century during the reign of King Jayavarman VII. It is one of the few Khmer empire era bridges to have survived to the modern day.
Upon arrival Siem Reap, we will check in hotel and relax before heading to walk around the town itself, and will suggest the best dining options available, from international restaurants to hidden Cambodian culinary gems. Pub Street (and the surrounding alleys) in the evening offers a wide variety of restaurants and bars to choose from… The Night Market for some great souvenir shopping or perhaps a “Dr Fish” massage. Later, return to the hotel.
DAY 7: SIEM REAP
This morning we start early and cycle to Angkor Wat to view the sunrise. Erected in the 12th century, Angkor Wat stands as a powerful symbol of Cambodia, and built in the high classical style of Khmer architecture will perhaps form the centerpiece of your memories, long after you have returned home. The sun rises from behind the 5 towers of the temple and even though it’s a busy time we can always find our own little quiet corner to escape the crowds and appreciate the moment.
We bring a packed breakfast and stay at Angkor while the majority of visitors return to their hotels for breakfast. We then find a suitable place to enjoy our breakfast.
Afterwards we climb the mountain temple of Phnom Bakheng. Built in the late 9th Century, this was the first major temple built in the Angkor area. Built on a man-made hill, it offers imposing views of Angkor Wat. In the late afternoon this temples is literally packed with tourists for the sunset. But at this time of day, we have it almost to ourselves.
We then use quiet roads, small tracks as we cycle to visit other hidden temples. It has the greatest concentration of temples in the Angkor complex and is heavily forested providing shade and atmosphere.
We return to our hotel for a well-earned siesta.
This afternoon we take a break from the temples and head out to the Cambodian countryside and get to really understand how people live. We make a stop at The Pouk Silk Farm. Here, talented locals receive vigorous training in traditional Khmer methods of weaving. This helps to preserve the countries cultural heritage while again supporting the local economy. Visitors can see the silk making procedure from the silk worms, through the cocoon stage, dying, weaving etc.We also make the time for cycling through the villages and countryside. We can experience a slice of daily life as we pass people working in the fields and smiling waving children.
Then we continue our way to enjoy a visit to Tonlesap Lap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Cambodia. Embark on a private local boat, and set out on a Tonle Sap Lake adventure to discover the floating villages and some unique wildlife along the way. Find out how communities live and work on the lake; see the floating schools, markets, and police stations, among other structures and observe their daily lives. Later, head back to Siem Reap later in the afternoon.
Accommodation in 3 star hotels
Daily Breakfast, meal plan as outlined in itinerary
English speaking guide
Private airport arrival/departure transfers
All entrance fees as mentioned in the itinerary
Private air-conditioned car/van for transfers
Angkor World Heritage Site 3 Day Pass
Ferry to/from Silk Island
All other meals if not clearly mentioned as included
Gratuities for driver and guide
Personal Health & Travel Insurance
Other services not clearly mentioned as included above
``A most enjoyable trip. Our tour leaders Duong was excellent. Well, orgomufed, capable completely got on very well with the whole group.``