Meet with your guide and driver at Phnom Penh airport, and transfer to the city center. Check-in at your hotel from 14h. In the afternoon, visit the Royal Palace monuments which comprises the Chan Chhaya Pavilion, the Silver Pagoda and the National Museum, where they house the world's finest collection of Khmer sculptures. We will then explore the monument of Independence, shaped like the central tower of Angkor Wat. It was built in 1958 to commemorate the country's independence from France in 1953. We next visit Wat Phnom Daun Penh - a pagoda built by Lady Daun Penh in 1372 on a small hill. Wat Phnom remains today the highest artificial hill in Phnom Penh and the center of many recreational activities.
In the morning, leave the capital Phnom Penh to head to Kratie via Kampong Cham, a pleasant city on the Mekong River. Make a stop along the way and take a look at the Skun Market, better known as the Insect Market, where the adventurous ones will dare taste unusual specialties much appreciated by Cambodians: cicadas, spiders, grasshoppers, grilled crickets… In the afternoon, explore two hills: the man's (Phnom Pros) and the woman's (Phnom Srei), then visit the Vat Nokor pagoda before heading back to Kratie. The road runs along the Mekong River, offering stunning scenery and a clear view of the floating fishing villages of Vietnamese origin. Make a stop in Chlong and stretch your legs on a short hike to discover old colonial houses. Arrival in Kratie is scheduled for mid-afternoon. Hop on a local ferry to cross the Mekong and reach the island of Koh Trong. Overnight at the hotel.
After breakfast, hop on a bike and ride around the island to discover the beautiful landscapes of a peaceful countryside. Stop several times at scenic spots, as the Kbal Koh Pagoda, an abandoned pagoda stupa, or the Vietnamese pagoda. Depending on the season, you can observe the community busy planting rice, vegetables or building boats. A great opportunity to meet the locals and discover their everyday life. Then, take a local ferry to cross the Mekong River and take the road to Mondulkiri, mountainous province on the Vietnam border. On the way, make a few stops to visit small villages lost in the wilderness. Close to Sen Monorom, the provincial capital, venture into tropical forests, a thick greenery sparsely populated. Arrival late afternoon in Mondulkiri. Overnight at the hotel.
This morning, meet your local guide and transfer by car to the village of Putrom (10km), starting point for your trek. The local guide will accompany you on paths lost in the jungle and will offer you plants and wild fruits to taste. Cross several times a river on tree trunks or take breaks at waterfalls where baths are highly recommended! Take a picnic lunch by the river. Then a 2-hour climb will take you to the village of Putang, home to the Phnong ethnic group. Your efforts will be rewarded with a breathtaking 360° panoramic view. Time to rest after an intense day and head to a small village bistro to enjoy grilled fish on charcoal and fresh beer. Back to Sen Moronom by car.
After breakfast, let’s head to Ratanakiri, another province of north-eastern Cambodia with stunning scenery. To get there, it takes a journey of 200 km by car, in a dense vegetation typical of tropical forests. Authentic Khmer villages scattered along the road will offer you material for a better understanding of Cambodian everyday life. Arrival in Ratanakiri in the afternoon, and visit the legendary Yeak Laom Lake created as a result of a volcanic eruption with a depth of 50m! Rest there, go for a swim and enjoy the panoramic view. Overnight in Banlung, the provincial capital of Ratanakiri.
Today, you are heading north-east of the city, closer and closer to the Vietnamese border, on a single asphalt road, built in cooperation between Cambodians and Vietnamese. Take an easy walk along the road to visit two villages populated by ethnic Kochok and Jarai, then venture into the gemstones mines of Bokeo. The operation is extraordinary: the zircon rush has transformed this cultivated place into a huge Swiss gruyère drilled with hundreds of wells 40 cm in diameter for about 20m deep. Stop in a small village where you will make a pleasant ride in local sampan. Then stroll to discover multi-ethnic villages and their traditional stilt houses, their small Vietnamese funerary houses on the banks of the Se San River. Return to Ratanakiri at the end of the day to spend the night at the hotel.
Today, transfer from Ratanakiri to the capital of Stung Treng province, by a county road. Upon arrival, take the time to discover the local market before settling into your hotel room.
After breakfast, let’s head to Kampong Thom, a pleasant stage on one’s journey. Although this area is not crowded with tourists it still welcomes a steady number of visitors. There, hundreds of hectares stretch as far as the eye can see, covered by deep green rubber trees, pepper crops and several kinds of vegetables. This extremely fertile region holds an important role in the country’s agriculture and economy. The trip continues and we drive for about one hour to reach Sambo Preikuk, an archaeological site located in Kampong Thom Province. As the former capital of the ChenLa Empire, this city possesses a rich architectural heritage with various shrines from different eras, scattered in a lush scenery.
Take the road to Siem Reap. On the way, visit traditional Cambodian villages and stop at the Naga Bridge, an ancient Angkorian bridge still used today. Venture into Roulos, the oldest temple complex in Angkor, called "Roluos Group", located 12km east of Siem Reap. These temples are the remains of Hariharalaya, which was for 70 years (and under four successive kings) the first Khmer capital.
● The Preah Kô is dedicated to Jayavarman II, first king and founder of the kingdom of Angkor
● Bakong is by far the largest temple of the Roluos group and the first "state temple" supposed to mark the center of the capital
● The remains of Lolei, four dilapidated brick towers laid on a two-level basement
Today we will make the visit by tuk tuk (a motorized tricycle which can carry up to 4 passengers) and follow the river to reach the west site of Angkor Wat complex. Among all Cambodia’s temples, Angkor Wat is the most famed, so much so that its picture is featured on the national flag and some riel notes. After having lunch in a local restaurant, we head to the temple of Angkor Thom (Great City). We enter the southern gate, admire the famous Bayon, dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, and the 11th century Baphuon, dedicated to Brahmanism (ancient Hinduism). We then proceed with the Elephant Terrace or the Leper King Terrace.
Return and overnight at the hotel.
Today is dedicated to an in-depth discovery of the countryside and the temples unknown to travelers of the large circuit of the temples of Angkor. A short transfer by bus or tuk tuk (motorized tricycle, carry up to 4 passengers) will take you to Preah Khan Temple, starting point of your hike. Have a picnic lunch in the wilderness after visiting Ta Nei Temple. Your hike then continues and will lead you to the temple of Ta Keo, before reaching the highlight of the day, the famous temple of Ta Prohm. Return to downtown Siem Reap by motorized vehicle.
After breakfast, drive to Beng Mealea Temple. Along the way, discover villages, lively local markets and wooden houses on stilts. It will take two hours to explore this beautiful forgotten temple, a miniature Angkor Wat. It's time to start an unprecedented treasure hunt in the maze of Suryavarman, among arcades, galleries and gopura, engulfed by the roots of cheese trees. After lunch at a local restaurant, transfer via the foot of Mount Phnom Kulen (lychee tree mountain). There, like Khmer pilgrims, climb the staircase and follow a lush path to reach the summit of this sacred mountain. At the top, explore the River of a Thousand Lingas, the main pagoda and its huge stone statue. Seize the opportunity to swim in the river next to a beautiful waterfall.
Free time in Siem Reap while waiting for your departure flight. End of our services.
Immerse yourself in the communities of Khmer people. Delve deeply into the cultures of Cambodia, in our authentic 13 day adventure. Visit Phnom Penh, the elegant capital of Cambodia. The journey continues to Kratie and drives along the local villages to Mondulkiri and Rattanakiri. Explore the complexity of Angkor Temples in Siem Reap. This adventure is created for those who love nature, discovery and diversity of local cultures.
• Experience the landscape and daily life in Kratie, Mondulkiri & Rattanakiri
• Hiking in nature
• Meet with local ethnic groups
• Admire the mystery of Angkor temples.
OUR SERVICES INCLUDE:
- Accommodation with breakfast on a Double/Twin Basis in Hotels listed or similar
- All entrance fees and sightseeing as mentioned in the program
- Experienced English speaking tour guides except on free days (for other language guides supplements will be applied)
- Meals as mentioned in the program (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
- Transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles with driver
- Bottled water during the tour day
OUR SERVICES DO NOT INCLUDE:
- Rates and Hotels are subject to availability
- Domestic & International flights when not mentioned
- Drinks and meals other than those mentioned
- Gratuities to guides, drivers, boat crews, wait staff... We recommend you allow USD$3-6 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture.
- Personal expenses of any nature like, laundry, telephone calls, shopping, incidentals at hotels etc.
- Visa Stamping Fee for Cambodia
- Travel Insurance
- Peak season or Public holiday surcharges if any
- Other services not mentioned in the itinerary
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