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12 days

Highlights of Cambodia

Experience the unique attraction of Angkor Wat, lush landscapes along the Mekong River, rare Mekong dolphins at Kratie and the lively capital of Phnom Penh. Extend the tour with a beach holiday.

Highlights of Cambodia
Highlights of Cambodia
12 days

Highlights of Cambodia

Experience the unique attraction of Angkor Wat, lush landscapes along the Mekong River, rare Mekong dolphins at Kratie and the lively capital of Phnom Penh. Extend the tour with a beach holiday.

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What is included in the price?
This package includes the following
  • Flight from the UK to Siem Reap and home from Phnom Penh
  • Transfers to and from airports
  • Local English-speaking guide on transfers and excursions
  • 9 nights at 3- and 4-star hotels, including breakfast
  • 3 x lunch (days 4, 7 and 8)
  • 1 x dinner (day 2)
  • Travelling in a car or minibus with air conditioning
  • All mentioned transfers and excursions take place within international groups of 1 – 14 people and with TourCompass’ own guests only
  • ATOL certificate
  • 24-hour manned emergency telephone throughout the tour
  • Departure guarantee – the tour goes ahead regardless of the number of participants
  • Option to extend the tour to include a beach holiday in Kep or on the island Koh Rong

Extensive excursion package:

  • Visit to a local night market and dinner at a popular Khmer restaurant in Siem Reap
  • The ruins of Angkor Thom with the temples of Bayon, Ta Prohm and Phimeanakas as well as the Elephant Terrace and Angkor Wat with sunset over Angkor
  • Tonle Sap Lake and Kompong Phluk floating village, mangrove boat ride and the village of Chansar
  • The mountain Phnom Sambok and the 100-column pagoda in Sambor near Kratie
  • Dolphin watching where you spot the rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins also known as Mekong dolphins at Kratie
  • Bike ride through rice fields and lush landscapes on the island of Koh Trong at Kratie
  • The Royal Palace with the Silver Pagoda, Wat Phnom, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum S-21 and the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh
  • Admission and fees to the sights and attractions mentioned

THE TOUR IN SHORT

On this tour, you get to experience the contrasts between town and country, as well as the charming mix of the French colonial era with beautiful mansions, shady avenues and a very rich Buddhist past with temples, pagodas and traditional buildings. It is all bound together by magnificent, lush scenery and, not least, the very welcoming and proud Cambodian people, most of whom are Khmer people.

In Siem Reap, one of the absolute highlights of the tour awaits you with one of the world’s greatest attractions: the magnificent ruin city and the Angkor temple complex Angkor, including Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

En route to Kratie, you can enjoy the beautiful, lush landscapes, fields and plantations of papaya, chilli, aubergines and tobacco, etc. lie side by side. In Kratie, on the banks of the Mekong River, and on the small, car-free and scenic green island of Koh Trong, country life is still lived with ox-drawn carts and hand-planted rice fields. It’s like stepping back 50 years in time. Dolphin watching also awaits you on the Mekong River, where you can spot the rare Mekong dolphins.

The tour rounds off in Cambodia’s vibrant capital, Phnom Penh, where French colonial style is flanked by pagodas, skyscrapers and beautiful Royal Palace. This is where you will find the biggest traces of the Khmer Rouge’s “cultural revolution” with Tuol Sleng S-21, the genocide museum, and the Killing Fields. The city buzzes with life here, with its cosy little streets and shops, large markets and pleasant promenade along the Tonle Sap River lined with restaurants and cafes.

Extend the tour with a wonderful beach holiday on the paradise island of Koh Rong or by the beach in Kep.

Why choose this tour

  • Look forward to one of the world’s top attractions, Angkor Wat, and the impressive ruin city of Angkor Thom, and experience the contrast with the vibrant capital of Phnom Penh
  • Experience floating villages with houses on long posts at the Tonle Sap Lake and charming Siem Reap with shaded avenues along the river, tons of good restaurants, cafés and evening life.
  • Get enchanted by the gorgeous and lush landscapes along the Mekong River, with fields and plantations of bananas, chillis, papaya, aubergine and tobacco. Spot the rare Mekong dolphins at Kratie
  • Option to extend the tour to include a beach holiday in Kep or on the paradise island of Koh Rong

Our prices always include

  • All international and domestic flights
  • All destination transfers
  • All specified excursions and activities
  • All accommodations
Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Departure from selected airport

You fly from the selected airport to Siem Reap, with connecting flights along the way.

Day 2: Arrival in Siem Reap – Visit to a local market and a taste of local delicacies

Upon arrival in Siem Reap, you will go through immigration and then collect your luggage and head out into the arrivals hall where a guide holding up a TourCompass sign will be waiting to drive you to your hotel. After checking in at the hotel, you have time for a rest after the long flight.

In the evening, you’ll be heading out on a culinary adventure. Your guide will pick you up from the hotel and you will visit a popular local night market. This is where the locals come to buy meat, fresh fruit and vegetables for dinner, while others stay and eat on the small plastic stools.

Walk through the night market and soak up the atmosphere. The aroma from the many Khmer delicacies really makes your mouth water. Find a delicious piece of grilled meat or a noodle dish and sit down on one of the many stools next to the locals enjoying a local snack. If you’re feeling brave, you can even try grilled crickets on skewers. Wash it all down with a cold, local beer of your choice.

The evening rounds off with a delicious dinner and a glass of rice wine at one of Siem Reap’s popular Khmer restaurants, owned by an innovative chef who promotes the diversity of Cambodian cuisine.

Day 3: Siem Reap with sightseeing at Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom

As one of the absolute highlights of the tour, today you will experience one of the world’s greatest sights: the magnificent temple complexes and the ruin city of Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Angkor was originally the capital of the Khmer Empire, and the temple complex is situated just 5 km north of Siem Reap, where you will be driven by the guide.

As the temple area is quite large, the car accompanies you all day, so you are driven the longer distances from place to place, but you will be dropped off by the guide so that you can view all the sights on foot.

You start at Angkor Thom’s beautiful south gate and moat, where it is always nice and green – even in the dry season. From here, you continue to one of the main temples, Bayon, where an impressive sight awaits in the form of countless smiling Buddha faces. You also experience the 350-metre-long Terrace of the Elephants, where the king could both stand and survey his troops and enjoy various ceremonies and performances. The name refers to the numerous sandstone carvings of elephants. Next stop is the Royal Palace, Phimeanakas. Finally, you enjoy the famous Ta Prohm temple, made unique by the beautiful, large trees that have taken root in the temple buildings, becoming as one.

After a break for lunch, it’s time to explore the best-preserved and most famous temple in Cambodia, Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument. The spectacular temple comprises three levels, crowned by the five towers, which are shaped like the buds of the lotus flower. In the inner courtyards and vaulted walkways with their endless friezes and amazing carvings, most people are blown away. The day ends with a sunset over the jungle from the Bakheng Hill temple.

Day 4: Tonle Sap Lake

Today, you can look forward to a half-day excursion to Tonle Sap Lake, located 15 km south of Siem Reap and South-east Asia’s largest freshwater lake. The size of the lake varies greatly from 3,000 km2 in the dry season to 10,000 km2 in the rainy season. The lake is an important part of Cambodia’s economy and pantry with abundant wildlife and more than 300 fish species and 100 bird species.

You arrive on the shore of Tonle Sap Lake and board a boat that will take you to the floating village of Kompong Phluk. Here, you get right up close to what life is like for the many families who primarily live off fishing. The families live along the banks of the lake in colourful houses that stand on long stilts, allowing them to cope with the high water level in the rainy season, when the narrow streets in the village turn into small canals. In the dry season, when the water level is low, the tall stilts are in full view.

You will be sailed on through a mangrove forest, which is home to many animals, including various species of birds and the crab-eating macaques.

Back on land, you’ll be driven to the small village of Chansar, where you visit a local family that specialises in making brooms from natural materials. Feel free to lend a hand if you wish. This is followed by a walk around the village, where you have the opportunity to participate in various activities such as fishing, sowing and harvesting fields, etc., depending on the season. Then enjoy a traditional lunch. In the afternoon, you can take part in several activities or you can spend the time chatting with the locals.

Chansar is one of our partner’s village projects in Cambodia. Your visit to the village helps generate an income for the villagers and thus improve their living conditions.

You then return to your hotel, where the rest of the day is yours to do whatever you please.

Day 5: Siem Reap on your own

The day is yours to do as you please. You can relax, explore the city on your own or purchase one of our extra excursions.

Siem Reap is a cosy city offering plenty to do. You can go for a stroll in the French Quarter and down along the river. You can sit at one of the many cosy cafés and restaurants and watch life go by in the town. A visit to the Royal Gardens, a nice little park located directly opposite the royal residence in the town, is also recommended. In the evening, the natural meeting place is Pub Street, which offers an array of cafés, restaurants and bars.

Day 6: Siem Reap – Kratie

In the morning, the tour continues to Kratie, located in lush Eastern Cambodia, where life is lived along the Mekong River. Kratie is especially famous for its rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins also called Mekong dolphins, which live here in the Mekong River. The 6–7 hour drive from Siem Reap to Kratie gives you a good look at both the larger towns and smaller villages near and along the Mekong River. Sit back and enjoy the scenic landscape, especially on the last part of the route, where fields and plantations of papaya, chilli, aubergines and tobacco, etc. lie side by side. A stop for lunch is made either on the way or on your arrival at Kratie.

In Kratie, you will stay on the small beautiful green island of Koh Trong, which is 6 km long and located in the Mekong River, just a 10-minute boat ride from Kratie. Peace and quiet prevail on Koh Trong. The island is car-free, so all transportation takes place by bike, motorcycle, tuk tuk or ox-drawn cart.

If you arrive in Koh Trong in the dry season, when the water level in the river is lower, you walk the 900 or so metres across the wide beach up to the cycle path, where a tuk tuk is waiting to drive you the last 3 km to the hotel. Your luggage will be transported from the boat to the hotel. During the rainy season, when the water level is higher, the boat can dock right up to the cycle path, so you will not have to walk across the beach.

On your arrival, you have the afternoon to yourself, when you can relax by the hotel pool or explore the island.

Accommodation:
Day 7: Kratie with dolphins in the Mekong River and a bike ride on the island of Koh Trong

After breakfast, we head for Kratie, where you’ll start by visiting the local market and then the mountain, Phnom Sambok. To reach the top, you have to climb 300 steps, but it’s worth the effort. The steps are adorned with small Buddha statues, and at the top of them lies a small pagoda and a monastery, where around 10 monks live with stunning views of the area and the Mekong River. A very peaceful atmosphere prevails here.

You continue to the village of Sambor, 35 km north of Kratie. This is where the 100-Pillar pagoda, Wat Sorsor Moi Roi, Cambodia’s largest pagoda, is located.

A boat trip on the Mekong River, with a chance of spotting the rare Mekong dolphins, then awaits. They are characterised by their dark grey and dark blue colour, large forehead with a rounded head and broad flippers. The current population of Mekong dolphins is around 70 in the Kratie area. An exciting and wonderful experience awaits you when, rocking gently in the boat, you hear the first sounds of the dolphins and look around to spot them. After about an hour on the water, you’ll head back to Koh Trong, for a sedate bike ride around the charming, little island.

Everything is quiet all around you, so you can enjoy the verdant landscapes, the exotic fruit trees and palms with mango, jackfruit and bananas as well as the fields and meadows of grazing oxen. You cycle along the flat, 9-km-long cycle path around the island. On the way, you pass a small pagoda, and in the surrounding tall trees, you may be lucky enough to spot large groups of bats hanging down. You make stops along the way as and when you please, and commune with the friendly locals, who greet you with smiles and waves as you ride past. If you are lucky, you may be offered a cup of tea or coffee at the home of one of the local families. You’ll cycle to the northern part of the island, where you’ll visit a small, local community. This provides a wonderful insight into how life is lived here on Koh Trong, and you’ll be offered fresh fruit. You’ll then take part in a tree planting project, which benefits the climate, biodiversity and the local community. Finally, you can enjoy the last of the afternoon sun over the Mekong River.

After a day packed with exciting impressions and experiences, you’ll head back to your hotel.

Accommodation:
Day 8: Kratie – Phnom Penh

It’s time to set course for Cambodia’s vibrant capital, Phnom Penh. Along the way on the 7-hour drive, you make a stop in the town of Skuon at the famous market selling Cambodian delicacies such as deep-fried spiders. Cambodians travel from far and wide to this market to enjoy their favourite dishes. Traditionally, they eat virtually everything, and here you also get the opportunity to enjoy the sight of them or buy yourself a taster.

Phnom Penh lies at the confluence of the three rivers Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap, which are important resources for the city and help make it attractive. The city buzzes with life, with bustling markets, busy boulevards, cosy little streets with shops and a host of cafés and restaurants. Your hotel is centrally located in the city.

Be sure to enjoy the view the capital from the top of a skyscraper, and see where the rivers meet, the stunning mix of French colonial style, modern skyscrapers, pagodas and the beautiful Royal Palace.

When you get to Phnom Penh, the rest of the day is yours to do as you wish.

Day 9: Sightseeing in Phnom Penh with the Royal Palace, S-21 and the Killing Fields

Today, you will dig deeper into the Cambodian culture and history. Your full-day sightseeing tour of Phnom Penh starts in the morning with a visit to the beautiful Royal Palace and its park, where the king lives. The tour includes a visit to the Coronation Hall and the Silver Pagoda.

You continue to Wat Phnom pagoda, the city’s main temple, which is set on a small tree-covered hilltop, where you always find a crowd of believers. No visit to Phnom Penh is complete without a visit to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum S-21, a museum about the Khmer Rouge genocide. S-21 stands for Security Prison 21, a prison set up by Pol Pot in 1975 in the buildings that previously housed a high school.

Roughly 15 km outside Phnom Penh, a powerful and moving experience awaits you at Choeung Ek also known as the “Killing Fields”. The hilly terrain of Choeung Ek holds the mass graves of the 17,000+ people murdered by the Khmer Rouge.  After the visit, you head back to your hotel.

Day 10: Phnom Penh

The day is yours to relax or explore Phnom Penh on your own. You might like to stroll along the promenade along the Mekong River, shop in the quaint streets with their small shops, visit the National Museum, the large Phsar Thmey “New Market” indoor market, or simply soak in the atmosphere at the many cafés and restaurants.

You can also choose to purchase one of our extra excursions.

Day 11: Homeward bound

You will be picked up from the hotel and driven to the airport. Today the tour heads home with connecting flight(s) along the way.

Day 12: Arrival back home

You land in the UK after a lovely, action-packed  holiday.

Combine with
Choose from the options below
Beach holiday extension in Kep
3 nights

In south-west Cambodia, near the border with Vietnam, lies the coastal town of Kep. The town is a tantalising mix of French Indochina, Asian and French food and a peaceful, tropical seaside resort with a lovely 1 km long sandy beach on the Gulf of Thailand. Kep’s heyday began in the French colonial era in the 1930s and lasted until the Khmer Rouge assumed power in the 1970s, after which the town slipped into oblivion. Today, many of the old French villas are in rather a sorry state but still tell a story, while some have been beautifully restored and converted into hotels offering French elegance and Cambodian hospitality. In the elongated town, which does not have a centre as such, you will find a good selection of restaurants and cafés offering great food and drinks.

Kep is also known for its wonderful seafood, especially the delicious crabs, which you will find, among other things, at the fish and crab markets. In the green, lush hinterland with its exotic mountains and jungle, you can visit Kep National Park, which has abundant flora and fauna. Follow routes of different lengths along small paths and enjoy the beautiful flora, wonderful birds, playful monkeys and some amazing vantage points along the way.

The extension includes a 3-night beach holiday at the resort with breakfast and transfers between Phnom Penh and the resort in Kep.

Beach holiday extension on the island of Koh Rong
4 nights

Round off your tour with a beach holiday on the beautiful Cambodian island of Koh Rong (78 km²), located a mere 40–60-minute boat ride from Sihanoukville in the Gulf of Thailand, off the south-west coast of Cambodia.

When you go ashore on Koh Rong, you will be greeted by white sandy beaches, turquoise water, swaying palm trees, with the jungle as its backdrop. It is simply stunning here – a veritable little paradise far from tourism’s beaten track.

We are located on the quiet south-western side of the island at Long Beach, also known as Sok San Beach, which has one of the island’s finest sandy beaches. You will stay at a resort right on the beach, where you can enjoy the sunset. Spend the days relaxing, swimming and with the sand between your toes, or you can take advantage of the many opportunities for activities such as snorkelling, diving, cycling, fishing, walks in the jungle, kayaking or a day excursion with island-hopping to the neighbouring island of Koh Rong Sanloem.

Most of the island is covered in jungle, so you mainly get about on foot, by motorcycle or by water. There are many different exotic species of trees such as teak and fig, as well as abundant animals and birds, including monkeys and buffaloes. In the sea, there are tropical fish and corals, while the tropical climate provides average temperatures of 27–30 degrees all year round. The best time to visit Koh Rong is from November to April, as the rainy season is from May to October.

The extension includes a 3-night beach holiday on the island of Koh Rong, 1 night in Phnom Penh, breakfast, transfers between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville as well as a speedboat ride between Sihanoukville and the resort on Koh Rong.

You can extend the beach holiday with additional nights, just as you please.

The transfer time between Phnom Penh and Koh Rong is around 6 hours including the boat ride.

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Laura Arundell Trelborg

Laura loves to travel and is extremely passionate about helping others achieve their travel dreams.

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