Captivating Cambodia

History, culture, and pride in Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat
Overview

overview

Place Cambodia vividly in a context of ancient grand kingdoms and recent human tragedy. The stunning ruins of Siem Reap, including Angkor Wat – one of the ancient wonders of the world – are  the backdrop to a civilization that is still healing from events of the recent past.  Captivating Cambodia reveals and explains the most significant aspects of Cambodia’s ancient and contemporary history. Beginning in Phnom Penh, visit the small monastery around which the town was built some six centuries ago, and then visit Security Prison 21, where the Khmer Rouge tortured prisoners a mere 30 years ago. Spend a day observing local life on Mekong Island before heading to Siem Reap for the heart of your adventure. No trip to Cambodia would be complete without spending a good amount of time at Angkor Wat. On this trip, you will stay long enough to explore beyond the key sites which concentrate most of the area's tourism.  Built in the 12th century, the city of temples still stands as a majestic reminder of a thriving civilization long past. Marvel at the intricate masonry that decorates nearly every surface of the entire massive complexes, and try to imagine what the scene must have looked like nearly a thousand years ago. Explore some of the other remote sites of Siem Reap before an excursion down the Tonle Sap River to Tonle Sap Lake. Located in the heart of the country, Tonle Sap Lake is a fitting place to end your Cambodian adventure. Cambodia is a small country with a big heart. The longer you stay, the more you will admire the people and their society.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Phnom Penh

    Upon arrival in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day will be free to relax.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Sunway Phnom Penh or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Phnom Penh
    Visit Phnom Penh's market and its many colorful offerings

    Phnom Penh sits at the confluence of the Mekong, Bassac, and Tonle Sap rivers and is considered one of the loveliest of the French-built cities in this part of the world. It was founded as a small monastery in 1372 by a rich Khmer woman named Penh. She set up the monastery on a nearby hill, or “Phnom” in Cambodian, after she found four Buddha statues in a tree trunk on the banks of the Mekong. You will have the opportunity to visit this site, as well as Wat Ounalom, a very important wat (temple) built in 1443 to house a hair of the Buddha. You will also visit the Silver Pagoda, often called the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Preah Kaeo, after the statue housed there. King Norodom originally built the wooden temple in 1892, and its floor is comprised of more than 5000 silver blocks that together weigh nearly six tons. Continue with your tour to the National Museum, which was designed by French archeologist and painter George Groslier to exhibit works previously scattered about the country. Next, visit the Tuol Sleng Museum, home of the former high school that became the Khmer Rouge’s main torture and interrogation center known as Security Prison 21. Conclude with a visit to the Central Market, a covered market built in 1937 and distinguished by its central dome. It is filled with shops selling jewelry, fabrics, and all kinds of souvenirs, making it a great place for browsing.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Sunway Phnom Penh or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Mekong Island
    Visit Mekong Island's weavers and other craftspeople

    Today you enjoy an excursion to Mekong Island, located north of Phnom Penh, by local boat. Witness local culture, classical dancing, and production of handicraft items. Return to Phnom Penh in the late afternoon for your overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Sunway Phnom Penh or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Siem Reap: Roluos Group of Temples
    Pass villages like these on your way to the ruins

    Transfer to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap (ETD 10:35 am/ETA 11:15 am). After checking in your hotel and time to freshen up and relax, you'll head out in the afternoon to discover one of the most ancient sites of the region - the Roluos group. Begin your visit with the impressive ninth century Bakong Temple, followed by Preah Ko and Lolei, which today houses a small monastery. Take a bicycle ride around Bakong and the surrounding countryside. Return to the hotel for the night.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Tara Angkor or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Siem Reap: In-Depth Angkor
    Explore Angkor Wat and other magnificent temples

    After breakfast, you'll set out to explore the world famous Angkor Wat Temple Complex. This temple was dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu by King Suryavarman II and constructed over a period of 30 years. It illustrates some of the most beautiful examples of Khmer and Hindu art and features the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the outer gallery walls narrating stories from Hindu mythology. Continue your visit with a stop at Angkor Thom, a fortified royal city with five monumental gates and encircled by a moat over 325 feet wide. In the center of Siem Reap are the city’s most important monuments, including Baphuon, Bayon, and the Terrace of Elephants. The Bayon is one of the most popular of Angkor’s monuments, and is a place of narrow corridors, steep flights of stairs and an amazing collection of towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Tara Angkor or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Siem Reap: Temples
    Visit Pre Rup and other temples in Angkor Archaeological Park

    Spend a full day on a guided tour of other Angkor sites including Banteay Srei, a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva; Banteay Samre, built in the 12th century and dedicated to the goddess Vishnu; Ta Keo, the first Angkorian monument built entirely of sandstone; Ta Prohm, surrounded by the jungle and looking very much like most of the Angkor monuments would have appeared when European explorers first discovered them; Pre Rup, a pyramid shaped temple; Ta Som, built by King Jayavarman VII for his teacher, Som; and Eastern Mebon, a temple erected by Rajendravarma where the base is guarded at its corners by stone figures of harnessed elephants. Return to your hotel for your overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Angkor Miracle Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Tonle Sap Lake & Floating Village
    Explore village life around Tonle Sap Lake

    After breakfast, take a boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake. You will journey up the Tonle Sap River, which links the Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong River, until you reach Tonle Sap Lake. This “Great Lake” takes up much of the center of Cambodia and changes in size depending on the season. During the dry season in February, it shrinks to a tenth of its original size becomes one of the richest fishing grounds in the world. Your boat trip will take you to interesting fishing villages such as Kampong Pluk, one of the most remarkable villages due to the height of its stilt houses. Depending on the season and lake conditions, cruise along the canals to explore other areas of the lake that are home to displaced Vietnamese people. Return to Siem Reap where the rest of the day is free at your leisure.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Tara Angkor or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Siem Reap / Onward
    Bid farewell to friendly and vibrant Cambodia

    Transfer to the airport for your onward flight or if your flight is later in the day, spend more time exploring further to Chau Say Teva, built during the 12th century and dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu, and Thommanon, a temple that mirrors Chau Say Tevoda. You will also stop by Banteay Kdei, a massive Buddhist temple dating from the 12th century, and Neak Pean, a Buddhist temple consisting of a square pool with four smaller square pools arranged on each axis. In the center of the central pool is a circular island encircled by two nagas with intertwined tails. You will also visit Prasat Kravan, a temple built for Hindu worship and noted for the bas-reliefs cut into the bricks on the interior wall

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Oct 27-Nov 3, 2014
Dec 2-9, 2014
Jan 12-19, 2015
Oct 27-Nov 3, 2015
Dec 1-8, 2015
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$1,795
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap flight add $165 (estimated) Optional Temple tour on Day 8: $75
Single Supplement:
$350
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
8 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
3
Superior 4 * hotels
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
1
Superior 4 * hotels

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

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Ko Samui

Duration: 4 days

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