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Day 1 – Arrive in Siem Reap (self-organised accommodation)
Day 2 – Travel to Koh Ker (jungle lodge accommodation)
Uncover lost temples further off the beaten track in Koh Ker, then stay in a jungle lodge.
Day 3 – Return from Koh Ker to Siem Reap (self-organised accommodation)
Discover more temples then head back to Siem Reap.
Day 4 – Relax and Enjoy a Local BBQ in Siem Reap (Hillocks Hotel and Spa)
Spend the day exploring Siem Reap then head to Mr Nana’s for a friendly sunset barbeque.
Day 5 – Angkor and Tonle Sap (Homestay in Tonle Sap)
Discover the atmospheric, mystical Angkor Wat and other temples, then cruise on the Tonle Sap.
Day 6 – Fishing Village and Phnom Chisor (Homestay in Stoung)
Experience a local morning fish market, discover isolated communities and ancient structures
Day 7 – Prey Pros, Noodle Villages and Temples (Homestay in Sambor Prei Kuk)
Explore rural Cambodia, enjoy a magical lunch stop and discover pre-Angkor temples.
Day 8 – Local Artisans and Lost Temples (Homestay in Preah Theat Teuk)
Meet communities of artisans sculpting beautiful stonework and visit ancient sites in the jungle.
Day 9 – Community Projects to Phnom Penh (Frangipani Royal Palace Hotel)
Roll your sleeves up and get involved with local community projects, then head to Phnom Penh.
Day 10 – Phnom Penh Tour (Frangipani Royal Palace Hotel)
Explore Phnom Penh and pay your respects at the S12 Museum.
Day 11 – Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville (self-organised accommodation in Sihanoukville)
Day 12 – 14 Paradise Island Day One (Moonlight Resort)
Totally relax on a tropical island with empty, pristine beaches.
Day 15 – Leave Koh Rong Sanloem – end of itinerary
Let us give you advice on where to go next, or help you get to the airport for your flight home!
Despite only being slightly bigger than New York State, Cambodia isn’t exactly short of seduction. Ancient temples standing crumbling into thick, twisting jungle, mysterious, incense-scented shrines atop lonely mountains, vast lakes, floating villages, colourful markets, hectic cities and lush green wild spaces where elephants roam amongst the rushing waterfalls and dripping forests.
But these aren’t even Cambodia’s main draws. What really sticks in the mind of all who visit this corner of South-East Asia are the offbeat experiences, the warmth of the locals, and the special experiences that get them off the tourist trail and a taste for the real Cambodia.
It’s being shown how to extract lotus seeds from a pond at the roadside, it’s chilling in a hammock with a cold beer, watching the sunset in a remote village as locals stroll past and great horned cows lumber by, it’s enjoying an incredible home-cooked meal made with ingredients grown by the family you share your experience with. These are things that stay with our travellers.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a 15 day itinerary that shows you the highlights of Cambodia, whilst getting you far off the beaten track, to experience things that no other tourists would. Think all the aforementioned highlights, but with a seriously local, off the beaten track twist.
Start your journey in Siem Reap, a city most famous for its close proximity with one of the new seven wonders of the world, Angkor Wat. Siem Reap has an international airport, and as a fairly popular tourist destination, is one of the best connected in the country, with direct flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok available, and indirect flights from London or Paris also possible.
Once in Siem Reap, you could do what most tourists do and head straight for the star attraction, but we would recommend something a little different. Spend a day chilling and getting to grips with the vibrant city, explore Pub Street and the night markets, then head to some of the lesser-known temples on a two-day excursion that shows you the wilder side of the jungle early in your adventure.
On a tour that leads you to the beautiful seclusion of Koh Ker, discover red-stone temples covered in tangled branches and crumbling arches in the dappled sunlight, stay in a stunning jungle lodge and spend your second night in Cambodia cocooned by the sounds of wildlife.
On your second day, after another Indiana Jones experience you’ll be driven to Tonle Sap, the biggest body of fresh water in South-Asia, for a sunset river cruise and a cold beer as you get ready for the real start to your journey, as you head back to Siem Reap in preparation for a trip to Angkor Wat, and beyond.
Of course, having your starting base in Siem Reap makes it easy to head to the country’s biggest attraction, but the real questions arise when you start to think about the best way to move on from the northern part of the country, and down to the manic, lovable Phnom Penh and the pristine beaches on the south coast.
Of course, you could just get a coach south, or be driven, but in doing that you will miss the really authentic, offbeat experiences that lie hidden just off the tourist trail along the way.
For this reason, we have devised a special itinerary that gets you from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh in a properly authentic, off the beaten track kind of way. But don’t worry, you’ll get your fix of Angkor Wat.
On the first day of this once-in-a-lifetime tour, you’ll be free to relax by the pool in preparation for an epic journey across Cambodia, or explore the city further. That evening, enjoy a BBQ with Mr Nana for another taste of famous Cambodian hospitality, then the next day, you’ll be heading straight for the jewel in Cambodia’s crown.
You’ll get a tour of the huge, jaw-dropping complex at Angkor Wat, and see more mind-blowing temples, atmospheric ruins and stunning stonework than you’d have thought possible. After this, it’s firmly off the beaten track.
Experience a journey to Phnom Penh in the most authentic way possible, by tuk-tuk, stopping at isolated fishing villages, silk-weaving communities, lost, hidden temples and heart-stopping beauty spots, interacting with local people and truly experiencing Cambodian culture all the way.
Create memories that last a lifetime as you go swimming in secluded reservoirs, stumble upon shadowy temples that pre-date Angkor Wat, and bond with the locals who are so happy to host you at community projects and homestays.
By the time you arrive in Phnom Penh, having left a positive impact everywhere you have visited, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’ve seen Cambodia in a unique way, and truly experienced the local lifestyle.
Once you’ve arrived in Phnom Penh, staying in the luxurious Frangipani Royal Palace Hotel, you have a chance to catch your breath and relax, having experienced a whirlwind adventure from Siem Reap.
Then, throw yourself back into the fray when your local guide shows you the peeling grandeur of the old French Quarter, the sensory overload at the Pshar Kandal morning market and the spiritual calm at Wat Phnom.
No visit to Cambodia is complete however, without acknowledging the dark recent past of the country, and the brutal regime of the Khmer Rouge that is so fresh in the minds of the locals. In fact, throughout the country it’s virtually impossible to meet someone who doesn’t have a close connection with someone who died at the hands of the regime, as millions of lives were claimed.
You’ll pay respects at a high school that was converted into a detention and torture centre, which still stands as a stark and distressing reminder of the darkest period of Cambodian history.
Your day here ends with a sunset river cruise, as you reflect on your journey so far and cast your mind ahead to days lazing on the pristine white sand beaches and palm-fringed coastlines to the south.
Your adventure so far has been pretty hectic, a blast through buzzing Siem Reap, ancient, jungle entombed temples, secluded, far-flung villages and the whirlwind of dust and noise that is Phnom Penh.
Now, it’s time to relax. Cambodia’s beaches are lesser-known than those in Thailand, Vietnam etc., but they are as beautiful and pleasant as any in the world.
Catch buses to Sihanoukville for the ultimate unwind, on a secluded tropical island that is all yours for four days. On Koh Rong Sanloem, you can expect ludicrously warm, crystal clear waters lapping gently at soft white sand beaches, empty horizons, and the sensation of your troubles being left far behind on the mainland.
Arrive in Sihanoukville, where, if you decide to go with us, you will be picked up and taken to the ferry terminal. Catch the boat to Koh Rong Sanloem, and once you’ve checked in at your luxurious accommodation, your time is totally yours.
This is the perfect way to end your trip in Cambodia. Campfires under technicolour purple and orange skies at sunset, days spent snorkelling in beautiful, clear bays and relaxing on empty, secluded beaches, short of owning your own island, this is the closest thing to living the dream of being cast away on a tropical island.
After four days of luxury and total relaxation, catch the boat back to Sihanoukville, where we are more than happy to give you recommendations of how to continue your journey.
However, if 15 days is just right for you, then you can catch a short flight or a bus from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh, where you can catch your return flight from the international airport, satisfied in the knowledge that you’ve not just seen Cambodia, you’ve experienced it.
Want to extend your trip into incredible Vietnam? Take a look at some of the experiences we offer in a country that combines beautiful beaches, stunning mountains and incredible food and culture.