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Adventure Beyond the Temples
On this adventure-centric trip, bold travelers will be able to experience the full range that Cambodia has to offer, with plenty of room for making meaningful connections with local people. You will explore the bustling cities of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, with their lively markets and historical sites. Ziplining and mountain bike riding will quench your thirst for the exciting as you see the temples and heritage sites of Cambodia from a whole new perspective. Cap off your trip with a homestay experience in the village of Sambor Prei Kuk and get a glimpse into the daily lives of the people who call this mysterious and beautiful country home. Cambodia will welcome you with open arms -- all you need to do is leave your hesitations at home.
ARRIVE SIEM REAP
Welcome to Cambodia. Upon arrival in Siem Reap obtain your Cambodian visa, if you haven't already. Clear Immigration and Customs and proceed into the arrival area. You will meet your private guide and driver who will transfer you to hotel.
TEMPLES OF ANGKOR, ZIPLINING, AND A NON-PROFIT CIRCUS
Today starts with a visit to Ta Prohm. Built in 1186, Ta Prohm was dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII. Its atmospheric dark-gray sandstone towers and courtyards exude an aura of reverence and mystery. Next you will visit to the South Gate of Angkor Thom and the temples of Bayon, Baphoun, Phimean Akas, The Royal Enclosure, Terrace of Elephants and Leper King.
The whole afternoon is set aside for a visit to the main temple, Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is one of humankind's greatest achievements, and the intricate carvings at the temple of Angkor Wat demonstrate the skill of the Khmer builders. It had constructed in the jungle in the early 12th century, then - two centuries later - was mysteriously abandoned by the Khmer civilization. The jungle soon overwhelmed Angkor Wat, hiding it for several centuries with thick tropical foliage until a French naturalist accidentally stumbled across the jungle-veiled ruins in 1861. Now Angkor Wat is one of the main reasons people visit Cambodia.
After lunch you will experience Flight of the Gibbon, the only zipline located within a UNESCO World Heritage site -- made possible by their commitment to the environment through the rehabilitation of gibbons, tree planting projects, and other work in the community. The zipline was engineered by experts who have built courses all over the world, and it exceeds the highest safety standards. Sky Rangers are highly trained professionals who will be with you every step of the way, providing you with a safety briefing and equipment fitting. The Sky Rangers will also accompany you on your adventure to share their knowledge of the Cambodian jungle and local history.
After some time to freshen up and relax, enjoy the unique show at the Cambodian Circus. Phare Ponleu Selpak means “Brightness of the Arts” in the Khmer language. Phare is a Cambodian non-profit art organization founded in 1994 by eight young Cambodians returning from refugee camps at the Thai border to Battambang. Afterwards, return to your hotel for a good night's rest.
ANGKOR WAT, BIKE TOUR & DRAGON BOAT RIDE
This morning before sunrise, depart the hotel for Angkor Wat (optional but highly recommended), the largest and most breathtaking monument at Angkor. Built as the funerary temple for Suryavarman II, who ruled from 1112 to 1152, Angkor never fails to reward the first time or repeat visitor with its grand scale, surreal bas-reliefs and unbelievable attention to detail. Here, you will spend the morning exploring one of humanity's most magnificent creations before returning to the hotel for a late breakfast and some free time to wait out the hot midday sun.
After lunch you will start your bike tour. We ride past the King’s Siem Reap residence and through the Royal Gardens. In the large trees, you can see hundreds of giant fruit bats before their evening flight into the Angkor forests. Continuing up the Siem Reap River we ride past private homes and small riverside markets. The juxtaposition of rich and poor can at times be dramatic. Crossing the river we wind our way along red clay roads and small dirt trails, through a series of local villages, crossing small farms and passing school children on their way home. We make our way towards the west edge of the Angkor Park.
After a brief stop to refuel on cold water and fresh fruit we’ll continue our ride. We bypass the crush of visitors exiting the park and instead follow single track lanes, past stunning rice fields and small, historic family parcels where life appears unchanged for generations.
As the temples close to visitors we will access park roads and trails to view this remarkable historic site in a different context, twilight, and poise ourselves for a glimpse of sunset as the day comes to a close. To complete the evening we take a peaceful Dragon Boat ride on the moat of Angkor Thom, with local delicacies and champagne on-board.
At the end of our boat ride, transfer back to Siem Reap with plenty of time to enjoy dinner and evening cultural activities in town.
REMOTE TEMPLES OF SAMBOR PREI KUK & HOMESTAY
Today you will leave Siem Reap and drive about 3 hours to Kompong Thom, stopping at Kompong Kdei to explore the ancient “Naga Bridge”. En route you will visit Sambor Prei Kuk. The road leading from the main road to the ruins is still unpaved and a bit bumpy at times. Sambor Prei Kuk was the capital of the Chenla Kingdom, which predates Angkor by several centuries. The ruins are spread out over a vast distance. Tourists seldom visit this place so you can enjoy the beautiful ruins in peace and quiet. You will have a traditional Khmer picnic lunch in front of the temple. After you finished for exploring at Sambor Prei Kuk you will continue to your local home and settle in.
Enjoy leisure time on your own or explore the village with your local community guide. Overnight at home stay.
KAMPONG THOM - PHNOM PENH
Enjoy breakfast in the village, then your driver takes you on to the capital city of Phnom Penh. Along the way stop at Skuon Village to see the local market, known as "Spiderville". Free time in Phnom Penh.
PHNOM PENH EXPLORATION & ISLAND-HOPPING BY BIKE
Today you will be met your private guide and driver, then depart to visit Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. Although some 60% of the pagoda’s contents were destroyed under Pol Pot’s regime, what remains is spectacular. This is one of the best places in all of Cambodia where objects embodying the brilliance of the Khmer civilization can still be viewed.
Then continue on to the Tuol Sleng Prison, housed in a high school, to glimpse the devastating horrors that prevailed during Cambodia's ultra-radical Marxist movement. This excursion may prove distressing for some; it is, however, an important piece of Cambodia’s recent past.
After lunch, get fitted for your bike and board a van/car or tuk-tuk to one of the local ferry crossings just north of Phnom Penh. After the crossing, we hop on the bikes to start our scenic and relaxing 20-25km (approx.) exploration of the Silk Islands, cycling along quiet back roads, our ride interspersed with short ferry trips between islands. On the islands, cycle through orchards and market gardens, enjoying the peaceful farmland and learning about the lives of the people who live here.
Our island ride ends aboard another local ferry back to Phnom Penh, arriving into the center of town just after sunset, with the city dramatically ablaze with lights, a stunning contrast to the scenes we just witnessed on the islands.
When we reach the mainland we'll head to a local noodle shop to enjoy a classic Khmer noodle dish for dinner. You can choose to stroll along the river promenade or grab a tuk-tuk to return to your hotel.
PHNOM PENH - KAMPOT
This morning you will be picked up at your hotel by your private driver and driven approximately 3 hour drive to get to Kampot, a sweet little Cambodian town surrounded by beautiful countryside. Upon arrival you will be dropped off at your hotel. You will have the rest of the day free to enjoy at your own leisure. Go into town explore the markets and temples, and grab some delicious food.
KAMPOT PADDLEBOARD TOUR
This morning's adventure is a paddleboard tour which starts at 8:30 am about 4 kilometers up river from town. The tour will be about 2.5 hrs and also includes a lesson. The morning is a perfect time for bird watching and views of the Elephant Mountains. Paddle around the island through a beautiful palm grove, alongside a fishing village or to a nearby pagoda. We will have time to get off the boards to swim and play. (If you prefer kayaking instead that is an option.) You will return in the afternoon and have the rest of the day free for exploration.
EXPLORATION & HOMESTAY IN CHI PHAT
This morning we head to Andong Teuk, a small settlement on the Stoeng Prat River. The trip will take approximately four hours. At Andong Teuk you board a local boat which will take you to Chi Phat.
On arrival in Chi Phat you will have lunch and register at the headquarters of the Community Based Eco-Tourism project (CBET), then check in to your homestay or guesthouse and meet your hosts.
In the afternoon we will take a walk to Chhay Chrey rapids, where we can swim at the waterfall and enjoy the gorgeous scenery. After that you will be picked up by a motorbike. From here, you will have two options: visit the surrounding mountains were you can watch the sunset, or visit Cardamom Reforestation Project tree nursery. We will then return to Chi Phat by motorbike have time to shower and get cleaned up before dinner at the CBET office.
RIVER LIFE IN CHI PHAT
Before sunrise we wake up and board a traditional Cambodian boat. Enjoy the spectacular sunrise on the Stoeng Prat River. Birdlife is prolific. If you’re lucky you will be able to spot hornbills and monkeys. A packed breakfast will be served during this boat trip, a kind of a picnic breakfast on the water.
Later you will transfer to a rowing boat allowing you to enjoy the nature and wildlife in silent tranquility. The waterways are home to an abundance of flora and fauna including silver langur, long tailed macaque, giant and oriental pied hornbill, kingfisher and drongos.
Start back to Chi Phat with the row boat and then motor boat for dinner in Chi Phat.
CHIT PHAT - SIHANOUKVILLE
After breakfast at the CBET office, you will have time to say goodbye to your host before departing to Sihanoukville. You will take a motor boat along the Andong Teuk River, having time to relax and enjoy the views, then driven to Sihanoukville. Once in Sihanoukville you are free to go into town, enjoy the beaches, visit some temples, and explore.
Free day to enjoy at your own leisure.
SHIANOUKVILLE - PHNOM PENH
After breakfast transfer to Phnom Penh, approximately 4 hours drive. (Bring some snacks!) Upon arrival you will be dropped off at the airport for your flight home.
13D / 12N
Custom departures available year-round
Siem Reap - Angkor Wat - Sambor Prei Kuk - Phnom Penh - Kampot - Chi Phat - Sihanoukville - Phnom Penh
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