PHNOM PENH – BATTAMBANG – SIEM REAP
Cambodia has much more to offer beside the famous Angkor Temples- the World Heritage Site. This journey will get a bit further inside its history, from the bloody Khmer Rouge to the colonial period and yet the vibrant country nowadays. There are also opportunities to mingle with locals to enrich our travel experience in Cambodia.
Arriving at Phnom Penh International airport in Phnom Penh, we will be be met and driven to our hotel.
Leisure and overnight in Phnom Penh.
The day will be taken to visit the National Museum where 5000 objects are exhibited including Angkorian era statues, lingas and artefacts – most notably the legendary statue of the 'Leper King". We will call in at the Royal Palace and the nearby Silver Pagoda.
In the afternoon, your guide will show you Wat Phnom and the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum. You’ll have time to relax at your hotel before a sunset cruise on the Chatomouk River. Your overnight accommodation will be in Phnom Penh.
Transfer to Battambang province. We stop en-route at Kampong Chnang for a short boat trip to visit a typical floating village of Cambodia as well as visiting a local traditional hand-made pottery village.
Arriving at the colonial town of Battambang, check-in to our hotel and enjoy the rest of day at leisure.
Overnight at Battamnang.
Note: The distance Phnom Penh - Battambang is 291km, crossing the provinces Kandal, Kompong Chnnang and Posat, and will take around 4hrs.
This morning, we depart for a guided tour of the city. After that, get our bicycle and we ride through the narrow roads to the ‘Bamboo Train Station’, where we will board a bamboo ‘train’ for the 8-km journey, passing local houses, rice paddies and admire the beautiful landscape along the ride. Disembarking, we continue with an Ox-cart ride to visit an ancient house and agricultural village, growing rice and a variety of naturally-grown tropical fruits.
After lunch at a local farmer’s house, we visit “La Maison de Coco”, specializing in silk and rattan weaving, before returning to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free at leisure.
Note: “La Maison de Coco” is closed on Sundays
After breakfast, we travel on road to Siem Reap, stopping en-route to visit the Silk Farm at Phouk, where we can observe the entire silk creation process from the growing of mulberry bushes and breeding of silk worms, through to the finished product.
Arriving in Siem Reap at around noon, check-in to our hotel and the remainder of the day is on our own.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
This morning, we visit the Angkor Wat, one of the modern wonders of the world. Be amazed by the sheer size of the temple and learn how the Khmer Empire prospered between the 9th and 13th centuries, around the time when Angkor Wat was built. Stroll through the intricately carved hallways that show hundreds of fine carvings and discover small shrines still in use today by the local people. If time permits, continue to visit other temples in the area.
Following, we drive a bit out of town to visit Banteay Srei. This red sand-stone temple is one of Angkor’s most significant structures as its walls are decorated with elaborate carvings which have been preserved remarkably well. They provide an excellent insight into the Angkor civilization and their beliefs. It was built in the 10th century and was dedicated to the Hindu god - Shiva. On the way, make a stop and visit Banteay Samre, a structure often compared to a mini Angkor Wat. Built in the 12th century, the temple served as a Hindu temple.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
We enjoy a short ride on the tuk tuk to visit Angkor Thom, the ancient royal city of Khmer Empire with its centre piece; the Bayon temple. As you approach, you will notice the enigmatic faces of former King Jayavarman VII looking into every direction. You will also visit the Terrace of the Elephants, which served as a platform from where the King could welcome back his victorious army and the Terrace of the Leper King, which holds detailed carvings winding along a narrow passage way that leads to the Baphuon complex. We continue to Ta Prohm- the Tomb Raider. This beautiful temple is overgrown with fig trees, giving a haunting yet exotic atmosphere. The magnificent roots of the trees have merged over the centuries with the temple’s huge stone blocks, emphasizing a ‘forgotten city’ feeling. The magnificent roots of the trees have merged over the centuries with the temple’s huge stone blocks, emphasizing a ‘lost city’ feeling.
During the sunset, we visit Pre Rup temple, meaning “ Turning The Body”, the Hindu temple at Angkor, Cambodia, built as the state temple of Khmer king Rajendravarman, and dedicated in 961 or early 962. It is a temple mountain of combined brick, laterite and sandstone construction. This reflects the common belief among Cambodians that funerals were conducted at the temple, with the ashes of the body being ritually rotated in different directions as the service progressed.
After breakfast, we drive around 50km out of town, through the countryside & the rice fields alongside the Kulen Mountain range to Beng Mealea Temple complex. Beng Mealea is almost the size of Angkor Wat and is one of the largest ensembles built during the Khmer reign but is still seldom visited. Its galleries, pools, libraries and sanctuary lie under fig-tree roots and creepers and are waiting to be discovered. The decoration of Beng Mealea is simple but you can still find bas-reliefs showing scenes from the Khmer Mythology.
In the afternoon, we transfer to a farm that locates in Puok district, where we will understand more details on the mulberry trees, silkworm farming, cocoon unwinding, preparation of the silk threads, ikat technique (tie-dyeing of the threads) and silk weaving and impressed by the dexterity of our artisans with silk threads. This project has been supporting the vulnerable woman nearby villages to better a living for their families. Once the tour is finished, we may have a chance to go into a large showroom and bring our loved high-quality silk products made in the workshop we just visited. Driver back to our hotel.
As it is our last evening in Cambodia, we enjoy our dinner with Apsara Dance show at a local restaurant.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Leisure until transferring to the airport for our departure flight.----------- End of service ----------