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- Day 1: Arrival in Phnom Penh
- Day 2: Phnom Penh – Full-day Heritage Tour
- Day 3: Phnom Penh – Silk Island – Evening Foodie Tour
- Day 4: Phnom Penh – Flight to Siem Reap
- Day 5: Siem Reap – Full-Day Temple Exploration
- Day 6: Siem Reap – Further Temple Exploration
- Day 7: Siem Reap – Tonle Sap Lake
- Day 8: Siem Reap – Departure
This ‘Classic Cambodia’ tour offers interesting experiences as you venture through the country’s most important cities – from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Spend the day exploring Phnom Penh – an emerging city that sees the juxtaposition of modern structures and historic landmarks. Feel like you are in “The Jungle Book” movie when navigating the massive ground of the Angkor Complex in Siem Reap, where each temple embraces its own story from the past. Embark on a boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake, meet the people in the floating villages and learn about their lifestyles on the water.
Arrival in Phnom PenhDay 1
Sua s’dei! Welcome to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Upon arrival at Phnom Penh Airport, your private guide and driver are waiting to meet you with a beaming smile, holding up a welcome signboard with your name on it and take you directly to your hotel.
After checking-in, you will have time to relax and adjust to the pace of Phnom Penh, the vibrant bustling capital of Cambodia. Situated at the confluence of three rivers, the mighty Mekong, the Bassac, and the great Tonle Sap, what was once considered the ‘Gem’ of Indochina.
There will be a short tour briefing this evening with your guide followed by a welcome dinner at Friends Restaurant, Romdeng. It’s a social enterprise based restaurant that empowers disadvantaged youth with vocational training amongst other support. Set in a beautiful colonial building surrounded by a lush garden and swimming pool, Romdeng is the ideal spot to escape – A true taste of Cambodia.
Please note: You must have both a passport and a visa to enter Cambodia. And your passport must also have at least six months’ validity remaining beyond the date that you enter Cambodia. You can get a visa on arrival in Cambodia. Make sure you have two passport-sizes photographs.
Overnight in Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh – Full-day Heritage TourDay 2
After breakfast, meet your guide again and head out to visit the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in a Cyclo (a three-wheeled bicycle taxi), an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore this lively city.
The first stop is at the Pshar Kandal, Phnom Pen’s oldest market, to enjoy yummy local delicacies such as fried noodles, BBQ beef with papaya salad, and delicious rice and coconut treats. Then it’s a walk through the French Quarter, which will open your eyes to Phnom Penh’s colonial-era architecture. Admire Belle Epoque and Art Deco design, a train station built during colonial times as wells as the Buddhist Temple, Wat Phnom, the tallest religious structure in the city.
Next, proceed to visit the Royal Palace Compound built-in 1866 by the Predecessors of King Norodom, the most conspicuous feature and also one of the most impressive colorful Khmer-style Palaces. Nearside the Royal Palace is the Silver Pagoda (The Emerald Buddha temple), which displays plenty of Buddha Statues that were decorated and made by diamond, emerald, gold, and silver.
Continue to visit the National Museum, the distinctive red building with a beautiful Khmer architecture was built since 1917 containing more than 5000 art objects made of sandstone, bronze, silver, copper, wood, and others. Pass through the River Front Park whose scenery is much worth shooting.
Return to the hotel for a relaxing break during the midday heat.
Gain insight into Cambodia’s recent dark history on a visit to the infamous Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (also known as Prison S21) and listen to English commentary en route. The prison comprises 4 buildings with exhibitions in several rooms. During your visit, you will barely meet a single person who didn’t lose a member of their family during these years, yet they are all willing to talk openly about it with you. They wish you to hear about it and see these places, to ensure that it never happens again.
After an hour and 15 minutes at the museum, take a 40-minute drive to the Killing Fields, see a documentary on the Khmer Rouge regime. Under the leadership of Pol Pot, his government caused the deaths of more than two million people. There will be around 1 hour and 15 minutes to explore the site. An audio guide is available in 15 languages along with a map of the fields.
Overnight in Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh – Silk Island – Evening Foodie TourDay 3
You can sleep in and enjoy late breakfast. After that, spend the rest of the morning at your leisure relaxing at the hotel’s swimming pool.
Get picked up by a Remork (Cambodia tuk-tuk) and venture out of Phnom Penh by crossing the historic Japanese Friendship Bridge before sailing across the Mekong River to Koh Oknha Tey – a beautiful Silk island by ferry.
Along the way, you will visit the majestic Bakhaeng temple with stunning architecture, statues, carvings, and artwork.
Upon arrival, you will set out to explore these islands commonly known as the “silk islands” due to their longstanding tradition of silk weaving. Visit one of these villages where the weavers allow us to wander among their looms, admiring their skills at this knotty art form.
You will have a chance to witness the entire silk weaving process, learning how silk starts with the silkworms, see silk thread being looped and dyed, then admire and purchase the beautiful Cambodian silk fabrics, the final shimmering Khmer silk accessories.
Afterward, enjoy Khmer snacks at a local family’s house while admiring the surrounding scenery. Aboard a boat back to Phnom Penh. Marvel at the unique architectural wonders around the area such as the Wat Ounalom, Royal Palace, and the Silver Pagoda as the sun sinks into the horizon.
Meet your food expert guide and zoom past the streets of Phnom Penh aboard a tuk-tuk again and see the city’s famous landmarks by night. Spice up the ride with unlimited beer and drinks you can enjoy as you go from one destination to another.
You will first fill yourself up with the best noodles in town, delight in the rich taste of roasted chicken and ribs, and wrap your own lettuce and rice noodle rolls. Continue to discover the taste of Cambodian cuisine by visiting family-run restaurants that serve authentic Khmer dishes.
Head to a local rooftop bar and enjoy the stunning views of the city as you sip on delicious craft beer or cocktails. Sit among the locals and see how they spend their night with family and friends.
Overnight in Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh – Flight to Siem ReapDay 4
After breakfast and late checkout, you are driven back to Phnom Penh airport to board a short flight to Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor Archeological Park. On arrival, you will be met by a new private guide and driver and transferred directly to your hotel in downtown for check-in.
Head out to visit the excellent Angkor National Museum. The visit serves as an excellent primer to the gems of Angkor before visiting the temples. The museum provides a potentially large collection of relics, texts and audiovisual presentations relating to the Angkorian era. With even a basic knowledge of the history and symbolism of the architecture, you will have a much richer and engaging experience visiting the temples.
Indulge in a scrumptious Cambodian dinner with the classical Apsara dancers depicting scenes from Khmer mythology at Angkor Village Theater.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap – Full-Day Temple ExplorationDay 5
Today with the help of your private and driver you will embark on a full day’s sightseeing around the Angkor Archaeological Park which stretches over some 400 square kilometres, including forested area. The park contains the magnificent remains of several capitals of the great Khmer Empire of the 9th to the 15th centuries.
Begin your day with an early visit (avoid the crowds) to the 13th-century Ta Prohm, a hauntingly beautiful temple where the roots of giant banyans and strangler figs enfold much of the stonework, creating scenes little changed since the French Adventurer Henri Mouhot re-discovered Angkor in the 1850s. This temple makes the ‘Tomb Raider Temple’ one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples.
Continue your explorations by visiting the ancient capital city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire that once ruled much of Southeast Asia. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall drawing a perfect square. You will enter the city from the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant faces. On each side of the entrance path, a row of 54 gods or demons is holding the sacred Naga snake.
For lunch, you’ll visit the Sala Bai Hotel School where disadvantaged local youth learn skills that enable them to find gainful employment in the hospitality industry.
Your exploits will continue as you visit Banteay Kdei (“Citadel of Chambers”), a Buddhist monastery from the late 12th Century, and Sra Srang, also known as the “pool of ablutions”. From here, move onto the Bayon Temple in the exact centre of the ancient city. This 12th-century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its 54 towers with enigmatic faces representing the 54 provinces of the Great Khmer Empire.
You will also visit the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King as they are both known for their intricate bas-reliefs. Stroll through the grounds of the former Royal Palace to discover some small hidden temples that are rarely visited.
Finish your day sightseeing with a leisurely gondola boat ride through the moats of Angkor Thom. In the tranquil solitude, visualize the royal city when it ruled over two million people nearly 800 years ago. As the sun approaches the horizon, make your way to Prasat Chrung, a small temple built in the style of Bayon, and climb an iron staircase to a quiet spot for excellent sunset views over the ruins.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap – Further Temple ExplorationDay 6
Today, you’ll continue to experience the temple relics but in a way that will really let you feel like you’ve escaped the 20th century and traveled a thousand years back to a time when life was simple and nature was surreal.
As first light dawns, you will be at the most important religious monument in the country, admiring the extraordinary Temple of Angkor Wat across a reflecting moat.
When the sun rises behind the triple towers, the crowds will thin out as most people return to bed or a hotel breakfast. We will make use of the cool temperatures and soft morning light to explore Angkor Wat in a more peaceful atmosphere.
After enjoying your takeaway breakfast (prepared by your guide) near the temple, you will start exploring one of the Seven Wonders of the World: Angkor Wat. At this point, you most probably have gotten glimpses of the towers over treetops and the gates in front of passing. But now you’ll finally get to satiate that curiosity that’s grown in the last few days.
Enter Angkor Wat and learn about the stories and amazing architecture that has stunned archeologists leaving more questions than answers. Angkor Wat possesses some of the most intricate and longest stone carvings in the world. This complex is four times the size of the Vatican City making it the largest religious site in the world. Spend the rest of the morning adventuring through the many passages, levels, and exploring chambers that once housed one of many treasures of the ancient world. It will be an experience you will never forget.
Leaving Angkor Wat behind you will travel to the countryside to see the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srey. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” remains the best-preserved temple in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs. Banteay Srey is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.
Continue your day by driving up north to Kbal Spean, one of the earliest Hindu pilgrimage sites in Cambodia. Upon arrival, you will take a short trek up the hill through dense jungle with excellent views over the plains and the Kulen hills. At the top, be surprised about the “River of 1000 Lingas” with some remarkable stone carvings of Hindu gods, animals, and other symbols in the river bed.
After enjoying a picnic lunch you can take a refreshing bath in the nearby waterfall, which is extremely popular with the local families.
On the way back to Siem Reap, make a quick stop at the Land Mine Museum which promotes mine awareness. Mr. Aki Ra, the museum founder, was trained as a child soldier during the Khmer Rouge regime and is working today as a de-miner. The museum serves also as a rescue centre for a number of land mine amputee children that Aki Ra has brought off Phnom Penh’s streets or from impoverished rural communities.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap – Tonle Sap LakeDay 7
Today you will explore the unique communities and traditional villages dot the rural countryside near Siem Reap and promise an escape to another world.
After breakfast, you will be picked up by your private guide and driver, and transferred in a Tuk Tuk southeast to one of the largest and least-visited villages on the Tonle Sap Lake, Kompong Khleang, about 55km from Siem Reap having a population of about 10,000 people, all of whom make a living from the fishing industry. On the way, you will stop for hot sticky rice and then take a detour off the main highway into the countryside. You’ll wind through dirt roads and, in the rainy season, witness families working their rice paddies.
Upon arrival board a private motorized boat to visit the Kompong Khleang, the two other floating villages, and the Great lake. Explore the canals (wet season) or streets (dry season) of this incredible town. In the wet season, the houses appear to be floating, as water laps at the verandas, but in the dry season towering stilts are revealed, the houses almost like wooden skyscrapers.
During the boat ride, you will make stops to see where Bridge of Lifeworks, visit a Cambodian pagoda and a stilted home in the village to learn a little more about local life. Cruise into the open water of the lake to see a small floating village and learn some more about this incredible natural flood barrier.
You’ll end your tour with a boat ride back to the harbor where your driver is waiting to take you back to your hotel.
Spend your time to relax and chill out at the hotel swimming pool. Enjoy your last day in Cambodia before going back home.
Suggested Activity: Attend the Phare – the Cambodian Circus, an amazing blend of traditional and modern theater, music, dance, acrobatic, juggling and contortion beautifully choreographed and performed in a story about Cambodian lives and society.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap – DepartureDay 8
Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts your family to Siem Reap International Airport where you board your flight home or travel on to more adventures, we will help you with the planning.
Inquire this trip
This sample itinerary was created by our travel experts as inspiration for your next trip. Ready for your customization. You pick to suit your budget, desires, and cultural experiences. The price of this trip will vary, depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and the availability of ground services. Please click on REQUEST A FREE QUOTE (above) and give us the necessary information to enable us to send you a FREE personalized quote within 48 hours if not sooner!
Note: Amendments CAN be made to this tour to suit your requirements.
- Delve into the dramatic Khmer legacy in Phnom Penh on a full-day guided tour around the Cambodian capital, passing by the sobering Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
- Spend a half-day to explore one of “Silk Islands” villages where the weavers allow us to wander among their looms, admiring their skills at this knotty art form, finish the day with foodie tour by tuk-tuk in Phnom Penh
- Enjoy two days of fully guided Angkor complex tours in Siem Reap, with in-depth insights into the history of these extraordinary structures and plenty of time to see the spectacular Angkor Wat
- A day trip to visit the jungle-clad Beng Mealea Temple which, is built on a similar scale and floor plan to Angkor Wat and the second-largest temple complex in Cambodia, Koh Ker, once served as the capital of the Great Khmer Empire
- Visit the floating villages of Tonle Sap Lake with a guided boat tour through the biodiverse and aquatic heart of Cambodia
- 7 hotel buffet breakfasts.
- 3 dinners and 3 lunches at well-selected restaurants
- 1 street food tour
- Your own private guide and driver for in-depth cultural touring based on your interests
- Firsthand, sophisticated destination knowledge and recommendations from our locally born travel specialists
- Itineraries that are customized according to your interests and preferences
- A seamless travel experience, including all logistics, hand-picked hotels and restaurants, private airport transfers, internal transportation, and entry visa assistance…etc
- Around-the-clock support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
Private English speaking guide, accommodation, private tours and transfer, domestic flights, A/C vehicles, some main meals, all entrance fees, tax and service charge.
What’s Not Included?
Your international flights from and to Cambodia, the entry visa to Cambodia, personal expense, tips to guide and driver.
How to Plan a successful Trip to Cambodia, Step-by-Step
Why to visit Cambodia
Where to Go
When to Go
Obtain a Cambodia Visa
How to book a tour
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Why to visit Cambodia
The Kingdom of Cambodia is a land that continues to surprise and delight its visitors. Home of the Angkor temples (the magnificent legacy of the Khmer empire that ruled over much of Southeast Asia 1,000 years ago) there is much to discover in this country.
By day, learn about the history of the capital city Phnom Penh; by night, dine on traditional Cambodian feasts and experience Cambodian nightlife. Visit the islands that dot the Cambodian coast and the quaint little provincial towns that make up the beautiful countryside. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat, travel the Mekong River by boat and relax on pristine beaches.
Learn about the tragic history of the Killing Fields, the Tuol Sleng Museum and other reminders of the Khmer Rouge regime. You will be amazed by the optimistic attitude of Cambodians, who have found the courage to continue smiling despite three dark decades of civil war. See for yourself what it means to live up to the saying “What doesn’t break us makes us stronger”.
Where to Go
Most popular sites of Cambodia
• Siem Reap – a cluster of villages with a French colonial center; the gateway to the Temples of Angkor
• Phnom Penh – the capital city of Cambodia, situated at the confluence of three rivers and offers an interesting mix of colonial buildings, temples, markets and broad avenues
• Tonle Sap Lake – one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes, home to floating villages, forests, and natural splendor
• Sihanoukville – a jewel of white sands, blue sea and fresh seafood, situated in the south of Cambodia
• Kampot, Kep and Bokor National Park – less known but worth a visit on longer itineraries or when crossing into Vietnam at Ha Tien
When to Go
The best time to visit Cambodia is between November and March. During this time the country experiences the least amount of rainfall without becoming too hot.
In general, the entire country is subject to the same weather patterns, with two main seasons: hot and dry, and hot and wet. If you are unaccustomed to the tropics, you will find Cambodia to be very hot and sweaty.
The dry season runs from November to April on the back of the northeast monsoon. November to January is cooler, while February to April is hot and dusty. November is the coolest month and April the hottest.
The wet season runs from May to October, courtesy of the southwest monsoon. The wet season provides 75% of Cambodia’s annual rainfall. July to September are the wettest months.
Obtain a Cambodia Visa
For most visitors to the Kingdom of Cambodia, a visa is obtainable upon arrival at either airport in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. Crossing over from Thailand by land, visas are available at Poipet Banteay Meanchey and Cham Yeam (Koh Kong province). Visitors entering Cambodia from Vietnam by land through Bavet / Moc Bai, or Ka-Om Samnor / Chau Doc, will need to have already obtained their visas prior to their arrival through a Cambodian Embassy or Consulate overseas. Tourists can also obtain their visas through the online E-Visa. Regardless of the method of entry, a Cambodian tourist visa is valid for one month.
Note: your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond your travel date, and there must be several blank pages left on your passport. You should also have a 5 cm x 5 cm on a white or off-white background photo ready, as well as USD$30 for the stamping fee.
FYI, a departure tax is charged on all domestic and international flights.
The citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to enter Cambodia for a certain amount of time:
- Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam (maximum stay of up to 30 days)
- Philippines (maximum stay of up to 21 days)
- Myanmar, Thailand, Brunei (maximum stay of up to 14 days)
Unfortunately, citizens of the following countries are ineligible for an e-visa and will have to apply at their nearest Cambodian embassy / consulate:
Middle East – Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia
South Asia – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Africa – Algeria, Nigeria, Sudan
How to book a tour
Booking your holiday with Indochina Pioneer cannot be easier! Follow our 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Browse our website www.indochinapioneer.com for tours, cruises and other destination information.
Should you find something that matches your interest, fill in the REQUEST A FREE QUOTE forms. Can’t find something that fits your needs? Then fill the BUILD YOUR OWN TRIP or CONTACT US form and click SUBMIT.
Then sit back! One of our travel experts will get back to you shortly with our customized package and most favorable offer!
In a hurry? Don’t like filling forms? Then call +84 982 116 630 (Mr. Lam) or +84 983 145 799 (Mr. Quyen). We’re available 24/7 and would be more than happy to talk! Certainly, your request will be carefully noted and a nicely crafted package with a pleasant price will follow!
Step 2: Reviewing/ Customizing our offer!
It’s your holiday so everything should be exactly what you want! We encourage your careful review of what we offer, letting us know what changes you would like to make. We’ll be more than happy to fine-tune the tour to fit best your interests, budget and time! This step may require several emails/call exchanges until perfect!
Step 3: Confirming/Paying/ Packing for the trip!
Once you’re satisfied with the customized tour, please let us know and Indochina Pioneer will need a few working hours to place reservations for all of the tour services. As soon as the availability and reservations of the services are confirmed, we will request a deposit. Please refer our Payment Guide for more details.
Once your deposit is received by Indochina Pioneer, we will send you the service voucher which confirms all the services of the tour and provides ground contact details and a guide for the final payment schedule.
And then you start counting down the day for your most fabulous trip!
Booking Amendment & Cancellations:
Booking Amendment: Flexibility is our strongest point. You can amend your booking even after it is made. Just contact your salesperson or contact us at [email protected] with your booking number. Our reservations team is glad to amend your booking with your preferable alternatives. Please kindly note that you will be responsible for any change of the final price caused by your amendment requests.
Travel smart with Indochina Pioneer!
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Packing Checklist – Be sure to check them all 😉
- Travel documents (passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, tour voucher)
- Money (cash, credit card, debit card, traveler’s cheques and money pouch)
- Day pack for your personal needs during the day
- Camera and extra memory cards and batteries
- Cell phone and cell phone charger
- Laptop charger (if you are bringing your laptop)
- Travel plug/international adapter
- Medication (including a doctor’s letter if you are carrying a large amount of medication)
- Prescription glasses / contacts and if necessary, contact lens solution
Best to bring along
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Refillable water bottle with filter
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Comfortable clothing, either light or heavy options, depending on the season you are travelling
- Clothes suitable for visiting temples (long pants / skirts, long sleeved tops)
- Waterproof jacket / raincoat / umbrella
- Hat & sunglasses
- Bathing suit
- Ear plugs & eye mask
- Sleep sheet for home stays / trains
- Lightweight travel towel
- Local language phrasebook
Reviews on Our Service
We are committed to giving our customers unforgettable experiences in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and beyond, not just something staged for tourists. Read reviews written by our customers about their experiences in Indochina after they have returned home. These include the ratings and comments on attractions, guides, activities, hotels and food.
We had a wonderful 7-day trip last July; Kata was awesome to work with. So professional, reliable and helpful!
"Lifetime of Memories"
Lam did an amazing job putting together an itinerary based on phone/text conversations. We told him the where and what and he did the rest. The accommodations were beyond expectation, the guides were unbelievably friendly, and the places we were taken were spectacular. Having guides and drivers is worth every penny. So much time and money would have been wasted had we tried to accomplish this ourselves.
We got to experience so much more because of our guides local knowledge. Lastly, how great it was not to worry about how we were getting to the next adventure. Had we not used Indochina Pioneer I truly believe I wouldn’t have as many astonishing memories.
"Amazing 30 Day Journey with Indochina Pioneer"
If you are looking for a private tour of SE Asia, look no further than Indochina Pioneer. I recently returned from a 30-day private tour of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand all arranged by Indochina Pioneer and could not have been happier with everything they arranged for me. They are top-notch from working directly with you on planning your trip, arranging visas, having individuals at the airports to meet and walk you through everything when entering the countries, having amazing tour guides and drivers as well as organizing everything for you on the ground and being there to help you all along the way if you have any questions or problems. My tour was amazing with not only the normal tourist sights, but many off the beaten track sights and with your own guides, you learn so much more from these individuals who actually live in the places you will visit. I can’t recommend this tour agency enough. If you are looking to travel to any of the locations Indochina Pioneer has tours, you must book through them, you will not be disappointed.
"Excellent from the very beginning"
We had 21 days on a private tour and every detail was perfectly arranged. Perhaps, the Spanish speaking skills of guides can ve improved, but overall they were very helpful and committed with their job. I want to highlight the performance of Juan (Hanoi), Miguel (Hoi An), Chao (Ho Chi Minh City) and La (Luang Prabang, Laos).
Hotels were as we asked and the timing for the visits was very good.
I recommend this travel agency!