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- Day 1: Arrival in Phnom Penh
- Day 2: Phnom Penh – Heritage & Foodie Tour
- Day 3: Phnom Penh – Battambang
- Day 4: Battambang – Sightseeing Tour
- Day 5: Battambang – Siem Reap
- Day 6: Siem Reap – Full-day Temple Exploration
- Day 7: Siem Reap – Khmer Cooking Class, Banteay Srey & Circus Show
- Day 8: Siem Reap – Artisan D’Angkor & Foodie Tour
- Day 9: Siem Reap – Departure
There is no journey that can offer you a deep understanding of Cambodia’s Khmer history, culture and cuisine than this 9-day itinerary. Start with an exciting heritage and foodie tour in the capital Phnom Penh, which takes you to the city’s most intriguing sites on a tuk-tuk. In Battambang, see the small town’s local market and old Khmer heritage houses. Travel on a private boat across Tonle Sap Lake to Siem Reap, home to Cambodia’s most famous site – the great temple Angkor Wat. Venture to the city’s ancient temples before joining a Khmer cooking class and attending Phare – the Cambodian circus with unique performances. Finish the tour with a visit to the Cambodia arts centre and a street foodie tour at an evening local market.
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, holding up a welcome signboard with your names 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 Malis Restaurant, one of Phnom Penh’s top addresses for authentic Khmer cuisine.
After dinner options: if you are still energetic enough, let’s have some drinks at Sora Bar (our favorite) at the Rosewood Phnom Penh. Unwind high above the city and take in spectacular views at Phnom Penh’s best sky bar has to offer, perched on a cantilevered terrace. Located on level 37 of the Rosewood Hotel, Sora is a high-energy bar and lounge where guests can feel the buzz of the dynamic city below.
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 – Heritage & Foodie TourDay 2
Meet your private guide and head out to visit the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in tuk-tuk and a Cyclo (a three-wheeled bicycle taxi), an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore this lively city.
Begin with a leisurely 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.
Continue onto 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. After touring the pagoda a tuk-tuk will take you back to your hotel for your rest during the mid-day 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 visiting 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.
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 – BattambangDay 3
After breakfast and check out of your hotel, depart Phnom Penh, travelling over scenic backroads to Cambodia’s former capital, Oudong. En route, pause to visit a local family that is producing palm sugar at their house. Later on, climb to the top of the stupa-filled hill of Oudong and enjoy an early lunch local style in the picnic huts at the foot of the mountain.
Continue your road drive to Battambang where you will be taken directly to your hotel for check-in.
In the late afternoon, transfer to visit Phare Ponleu Selpak, a School of Music, Visual & Performing Arts – Phare Ponleu Selpak combines the arts to provide education, support, and entertainment to the poor communities. This project is a success story of how humanitarian aid work can turn into a display of zest for life, genuine warmth and creativity, against all odds. A visit to one of their circus shows will leave you with a lasting memory of the wonderful Cambodian people and should not be missed when in Battambang!
Visit Jaan Bai (“rice bowl” in Khmer), an excellent social-enterprise restaurant run by respected Cambodian children’s charity CCT for an innovative Khmer dinner. The restaurant provides training and employment for young people in their program. They also serve up a mean bowl of curry. Jaan Bai’s menu features modern Khmer dishes made from local, seasonal produce and lots of tasty vegetarian options–try the spectacular potato, corn, and tomato curry. The perfectly crafted cocktails with an Asian twist are not to be missed.
Overnight in Battambang
Battambang – Sightseeing TourDay 4
After breakfast, meet your guide, a short bicycle competency test will be given and you will get fitted for your bicycle (either a mountain bike or sturdy basket bike).
Start with the tour of the main market, Psar Nath includes trying a local coffee. Then paddle to the river and cross a couple of minutes on a local boat to the other side of the Sangke River. Here you will visit Wat Povil Remple and take the opportunity to pray with the monks. It is usually possible to accompany the boats back across the river as they begin their morning alms collection.
Once back on the other side, visit the historic 2.5 Street along with a Thai temple before you arrive at a smaller market. Again time for a coffee or a sugar cane juice.
Continue a short distance to Wat Kor Village, known for its many old Khmer heritage houses built around a century ago. Visit one of the best-preserved homes. Cycle along the river and cross a suspension bridge where only motorbikes and bicycles can pass. On the way back into town there is another short drink stop before return to town for lunch at the local restaurant.
Head to the train station to take a 1-hour unique ride on the traditional Bamboo Train, a bamboo platform laid over 2 sets of wheels on a single track. In the old days, this was used to transport goods between Battambang and Phnom Penh and was a typical mode of transport for farmers and villagers. Today, it takes you through the beautiful countryside to a little village you can explore on foot before returning to your starting point. From there, head towards Phnom Sampeau, meaning “Ship Hill” in Khmer, due to its distinctive shape, and one of the few hills standing out in this otherwise pancake-flat plain. From the small temple on the top, you will have a fantastic view of the typical landscape of paddy fields and sugar palm trees below.
Finish the tour and get back to the hotel in the late afternoon where the remainder of the day at your leisure.
Enjoy a scrumptious dinner Pomme d’Amour with its inventive menu mixing French and Khmer cuisine.
Overnight in Battambang
Battambang – Siem ReapDay 5
After breakfast and check out of the hotel, meet your guide again and embark on a private boat that will take you on a fascinating journey across Tonlé Sap Lake to Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor Archeological Park.
Along the way you will pass floating villages and flooded forests, portraying life on this body of water that forms Cambodia’s heart. The boat trip is around 6 hours and you will enjoy a take-away lunch.
Note: This boat trip is only possible in the high water period from July to December as water levels are too low during the dry season (January to June). Therefore the alternative transfer is by road.
Arrive and transfer to your hotel in Siem Reap. After a short rest, 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 6
Today you will have a full day of exploration in Siem Reap. You will experience the temple relics 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.
After an early breakfast, you’ll be you will be picked up by your private guide and driver. Start your discovery of the temple of the legendary city of Ta Prohm Temple, best known for its gigantic roots of vine that convent down the walls of a thousand years. Worn by time, rain, and overpowered by the jungle, this immaculate structure is hidden under the canopy will leave you feeling like you’ve stepped into the movie set of a treasure hunt adventure. Your private tour guide will give you the history and stories passed through oral tradition.
Leaving the Ta Prohm, pick up your bike and paddle through the hidden rainforest trails, get closer to the greenery and hear the sound of nature along the way to the city of Angkor Thom via the grand South Gate. Here you’ll explore the last capital of the once great Khmer Empire, with the 216 enigmatic faces of The Bayon at its centre. Still, within the ancient city walls, you’ll marvel at the view from the summit of Baphuon, the enormous temple mountain, affording unspoiled views over the surrounding ruins. You’ll round off the morning poring over the intricate bas-relief of the Elephant Terrace, and Terrace of the Leper King.
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.
Be prepared to enjoy one of the Wonders of the Ancient 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.
With your guide, you’ll 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 afternoon 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 that you remember for a very long time.
Finish the tour and transfer back to your hotel where the balance of the day is at your leisure. Chill out and relaxing at the hotel’s swimming pool.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap – Khmer Cooking Class, Banteay Srey & Circus ShowDay 7
Discover authentic Khmer cuisine in a cooking class with Cambodian chef Kethana Dunnett at Sugar Palm Restaurant, renowned for its home-cooked Cambodian food. Start with a pickup and travel to a village near Banteay Srei to meet your chef at her country home. Mrs. Kethana will instruct you how to prepare hearty traditional Cambodian dishes (making one of the best Fish Amok in town), lasting 3 hours before appreciating the fruits of your labour.
After lunch, continue to visit 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. Once you finish your visit, transfer back to your hotel where the remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure.
Your private driver will take your family Angkor Theater to attend Phare, the Cambodian Circus, a unique and dramatic evening’s entertainment. Cambodia’s answer to Cirque du Soleil, Phare performers use theatre, music, dance and daring modern circus acts to convey historical, folk, and modern Cambodian stories in a totally new way.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap – Artisan D’Angkor & Foodie TourDay 8
After breakfast, you will be picked up and transferred to the Artisans d’Angkor, established in 1992 in order to support Cambodian arts and crafts and to help young people find work in their local villages by continuing the practice of traditional arts.
Upon arrival, you will be introduced to the students and see their work who are learning the art of stone carving, wood ornamental sculpture, the making of small furniture, and the art of lacquer and polychromy. You will observe the various training methods and completed projects. Next, head to the district of Puok, to the Silk Farm, where you’ll learn the intricate stages in the production of handmade silk, from growing the mulberry trees and silkworm breeding to the ancient craft of silk dyeing and weaving.
Return to your hotel for your free time. Just relax at the hotel swimming pool and enjoy the comfort of your hotel.
Meet your guide again and embark on a street food tour by tuk-tuk. The 3-hour tour takes you to the very heart of Khmer culture and to hidden places beyond any guidebook. Begin at an evening local market where you gain an insight into fresh Cambodian ingredients. Then you will cruise through the busy streets of this ancient heritage town and you will be introduced to all aspects of Khmer cuisine so get your senses prepared! The tour is filled with exceptional Khmer cuisine which is fresh, adventurous, tasty, and organic with wonderful flavors and textures.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap – DepartureDay 9
After breakfast and check out of your hotel, your private driver is waiting for you to take you to Siem Reap International airport for your departure 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 time in Battambang, Cambodia, a beautiful colonial town with a genteel old world feel
- Enjoy a full day 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
- Learn kitchen secrets of local Khmer, with a Cambodian cooking class and three-course meal out in the countryside around Siem Reap, attend Phare, the Cambodian Circus, a unique and dramatic evening’s entertainment
- Spend a day to visit Artisans d’Angkor and a Silk Farm in the district of Puok, finish the day with foodie tour in the evening by tuk-tuk.
- 8 hotel buffet breakfasts.
- 6 dinners and 5 lunches at well-selected restaurants
- 2 street food tours
- 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, 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!