This holiday combines Cambodia’s 2 iconic destinations: Angkor Temples and Phnom Penh, with a 3 day private guided overland tour that reveals a more rural view of the country away from the main tourist routes.
Cambodia is a rare gem, a holiday destination that can boast well known world class sights and yet still boasts hidden gems that for now remain under the radar. A holiday destination that rewards you as soon as you arrive and gives more to those who are prepared to push a little bit further.
Day 1: Depart on your overnight flight to Siem Reap
Day 2: On arrival met and private transfer to your hotel for 3 nights in Siem Reap (Angkor)
Day 3: Private guided Angkor Temples Highlights tour
Day 4: Private guided Kbal Spean & Banteay Srei Temple Tour
Day 5: Private guided 2 night overland tour. Visit temples & villages along way. 2 nights Battambang
Day 6: Full day tour of rural Cambodia, visiting orchards, farms and villages. Ride Bamboo Railway
Day 7: Visit Udong, ancient Capital, then 2 nights Phnom Penh in your choice of hotel
Day 8: Private guided City Tour with Killing Field
Day 9: Private transfer to Sihanoukville for 3 nights (or more) on the beach
Days 10-11: Beach days
Day 12: Fly home overnight
Day 13: Arrive Home.
Day 1: UK Airport / Siem Reap
Depart on a choice of overnight flights to Siem Reap
Day 2: Arrive Siem Reap
On arrival you’ll be met by your private guide and transferred to the city centre where you check in to your choice of hotel for 3 nights. This evening you might like to visit the circus that performs nightly in the centre of town. We can arrange tickets.
Day 3: Siem Reap - Private Guided Angkor Temples Highlights Tour (B / L)
This morning your private guide will pick you up for a private guided tour of the iconic Angkor Archaeological Park. Start off at Angkor Thom, the last great capital of the Khmer Empire. Highlights include the magnificent Bayon, one of the most recognisable sites because of the 54 towers adorned with 216 enigmatically smiling stone faces, the Terrace of Elephants, a giant viewing stand for public ceremonies and the Terrace of Leper Kings, whose walls boast beautifully carved nagas, demons and other mythological beings. In the low morning sun the carvings really stand out and as you stand on the Terrace of Elephants you get a great view across a parkland scene interspersed with giant trees protected in the National Park.
Then move onto the temple of Ta Phrom, jungle covered and pretty much left as originally found by European explorers to create a mystical atmosphere.
Back to Siem Reap (15 minutes away) for lunch and a rest in the hot midday. This afternoon return to explore Angkor Wat, the most famous and best preserved of all the Angkor temples. You’ll have time for a thorough exploration before climbing to the top of Pre Rup temple to watch the sunsetover the jungle. Back to the hotel by early evening.
Extra…The great thing about having your own specialist guide is that the itinerary can be tailored to you and be adapted on the ground to take advantage of local knowledge and keep ahead of the crowds. Angkor represents the universe in miniature and you could spend weeks touring round the thousand or so temples, so on this tour we focus on the highlights, but we can easily extend your stay.
Day 4: Siem Reap - Private guided Kbal Spean & Banteay Srei Temple Tour (B / L)
This will appeal to those who would like to explore a more natural setting with less formal temple viewing. This morning your private guide will take you out of Siem Reap for an hour’s easy walking up the wooded slopes of the Kulen Hills, past waterfalls and archaeological ruins to the carvings of Kbal Spean. The carvings start on a natural stone bridge and take the form of linga, the phallic representation of the Hindu God, Shiva. There is said to be 1000 of these lingam carved into the stone which gives the area its common name, River of 1000 Lingas. From the bridge the carvings spread out and take the form of various gods, mythological beasts and effigies. They finally end at a waterfall which is called Royal King’s Bath where you can take a dip. The religious and mythological symbols were carved to sanctify the water as it tumbled down the hill to the people below.
Lunch will be a picnic and on the way back to Siem Reap you will have chance to visit Banteay Srei, “Citadel of the Woman”. Built using stone with a delicate pinky hue it has some of the most intricate and best-preserved carvings in Angkor. Back in Siem Reap mid-afternoon.
Day 5: Siem Reap - Battambang - Overland Tour (B / L)
This morning your private guidewill collect you for the 2 hour drive to Battambang, famous for its French colonial architecture, rural scenes and the rubies and garnets mined in this province. En route visit Wat Phnom Banan, an 11th century temple built by King Jarvarman VII. Located on top of a 400 metre high hill, the views from the temple are superb.
After lunch enjoy a walking tour of Battambang that will include visits to some of the old French Colonial buildings along the river, the former Governor’s residence, and Battambang Museum. Just 2 kms away from Battambang on the Sangker River is the village of Wat Kor. Here you will gain a fascinating insight into the Cambodian way of life in the province. Much of the town dates back to the early 20th century. Locals give visitors a short tour of the village and explain some of the history and show them around a traditional Khmer home. Check in to your choice of hotelfor 2 nights. The evening is free to explore this small French colonial town.
Day 6: Battambang - Full day tour with Bamboo Railway (B / L)
This morning your guide will take you into the countryside to see how the bulk of the population live. There will be the chance to visit the orchards, paddy fields, fish paste market and even a winery. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant.
This afternoon starts with a visit to Phnom Sampeou Mountain, a natural rock formation consisting of a series of caves. This was a former stronghold of the Khmer Rouge. Some of the caves were used as "killing caves" and victims' skeletons are still preserved here. The tour finishes with a ride on the Bamboo Train. The trains consist of a bamboo-covered platform and two detached axles with wheels. They run on regular tracks and are powered with old engines. When meeting traffic in the opposite direction, passengers of the cart with fewer passengers are expected to lift the platform, engine and axles of their cart off the tracks to let the other cart pass. Back at hotel late afternoon.
Day 7: Battambang - Phnom Penh (B / L)
This morning head onwards to Phnom Penh (5 hours). Along the way stop at Udong, Cambodia’s Capital between the 17th and 19th centuries. Lunch will be en route in a local restaurant. On arrival check in to your choice of hotel for 2 nights. Evening free.
Phnom Penh is a traditional Far East city, full of energy and still tatty around the edges. A great place to start in the early evening is to take a tuk tuk to the riverside promenade. As you walk along the Mekong look across to the French colonial buildings that are interspersed with the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and National Museum. Evening is the time everyone congregates along the wide promenade with impromptu aerobics, football matches and time to catch up with friends. There are plenty of restaurants and bars along the way.
Day 8: Phnom Penh - Private City Tour with Killing Field (B / L)
After breakfast your guide will pick you up for a half day city tour of the fascinating Khmer Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. After lunch in a local restaurant you visit the sobering and poignant Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a testament to Cambodia’s bloody past. Then you can explore the colourful stalls of the vast Central Market. The tour ends at the Choeung Ek Killing Fields just outside the city. This is now a Buddhist memorial park that has been constructed around the mass graves of the thousands of victims. Dozens of mass graves are visible above ground, several which have not yet been excavated. The field is marked by a Buddhist stupa that has glass walls and is filled with over 5,000 skulls. You’ll be back at the hotel by the late afternoon.
Day 9: Phnom Penh (B) - Transfer to Sihanoukville Beach
This morning your private driver will transfer you by car (3 hours) to Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s premier beach resort for 3 nights (or more) at your choice of hotel.
Extra…If you’d prefer a more laid back seaside resort then we’d recommend Kep, famed as a Khmer retreat whose offers an atmospheric stay by the sea, with authentically renovated hotels lining the shore and nestling in the hills to create a special feel. Except for a crab market and some simple restaurants there is little else here, but this is what adds to its allure. There’s no beach but you can visit outlying islands.
Days 10-11: Sihanoukville (B) - Beach Days
2 full days to relax on the beach, lie round the pool, take a dive excursion around the outlying islands or explore Ream National Park.
Day 12: Sihanoukville (B) - Phnom Penh / UK Airport
A final morning to enjoy your beach side setting before your private transfer back up to Phnom Penh in time for your overnight flight home that arrives the following morning.
Each featured itinerary is really a starting point from which to create your ideal holiday.
We can include as much or as little as you like, mix and match hotels, excursions and experiences, add extra nights and change the destinations you'd like to visit.
The common thread is that each is a privately guided holiday, allowing you to travel where and when you want, with your own private transport and dedicated guide.
- Return scheduled international flights (optional if you would like to arrange your own)
- English speaking, local guide & driver
- Choice of hotel accommodation
- Transport in private air-conditioned vehicles
- Domestic flights detailed in itinerary
- Admission fees to all attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
- All meals as detailed (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
- Entry visas International airport departure taxes if payable locally
- Optional Tours / Excursions
- Any meals not listed in the itinerary
- Personal expenses
- Tips for Guides / Drivers (discretionary)
- Travel insurance
- Any camera or video fees charged at sites
The hotels below are there as examples, designed to act as a starting point from which to create your holiday. There are plenty of alternatives to choose from and when we quote we will include other suggestions so we get to understand your likes and dislikes. Quite often clients mix and match hotel categories throughout their holiday.
Hotels in Siem Reap
As the main gateway to the temples of Angkor, Siem Reap offers a great range of hotel accommodation.
Hotels in Battambang
Off the main tourist route in the rural heart of the country and filled with faded French colonial architecture
Hotels in Phnom Penh
Authentic and cultured Phnom Penh, the modern heart of the country
Hotels in Sihanoukville
eautiful beaches, perfect for relaxation, watersports and island hopping