From £1,736 pp incl. UK flights
This holiday keeps it simple by sticking to the highlights and flying to a minimum. Dive into Cambodia's modern history in the Capital, Phnom Penh, then tour with a private guide through the rural heartland to Battambang, Cambodia's 2nd city and finish with an extended stay in Siem Reap mixing the iconic Angkor Temples with time by the pool. Siem Reap has a fantastic selection of hotels that have a resort feel to them and the town has a great mix of bars and restaurants; everything from Pub Street to Michelin starred restaurants. This has led to more and more visitors ending their holiday in Siem Reap, adding a few extra nights and mixing sightseeing with a few days relaxing by the pool and enjoying the town's nightlife.
Day 1: Depart UK on your overnight flight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Day 2: Arrive Phnom Penh for 2 nights. Private transfer to your choice of hotel
Day 3: Private guided City Tour with Killing Field visit
Day 4: Private tour to Battambang for 2 nights. Afternoon tour to caves.
Day 5: Private tour of town and countryside. Ride the Bamboo Railway
Day 6: Morning visit to Wat Phnom Banan en route to Siem Reap for 5 nights
Day 7: Private guided Angkor Temples Highlights tour
Day 8: Private guided Tonle Sap Lake & Angkor Temples tour
Day 9-10: 2 free days to relax by the pool, explore town and perhaps add a tour.
Day 11: Overnight flight home.
Day 12: Arrive home
Day 1: UK Airport / Phnom Penh
Depart on a choice of overnight flights to Phnom Penh. As there are no direct flights to Cambodia this is a chance to add on an extra destination such as Bangkok, Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur or just book a through flight.
Day 2: Arrive Phnom Penh
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 2 nights. The rest of the day is 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 3: 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 4: Phnom Penh - Overland Private Tour to Battambang (B / L)
This morning you’ll be picked up by your guide for the 5 hour journey to Battambang. Along the way stop at Udong, Cambodia’s Capital during the 17th and 19th centuries. Lunch will be en route in a local restaurant. Battambang is Cambodia's 2nd city but is far more relaxed than the capital and famous for its French colonial architecture, thriving restaurant and art scene and easy access to the rural heart of the country. On arrival check-in to your hotel for 2 nights.
Time to settle in then mid-afternoon visit Phnom Sampeau which is a natural rock formation containing a series of caves that were a stronghold of the Khmer Rouge. There enjoy watching millions of bats leaving to feed in the early evening.
Day 5: Battambang - Private Tour of City, Countryside & Bamboo Railway (B / L)
This morning your private guide will take you on 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. 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.
Lunch will be in a local restaurant then re-join your guide to explore the countryside to see how the bulk of the population live. There will be the chance to visit villages, orchards, paddy fields and the fish paste market. The day ends with a ride on the iconoc 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 6: Battambang (B) to Siem Reap with Morning Tour
This morning your private guide will transfer you by car (2.5 hours) to Siem Reap. 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 over the countryside from the temple are superb. On arrival check in to your choice of hotel for 5 nights (or more / less). This evening you might like to visit the cultural circus (no animals) that performs nightly in the centre of town. We can arrange tickets.
Day 7: Siem Reap - Private Angkor Temples 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 8: Siem Reap (B) - Tonle Sap Lake Stilted Villages & Angkor Temples Tour
This morning you’ll be collected by your guide and transferred 45 minutes through the Cambodia countryside to Tonle Sap Lake where you board a longtail boat to explore the lake and visit Kompong Phluk, an isolated community of three villages built on stilts. These scenic villages are flooded for around half the year and you will board a local boat, rowed by a villager, to explore the local community. You will also be taken through the flooded mangrove forests that are the main building block of this valuable ecosystem that supports a variety of wildlife.
Back in Siem Reap late morning and time for lunch at hotel and rest over hottest time of day. This afternoon re-join your guide and head further into Angkor Archaeological Park to visit Banteay Srei and Banteay Samre. These exquisite examples of Khmer history are a bit off the beaten track with fewer visitors and so all the more enjoyable to explore. Banteay Samre’s name is derived from the Samre people who live to the east of the baray and according to legend the temple was named after a farmer who killed the king and ascended to the throne. The half hour ride also offers an insight into everyday life as you pass through villages. Look out for sugar palm kilns, scarecrows that keep evil spirits at bay and paddy fields that carpet the land. Back at the hotel late afternoon.
Days 9 - 10: Siem Reap (B) - Free Days - relax by pool, enjoy the town, add a tour
For those who'd like to keep travelling to a minimum and don't need a beach setting to relax in, Siem Reap is the perfect place to add a few days. The winter weather is hot & dry, there's a fantastic selection of hotels that have a resort feel to them with superb facilities and the town has a great mix of bars and restaurants; everything from Pub Street to Michelin starred restaurants. The other bonus is that as most visitors spend the day touring you'll have the hotel pretty much to yourselves. That's not to say the splendour of Angkor is closed to you and there are plenty of places to explore. A selection of extra tours can be suggested.
Day 11: Siem Reap (B) / UK Airport
Day free until private airport transfer and flight home. Arrive back in UK 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
- Admission fees to all attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
- All meals as detailed (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
- Entry visa
- 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 Phnom Penh
Authentic and cultured, Phnom Pehn is filled with amazing sights
Hotels in Battambang
Off the main tourist route in the rural heart of the country and filled with faded French colonial architecture
Hotels in Siem Reap
As the main gateway to the temples of Angkor, Siem Reap offers a great range of hotel accomodation.