From £2,183 pp incl. UK flights
The holiday starts with a bang, discovering the awe inspiring ancient temples of Angkor Archaeological Park. From here enjoy a jaunt into the beautiful countryside, overnighting in history-rich Battambang. Continue on to Phnom Penh, the evocative capital, where you explore Cambodia’s bloody history whilst raising a toast to an optimistic rebirth. Conclude the holiday on the coast, afloat the luxurious Canvas & Orchids Retreat deep in mangrove forests on the Tatai River and then soaking up the sunshine in a choice of beach resorts.
Day 1: Depart on a choice of flights to Siem Reap, Cambodia
Day 2: On arrival private transfer to your choice of hotel for 3 nights in Siem Reap
Day 3: Full day private guided tour of Angkor Archaeological Park with lunch
Day 4: Morning pricate guided tour to Tonle Sap Lake and stilted villages with boat ride
Day 5: Private tour to Battambang (1 night). Countryside tour, hill top temples, "Killing Caves" & town
Day 6: Morning ride on Bamboo Railway and onward transfer to Phnom Penh for 2 nights
Day 7: Full day private guided Phnom Penh City Tour with Killing Fields. Lunch included
Day 8: Transfer to Tatai River for 2 nights at Canvas & Orchid Retreat deep in the unspoilt south
Day 9: A full day to enjoy life floating on the river. Explore by kayak and visit the Tatai Waterfall
Day 10: Private transfer to Kep, Sihanoukville or one of outlying islands for 4 nights on the beach
Days 11-13: 3 days to relax and enjoy your seaside setting
Day 14: Private transfer back up to Phnom Penh in time for your flight home
Day 15: Arrive home
Day 1: UK Airport / Siem Reap
Depart on a choice of overnight flights to Siem Reap. As there are no direct flights this is a chance to add on an extra destination such as Bangkok, Hong Kong or Singapore or just book a through flight.
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
Day 3: 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 4: Siem Reap (B) - Private guided morning Tonle Sap Lake 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 in time for a late lunch.
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 1 night. The evening is free to explore this small French colonial town.
Day 6: Battambang - Bamboo Train / Phnom Penh (B / L)
This morning you experience something very different: Battambang’s bamboo train. Strap a motorboat engine to a light metal frame with bamboo laths running lengthways and you have a bamboo train. An ingenious way of making the use of the single track you will be transported on a track that winds through beautiful countryside, twisting and dropping in every direction. If you meet someone coming the other way, the lightest has to be lifted off the track to allow the other through. A unique and memorable experience, although not a cultural high, it may still be one of you favourite holiday experiences.
From here continue on towards Phnom Penh with lunch along the way. On arrival check into 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 7: 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 8: Phnom Penh / Tatai River & Cardamom Mountains
This morning your driver will pick you up for a fascinating 5 hour drive down to the Koh Kong Conservation Corridor. Leave the Capital behind and enter an undeveloped world of rolling hills, rivers and farming villages.
On arrival at Tatai enjoy a short boat transfer to the luxury Canvas & Orchid Retreat. Eco-tourism has come a long way and this is a luxury, boutique resort that just happens to be floating on a beautiful river in one of the most unspoilt corners of Cambodia. In tune with its natural surrounding it offers a wonderful window into a disappearing world.
This evening relax on the restaurant terrace, the prime position to watch the sun set over the river and sink into the mangrove forests. Dinner will be served at the wonderful restaurant that specialises in a fusion of Khmer and French cuisine.
Day 9: Canvas & Orchid Retreat on Tatai River (B)
A full day to relax and enjoy this part of Eden. Perhaps kayak down the river with or without our experienced local guide, explore the mangrove waterways that reach back into the jungle, team up with some locals and try your hand at fishing for your supper. Join a boat excursion to Tatai Waterfall, Koh Kong Island or visit local markets in nearby villages. Maybe just enjoy a refreshing swim in the river and lounge on the terrace soaking up the tropical sunshine, before taking a long lunch. After dinner one of the most popular excursions is the short kayak adventure to watch the fireflies’ night time show.
Day 10: Tatai / Kep, Sihanoukville or Koh Rong Island Beach
A final morning to enjoy life on the river before leaving for coast for 4 nights (or more) at your choice of resort. The drive along the coast is a joy, revealing the real rural Cambodia made up of sporadic villages, paddy fields and small farms. Your driver will be happy to stop for photos, answer any questions and help make the journey part of your holiday. Look out for children catching frogs with a fishing pole in the paddy fields or perhaps shrimps with a net. Others will be using the road to move their cattle or water buffalo from one field to the next.
The best beaches are to be found on the outlying islands such as Koh Rong, but if you'd rather keep the travelling to a minimum then Sihanoukville offers a limited number of resort style hotels. Just a little further down the coast you'll find Kep; no beach but a wonderfully atmospheric town by the sea, with authentically renovated hotels lining the shore and nestling in the hills that 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.
Days 11-13: Koh Rong Island, Kep or Sihanoukville (B) - Beach Days
3 days (or more) to enjoy life on the beach or by the sea.
Day 14: Beach (B) / Home
Morning free then afternoon airport transfer back to Phnom Penh in time for your overnight flight home.
Day 15: Arrive home
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 (Angkor Temples)
Gateway to the magnificent Angkor Temples, there are a range of hotel options here.
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 Koh Kong Conservation Corridor
A floating hotel on an idyllic mangrove lined river
Hotels in Sihanoukville & Outlying Islands
Beautiful beaches, perfect for relaxation, watersports and island hopping
Hotels in Kep
famed as a Khmer retreat and the country’s premier seaside town