Cambodia tour, temples and culture
Description of Cambodia tour, temples and culture
A Cambodia holiday with a difference. This off the beaten track 15-day holiday takes you to some of the lesser known and visited regions of the country but without missing the highlights of this beautiful country. Starting from the bustling capital of Phnom Penh, home to the impressive Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, the trip heads south to the remote province of Tatai to stay in the fabulously quirky 4 Rivers Floating Lodge. Alternately relax and explore the region including a visit to the rugged Tatai Waterfalls and some fun river kayaking.
Travel to the laid-back and sleepy seaside town of Kep, famous to the locals for its delicious crab and still relatively untouched by modern development. Take a boat trip to Rabbit Island and relax on the white sand beaches while enjoying a seafood lunch. Return north making stops en-route at largley unexplored temples, enjoy a brief stop in Phnom Penh once more before continuing north to your ultimate destination, the jungle temples of Koh Ker and 'home' for the night. Explore these remote 'lost temples' and spend the night under the stars in your luxury temple campsite, a truly unique experience and a great way to explore these hidden sites away from the crowds.
End the trip with visits to the temples of Angkor, a must-see on any trip to Cambodia. Rise early on a few days to escape not only the heat but the bulk of the still slumbering visitors and stroll through temples like Ta Prohm and Angkor Thom still shrouded in morning mist. Marvel at the workmanship of the intricate carvings at Banteay Srei depicting such things as the sky god Indra squatting on the three-headed elephant Airavata. And of course one cannot forget the image of many a tourist postcard, Angkor Wat itself, a masterpiece of Khmer architecture and worthy of many an hours in-depth exploration.
So take this Cambodia adventure holiday to discover a country with an often controversial history where a wealth of fascinating experiences await.
|Day 1||Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Phnom Penh.|
|Day 2||Land Phnom Penh and transfer to your hotel. The evening is at leisure.|
|Day 3||Spend today exploring the city with visits to the Killing Fields at Choeung Ek, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. Enjoy a sunset cruise on the Mekong River. (B)|
|Day 4||This morning you will be driven south to Tatai Province, in the shadow of the Cardomam Mountains. Check-into the quirky 4-Rivers Floating Lodge. (B)|
|Day 5||Enjoy a visit to the Tatai Waterfalls today. Take a small boat local village and visit the thundering waters. Enjoy a picnic lunch and have fun kayaking on the river. Return to the lodge. (B,L)|
|Day 6||Depart the lodge this morning and drive pass Bokor mountain to the small town of Kampot. Enjoy lunch here before driving onwards to Kep and the Veranda Natural Resort for the next 2 nights. (B)|
|Day 7||Today head to the crab market to watch the locals buy their fish before heading out to nearby Rabbit Island. Enjoy time on the white sand beach and a sumptuous seafood lunch. Return to the hotel. (B,L)|
|Day 8||Head north this morning back to Phnom Penh. En-route enjoy lunch followed by a speedboat to Phnom Da, a pretty 8th century temple. Also visit Tonle Bati and Ta Prohm before ending the day in Phnom Penh. (B)|
|Day 9||This morning travel northeast towards Kampong Thom with a stop en-route at Skuon, also known as spiderville due to is speciality of deep fried tarantula. Overnight Kampong Thom. (B)|
|Day 10||Depart Kampong Thom today and head to the remote Angkor capital of Koh Ker. Explore the various temple sites including Prasat Thom which has commanding views over the forest. Overnight in your superior temple campsite. (B,L,D)|
|Day 11||Enjoy a stunning sunrise across the temple complex. Visit the lost temple of Beng Mealea - clamber over the vast ruins some of them half hidden in the jungle. Drive to Siem Reap and overnight in the HanumanAlaya Boutique Hotel. (B)|
|Day 12||Explore the temples of Angkor today, a highlight for any trip to Cambodia. Visit the Roulos group which has some excellent carvings and Batong, a temple mountain with excellent views of the countryside. (B)|
|Day 13||An early start today to visit Ta Prohm, the 'jungle temple', before the crowds descend. Enjoy breakfast en-route to Banteay Srei, Angkor's key temple for excellent carvings. This afternoon visit the landmine museum, an interesting exhibition promoting landmine accident prevention. (B)|
|Day 14||Another early start this morning to visit the walled city of Angkor Thom before moving onto iconic Angkor Wat, the source of many a tourist postcard. Enjoy a detailed visit before visiting Artisans D'Angkor handicraft outlet. Enjoy lunch at Sala Kdey and the afternoon is at leisure. (B,L)|
|Day 15||Today is at leisure until you return to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)|
PlanetOur local Cambodian agents use bio diesel for their vehicles in Siem Reap which is more sustainable than normal diesel. They also arrange a clean-up of the local area around the hotels in Siem Reap every six months or so to pick up litter, etc. Guests at their wholly owned hotels are encouraged to only use fresh towels when they need them which is in common with other hotels across the world. All the guides are trained to minimise environmental impact with simple things like not littering, and not leaving cars running idle.
Over the last 5 years our local agent has become the top tour operator supporting the Sam Veasna Centre and the Elephant Valley Project which are both doing important conservation work. They have consulted on eco-tourism initiatives like behind the scenes at Phnom Tamao and Wildlife Alliance's Cardamom Mountains trip. They also work closely with these and other eco-tourism initiatives, advising them on the tourism sides of their initiatives thereby helping Cambodia develop as an eco-tourism destination.
This holiday stays at 4 Rivers Floating Lodge and has been built with the surrounding environment in mind. The tented rooms float alongside the riverbank and were built using a wood-plastic composite material with, the plastic component produced from recycled plastic. This is a very hardwearing and long lasting material - if the resort had used wood it would need replacing regularly and result in repeated numbers of trees being felled.
The lodge has now moved from generator power to solar power generated from solar panels on the floating platforms. The agents used to install the system were selected because they understood the needs for the lodge to not fell any trees to make way for the panels. The lodge also has a sophisticated waste water treatment system which treats water to make it safe.
The HanumanAlaya hotel aims to be as eco-friendly as possible with water conservation practices and recycling of all paper, glass, cans and plastic. In-room bathroom toiletries often provided in plastic bottles are dispensed in ceramic dispensers to avoid the use of excessive amounts of plastic and low-wattage lightbulbs are used throughout. The hotel also takes part in the annual ‘keep the community clean’ programme.
PeopleThe 4 Rivers Floating Lodge is staffed by local people from the surrounding villages who have been trained in all aspects of in-house service, including environmental management, which serves them in future roles. The boat transfer service to/from the resort is operated by a local villager, Oudom, who built the boats in conjunction with the resort’s requirement for fuel efficiency and to ensure no oil or petrol was spilt in the river. The relationship between the resort and Oudom has allowed him to develop his business and help provide income for the village community.
The Veranda Natural Resort management believes strongly in their commitment to the local community, particularly in relation to the youth of the region. The resort has been involved in various projects over the years to help poor local children gain access to quality education. A key endeavour undertaken by the resort is the Kep International School which is open to both ex-pat and local children. A percentage of the resort’s income goes towards covering the educational expenses of the Khmer children that have enrolled in the school. The resort also helps maintain school facilities and donate educational materials.
Our local agent in Cambodia is entirely locally-owned and locally-staffed and firmly believes that tourism has a role to play in the economic development of poor rural villages. They aim to ensure that their community-based itineraries bring a positive experience to local people and visitors and allow the local communities a greater level of control over the activities in their region. They support many sustainable community tourism activities, many of which we can arrange suitable visits to, and endeavours to take guests to remote areas to discover the real Cambodia.
Such initiatives include Artisans d’Angkor which promotes the sustainable development of Cambodian arts and crafts to benefit rural communities. The centre provides training to young Cambodians in traditional arts enabling them to make a living in their own villages. This initiative has helped to create over 1,000 jobs.
Another initiative supported is the Cambodia Landmine Museum, established by a former child soldier to promote awareness and education for tourists and locals on the ongoing problem with landmines. Over 100 people a year are still killed by unexploded landmines and many more injured. The facility also provides a home and school for children affected by mines and poverty.
In Siem Reap our local agents support the Hospital for Children which offers free healthcare to the regions children. The hospital regularly treats 300-500 children per day and is also committed to training health care professionals from around the country. Our local agents have donated equipment to the hospital.