Cambodia highlights tour, 7 days
(boutique-style 3*) & meals; Bx6, Lx2, Dx3.
(Visas & local tips not included.) Return flights from the UK c.
£750, optional single room supp.
(Fully licensed, ATOL protected.)
Description of Cambodia highlights tour, 7 days
Our 7-day Highlights of Cambodia tour, is an exciting and varied adventure taking you overland, through this still little-known country, from the vibrant capital Phnom Penh to the fabulous World Heritage, jungle-clad temples of Angkor.
Beginning in the sometimes chaotic, yet charming, modern-day capital of Phnom Penh on the banks of the Tonle Sap River, we’ll visit some of the city’s iconic sites, the Royal Palace, Russian Market and, French Quarter, as well as learning about its tragic recent history at the Killing Fields and S21 Museum. We’ll also have time to take in the bustling street-life, local markets and sumptuous local cuisine before travelling overland past traditional villages and picturesque rural scenes to Siem Reap Town, our base for exploring the nearby Angkor ruins.
Our 3-day Angkor itinerary provides an in-depth, yet leisurely-paced, tour of the evocative and awe-inspiring ancient cities and creeper-strewn temples as well as allowing plenty of time to sample Siem Reap Town’s colourful markets and plentiful cafes or just escape the midday heat with perhaps some spa therapy or a cold one by the rooftop pool? As you may only visit Angkor once in your life, it makes sense to do it properly!
An unforgettable tour – spectacular destinations, friendly people, informed (and fun) guides, comfortable, low-key and friendly accommodation and plenty of great local food to discover. (And don’t worry, the deep-fried tarantulas are not compulsory!)
1. Phnom Penh - maybe total chaos but it's certainly great fun
2. Dawn at Angkor Wat - watch the sunrise over the iconic silhouette of the world's largest religious building
3. Explore the atmospheric, jungle clad ruined cities of Angkor - one of Asia's most evocative and exotic destinations
4. Remote Beng Melea, the ultimate Indiana Jones temple - with its creepers, jungle-clad walls and towers
5. The scenic and timeless Cambodia countryside: ox carts, stilt villages, emerald paddy-fields & bucolic landscapes
6. Meet the friendly and welcoming local people and sample the little-known but sumptuous and varied local cuisine
1. Spend a few days on the tropical island of Koh Mak, Thailand
2. Beach extension to jungle-covered Koh Chang, Thailand
3. Stop off for a 2-day guided exploration of Thailand’s vibrant capital, Bangkok
Note groups sizes are 2 to maximum 12 persons with most meals (local-style) included and accommodation in boutique-style 3* hotels.
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3 Reviews of Cambodia highlights tour, 7 days
Reviewed on 12 Feb 2023 by Laurence BakerExcellent. Very well thought out and varied itinerary. Plenty to see and do, but also time to relax and socialise. Read full review
Reviewed on 08 May 2017 by Sabina LatifThe walk through a jungle to get to a temple and seeing snippets of wildlife along the way including a snake was the most memorable. Just a really lovely holiday. Perfect pace with lots of sightseeing but also lots of free time to relax. Read full review
Reviewed on 08 Oct 2016 by Andrea VogelExcellent holiday. Being a very critical person, I must admit this was one of the best holidays I ever had (and I have travelled a lot in my life). Read full review
PlanetOverall, the intention is to combine the well-known tourist sites with off-the-beaten-track, rarely visited destinations, thus diverting tourist revenue and contact into areas not usually benefiting, as well as providing a more authentic view of the region visited.
Group sizes are deliberately kept small (maximum 12 persons) in order to limit impact on site and communities as much as possible. Small numbers also permit us to use local cafes plus street and market stalls for drinks, meals and shopping.
Hotels are small and independently owned with proven responsible travel credentials.
All our guides are fully-licensed and along with our drivers are locally employed.
On the tour, contributions are made to local restoration/conservation/ local economic development. Part of the entrance fees to the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Tuol Sleng Museum, Prasart Kuhanokor, the Angkor Archeological Park and Beng Melea Temple are used for both restoration and conservation purposes as well as for salaries for the numerous local people employed at such sites. All sites are important sources of income and employment for the local communities. We also hope that visits to ‘off the radar’, unregulated temple and historical sites will increase residents’ awareness and encourage conservation.
PeopleWe help support local projects. All hotels and several of the restaurants used on this tour participate in educational and training projects for underprivileged youths. In addition, during free periods, guests are encouraged to visit projects such as Artisans Angkor which is involved with the education and welfare of people from poor rural communities as well as the organisation Phare Ponleu Selpak which supports children, young adults and their families with educational programs and social support.
We avoid any chain or international hotels and all accommodation used on this tour is independently owned by local residents with the exception of the 252 Hotel in Phnom Penh which is owned by long-term European residents of Cambodia. (A portion of their profits goes towards funding educational projects for local, underprivileged children.)
Meals are provided in either locally-run restaurants or local-style cafes, market and street stalls. All products are locally sourced and all staff are local residents. The emphasis is also very much on traditional Khmer food which we hope increases an interest and pride in the region’s cuisine. Additional food products - for takeaway lunches, picnics etc – is deliberately purchased from local bakeries and /or fresh produce markets rather than chain supermarkets.
All transport is locally owned – whether minibuses or boats and tuk-tuks for shorter journeys.
With regards to souvenirs purchases, our clients are taken to markets or outlets attached to aid educational organizations such as Artisans Angkor where the advantages of purchasing there, as opposed to larger purpose-built souvenir stores, is self-evident.
Our Phnom Penh Hotel funds educational projects for local children and orphanages, providing corresponding information for guests as well as suggesting appropriate donations. All staff members are local residents. While our Siem Reap Hotel has a policy of employing all of its staff members from underprivileged families. The aim is to educate, train and reintegrate young people and orphans from poor backgrounds whose opportunities are otherwise limited by a lack formal education.
As a small company our support for projects is localised and targeted and we currently assist aid schemes in both northern Thailand and Myanmar’s Shan State. But any need which our tour leaders see on their travels which they feel we can help with is considered and support given where possible.
All guides and most leaders are local, while any foreign leaders employed have lived in the local communities for long periods and are experienced in customs, culture and as much as possible, language. Leaders and guides provide suitable, relevant information for our customers; to help them to gain a wider understanding of our style of tourism that focuses on learning; genuine interaction with the local communities, reciprocity and cultural exchange processes. To be aware of the potential impact of tourism on the local society, culture and environment, and to behave and dress appropriately with a respect and appreciation for local customs, mores and traditions and a respect for the ecology of areas visited. Our guides and leaders thus facilitate communication of our values to both travellers and local communities, educating them in sustainable tourism practices
By explaining our methods and the reasons behind them local agents, guides and hotels are encouraged by us to adopt further responsible tourism practices themselves and guides and drivers are provided with additional training in this respect.
By limiting groups to a maximum of 12 persons we aim to reduce the impact on both local communities and the environment whilst allowing for greater genuine interaction with said communities. It also results in a higher guide/customer ratio thus offering a greater facility for supervision and individual assistance and allowing us to use smaller hotels and restaurants and employ the services of more genuinely ‘local’ operators on a personal and friendly basis rather than dealing with establishments primarily equipped for larger groups.