Family tour to Cambodia and Thailand

“Combining Phnom Penh's vibrant street-life with the spectacular ruined cities of Angkor, a unique Sangkar River boat journey and a stay on a tropical Thai island”

Highlights

Phnom Penh | Street Life & Local Markets | Killing Fields & S21 | Dawn at Angkor Wat | 2-day Tour of World Heritage Angkor | Jungle Hike | Sangkar River Journey | Floating Villages | Battambang Tuk-tuk Tour | Gulf of Thailand Snorkelling and Island Hopping | Beach Resort

Description of Family tour to Cambodia and Thailand

Ruined Cities, Tropical Islands; our 2-week, family tour to Cambodia and Thailand, includes Phnom Penh, the enigmatic jungle temples of Angkor and a stay on a tropical Thai island. We'll include highly varied sites and activities with, what we hope, is just the right mix of exploration and leisurely downtime.

The tour begins in Phnom Penh, the hectic but fascinating capital of Cambodia, where we'll explore markets and historical sites as well as soaking up the vibrant street life. From here, travel through unspoiled landscapes of emerald rice paddies to Siem Reap, our base for a 3-day exploration of World Heritage Angkor. Our itinerary is designed to be comprehensive yet at a relaxed pace and also allows plenty of time to roam the local markets and cafes or just kick back by the rooftop pool.

We'll leave Siem Reap by private boat across the vast Tonle Sap Lake and up the scenic Sangkar River, past unique floating villages as well as Prek Toal, one of Southeast Asia's most important bird sanctuaries, to Battambang.

A morning tour by bicycle or tuk-tuk takes in traditional cottage industries of the surrounding villages – a great insight into Cambodian life. Heading west a short journey takes us to the Thai border and on by boat for a stay in beach-side chalets on a tropical Gulf of Thailand Isle. (We offer the choice of unspoilt Koh Mak or the larger mountainous Koh Chang.)

This Southeast Asia adventure is designed to keep the whole family amused and engaged, whatever their age or interests. Explore ruined cities deep in the jungle, take a river boat journey past floating villages, relax on a tropical island beach, snorkel the coral reefs and meet the exceptionally friendly locals and sample the sumptuous local food (deep fried tarantulas optional!)

Culture, history and adventure for all ages.

Features:

1. Explore the jungle clad ruined cities of Angkor - certainly one of Asia's most evocative and exotic destinations
2. Journey by boat up the Sangkar River - floating villages, bird-life, unique scenery; 'like being on a Nat Geo programme'!
3. Overland through the scenic and timeless Cambodia countryside: ox carts, stilt villages, emerald paddy-fields
4. Stay at a well-appointed beach-side resort on the unspoilt Thai tropical island of Koh Mak
5. Meet the friendly and welcoming local people...and sample the sumptuous local cuisine
6. High and low season versions to optimise weather conditions at any time of the year

Optional extensions

1. Add on a day tour of Bangkok – fully flexible itinerary
2. Squeeze the most out of your airfare with our fascinating 4-day, Bangkok Behind the Scenes mini-tour
3. Day tour to the ancient Siamese capital and now World Heritage site of Ayuthaya
4. Explore Kanchanaburi province and stay overnight on floating raft houses on the River Kwai

Note; this is a private family tour based upon a minimum of 4 persons with accommodation in low-key, boutique-style 3* resorts and hotels.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Family tour:
This is a private tour for individual families (or even just a group of friends) based upon a minimum of 4 paying persons. Dates are – up to you – so there are no fixed schedules while, as a private tour, all activities and destinations can be tailored to suit your family’s preferences and age group. You can discuss this with our staff prior to departure while smaller details can be discussed at the time with your tour-leader. Your tour will be accompanied throughout by a licensed local guide experienced in family tours, except for the beach/island stays which usually feature at the end of tours. Please note there are no age limits and so far we’ve had travellers covering the entire range from 2 to 87!
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
Overview of responsible tourism on this tour

The intention of our Ruined Cities, Tropical Islands tour is to combine the well-known tourist sites with off-the-beaten-track ones thus spreading income and interaction into areas not usually benefiting from the positive aspects of tourism. We will of course ensure to the best of our abilities that that said interaction is as genuinely beneficial as possible, while also providing a more authentic view of the region visited to our clients.

Consequently, in addition to the popular tourist destinations this 2-week Cambodia and Thailand tour also includes rarely visited destinations such as Kok Rocha village and ancient temple in Kompong Thom Province, Prek Toal and Bac Preah floating villages, Ek Phnom in Battambang and Pailin District.

Group Sizes

We find that restricting group sizes to a maximum of 12 persons enables us to limit impact on sites and communities as much as possible while also allowing us to use local cafes, street and market stalls for drinks, meals and shopping.

Hotels are small and independently owned with proven responsible travel credentials and all - fully-licensed - guides and drivers are locally employed and fully trained.

Restoration/conservation and local economic development

Portions of entrance fees to the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Tuol Sleng Museum, Prasart Kuhanokor, the Angkor Archeological Park, Prasart Ek Phnom (Battambang) 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 such as Cambodia’s Kok Rocha and Wat Banteay Srei in Dom Dek will increase residents’ awareness and encourage conservation.

Visiting local restaurants/shops/markets/transport etc

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 and Thai food which we hope increases an interest and pride in the region’s cuisine.

Additional food products - for takeaway lunches, picnics etc – are 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 souvenirs our clients are also encouraged to buy directly from fabricants’ houses in the case of our Battambang cottage industries tour and Saray community tourism project or either markets or outlets attached to aid and educational organizations such as Artisans Angkor for example rather than the large, purpose-built souvenir stores.

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.
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.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

We received the Tourism Authority of Thailand Green Award in 2008 for Best Niche Tour Operator, in 2010 for Best tour operator for Local Communities and in 2012 in the Maritime, Nature and Heritage category.

Support for local projects

Both our Phnom Penh and Siem Reap hotels participate in educational and training projects for underprivileged youths.

Our tours visit the Saray Community Eco-tourism scheme in Prek Toal Village as well as participating in a tour with Butterfly Tours in Battambang. These handicraft and cottage industries tours are organized by local students who, as well as helping to finance their studies and practice their language skills, also provides training for underprivileged rural 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, the organisation Phare Ponleu Selpak which supports children, young adults and their families with educational programs and social support and the Apopo mine clearing project in Siem Reap.

Support for local charities and projects

As a small company our support projects are localised and targeted and we currently assist aid schemes in both northern Thailand and Myanmar’s Shan State.

On a micro-level we support and assist the the Saray Community Eco-tourism scheme in Prek Toal Village.

Tour leaders and guides

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.

Group sizes and their impact on the community and environment

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.

Climate

2 Reviews of Family tour to Cambodia and Thailand

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 02 May 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Learning to blend with the traffic in Phnom Penh & realising that pavements are not for walking on; sleeping overnight in Preah Kral Monastery; experiencing sunrise at Sra Srang, followed by a visit to the delightful Banteay Srei temple; taking a boat across the Tonle Sap Lake and along the Sangker River from Siem Reap to Battambang; hiking along paths through the jungle of Kep National Park (without a guide); being guided around Sambor Prei Kok by two charming local girls. All-in-all, far too many to mention!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for an assault on your senses! And get there quick, before the authorities stop visitors walking around Angkor Wat.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, being in a small group enabled us to interact with local people directly and to avoid staged mass meetings.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent. This was our first time in Cambodia. We found it a fascinating country and thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. There was an awful lot to take in and see and we were pleased to have visited parts of the country that are not on most tour itineraries. Towards the end of our two weeks we felt that we had acclimatised and, having come to the end of our ‘taster’ were ready to begin the tour proper; such a pity we then had to come home! It has given us a desire to return at some time, both to revisit some of the locations from this trip and to explore new ones.

Reviewed on 10 Feb 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Angor Wat temple is beautiful. It was amazing to see that almost one thousand year building in such a good shape.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for dress code in temples. Thin long pants and T-shirt are must.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


It did benefit local people for sure. With so many tourists around you can imagine that country in few years. People are friendly and hard working for the money.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This was amazing and very educational trip. I am so glad I have seen Cambodia and specially Angor Wat.

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