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Absolute Cambodia 17 days

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Hanoi Voyages > Panorama > Absolute Cambodia 17 days
HIGHLIGHTS

Get up close to traditional Khmer culture
With this Cambodia itinerary in 17 days, witness the grandeur of the Khmer Empire in Siem Reap, and explore the dramatic and sensuously beautiful Angkor Wat, lauded as the world’s largest religious structure.

Immerse in the local ethnic lifestyle
Try out different kinds of exotic cuisine and befriend ethnic minority groups in Sen Monorom and the Mekong Delta.

Unwind yourself by the sunny beaches of Sihanoukville
Slow down the pace and enjoy the fine sand and the crystal blue water.

ITINERARY

Day 1Phnom Penh - Arrival

A Hanoi Voyages representative will welcome you when you arrive at the airport and transfer you to your arranged accommodation where check-in time is 2:00 pm.

  • Get ready for a welcome dinner, hosted by your local expert. Learn about Cambodian culture while enjoying good quality Cambodian cuisine and let the excitement begin!

Highlight experience: Traditional Cambodian food

Day 2Phnom Penh - Highlights

Make the most of your first full day in the country and view some of the city’s most fascinating sites.

  • Enter a world of visual wonder, starting with the National Museum of Fine Arts’ sculpture collection, before heading to the resplendent Royal Palace, admiring its striking Khmer architecture. Take a moment to survey the serene Silver Pagoda and its magnificent Emerald Buddha.
  • Wander through the Central Market, famous for its Art Deco architecture. Explore Wat Phnom, the oldest temple in the city, and see the statue of Madam Penh, the capital’s namesake.

Overnight in Phnom Penh
Highlight experience: Admire Khmer architectural beauty in the ancient Royal Palace

Day 3 Phnom Penh - Kampong Cham - Kratie

Take a journey to discover places enriched by folklore and gorgeous scenery, the focal points for our stops will be outstanding architectural landmarks.

  • Visit Phnom Srei shrine (dedicated to Nandin, Shiva’s sacred bull), which offers stunning views of the surrounding area
  • Discover Phnom Pros – a great spot to enjoy a drink and observe monkeys overhead
  • Course through a variety of terrain during morning tour including rice fields, forests of rubber trees, and sugar palm
  • Find many vendors selling Cambodia’s exotic culinary delights: roasted spiders. Have an intriguing dining experience by tasting spiders, which are hunted in the hills
  • Explore Kompong Cham – the colonial architecture often referred to as the gateway to north-east Cambodia
  • Visit Chup rubber plantation to watch the process from latex to the finished articles

Overnight in Kratie.
Highlight experience: Taste exotic Cambodian food like spiders

Day 4Kratie

Explore a lively riverside town, set on the banks of the Mekong River close to the border with Vietnam.
  • Visit the 19th century Vihear Kork pagoda, and Wat Phnom Sambok, which is complete with a Buddhist monastery. The view from Wat Phnom Sambok is absolutely breathtaking.
  • Continue to Prek Kampi on the Mekong River to get the best chance of seeing the rare and protected freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins!
  • Then navigate the Mekong in a small boat, enter the mangroves and also have the chance to catch sight of the rare Mekong mud turtle, and with any luck, you may even see both!
Overnight in Kratie.

Highlight experience: Seeing freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River

Day 5Kratie - Sen Monorom (Modulkiri)

  • Journey to Sen Monorom, the provincial capital of Modulkiri Province. This charming district is sparsely populated, and few tourists venture here. Yet, it is spectacular and is also the place to meet ethnic minority groups. The roads leading here are quite rough but well worth the effort as it is truly another world, culturally and climatically, compared to other parts of the country.
  • Encounter the ethnic Pnong people who live in the forests and dense vegetation of this mountainous area. In the afternoon we will approach the Monorom Waterfalls, and swim in a serene natural setting.

Overnight in Sen Monorom
Highlight experience: Taking a swim in freshwater and natural sceneries in Monorom Waterfalls
 

Day 6Modulkiri

  • Join an excursion to Bousra – the most impressive waterfall in Cambodia. Indulge in the beautiful natural environment setting of Modulkiri
  • Visit the village of Bousra which was inhabited by the Phnong ethnic group
  • Elephant riding for about 3 hours

Overnight in Sen Monorom
Highlight experience: Visiting the local Phnong ethnic tribe and get to know their culture

Day 7Modulkiri - Kampong Thom

Road trip to Kampong Thom

  • Visit Wat Kohar Nokor, a Pre-Angkorian Buddhist Sanctuary. Discover nearby neighbouring villages.
  • Explore the 11th-Century temple Phum Prasat in the village. Admire its beautiful and colourful Pre-Angkorian architecture!
  • Cross over breath-taking rice paddies, sugar palm fields and visit the rubber plantations
  • Have a taste of local exotic food: huge roasted spiders offered by roadside vendors

Arrival at Kompong Thom

  • Discover Sambor Prei Kuk temples on Chenla – the ancient capital in the early 7th century
  • This ancient ensemble was built by king Ishanavaman during the 7th-8th century
  • Highlight experience: Taste roasted spiders from the vendor’s stores

Day 8Kampong Thom - Siem Reap

Begin the journey to Siem Reap, the home of the famous Temples of Angkor, built over 1000 years ago, and so crucial to the people that Angkor Watt appears on their flag. These mystical temples are a must-see for visitors of Cambodia.

  • Enroute, visit the traditional village which specialises in the production of palm sugar and rice cultivation and the ancient Angkorian Naga Bridge, which is elaborately carved
  • In the afternoon, visit the Roluos group of temples, situated 13 km east of Siem Reap, as these are the earliest permanent temples built by the Khmers, and mark the dawn of Khmer classical art. The group represents the remains of Rolous Hariharalaya, the first major capital in the Angkor region.
  • Choose between two forms of entertainment this evening: either a traditional Khmer Apsara dance show with dinner or a leather puppet show, which was popular in villages before the time of the Khmer Rouge regime

Overnight in Siem Reap
Highlight experience: Visit the Roluos complex

Day 9 Siem Reap - Angkor Wat - Angkor Thom

An early start as we head to the hill of Phnom Bakheng to see the sunrise. Later, arriving in Angkor Wat, you will rove among the ruins of the world’s most famous Hindu temple complex.

  • Visit the three-tiered Baphuon (a temple in honour of another Hindu deity, Shiva) with its spectacular layered structure.
  • See the Terrace of the Leper King with its beautiful carvings of gods, nagas, and dancers.
  • Marvel at the Royal Enclosure and its small temple, Phimeanakas. These ruins are particularly significant as they date from the 10th century
  • Attend either an outstanding Apsara dance show or an old-style leather puppet show

Overnight in Siem Reap
Highlight experience: Traditional Cambodian dance parformances and leather puppet shows

Day 10Siem Reap - Koh Ker - Beng Mealea - Kbal Spean

Drive 80km through spectacular Cambodian countryside and get off-the-beaten-track.

  • Stumble across Kor Ker, the brief 10th century capital of the Khmer empire.
  • Explore the beautiful temple of Beng Mealea, built in the 12th century, and recently freed from jungle foliage.
  • Stroll through the forest to Kbal Spean, with its “river of a thousand Lingas”, a Hindu holy place.
  • Watch the explosion of colours as the sun sets behind the mountain temple of Pre Rup, dedicated to Shiva.

Overnight in Siem Reap
Highlight experience: Watching sunset on the mountain temple of Pre Rup

Day 11Siem Reap - Bantey Srei - Bantey Samre

Drive 80km through spectacular Cambodian countryside and get off-the-beaten-track.

  • Visit Banteay Srei – “the citadel of women” – a well-preserved small temple carved of pink sandstone. It is decorated with rare finesse and graceful motifs demonstrating Hindu mythology
  • Explore Banteay Samre, a 12th-century flat temple dedicated to the gods Vishnu and Shiva, with beautiful decorations of nagas, lions and other mythical creatures

Overnight in Siem Reap
Highlight experience: Excursion on the “Pink Temple”

Day 12Siem Reap - Tonle Sap - Battambang

Depart for Tonle Sap Lake, discover fishing villages, and embark on a traditional boat to cruise to Battambang, then reach Sangker:

  • Discover Biosphere Prek Toal, which houses a nature reserve for migratory birds. Witness the many houses on stilts and floating villages, where people still practice traditional fishing techniques. Houseboats or building houses on stilts keep these dwellings safe during the rainy season
  • Visit Ek Phnom Wat, an 11th century, partly ruined temple
  • Stop for the local market, Prahoc which is a paste fermented from fish and used extensively in Khmer recipes

Overnight in Battambang
Highlight experience: Explore all kinds of birds in the Biosphere Prek Toal natural preservation centre

Day 13Battambang

Visit the rice fields in Kompong Chhnang

  • Stop at Pursat – the city famous for its marble sculptures
  • Have a boat trip in the floating village of Kompong Luong – inhabited by Vietnamese people
  • Stop at the pottery village, nicknamed “The port of pottery” located between Tonle Sap Lake and Tonle Sap River
  • Visit the abandoned royal city of Oudong

Overnight in Phnom Penh
Highlight experience: Discover “The port of pottery” village

Day 14Battambang - Kompong Chhang - Oudong - Phnom Penh

Visit Battambang – a small colourful village full of Khmer charms, with local markets and authentic craftmanship:

  • Go to Phnom Banon Hill, an ancient sanctuary discovered in the 12-13th century
  • Take a tour on the provincial museum
  • Stroll downtown and discover Chinatown’s colonial architecture and colourful temples
  • Venture to the pagoda of Wat Slaket – former residence of the Buddhist patriarch and you might get a chance to meet the monks here
  • Visit the Temple of Wat Ek Phnom – discover the local markets with many special ingredients used in Khmer culinary recipes

Overnight in Phnom Penh
Highlight experience: Exploring Cambodia’s Chinatown

Day 15Phnom Penh - Kampong Trach - Kampot - Kep

Depart for Kep and en route visit

  • Kampong Trach to see the concealed limestone caves such as Ang Ang Viel and Thmar Dos caves and their natural wells
  • Encounter functioning pepper plantations, partially hidden amongst the scenery in Kampot
  • Observe preserved colonial French architecture, a reminder of bygone days.

Continue onto the town of Kep
Overnight in Kep
Highlight experience: Learn about pepper plantation system in Cambodia

Day 16Kampot - Sihanoukville

  • Travel from Kep to Sihanoukville to enjoy Sihanoukville famous beaches, complete with fine sand and crystalline waters
  • Swim, snorkel, or just lie back and sunbathe under the shade of tropical palm trees

Overnight in Sihanoukville
Highlight experience: Swim in pristine aquamarine coloured water and enjoy yourself at the beach of Sihanoukville

Day 17 Sihanoukville - Phnom Penh - Departure

Free time until your transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

 

What makes our tailor-made holidays different?

  • Unique activities and places
  • Itinerary crafted by you, and us, local experts
  • Hand-picked authentic experiences
  • Well-selected accommodation with spirit
  • Adjusted to your budget and your time
  • Private assistant and English speaking guides

Entrust us with your dream

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EXTENSION

MEKONG RIVER CRUISE - 4 DAYS
BEACH BREAK - 4 DAYS - SIHANOUKVILLE
BANGKOK DISCOVERY - 3 DAYS - THAILAND

MEKONG RIVER CRUISE – PHNOM PENH TO SAIGON 4 day/3 nights

A lower Mekong cruise that modules the diversity of the rich, local and evergreen life of the Mekong Delta.

Day 1 – PHNOMPENH – VIETNAM Board a grand, yet homely cruiseliner and embark on a leisurely four-day cruise. Depart Phnom Penh and head for the rich, fertile lands of the Mekong Delta region.

Day 2 – PHNOM PENH – BORDER CROSSING – TAN CHAU Embark on your journey to Tan Chau on the way. Dawdle in the slow-paced town of Tan Chau, with its Chinese, Khmer, and Kinh ethnic minority populations. 

Day 3 – TAN CHAU – SA DEC – CAI BE Arrive in Sa Dec, where you will take a traditional sampan tour. Wander villages occupied by craftwork industry, and have a go at weaving yourself! Catch your first sight of Cai Be, a quaint town famed for its French Catholic Church and the production of food products, especially rice.

Day 4 – CAI BE – MY THO – SAIGON Pass by the floating market of Cai Be, and to the central markets. Observe pastoral scenes of My Tho from your cabin’s balcony while having tea on deck. Return to Saigon and bid farewell to the cruise.

 

Lounge on the beach and let the sand kiss your toes!

Sure, Sihanoukville (ក្រុងព្រះសីហនុ) would never win first prize in a pretty-town competition. But despite the rapid and mostly unwanted development, it has remained the jumping-off point for the best of Cambodia’s white-sand beaches and castaway-cool southern islands!

Day 1 – ARRIVE IN SIHANOUKVILLE Ready your senses for something truly exceptional? Sihanoukville is worth the wait. This destination is the perfect tropical paradise for your getaway. Wide boulevards and white sandy beaches signal relaxation and happiness, the Ochheuteal and Serendipity beach is an attractive seaside stopover.

Day 2 – TREKKING – WATERFALLS The Kbal Chhay Waterfalls are a tiered, 14-metre drop in the middle of extensive forests, with loads of food stalls, picnic spots, hammocks and local shops selling all manner of useless stuff to help you while away a very relaxing few hours in between splashes.

Day 3 – DIVING OR SNORKELLING The best time of year to go diving or snorkelling in and around Sihanoukville is December to April when the dry season and currents mean that visibility is at its best. On the other hand, while conditions might be less ideal in quiet months you’ll get more of that ocean all to yourself. Cambodia does offer some of the cheapest scuba-diving in the region in some of the least crowded waters.

 

BANGKOK – A vibrant city / 3 days 2 nights
Spice your holidays by stepping in a vibrant city, mixing modernity and spirituality. Stroll around golden temples and palaces. Get a shopping session through all of the markets of the city, and end your trip experiencing the Thai lifestyle for three days.

Day 1 – BANGKOK – ARRIVAL Spice your holidays and step into the vibrant city of Bangkok. After a short flight from Phnom Penh, settle in your hotel and start your Thai adventure. Relax and enjoy the amenities of your hotel before having dinner on the rooftop of one of Bangkok’s skyscrapers.

Day 2 – BANGKOK – HIGHLIGHTS
After breakfast, visit the highlights of the city such as the Grand Royal Palace complex which includes the Royal Palace and the magnificent Wat Phra Kaew (known for the Statue of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho, a giant house of the lying Buddha or the Beautiful part of the Khlong with a mix of old wooden houses and new modern mansion. In the evening enjoy a drink on the rooftop of a bar and have a taste of Bangkok’s nightlife.

Day 3 – BANGKOK – MARKETS
After breakfast, relish the taste of the local snack and photograph the Maeklong railway market, slow down on the waterway to the picturesque floating market of Damnoen Saduak and experience the vibrancy of Bangkok daily routine.


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Handpicking tea in Vietnam

TRAVEL NOTE

TIME TO VISIT CAMBODIA

DRY SEASON

Dec - Feb
Dec - Feb
Feb - Apr
The weather is cooler and much more pleasant to visit
the coastal area and Angkor site.
Average temperature 21°C–30°C (70=86°F)
The weather gets dry and characterized by dust
and heat.
Average temperature 24°C–34°C (75-93°F)

WET SEASON

May - Jul
May - Jul
Jul - Oct
Rainy, monsoon season. Fewer tourists, lower price.
Best for visiting Angkor Wat with its green vegetation.
Average temperature 24°C-33°C (76°F-91°F)
Cooler period, with chances of a lightning storm. Ideal for
Siem Reap trip.
Average temperature 23°C-30°C (74°F-87°F)


Check out our full guide for the best time to visit Cambodia here.

PHYSICAL LEVEL

Cycling Tour:
Level:
This is a middle-level Cycling Tour, appropriate for kids over 6 years old
Kayaking Tour:

Level:
This is a low-level Kayaking Tour, appropriate for kids over 6 years old

PASSPORT AND VISA

Your passport must be valid 6 months after the expected date of your departure from the country.
We can help with your Cambodian visa once you arrive will in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh. Just bring with you a valid passport, 2 passport-sized photos and 35 USD per visa.

  1. You will get a single entry tourist visa which allows a stay up to 30 days
  2. A 6-month valid passport after the expected date of your departure from the country is required
  3. Visa exemption up to 30 days for the following countries: Brunei (14 days), Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines (21 days), Seychelles (14 days), Singapore, Thailand (14 days)

WHAT TO PACK

To make sure you will enjoy all of the activities included in this trip without missing of anything, here is a short list of what you should bring with you:
– Trekking shoes (or running shoes)
– Sunscreen
– Sunglasses
– A raincoat
– Insect repellant
Check out some more practical information for Cambodia travel here.

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Thanks to Hanoi Voyages and especially to Mrs Thuy who was so kind with my group of 10 people. I organized the route and they prepared and contracted everything for us. If I ever come back to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar or Thailand I’ll deal with them again.

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