Discover Cambodia Tour: Ancient Ruins, Forgotten Temples & Pristine Beaches

A 11 day trip to Cambodia 
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The paths of Cambodia are varied and deep. The jungles conquer ancient temples and the beaches offer golden sands that look like buried treasure. Rivers provide insight into centuries old villages and history always finds a way to inspire and empower those around it. On this 11-day tour you will find the illuminating qualities of Cambodia. From the power of Angkor to the beauty of nature, from the captivating ancient artistry of Banteay Srei to the relaxed ambiance of Sihanoukville, Cambodia is an amalgamation of history and wonder, ready to be discovered and enjoyed. 

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, Phnom Penh, Banteay Chhmar, Battambang, Kampot, Sihanoukville  

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Opening Siem Reap

Siem Reap is a city on the fringe of the jungle trees and one which sits adjacent to ancient history. Arrive at the airport and be met by your private guide. Check in to the modern luxuries at your hotel where the rooms have a view of the lush jungle trees and the crisp pool. The lobby is a graceful display of lacquered wooden décor inspired by traditional Khmer design. Soon you will be on the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Tonle Sap where the breeze is cool and refreshing.

The water spritzes into the air. You see local longtail boats cruising on the water. Homes and villages are settled on the shores and grow distant. You arrive at a floating village and immediately notice the stilts that help keep the buildings afloat. The lake’s body undulates dramatically between dry and wet season. Clotheslines are strung between homes. Ladders rise from the water and meet the risen porches. Boats are tied and anchored around the stilts. The image of Cambodia has already been illuminated and possibly even transformed to hold a deeper meaning.

What’s Included: lunch, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 2: The Illumination of Angkor

The day begins with the excited feeling that you have pulsing through you, knowing that you will soon be standing at the gates of the celebrated Angkor Wat. Your private transfer meets you at the hotel and takes you to the complex that stretches over 390 square miles. When you come to the western gate, you cross the bridge, step over the moat, and find yourself face to face with the iconic image of Cambodia. Five towers stand tall over the temple, each one firm and shaped like a beehive. The 12th century temple contains images of Hindu and Buddhist mythologies carved into the sandstone walls.

When you enter the complex the scent of sandalwood is enticing. The towers signify lotus buds and many of the pediments are engraved with garlands. There are almost 1,800 images of devata, a term that applies to a variety of spirits. Step out into the upper gallery and find a courtyard that is surrounded by an impressive colonnade. The standing tower is textured with statues. The sun reflects off of the stone. The temple is more grand than you could have imagined, filled with hidden niches and fabulous reliefs that make you feel as though you are exploring a new discovery all on your own.  

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Mysteries to Hold

When the city comes alive you find the decadent aroma of fresh pressed coffee emanating from the French Quarter. The classic architecture seems both out of place and at home in the bustling morning. Beng Mealea is a temple complex that retains much of its mystique within its walls. The 12th century edifice was constructed on the same floor plan as Angkor Wat but was eventually given to nature. Step along the jungle floor and find the overhanging trees that will bring you into a totally different world.

The clarity of the Angkor complex is far behind you. The jungle sprouts along the sandstone walls and pillars that remain of Beng Mealea. The splendor is in what has survived time. Hidden in the foliage and rubble are inspiring carvings. Walkways are decorated with long bodies of a Naga, a serpent deity. You can see monks sitting atop some of the standing pillars. Their saffron robes glow against the surrounding dense greenery. In the moment you can find an alluring connection between nature and the ruins.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Intersecting History

The early morning glows over the city and brings a stretch of pink and purple light to the sky. After breakfast you make your way to Banteay Chhmar and the 12th century temples that have inspired and impressed people for centuries. Benteay Top is set amongst rice paddies. The singular tower can be seen like a guarding wall against the surrounding fertile flatland. The main temple of Banteay Chhmar was once enclosed by a wall that stretched over five miles long. The temple’s intricate carvings spanned 21,500 square feet. The bas-relief on the eastern wall depicts a naval battle between the Khmers and the Chams. The trees are quiet and encompassing. The ambiance is tranquil and powerful. Some stones are strewn about the landscape; however, the forcefulness remains, and the image of what the temple once had been is indelible.  

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 5: More Contemporary History

Time and nature’s power lies in their ability to overtake the impressive structures of past empires. You leave the jungle behind and make your way to Battambang, the second largest city in Cambodia. The boulevards are wide and comfortable. The calm current of the Sangkae River intersects the city. Cafes sit on the riverbanks and create a charming atmosphere. Battambang feels more like a welcoming town than a large city. The French architecture in the city center continues to offer a glimpse of French colonial history and adds a touch of architectural artistry to the historic district. The preserved buildings continue to express the power and impression of the French during their colonial occupation.

When you reach St 3 you find marvelous examples of 20th century buildings. The Governor’s Residence is a pleasing canary yellow and continues to display a large balcony with wooden shutters along its façade. Settle into your hotel, where the luxurious style and design offers a touch of the unique and majestic Cambodian spirit.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Glimpsing the Countryside

The riverside and French architecture fade into the trees. Battambang becomes a tangible memory as you make your way to Phnom Penh. En route you stop at Oudong, a town located at the foothills of Oudong Mountain. The summit remains an incredible necropolis to Cambodia’s former kings. The mountain is adorned with a large silver stupa. The temple is a concentric spire and adds considerable height to the summit. The doorway is magnificently gilded with geometric shapes. There are over 500 steps that lead from the town to the mountaintop. The forest is lush and shades the pathway. The royal tombs are decorated with garudas. You step away from the vibrant streets of the cities and find the sensational temples of the countryside. In the afternoon you will find comfort at your hotel, located in the heart of Phnom Penh. The rooftop offers a view of the city at night, shimmering with tremendous light.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 7: Rebounding Cities

The city springs to life in the morning. The Victory Tower stands tall at the edge of a monumental boulevard with a view to the water. The structure pays homage to past soldiers that stood for the betterment of the country and also pays tribute to the history of the Khmer through its architectural design. After breakfast you venture out into the city on a private tour to experience the diverse history of Phnom Penh. The Royal Palace complex dates back to the 19th century and the charming building along the waterfront display the French architecture constructed during the colonial era. When you come to S-21 you find the contemporary history of a city that has since been able to blossom.

Security Prison 21, also known as S-21, was once a school turned prison camp. The Khmer Rouge was a short-lived totalitarian dictatorship in the 1970s but their reign continues to effect the county as a whole, no more so than in Phnom Penh. The stone solid concrete structure has a courtyard that is verdant with patches of grass and growing trees. The buildings’ interiors provide a glimpse into the past, including Building B, which contains black and white photographs of prisoners. The tile floors are cracked and faded but the history lives on. You can see the unbreakable spirit of the city, the country, and its people as you walk through the museum.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 8: Discovery in the Trees

The bustling capital streets fade behind the horizon. You make your way to Takeo Province. Phnom Da is an ancient Funan site with ruins that date back to 11th century. The hillside rises alongside the river. The temple is 59 feet tall and faces north towards the ancient capital Nokor Phnom. Five manmade caves surround the hill. Each cave is decorated with symbols of Brahman worship, including Shiva lingams. Phnom Da stands atop a previously established temple from the 7th century. The surrounding forest is dense and adds to the marvelous ambiance of discovery. The caves are cool and damp. You continue onward to Kampot where you will find soothing comforts your hotel. The hotel is located on a tree-lined street and is situated in a historic French home. The riverside emanates gentle jovial sounds of the early evening.   

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 9: Finding the Seaside

When you follow the river far enough you leave behind the charming riverside town of Kampot for the day and come to the luxurious resort beaches of Kep. The town was once a retreat for the French elite in the early 1900s. Today it has a relaxed, sleepy ambiance that sits on the shores of majestic sapphire waters. The scent of the sea is salty and sweet. The trees line the outcropping foothills. The White Lady statue sits on a rocky throne and looks out over the city, turning her body away from the sea. The scent of fresh seafood is intoxicating. You can travel through Kep National Park, up to the 2,624-foot summit that is adorned with a pagoda. A sturdy wooden walkway takes you through the trees near the top and leads you to Sunset Rock. You can see the coastline brimming with splendor. The trees are emerald and the water is a brilliant blue. Indulge in sunset cruise before returning to Kampot for the evening.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 10: Grasping Golden Sand

The river is still and serene in the morning. Boats drift down the water and travel at a leisurely pace. Cafes begin to bustle and emanate the decadent aroma of fresh pressed coffee. After breakfast you leave the riverside town behind and make your way to Sihanoukville. The city is small and filled with the laidback atmosphere of a beachside community. The sand is a hot, golden powder. The water is cool and pristine. You can dip your toes in the crystal-clear sea and feel the refreshing liquid lap against your feet.

The day is for you to relax in any way you choose. You see people venture onto the placid sea with kayaks. Windsurfers try to catch the breeze in the distance. Tropical palms shade sections of Otres Beach. When the sun starts to settle over the horizon you can enjoy the luxuries of your hotel. Look out over a view of the pool and the sea, both waters radiating an electric blue. The night comes easily and you can see entertainers twirling fire against the dark sky.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 11: The Homecoming Soon

The tropical aromas of the beach blend together in the morning light. Bananas and jackfruit are as vibrant as the sea. The sand catches the sunrise light and sparkles as if the beach were paved with gold. After breakfast you can spend the morning strolling alongside the shore or visiting the Phsar Leu Market. Bundles of plantains hang from the ceiling. Pyramids of oranges glow in the market lights. Soon you will make your way to Phnom Penh to step aboard your flight home, but for now you can linger in relaxing atmosphere of Sihanoukville. There will always be endless reminders of Cambodia and the memories will be as sweet as the journey.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

For more tours options, browse the Cambodia package tours on Zicasso. Also, be sure to read the reviews of Cambodia tours.

Price

Starting Price 

$1,975
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.