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Cambodia Holidays - Knai Bang Chatt
Cambodia Holidays - La Residence dAngkor
Cambodia Holidays - Knai Bang Chatt
Cambodia Holidays - Beach Camp in Ream NP
Cambodia Holidays - Beach Camp in Ream NP
Cambodia Holidays - Four Rivers Floating Lodge

Alternative Cambodia

FURTHER JOURNEYS IN CAMBODIA  brown-arrow-right.png

Day 1 - Arrive Bangkok
Arrive at Bangkok International Airport and transfer by private air conditioned vehicle to your hotel in the city. SALA Rattanakosin is a private, boutique hotel located along the Eastern Bank of the Chao Phraya River and across from the famous Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun).  The hotel is just a minute's walk from Bangkok's iconic attractions in Old Town such as Grand Palace, Wat Po Temple and other highlights.  A little oasis amidst the buzz and colour of this wonderful city.

Overnight: Sala Rattanakosin

Day 2 - Bangkok
With your private guide, an early start will get you to Wat Pho in time to experience the monks' early morning chanting ritual and avoid the crowds who arrive later. After this uplifting experience you will visit the temple grounds and the famous 45-metre reclining Buddha. Later you will continue to The Grand Palace, Thailand's most important landmark, where you will be awed by the grandeur and majesty of the building and its throne halls. Then proceed to the Wat Phra Kaew, home to the mysterious Emerald Buddha.  Enjoy lunch at "Methavalai Sorndaeng" - an elegant restaurant dating back decades and specialising in classic Bangkok-style cuisine.

This afternoon take a walk around Chinatown square through one of the oldest parts of Bangkok. Walk along Yaowarat  Road where you can see shops selling birds nests and shark fins, continue to a very old teashop to enjoy a cup of Chinese tea with the locals before heading down Trok Leng Moi Eia  to Talad Kao to visit an interesting local market with variety of fresh foods, fresh & dry fruits, Chinese herbs, groceries. End the walk at Wat Leng Neng Yee to visit the Taoist temple, before returning to the hotel to relax and freshen up before the evening.  

In the early evening stroll along the Flower Market to see the myriad varieties of exotic orchids and sweet smelling flowers. The buzz in this market is best experienced in the evening when busy vendors scoot around on their mopeds loaded with their wares.   A potential shopping opportunity awaits you at an adjacent local night market along the Memorial Bridge that overlooks the Chao Phraya River, where you can rummage for handicrafts and souvenirs.

We will recommend an excellent local restaurant for you to dine at this evening.

Overnight: Sala Rattanakosin

Day 3 - Bangkok - Siem Reap
This morning, you will be collected from the hotel and transferred to the airport where you will be assisted with check-in for your  flight to Siem Reap.  On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel to freshen up.

After lunch and once you have had a chance to relax for a while, your guide will collect you and take you to visit Kompong Khleang, the largest and least-visited village on Tonlé Sap Lake. This village has a population of 10,000, all of whom make a living from fishing.  Explore the streets (which become canals in the wet season as the stilt-houses appear to float as the water level rises).  Step inside a pagoda built on the site of an ancient temple and look at the wall paintings. 

This evening, enjoy a restaurant in Siem Reap or at your hotel.

Overnight: Belmond La Residence D'Angkor

Day 4 - Siem Reap 
Rising at the crack of dawn, you will be driven out to the mother of all temples, Angkor Wat, where you will witness the sun rise before enjoying a picnic breakfast as the crowds disperse.  You will then be taken into the temple to enjoy its magnificence in peace and quiet.  Believed to be the world's largest religious building, this temple is the perfect fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers.  Built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, this is the most famous temple at Angkor.

Afterwards, you can experience the new Flight of the Gibbon - a unique way to enjoy Angkor with the latest adrenalin adventure of zip-lining. Flying through the air above the jungle canopy is an exhilarating experience including a 'honeymoon' tandem line, rope bridges, a treehouse and a 15m abseil descent to navigate. There is also a nature trail to walk along with the opportunity to see wild gibbons.

This evening travel by tuk-tuk to Sala Kdey, a traditional wooden house opposite the royal bathing pool of Sra Srang.  Here you can enjoy drinks and canapés while you watch the sun set.

Overnight: Belmond La Residence D'Angkor

Day 5 - Siem Reap
Rise early to witness dawn at the "Indiana Jones" temple of Ta Prohm.  This temple has been abandoned to the elements, a reminder that while empires rise and fall the riotous power of nature marches on, oblivious to the dramas of human history.  Left as it was "discovered" by French explorer Henri Mouhot in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones. 

From Ta Prohm you will jump on to quad bikes and enjoy two hours of riding along dirt tracks, through villages and on to the Rolous Group of temples - the original capital of the Khmer empire.

This evening we have arranged a street food tour with Scottish Chef, Steve Halcrow (of Andrew Fairlie fame) and American food writer, Lina Goldberg.  Visit food markets and street food stalls sampling such delicacies as grilled fish paste pancakes, steamed rice flour dumplings oozing coconut cream, jujube fruit stewed in palm sugar and pumpkin-soy milk shakes.  Finish off with some delicious Angkor beers before heading back to your hotel.   

Overnight:Belmond La Residence D'Angkor

Day 6 - Siem Reap - Phnom Penh
This morning, take a flight to Phnom Penh, the country's capital. On arrival you will be met and transferred to Raffles Le Royal hotel which will take 30 minutes.

Located in the heart of Phnom Penh, Raffles Hotel Le Royal is a stylish, modern day hotel exuding old world charm. It was first established in 1929, and in its early days, was frequented by intrepid travellers, writers, journalists and distinguished royalty.

This afternoon, you will visit the Royal Palace, home to the Kings of Cambodia. After your visit there will be time for an evening drink at the nearby Foreign Correspondents Club next to the river. The FCC, as it is known locally, was the social hub for visiting foreign correspondents during the Vietnam and later the Cambodian civil war in the late 1960's and early 1970's.

Overnight: La Rose Suites

Day 7 - Phnom Penh - Koh Kong Province
This morning, visit Tuol Sleng, also known as S21, the notorious school which became a place of torture for the Khmer Rouge during their 'reign' from 1975 - 1979. Two of the survivors of this prison sometimes visit what is now a museum to speak with visitors and tell of their experiences. It is a humbling encounter. From Tuol Sleng, head out of the city, tracing the journey made by around 17,000 of those incarcerated in S21 to Choeung Ek, also known as the Killing Fields. Now a Buddhist memorial and museum created to honour those who died during these brutal years, the site is a mass grave where tens of thousands were slaughtered and buried. Incredibly this is one of thousands of sites throughout Cambodia where the Khmer Rouge carried out appalling genocide. This morning's activities are deeply moving, though necessary for those wishing to understand Cambodia's recent history and how it is still shaping life here today.

Continue southwest to Koh Kong Province and the beautiful 4 Rivers Floating Lodge. As you leave behind the suburbs of Phnom Penh, the scenery gets more interesting. Swing west towards Koh Kong, passing through the small port of Sre Ambel. The road soon passes through some beautiful stretches of Cambodian jungle, offering some expansive views over the Cardamom Mountains. Arrive at Ta Tai bridge and board a local boat to check in. The rest of today is at leisure.

Four Rivers Floating Lodge is an oasis of peaceful seclusion and privacy away from the tourist trail.  The 4-star floating resort is situated amidst unspoilt virgin forest, rare orchids and fragrant frangipani, the startling colours and calls of birds of paradise, secretive jungle creatures and a perfumed air of peace and solitude.

During your walks in the rainforest and treks up into the Cardamom Hills, you may be lucky enough to spot rare Javan Rhinoceros, Indochinese Tigers, Asian Elephant and Gibbons, as well as 553 species of birdlife.

Overnight: 4 Rivers Floating Lodge

Days 8 - 9 - Explore the Cardamoms
Enjoy two days at leisure to read your book on your private floating deck, or you may prefer kayaking, river swimming and walks through the rainforest and up into the Cardamom Hills.  The daily activities are guided and mostly on a sharing basis with a small group.  Each activity will be charged extra and you can refer to the website for prices but on average they are about US$10-15 per person.

Kayak down river with an experienced local guide who will lead you through the mangrove waterways that reach back into the jungle. Indulge with a hydro massage courtesy of the majestic Tatai Waterfalls, team up with some locals and try your hand at fishing for your supper or simply enjoy a Sunset Cruise. The river is all things to all people, from trailblazers to romantics.  In the evenings you can enjoy the majestic colours of the setting sun as you lounge by the restaurant and bar.

Overnight: 4 Rivers Floating Lodge

Day 10 - Koh Kong Province - Kampot Province
This morning, join your private vehicle for your journey east along the southern coast of Cambodia to Kampot province and the small coastal village of Kep. Arrive at Knai Bang Chatt and check in.

Knai Bang Chatt has put Kep back on the map with its contemporary design and fabulous facilities.  An ideal place to spend a few nights relaxing and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Overnight: Knai Bang Chatt

Days 11 - 12 - Kep
Sit by the huge infinity pool under the shade of a mango tree and stare out over the Bay of Kampot, or visit the spa, just metres from the sea. 

Alternatively, explore the fishing village of Kep and its environs. There are local beaches dotted along the coast and the hotel will be able to advise you on how best to get to them and which are the ones to visit.  This area of the coast saw its heyday during the 1950's and early 1960's when Cambodia's elite took second homes here, building beautiful Le Corbusier style properties overlooking the sea. The Queen had a palace here. Kep and nearby villages were abandoned during the Khmer Rouge years - you can still see bullet marks on the Queen's Palace - but it is now seeing a renaissance with many of the fine properties being restored or redeveloped.

Should you wish you could take a boat out to Koh Tonsay, or Rabbit Island as it is known (for its shape, there are no rabbits here), where the beach gently slopes into soothingly warm waters. It is still beautifully tranquil with beach shacks offering excellent, though simple, Cambodian meals. Gordon Ramsay and Rick Stein have both visited to explore the region's culinary delights.

During the evening, we recommend you try freshly caught Kep crab and green Kampot pepper at Kimly's - the "keep it local, keep it simple" restaurant nearby. The  Sailing Club adjacent to Knai Bang Chatt is a superb spot for enjoying the sunset - it  is very laid back and has a well-stocked bar with happy hour every night from 17h00-19h00. 

Overnight: Knai Bang Chatt

Day 13 - Kep - Phnom Penh
Today, make a leisurely journey up to Phnom Penh, stopping en route to take an exhilarating motorboat journey through ancient waterways through paddy fields to Phnom Da, an ancient Funan site dating back to 400BC. Phnom Da is isolated during the wet season, standing high on a hill overlooking the vast surrounding plains. Caves in the hillside were originally built as Hindu shrines and later used as hideouts by the Viet Cong.

This evening, enjoy one final evening in Phnom Penh, perhaps take a leisurely walk around Wat Phnom, the city's only hill, on top of which stands a beautiful vihara (Buddhist temple) before dinner at Malis or one of the excellent 'training restaurants', Romdeng or Friends.

Overnight: La Rose Suites

Day 14 - Depart Phnom Penh
Check out of your hotel and continue to the airport and your return flight home.

Best time to travel:  Mid-November through to end of March.
Guide Price:  £3,551/$5,326 per person excluding international flights, based on two people sharing and travelling between May and October 2016.  Price will vary depending on date of travel, room category and subject to availability.

 

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All of our itineraries are tailor-made according to the interests of our clients and the above itinerary is an example only. Please contact our Cambodia specialist, Melissa Matthews, for your own tailor-made holiday to Cambodia on +44 (0)1242 787804.

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