Captivating Cambodia

Travel Idea:

Captivating Cambodia

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Length of trip:

7 days

Approximate price of this trip per person:

from $ 1695

Best travel dates to go:

Nov 17, 2008 to Nov 23, 2008; Feb 23, 2009 to Mar 01, 2009;

Detailed Description of this trip:

Savor the full flavor and spirit of ancient and contemporary culture on this in-depth exploration of the great and lesser-known sites around Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat. Also visit Tonle Sap by boat and see the Killing Fields.

Trip Itinerary:

  • Day 1 - Phnom Penh


    Upon arrival in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel.


    Phnom Penh sits at the confluence of the Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap Rivers, and is considered one of the loveliest of the French built cities. It was founded as a small monastery in 1372 by a rich Khmer woman called Penh. She set up the monastery on a nearby hill, or “Phnom” in Cambodian, after she found four Buddha statues in a tree trunk on the banks of the Mekong. You will have the opportunity to visit this site, as well as Wat Ounalom, a very important wat (temple) built in 1443 to house a hair of the Buddha. You will also visit the Silver Pagoda, often called the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Preah Kaeo after the statue housed there. King Norodom originally built the wooden temple in 1892, and its floor is comprised of more than 5000 silver blocks that together weigh nearly six tons. Continue with your tour to the National Museum, which was designed by French archeologist and painter George Groslier to exhibit works previously scattered about the country.


    Next, visit the Tuol Sleng Museum, home of the former high school that became the Khmer Rouge’s main torture and interrogation center known as Security Prison 21.


    Conclude with a visit to the Central Market, a covered market built in 1937 and distinguished by its central dome. It is filled with shops selling jewelry, fabrics and all kinds of souvenirs, making it a great place for browsing.

  • Day 2 - Phnom Penh

    Phnom Penh - Mekong Island.
    Arts, Crafts and Antiques

    Today you enjoy an excursion to Mekong Island, located north of Phnom Penh. Witness local culture in action with classical dancing and handicraft productions.


    Return to Phnom Penh in the late afternoon for your overnight. Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 3 - Siem Reap

    Phnom Penh - Siem Reap.

    Transfer to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap, where you begin your tour of the Angkor sites.


    Angkor Wat, the temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu by King Suryavarman II, was constructed over a period of 30 years and illustrates some of the most beautiful examples of Khmer and Hindu art. It also features the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the outer gallery walls and narrates stories from Hindu mythology. Continue your visit with a stop at Angkor Thom, a fortified royal city with five monumental gates, that is encircled by a moat over 325 feet wide. In the center of Siem Reap are the city’s most important monuments, including Baphuon, Bayon, and the Terrace of Elephants. The Bayon is one of the most popular of Angkor’s monuments, and is a place of narrow corridors, steep flights of stairs and an amazing collection of towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces.


    Overnight at a hotel in Siem Reap. Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 4 - Siem Reap


    Spend a full day on a guided tour of other Angkor sites. These include Banteay Srei, a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva; Banteay Samre, built in the 12th century and dedicated to the goddess Vishnu; Ta Keo, the first Angkorian monument built entirely of sandstone; Ta Prohm, surrounded by the jungle and looking very much like most of the Angkor monuments would have appeared when European explorers first discovered them; Pre Rup, a pyramid shaped temple; Ta Som, built by King Jayavarman VII for his teacher, Som; and Eastern Mebon, a temple erected by Rajendravarma where the base is guarded at its corners by stone figures of harnessed elephants.


    Return to your hotel for your overnight.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 5 - Siem Reap


    The sites you visit today include the Chau Say Tevoda, built during the 12th century and dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu, and Thommanon, a temple that mirrors Chau Say Tevoda. You will also stop by Banteay Kdei, a massive Buddhist temple dating from the 12th century, and Neak Pean, a Buddhist temple consisting of a square pool with four smaller square pools arranged on each axis. In the center of the central pool is a circular island encircled by two nagas with intertwined tails.


    You will also visit Prasat Kravan, a temple built for Hindu worship and noted for the bas-reliefs cut into the bricks on the interior walls. Meals: Breakfast.

  • Day 6 - Siem Reap

    Historical and Educational Tours

    Your final tour of Angkor includes the Roluos Group, monuments that mark the beginning of Classical art. Lolei is built on an islet with sandstone carvings in the niches of the temples. Preah Ko has inscriptions in Sanskrit on the doorsteps of each of its temples, and Bakong, the largest and most interesting of the Roluos group, still has an active Buddhist monastery.


    Afterwards, take a boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake. You will journey up the Tonle Sap River, which links the Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong River, until you reach Tonle Sap Lake. This “Great Lake” takes up much of the center of Cambodia and changes in size depending on the season. During the dry season in February, it shrinks to a tenth of its original size becomes one of the richest fishing grounds in the world. Your boat trip will take you to interesting fishing villages such as Chong Kneas, a floating village where both Khmer and Vietnamese live, and to Phnom Krom, a hill with spectacular views over the lake. The three towers on the hill are dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma.


    Return to Siem Reap for your overnight.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 7 - Siem Reap

    Siem Reap - Onward.

    Transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Meals: Breakfast

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