Tours & River Cruises

Tours in Cambodia

Grand Cambodia Expedition

Grand Cambodia Expedition

13 days / 12 nights
Tour Highlights
• 13-day tour of Cambodia’s great sites and destinations
• Mesmerizing boat ride along Tonle Sap Lake
• Unique travel experience aboard Battambang’s Bamboo Train
• A glimpse to the daily lives of present-day Khmers
• Taste of local crafts and delicacies
• Daily flights and unlimited number of guests
Experience a breath-taking adventure across Cambodia in this 13-day tour. Each day will take you to a new experience as you travel around the country, visiting monuments, shrines, and temples which are fitting symbols of the glorious history of the Khmers. You will also be treated to a magnificent view of the countryside as you enjoy your travel from one destination to another. The trip will not be complete without the mouth-watering Khmer cuisines that will surely tingle your palate. And to make your experience even more memorable, you will get the chance to mingle with the local folks as they go about their daily routines.

Itinerary

Day 1: Phnom Penh – Arrival

Upon arrival in Phnom Penh, you will be welcomed by your local English speaking guide, who will accompany you to your hotel for check in.

Phnom Penh was once considered as one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient, and despite its recent turbulent history, it still retains a colonial charm. Cambodia’s capital is a bustling city, majestically located at the confluence of the mighty rivers of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap. Wide tree-lined boulevards and many colonial-era buildings reflect the glorious days and add to the allure of the city, where Asian and Western traditions meet in a fascinating way.

Enjoy an atmospheric sunset river cruise and watch how Phnom Penh’s popular riverfront awakens to life.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Day 2: Phnom Penh (B)

This morning, you will be greeted by a driver who will take you on a tour to the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in a Cyclo, an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore this lively city. First, visit Wat Phnom, which is situated near the northern boundary of the city. The site contains some good examples of Khmer architecture and statues.

Continue along the lively riverfront to the Royal Palace. This palace dates back to 1866 and houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. Its original name is Wat Prakeo, meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In this temple you will view a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze.

Later today, gain insight into Cambodia’s recent dark history on a visit to the remarkable Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in the former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture center named ‘S-21’. A grim, but important visit that will allow you to dig below the surface and understand Cambodia better.

If you are interested, continue to visit the Russian Market, one of the city’s most popular markets where you will find beautifully woven Khmer silks and cottons, basketry and wood carvings.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Day 3: Phnom Penh – Kampong Cham – Kratie (B)

Leave Phnom Penh for Kampong Cham (2.5 h), a former French trading post on the Mekong. After a tour of town center, continue to Wat Nokor, an 11th century Angkor era Buddhist temple. Continue to Kratie Province (2 hours drive), where you will check into the hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free at leisure to stroll through the pleasant town on the banks of the mighty Mekong.

This evening, get ready for one of the highlights of your trip: Visit the historic Wat Rokakandal on the banks of the Mekong to see the unique wall paintings, while the sun is setting over the river.

Overnight in Kratie.

Day 4: Kratie / Koh Trong (B)

Breakfast at hotel. Drive north along the banks of the Mekong, a scenic route with great views. The village of Kampi is one of the best places to view the rare Irrawaddy Dolphins along the Mekong. Get on board a local boat that will take you to the preferred habitats of these interesting creatures. As soon as you have spotted the first dolphin, your boat driver will turn the engine off and you will follow the dolphins silently (duration 1 to 1.5 hours).

From here, continue towards the village Sambo for a visit of Wat Sorsor Mouy Roy. The Vihea of the so-called ‘100 Pillars Pagoda’ is an important historical and cultural building and quite famous for its legend involving a princess and a crocodile.

Then depart for Koh Trong by crossing the river with local ferry which will be spend around 10 minutes from town. This Mekong island displays typical Cambodian village life, where people’s livelihood largely depends on rice farming and fruits cultivation (Koh Trong is famous for its pomelo!). Upon arrival, you can decide whether you would like to take a local horse cart or pedal yourself around the island on a bicycle.

After lunch, your first destination is the island’s Wat, where a special activity awaits you: A tree planting project initiated by a local farmer, in order to recultivate the once densely forested island. Contribute to the project by planting your own tree here and it will carry your name tag and leave a positive trace on the island. Continue by horse cart or cycling around the island, where you will be able to taste local fruit and visit a Vietnamese floating village on the southern tip of the island. Then travel straight to your hotel.

This evening, you might be lucky to see the spectacular sunset over the Mekong that Kratie is famous for.

Overnight in Koh Trong.

Optional: Before starting afternoon tour, you will enjoy lunch under pomalo tree which will be arranged by our local community .

Day 5: Kratie – Kampong Thom  (B)

After breakfast, leave Kratie for Kampong Thom Province (5h drive). On the way, stop at Phnom Santuk Mountain and climb the 980 steps to the top to visit the pagoda and for the great views over the countryside. Upon arrival in Kampong Thom, check into your hotel and enjoy a leisurely afternoon cycling tour along the river or relax by the beautiful hotel pool.

Overnight in Kampong Thom.

Day 6: Kampong Thom – Siem reap (B)

Today, you head towards the rarely visited Sambor Prei Kuk, one of the most important pre-Angkorian sites in the country. These monuments were built in the Chenla period between the 6th and 7th century and pre-date Angkor Wat. Over 100 well preserved temples are scattered around in the forest. The three main sites are linked by small and shady tracks. Enjoy a beautiful walk through the jungle with breathtaking views.

The seven villages around the temple complex still practice the ancient art of craft making, using materials such as bamboo and rattan. The community runs the Isanborei Craft Hut next to the temples and sells their products there.

Continue towards Siem Reap (3h). On arrival, check in to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Optional: You will have the chance to visit and contribute to the sustainability of the people’s livelihood  as the local community will prepare a simple but tasty lunch for you near the temples.

Day 7: Siem Reap (B)

Get up early for one of the highlights of your tour through Cambodia: Visit Angkor Wat by sunrise. Watching the first sunbeams glow over the largest religious edifice in the world will not leave you untouched.

Enjoy breakfast at Angkor Café just across from Angkor Wat, before you visit the temple in depth. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing the Mount Meru, home of the gods. The divine residence of Vishnu, the King himself was to reside here after his death. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Moreover, Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia’s national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.

Enjoy the spectacular view of the Angkor Temples from above as you depart on a ride in a tethered helium balloon that takes you 120m up in the air!

From here, head to the countryside around the Western Baray, where you can spot water buffalos in swampy ponds, kids in school uniforms on their bicycles and oxcarts transporting today’s harvest. Visit the Angkor Silk Farm 15 km west of Siem Reap, where you can witness the entire process of silk creation from the breeding process and life cycle of the silk worm to the spinning of the silk, the dying process and the creation of beautiful silk weavings on wooden hand looms. Return to Siem Reap for a mid day break.

This afternoon, explore the highlights of the Small Circuit. Start your tour with a visit to Ta Prohm temple, built in the mid 12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes Ta Prohm one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 8: Siem Reap (B)

This morning, visit to the ancient city of Angkor Thom in an eco friendly electric vehicle. Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall, drawing a perfect square. You will enter the city from the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with elephants and four giant faces. On each side of the entrance path, a row of 54 gods or demons is holding the sacred Naga snake.

From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the exact centre of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur. The exterior gallery walls have extensive, superb bas-reliefs, particularly the East and South Galleries. The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate bas-reliefs.

Later today, head the banks of the giant Tonlé Sap Lake, where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. Tonle Sap is South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake with its size varying greatly depending on the season. During the dry season it is roughly 2,500 km2, swelling to about four times its size in during the wet season. Board a local boat and visit Kampong Phluck, a village where we’ll see houses on stilts that are submerged when Tonlé Sap Lake extends. On the way, you will pass floating houses and impressive flooded forests, portraying life on the water. Return to Siem Reap.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Note: Please note that Kompong Pluck is recommended to visit from Sep to Dec only due to high level of

water so Chong Kneas will be alternative visit in other season.

Day 9: Siem Reap (B)

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the quiet Beng Mealea (1 h drive). Enjoy a short walk through the dense jungle and feel like an explorer when you discover the completely overgrown temple. Undiscovered for centuries, Beng Mealea has only recently been made accessible and remains as it was found with no restoration work having been done. It is one of the very few temples that actually give you the opportunity to climb and crawl through it. After your adventurous exploration, enjoy a delicious packed lunch at the temple site.

From here, travel to the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srey, which is best viewed in the warm morning light. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs, depicting Hindu god Shiva. Banteay Srey is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.

On the way back, you will have the possibility to stop at local communities along the way and your guide will help you to interact with the local population to learn about the way of life here. Seize the opportunity to see how rice paper is produced and to taste Palm Wine and Palm Sugar, which are a popular local produce. Enjoy a rural sunset over the paddy fields and the beautiful countryside from the pyramidal Pre Rup temple.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 10: Siem Reap – Battambang (B)

Today, you will embark on one of the most stunning private boat trips in Cambodia, as you will be taken

from Siem Reap to Battambang by a comfortable wooden boat. (NOTE: This boat trip is only possible in the rainy season from September to December. During the dry season, the level of water very low so transfer times extremely long. From January to August alternative transfer by road and packed lunch is recommend for this trip).

The largest freshwater lake in Asia, Tonlé Sap Lake, is an exceptional water system as it is swelling to almost five times its size during the raining season. The water of its main drainage, Tonlé Sap River, is being pushed back from the Mekong, carrying an incredible amount of water from the rains, causing the river to reverse its direction and thus causing the lake to overflow, flooding nearby fields and forests and supporting an extraordinarily rich and diverse eco-system. The particular water system requires the people living of the lake to adapt their living conditions. You will see many villages on the way where people live on stilted or floating houses.

Arrive in Battambang in the early afternoon. This is Cambodia’s second largest city and, not so long ago, was within target range of a stronghold of the erstwhile Khmer Rouge and was therefore off-limits to most travelers.

However, like the remainder of this beautiful gentle country, Battambang has recently re-opened to the outside world. One fortuitous result of its isolation and lack of development is that Battambang has some of the most well preserved colonial French buildings in the country. You will find local people here to be extremely friendly. They have not been exposed to many foreign visitors and they will be as interested in you as you are in them! Battambang was formerly the rice bowl of Cambodia although these days the production of rice is augmented by large orange and jute plantations.

In Battambang, you check into your hotel. The afternoon will be at leisure to relax by the hotel pool or stroll through the charming town centre.

Overnight in Battambang.

Day 11: Battambang (B)

Battambang’s countryside is what makes this pleasant river town a real treat. The town is situated along the Sangker River, a quiet and small body of water that finds its way through Battambang Province.

Then you will be taken to some of the many cultural villages around Battambang, where you will learn how the locals produce rice paper, prahoc (typical Cambodian fish paste), grolan (sticky rice stuffed in bamboo), and other Cambodian treats. You will also visit a weaving and handicraft centre.

After that your guide will lead you through local villages and farms on the way to Wat Banan, an 11-century temple on a mountain top situated between lush paddy fields and beautiful lotus ponds. Climb to the top and enjoy the views over the beautiful countryside and wander around the ancient temple, which is also home to finely scented flowering trees.

In the afternoon, you will head towards Phnom Sampeau, meaning “Ship Hill” in Khmer, due to its distinctive shape, and one of the few hills standing out in this otherwise pancake-flat plain. From the small temple on the top, you will have a fantastic view over the typical landscape of paddy fields and sugar palm trees. Phnom Sampeau is home to the notorious killing caves and bird cave, which are cruel reminders of Cambodia’s troubled past. Serenity and inhumanity represented in one place make this an interesting visit.

Overnight in Battambang.

Day 12: Battambang – Kampong Chhnang – Oudong – Phnom Penh (B,L)

Then, one of the highlights and a unique experience: A fun ride on the famous Bamboo Train, an original means of transportation on the old train tracks. A true rollercoaster ride without loops!

Depart from Battambang in the morning and travel to Kampong Chhnang, known for its traditional pottery, with many kilns at work in this province. In a village near Kampong Chhnang, to see the different aspects of pottery making and also experience the production of traditional rice wine.

Continue to Oudong, the former royal capital of Cambodia. The drive passes through many rural villages and pagodas, and you will the temple mountain with its dozens of stupas from afar. Upon arrival at Oudong, enjoy a traditional Khmer lunch at a picnic hut on the foot of the hill.

Then, climb the stairs to the top of Oudong Mountain and enjoy magnificent views over the plains below. Your guide will explain the history of the area and its buildings as well as the religious culture of the Cambodian people. Take your time to soak in the magnificent views over the plains below.

On the way to Phnom Penh, visit Koh Chen, an island in the Tonlé Sap River that you can reach via a new bridge. Koh Chen is known as the ‘Silver Village’ for its production of silver crafts and jewellery. Stroll through the village to see the many silver workshops in the local families’ houses.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Day 13: Phnom Penh – Departure (B)

Enjoy today at leisure until it is time for your transfer to Phnom Penh International Airport for your individual departure.

Rates: 01.10.2015 – 15.04.2016

Price per person in USD (private tour) 2 persons in double room 1 person in single room(single traveller) Single room supplement
Hotel Category Standard 1.682 3.029 287
Hotel Category Superior 1.861 3.359 439
Hotel Category First Class 2.119 3.875 697
Note: During certain dates seasonal surcharges may apply, especially during Christmas and New Year. Please inquire with us to find out whether this applies for your tour.

Rates: 16.04.2016 – 30.09.2016

Price per person in USD (private tour) 2 persons in double room 1 person in single room(single traveller) Single room supplement
Hotel Category Standard 1.663 2.989 280
Hotel Category Superior 1.835 3.306 413
Hotel Category First Class 2.040 3.716 618
Note: During certain dates seasonal surcharges may apply, especially during Christmas and New Year. Please inquire with us to find out whether this applies for your tour.

Surcharges for the option tours

Price per person in USD (private tour) 2 persons 1 person (single traveller)
Lunch on Day 6 13 13

Would you like to book this tour or request changes to the itinerary?

Please fill out our form for tailor-made changes to an itinerary here.

For rates for 3 or more travellers in one booking, please inquire with our team.

Services included in our rates:
accommodation incl. breakfast (B)
• other meals as detailed in the itinerary (L=lunch, D=dinner)
• local specialized tour guide (English-speaking, other languages available on request)
• all transfers
• boat tours and air-conditioned car/van transportation as detailed in the itinerary
• sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary inc. entrance fees
• one high-quality guidebook per room
Services NOT included in our rates:
• international flights from and to your country of origin
• travel insurance
• meals other than those explicitly mentioned, drinks, tips and personal expenses
• visa fees
Travel dates [&] minimum no. of travellers:
• any day departure
• no minimum number of travellers
• this tour is a private tour and you will not be travelling with people other than those you booked with
As this is a private tour, you can depart on the day of your choosing and alter the daily sightseeing program to suit your interests. Inquire with our team to extend this tour or to combine it with our other programmes

Our Selection of Hotels for You

Hotel Category Standard:
Phnom Penh: Double Leaf Boutique Hotel *** (Superior)
Kratie: Le Tonle Guesthouse * (Standard)
Koh Trong: Rajabori Villas Resort **(*) (Deluxe-Fan)
Kampong Thom: Sambor Village Hotel **(*) (Deluxe)
Siem Reap: Claremont Angkor Boutique Hotel *** (Superior)
Battambang: Deluxe Villa Hotel *** (Superior)
Hotel Category Superior:
Phnom Penh: Villa Langka *** (Superior)
Kratie: Le Tonle Guesthouse * (Standard)
Koh Trong: Rajabori Villas Resort **(*) (Deluxe-Fan)
Kampong Thom: Sambor Village Hotel **(*) (Deluxe)
Siem Reap: Pavillon D’Orient Boutique Hotel ***(*) (Deluxe)
Battambang: Battambang Resort *** (Garden)
Hotel Category First Class:
Phnom Penh: White Mansion Boutique Hotel **** (Deluxe)
Kratie: Le Tonle Guesthouse * (Standard)
Koh Trong: Rajabori Villas Resort **(*) (Deluxe-Fan)
Kampong Thom: Sambor Village Hotel **(*) (Deluxe)
Siem Reap: Angkor Village Hotel **** (Garden View)
Battambang: Battambang Resort *** (Standard)

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