If you must do Cambodia in just one week, as we recommend you enjoy the wonderful Kingdom of Cambodia for a longer period of time, we want to be sure that you get the most out of that time whilst still embracing the laid back “Khmer” culture. In order to see what you “must” see and still have time to experience it all, we recommend the following:
Early Afternoon Arrival:
Arrive in Siem Reap and get checked into your guest house. In the afternoon, you may go and buy your ticket to Angkor Wat and enjoy the Sunset over Angkor from Phnom Bakheng. If you arrive before 4 pm this will count as one of your days at Angkor, and if you arrive after 4 pm it will be included in the ticket you purchase and will not count as one of your “official days” on your 1. 3 or 7 day pass! We highly suggest spending at least 2 days at Angkor Archaeological Park and you can still have an incredible trip through Cambodia spending this amount of time. The sunset is remarkable and is an enjoyable short hike to reach the point where you watch from.
Morning: Head to Angkor Wat very early in the morning and enjoy the Sunrise over Angkor Wat. This is one of the most incredible sites to see in the World. After this you will travel around the “small” route of temples that include the South Gate and the famous Ta Prohm temple that was featured in Tomb Raiding, starring Angelina Jolie! The South Gate is where you can see the many Buddha Faces of the Bayon, the Elephant Terraces and the Leper King Terraces. This will be a fulfilling morning and the guide or tuk-tuk driver will be sure that you get to the right place, so all you need to do is sit back, enjoy and be ready with your camera because the charm of Khmer life will happen throughout the 400+ sq/km area that is Angkor Archaeological Park.
Afternoon: Grab lunch at the South Gate or from a street food stall and head out to the Roluos Group Temples. This is a fabulous site and allows you to enjoy temples without all of the tourists as well as affords you the opportunity to interact with a genuine and unique orphanage in the Siem Reap Area. Since ensuring that the NGO you contribute to is of the utmost service to the children is probably of great importance, we will bring you to Little Angles and allow you to enjoy just that. The children there do leather working to create immaculate pieces of work that showcase intricate elephants, apsara dancers and warriors as well. Prices are fair and the children are not only learning a trade, they are learning to interact as your purchase will be done directly with the child who crafted your masterpiece. They provide options that are keychains all the way up to pieces that would fill a 40″x40″ frame. In this potion of your tour you have the opportunity to see rarely seen temples that have great history and wonderful children, about 70 of them, who are under the care of one heart felt and committed man.
Morning: Up and at ’em early again so that you can go and enjoy the “large” loop that allows you to see the various temples from the progression of the Khmer Empire and other structures such as the Buddhist University. Allow the symetry and precision that went into these temples wow you for at least this one more day! During this part of the temple tour, you will encounter local Khmer people selling “temple rubbings.” These are a beautiful gift to take home for yourself and your loved ones. You will find a large selection of fine paper that has been painted a solid color and then rubbed with a gold “pastel” type medium. This leaves your favorite temple details of Apsara Dancers, Battle Scenes and the like, on a gorgeous piece of paper for you to take home. This really is a stunning gift and is a classy keep sake that is perfect for any urbane home setting!
Afternoon: Take a drive out to see the beautiful Banteay Srei and enjoy the red clay color of this magical temple. With a style that is all its own, it is most certainly a treat to see and a beautiful ride to enjoy heading out there! This part is not required as you may be tired but if you want to fully understand the extensiveness of the Khmer Kingdom of Angkor, please do journey out. If you make it out this far, you can also continue to the Temple that was made in the bed of a river that still stands with the water running over it,Kabal Spean.
Evening: Enjoy the Night Market and Pub Street before you bus ride in the morning to Phnom Penh
Morning: Transport to Phnom Penh. Takes approximately Six Hours
Afternoon: Upon Arriving in Phnom Penh visit the National Museum of Cambodia and take a peek into the entire culture and history of this fabulous country. Enjoy seeing history as it progressed before the Khmer Rouge and how the Empire that Cambodia once was had them developing quickly and preparing their country to reach levels of sophistication at an early point in history that could rival Western forces.
Evening: Enjoy a Dinner on the River Front in one of the many restaurant choices!
Morning: This day is going to be a busy one. First thing in the morning you will go and see the incredible Palace of the King. From here you will venture to S-21 and the Killing Fields to have a classy experience that allows you to take in what really happened during the terror of the Pol Pot regime. Understand what the people of Cambodia endured and be amazed at the kindness that still resides in their hearts after such an atrocity. The information, demonstration and presentation of these two sites in moving and done with the utmost taste as to not offend those with a “weak” stomach.
Afternoon: Enjoy a Khmer Cooking class so that you may make delicious Amok when you return home and wow your company with the rich aromas of Lemon Grass and Kafir Lime! If this is a bit much for you, you can always enjoy some cold Angkor Beer on the River Front or explore the beauty of the city that is most simple explained as charming. Filled with beautifully landscaped parks that host important monuments, this sleepy capital is quite impressive! The central market will allow you to do plenty of shopping and obtain many of the items that you can in Bangkok for a much smaller price. Movies, TV series and Software as well as luggage and clothing are popular here in addition to electronics in general!
Evening: Either enjoy the town or head South to Sihanoukville, North East to Kratie or Northwest to Battambang. All of these locations can be transferred to in the evening or on overnight routes and we recommend moving on so that you can enjoy at least one more Cambodia Location!
Important Choices to Consider:
Before entering into the planning of Days 6 and 7, we have two things to consider. As the rest of this itinerary continues, we will include three options because it will depend on what you are doing after your week in Cambodia and the means of transportation that your budget allows. Flights out of Sihanoukville are a bit difficult to get and if you are needing to make it back to Bangkok, being as far away as the Coast of Cambodia may not be your best choice and you probably already have or will be enjoying the beaches there!
Option 1: Head South to the gorgeous coastal town of Cambodia, Sihanoukville. The main beach is Serendipity and you can find at all here! From high end accommodations to back packer hostels, the choices are abundant and there are many foreign owned restaurants that allow for the same variety in food when it comes to price and type of cuisine. From Mexican to Sushi and even Indian, the food in this area is good and the cocktails are flowing. Of course, you can enjoy the best Pizza in Cambodia at the Ecstatic Restaurant location in Sihanoukville!
Option 2: Travel towards the border of Thailand and take a 6 hour trip to Battambang. In Battambang you will be able to enjoy a quiet and quaint river town that will entice you and invite you to stay for longer. Wonderful cafes line the streets and parks, temples and pagodas are abundant! Seeing many monks roam around is a normal thing and there are temples there as well that compare with the likes of Angkor! Enjoy the famous Bamboo Train that takes you on a fun and freeing ride through the rice paddy fields on what was once the railway of Cambodia. Children will greet you on arrival and show you a few things, we don’t want to tell you and ruin the surprise but these children are sweet and ready to give you a tour for the bold price of about $2!
Option 3: Take a ride up to Kratie and enjoy the famous Mekong River Dolphins. Also known as the Irrawaddy River Dolphins, this type of dolphin has a much different appearance from the dolphin we are use to seeing in the ocean and this portion of the Mekong in Kratie is home to one of the densest populations left in the world. The nice thing is that you will arrive in Kratie in the evening or quite early in the morning if you go that route and dolphin sightings are almost a guarantee. There are nearly 70-80 in this part of the Mekong and they peek their heads out for air often. Though shy, they do stay in this one region of the Mekong for the most part and will emerge from the water quite close to the boat at times!
If you chose the first Option, keep on enjoying Sihanoukville and choose your onward transport depending on where you are going? Ready for something different, allow us to help you go on a trip to Phu Quoc Island and enjoy Vietnam’s finest! You can even do this sans a Visa if you do it with a tour group! If you do not need to leave early, enjoy more of the beach life and head over to Otres beach where the scene is a bit more tranquil and seeing a heard of cows walking the beach is common place!
If you chose Option 2, enjoy the culture of Battambang a bit more before you head back to Thailand, as this choice is optimal for those who must get to the Thai border to continue their trip. It is a mere 2-3 hours away from Battambang and then a short bus or train ride away from Bangkok!
If you chose Option 3, Kratie and Siem Reap are pretty close together and you can head to Siem Reap to take transportation back to Bangkok or fly out. Also you can transport up the Mekong to the Four Thousand Island area of Laos. Siem Reap connects to Kuala Lumpur for good rates via Air Asia! Also, from Kratie you can get to Phnom Penh in a matter of 3-4 hours and can fly from Phnom Penh to many places as well!
***Please remember that we can adjust this itinerary for you and build a custom one. If you need help lining up the transportation and accommodations, we can do this or you can book the entire tour right here and not have to think about anything besides getting up in time for your alarm and enjoying the Khmer culture!***
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