A close-up of Cambodia
Close-up of Cambodia is a 14-days tour that will make you discover the hidden charm of this country, through the most attractive sights.Read more
Close-up of Cambodia is a 14-days tour that will make you discover the hidden charm of this country, through the most attractive sights.
Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia, it is a big city with interesting monuments to admire, and moreover it is rich in interesting tourist sites. The city is developed on the banks of two rivers. Then, the tour allows to explore the gentle Mondulkiri hills, house of many ethnics’ minorities in Cambodia.
After having visited the capital, the tour will continue along Mekong River, up to the colonial city of Kratie, where it is possible to stay in a characteristic guesthouse on an island of the river and look for the rare Irrawaddy dolphins.
Afterward, the itinerary will go on to Siem Reap, cradle of the extraordinary Angkor temples. Then, transfer to Battambang to discover this colonial historical city and the fertile lands to the Northeast, where the lifestyle appears to be stopped in the past.
Arrival in Phnom Penh, the city has conserved its Khmer traditions and colonial charm. French villas along the boulevards remember to the visitors that it was considered “The Pearl of Asia”.
Some recent political changes have triggered an economic boom, which caused the creation of new hotels, restaurants, bars and discos that now are located in every corner of the city.
Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Visit to the Royal Palace, a compound built in 1866 by the Predecessors of King Norodom: it's the most conspicuous feature and also one of impressive colourful Khmer-style Palaces. Near the Royal Palace is Silver Pagoda (The Emerald Buddha temple), displaying plenty of Buddha Statues that were decorated and made of diamond, emerald, gold and silver. Continuing visit to National Museum, the distinctive red building with a beautiful Khmer architecture, built in 1917 and containing more than 5,000 art objects made of sandstone, bronze, silver, copper and wood. Afterwards, the tour will proceed to visit Independence Monument, which was constructed in 1954 after the Cambodians took their country back from the French.
The afternoon will be dedicated to the visit of Tuol Sleng prison (Genocide Museum) that was the most secret organ of the Khmer Rouge regime. Finally, shopping at the Toul Tom Pong Market, the Russian Market in Cambodia.
Lunch at "Le Lotus Blanc" restaurant.
Cycle tour in the evening in order to visit the city. This relaxing tour will let us to discover a different prospective of this city, streets and monuments. Starting from Wat Phnom, the symbol of Phnom Penh, we will go until the National Library and Le Royal Hotel, passing through the French railway station before reaching Psar Thmei and the charming riverfront.
During the cruise at the sunset on the Mekong and Tonle Sap River (1 hour) it will be possible to take amazing and picturesque pictures. The city of Phnom Penh provides a perfect location to discover the majestic Mekong on board of a well-restored wooden boat during an entire day, in order to enjoy the uncontaminated landscapes along the river and the view of the traditional villages with their ancient pagodas on the islands.
Overnight in Phnom Penh.
After breakfast we will leave Kampong Cham and visit the beautiful and wild province of Mondulkiri. On the national road 7 and 76 (220 km), it is possible to admire the natural beauty of the landscape, characterized by forests, mountains, lush hills and thick vegetation.
Arrival in Sen Monorom, the capital city of Mondulkiri’s province in the afternoon (around 1.00 / 2.00 p.m.).
After being accommodated in the hotel, rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Sen Monorom.
After breakfast, we will discover this wild region and admire its several waterfalls through trekking tours and elephants’ safaris. We will pass through hills and jungle to meet Phnong, a minority’s ethnic group. We will walk for 1 hour before arriving at Phnong’s village and discover their traditions, including their methods to cultivate rise in dry ground and their way to weave.
Lunch close to the waterfalls, surrounded by the jungle.
Overnight in Mondulkiri.
Departing to discover the Bou Sra waterfall, 38 km from the city. Here, it is possible to relax and swim. Once we are going back, we will stop to visit the plantations of coffee and orchids.
After lunch, back to the city and visit to the Phnong’s village. Then, visit to the Lung Pu’s village (7 km to the North of Sen Monorom). Here, elephants’ safaris are organized in order to discover the forest. After this interesting tour, we will transfer to the Sea Forest where it is possible to admire the wide sweep of trees and enjoy the beautiful sunset (weather permitting).
Afterwards, travel to Kratie, a little province’s town that boasts beautiful examples of colonial architecture. This small town on Mekong is characterized by relaxing and peaceful atmosphere. Finally, we will get the ferry to reach Koh Trong Island, a tiny island in the middle of the river, facing Kratie.
Overnight in Koh Trong.
We will start our tour through the North; we will enjoy a easy bike tour on the island in order to discover the local community. Here, it is possible to admire several traditional Khmer houses built over pilings and observe the decoration on these typical roofs. The numbers carved on the roof indicate the year in which the house was built. The streets are perfect for biking, they are very overshadowed and allow passing near the houses without violating the owners’ privacy. This allows you to deeper analyse the life of the local people. Even if some inhabitants are shy, many children and adults will offer you friendly smiles and a “hello” to welcome you.
Then, we will move to Kampi, starting with a trip on a traditional fishermen’s boat. The cruise will last one hour, before visiting the dolphins’ pool of Kampi. It is the biggest natural pool on Mekong, where it is possible to admire beautiful Irrawaddy dolphins, which are endangered. Stop to the old Wat Rokakandal temple, built during the late 18th century. Handcrafted clothes and wicker’s objects are sold inside the restored Vihear.
Pay attention to the typical decorations on the internal wooden columns, the ancient wooden house of monks and the old stoned sculpture next to the Wat River.
Home-stay in Koh Trong.
We will leave Koh Trong in order to reach Kompong Thom. During the travel, we will stop in Chhlong village to admire one of the most ancient wooden houses in Cambodia.
Arrival in Kompong Cham and visit Wat Nokor, also called Nokor Bachey Pagoda, dating back to the 11th century. It is a Mahayana Buddhist Sanctuary built with sandstone and laterite, which hosts a big, reclined Buddha and several recesses enclosing Buddha’s pictures.
Visit to the modern sanctuary of Wat Andri, a flourishing monastery, reachable by 980 steps by the holy mountain of Phnom Santuk. It boasts an amazing view over the surrounded country.
Overnight in Kompong Thom.
The tour continues to Siem Reap. The route allows discovering the Cambodian daily life, because we will pass through villages, hamlets and beautiful landscapes. During the travel, it will be often necessary to slow down due to cows and water buffalos that cross the road. Stop to visit the archaeological site of Sambor Prei Kuk, which is studded by hundred pre-Angkor temples. The site, part of Chenla Kingdom, includes around 1,000 hectares and it is enclosed in double walls and hundred temples and towers. It was built many years before the construction of Angkor Wat. During the tour, it would be possible to take a break in Kompong Kdei and admire Pratos Spean, an ancient Angkor bridge.
Before arriving in Siem Reap, we will explore Kompong Khleang, a large floating village near Siem Reap. It is yet unknown to massive tourism. During the dry season, from January to July, it is possible to stroll over the houses’ piles, high 10 m. During the rainy season, when the lake is full, the water floods the houses for one or two meters. A local family will bring you around by boat in order to discover the beauty of these houses.
Once arrived in Siem Reap, check-in in hotel and rest of the night at leisure.
Departing for an amazing travel, during which it will be possible to admire the unexplored beauty of Northern and lush mountain region. Phnom Kulen is a holy mountain in Cambodia, a very popular pilgrim site and a perfect destination for picnic for local families. Only few tourists visit this wonderful place, making this destination really unique. It is 1,30 hour from Siem Reap.
During the travel it is possible to admire local villages, agricultural lands, rice fields and temples, then through the jungle we will reach the top of the mountain. Here, it is possible to discover Preah Ang Thom, a Buddhism monastery, dating back to the 16th century. It is famous for its big stretched Buddha carved in a 20 meters-long rock. We will go up a wooden stair surrounding the Buddha, where usually monks and believers pray and make offers as fruits or incense. The valley also provides beautiful waterfalls on more levels. These waters boast a particular religious meaning for Hinduism due to several phallic images carved in the sandstones. Here, it is possible to walk into the river and take pictures of the sculptures and the under watered incisions. The river flows for 4 meters, hosts a 20 meters-high waterfall and finally creates a natural pool.
In the afternoon, visit to Banteay Srei: one of the main popular tourist sites. The particular charm of the temple is its compact dimension, its conservation and its decorative structures. Banteay Samre boasts pink sandstone walls decorated with extraordinary sculptures and bas-reliefs.
Enjoy one hour feet-massage and then stroll the street look for pub where taste some drinks or go to shop at Angkor Night Market.
By motorbike or on board of a Tuk Tuk, we will visit the sites belonging to the World Heritage Sites.
Ride among the jungle passing local village and local shop. It’s a very special and acting day as you will explore some of Angkor’s most beautiful temples. You will visit the West Gate of Angkor Thom. Afterwards, we will visit the ancient capital of Angkor Thom, dating back to the 12th century, the South Gate, Bayon Temple, unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara, Baphuon temple lying just to the north of Bayon a pyramidal representation of mythical Mont Meru, the Royal Enclosure and finally the Elephant terrace and the Leper King Terrace.
We will visit Kilt, that is the only project in Siem Reap that seeks to afford disabled Khmers who are in most instances landmine victims opportunities to become independent by their own efforts by making jewellery, growing organic vegetables, hand milling rice, playing music, and other activities.
We continue to the famous temple: Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is a World Heritage Site since 1992, famous for its beauty and splendour. Angkor Wat features the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the outer gallery walls and narrates stories from Hindu mythology. Enjoy a drink at the sunset and a cruise through the Angkor Thom’s trench in order to admire the hidden particulars belonging to the ancient hydraulic system of Khmer.
Dinner and Apsara dance show at a local restaurant.
For those who love to discover the cultural sites, it is important to note that no visit in Cambodia is perfect without enjoying a traditional Khmer dance show, often called “Apsara Dance”. Khmer traditional dance is better described as “theatre-dance” because the dance’s aim is to communicate a message.
We will travel to the West in order to reach Beng Melea. Peuong Komnu is located at the foot of the cliff, south to Phnom Kulen, and 40 km to the east of Angkor, on the road for the amazing Preah Khan. It is the starting point of the channel that brings to the big lake, “Tonle Sap Lake”. It was probably used in the past in order to transport sandstones’ blocks from the caves to the valleys used to build Angkor’s monuments.
Our trekking starts from the bamboo forest, in Peuong Komnu village, to the south it is possible to admire several Angkor’s reliefs precious for their quality and conservation’s state. During this visit, it is possible to discover the touristic sites in Angkor.
We will come back to Siem Reap in the afternoon, during the route stop to Beng Mealea, an unique temple dating back to the 11th century, might rival to Angkor Wat for the dimensions. The main temple is located over 108 hectares and is surrounded by a trench which is 45 meters wide. Even if it belongs to the same year of Angkor’s temples, its decorations have a very different in style. The jungle sorrounding it gives it a sense of mystery.
Transfer to Battambang by car (180 km – around 3 hours), the second city in Cambodia and elegant city with a colonial architecture.
Visit to the traditional house in Phum Wat Kor. Here, it is possible to enjoy a funny travel on board of a “Bamboo Train”, a little railcar built with wood and bamboo that moves thanks to an internal combustion engine that allows reaching 40 km/h.
Bamboo Train is used by farmers to deliver the goods from the countryside to Battambang’s market.
Overnight in Battambang.
Departing to Phnom Penh (290 km – around 5 hours).
During the route it is possible to admire amazing rural landscapes, characterized by rice fields, coco palms and stilt houses. Stop in Pursat, famous for its marble sculptures, the colonial architecture and the floating market. Then, we will move to Udong, capital city of Cambodia from the 17th to the 19th century and visit to some Buddhism pagodas located on the two hills of the city.
Arrival in Phnom Penh and accommodation in the hotel.
Overnight at the hotel.
The tour is ended, thank you for the participation and see you next time in Cambodia!
Note: prices indicated are based on a group of 10 people. If people arrive in different airports an additional charge on trasportation will be added.Price does not include