Angkor Wat at sunrise, Cambodia
Riddle of the Temples
Go off the beaten track on this 16 day trip to Cambodia, full of rarely visited places, meetings with rural villagers, tucking into home cooked meals, and taking in out of this world scenery. You'll explore the incredible ruins and temples of Angkor and visit the remote Kulen Prontep Wildlife Sanctuary where you'll embark upon wildlife treks through the jungle, and stay in a unique ecotourism community. Cross the expansive Tonlé Sap Lake to Battambang where you'll discover the city's art scene and meet local monks, and take a ride on the famous Bamboo train. Soak up the culture of Phnom Penh and learn about the country's tragic history at the Tuol Seng Museum, before heading for some island paradise in Koh Rong on Cambodia's Coast.
The Riddle of the Temples trip is perfect for those of you who love going beyond the tourist trail and immersing yourself in culture, history and wildlife.
Chill out on the idyllic island of Koh Rong on Cambodia's coast
Experience Cambodian life by travelling by ox cart, eating some home-cooked meals made by locals and take part in special buddhist traditions
Explore two different wildlife sanctuaries with overnight stays in eco-lodges
See a different side of the famous Angkor Wat complex and visit lesser-known temples
This exciting trip to Cambodia includes international flights, a private car and driver, excursions, accommodation, breakfasts and some lunches and dinners.
From the first conversation until you arrive home from your holiday, you’ll be looked after by one of our Travel Designers who has travelled extensively in the region and will give advice from their personal experience on how to make the most out of your trip. All of our trips are entirely bespoke and we will continually refine your itinerary until it’s perfect.
The day for your Cambodian adventure is here at last! Once you fly into Siem Reap you’ll meet your guide and be transferred to your hotel. Your next few days will be spent exploring the legendary temples of Angkor.
On the first day, you’ll watch the sunrise from a temple overlooking the Angkorian plains, before exploring the Tomb Raider temple, Ta Prohm, which has been left largely as it was in the 12th century. After your temple tour, you'll sip cocktails on a gondola paddle boat as it cruises through the moat of the ancient city of Angkor Thom.
The next day you’ll view ancient art at the pretty temple of Banteay Srei, also known as 'the Citadel of Women'. You'll continue onto a non-profit silk farm which is helping to revive the ancient Khmer craft and employs local residents. You'll then explore the traditional village of Ta Brak by ox cart, passing the local market and meeting locals. You can lend a hand and help out with rice planting and vegetable harvesting for a truly authentic experience. You’ll finish your time in Siem Reap with a Buddhist blessing ceremony, sure to be a highlight of your time here.
Places to Stay
Things to do
Today you’re off to Preah Vihear province, stopping on the way to visit the Trapaeng Prasat Temple and take in the stunning mountain views. Once you’ve checked into your hotel you’ll make your way by pick-up truck up the steep mountain tracks to the UNESCO listed Preah Vihear Temple where you’ll enjoy striking views over the Cambodian jungle.
Places to Stay
Today the pace slows as you take in the beauty of rural Cambodia and its wildlife. You'll be picked up by your wildlife guide and will transfer to the ecotourism lodge at Tmatboey, an isolated village in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in the Northern Plains of Cambodia. Established by the Ministry of Environment and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Cambodia Program, Tmatboey is renowned for its conservation of Cambodia's national bird, The Giant Ibis, one of the world’s most endangered bird species. With less than 150 left in the world, this is one of the most important habitats for the birds.
Spend the afternoon and evening on wildlife and birding treks around the village, looking for the the Giant and White Shouldered Ibis species, as well as spotting plenty of other varieties of birds. Your dinner will be homemade by the community in the open 'restaurant' before sleeping in simple ensuite lodge rooms.
Please note that due to the remoteness of the location, accommodation tonight is basic but clean, comfortable and secure. The rooms at the Tmatboey ecolodge offer ensuite bathrooms with hot water, mosquito nets and fans.
Morning is the best time to spot wildlife, so set your alarm as you’ll be off on a walk at 5.30am. If you're not an early bird, you can opt instead for the excellent hide on site where you can watch a wide variety of forest birds and small mammals.
Afterwards you’ll make your way to another ecolodge, this time at Prey Veng Village. You’ll be greeted with a delicious home cooked Khmer lunch before going on a wildlife trek around the huge 'Hermits House' 10th century temple, rich in bird and butterfly species, and the 12th century Baray, which supplies both the community and wildlife in the area. In the evening you'll take a walk to see the mighty two metre tall Sarus Cranes, rare Giant Ibis, and plenty of other birds and critters.
Your local guide will provide an insight into community life at the Sanctuary – checking fishing traps, learning about rubber tapping or rice production. You can also take boats onto the Baray, cycle through the forest or visit nearby villages. Depending on the time of year, you can also get stuck in with community activities such as rice harvesting or planting. As the sun goes down, watch over the Baray as buffalo come in for evening feeding before tucking into another home cooked meal or BBQ.
Please note that due to the remote location, the ecolodge accommodation is basic but clean, comfortable and secure. Each of the twin rooms offers an en-suite bathroom with hot water, mosquito nets and fans.
After another early morning nature walk around the Baray and breakfast at the lodge, you’ll swing by Koh Ker, a unique ancient pyramidal temple dating from 931AD. Reminiscent of the structures built by the Central American Mayans, this was once the capital of the Khmer Empire away from the Angkor complex and was built to worship Treypuvanesvara, the god of happiness. Explore the forest and outlying temples before heading to the main temple, Prasat Thom. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant in front of the temple complex. Later tonight, head to 'Ship Hill' where you'll witness millions of bats pouring out of the cave at dusk - a spectacular show of nature!
You’ll head towards toward Siem Reap via the beautiful Beng Melea temple, built to the same floor plan as Angkor Wat. You'll have the evening in Siem Reap to explore any sights you missed the first time round.
Places to Stay
This morning you'll board a private boat that will take you on a fascinating journey across Tonlé Sap Lake to Battambang. Cruising along the vast freshwater lake, you'll pass floating stilt houses and flooded forests, and will enjoy a tasty lunch on board. In the afternoon you'll explore cultural villages and learn how locals produce rice paper, fish paste and other Khmer specialities. In the evening a special visit awaits you at Phare Ponleu Selpak, a non-profit organisation which promotes performing arts as a way to cope with trauma. Over the years Phare has played an influential role in promoting and developing Khmer culture and a visit to one of their circus shows is not to be missed. Afterwards you'll dine at a stylish social enterprise restaurant established to provide training and employment for disadvantaged youths.
The following morning, you'll head out on a walking, boat and cycling tour to experience daily life in Battambang. Along the way you'll meet with monks and learn about the city's design and architectural heritage. After a break back at your hotel you'll head to the Bamboo Train, set up by villagers to transport goods and people. This basic train consists of a bamboo platform on 4-wheels activated by a small motor. You’ll travel the 8km to the next station through a beautiful landscape and rice paddies.
Places to Stay
It’s time to visit the capital! On the way to Phnom Penh you’ll visit a traditional pottery village, Kamong Chhnang, climb the stairs to the top of Oudong Mountain and enjoy a picnic in the foothills, and explore a Buddhist meditation centre.
During your time in the capital you will see all the main sights by cyclo, a traditional and fun way to explore the buzzing city. You'll also visit Wat Phnom, the Royal Palace and the National Museum. After a delicious Khmer lunch you’ll visit the non-profit Champey Academy of Arts which offers free training in Cambodian traditional arts such as dance and music to the city's youths. You'll continue on to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school used by the Khmer Rouge as its main detention centre.
You’ll finish up your day with a delicious dinner at the renowned Foreign Correspondents Club on the riverside.
Places to Stay
Things to do
The Cambodian Coast
After your two week adventure of Cambodia's undiscovered sights, it’s time to chill on the beach! You’ll head to the island of Koh Rong for your last few days in Cambodia. Flop down on the sugar white sands, explore the village or sip a cool beer and gaze out to sea.
Finally you’ll head home, relaxed and full of fantastic Cambodian memories.
Map of your trip
Things to do on this trip
Here are some of the fun and exciting things you'll do on your trip to Cambodia. Call us now to learn more: 01483 319 333