- See the very best that Cambodia has to offer in just under a week as you traverse the country with a small group of up to 11 new friends.
- This is a Comfort style trip, which means slightly higher standard hotels and a few more inclusions and meals than on most Original style itineraries. We also fly between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to make the most of our time together.
- Discover a land of contrasts and turbulent history, nowhere more visible than in Phnom Penh. Visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) as well as the opulent Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.
- Kick things off with dinner at Friends the Restaurant in Phnom Penh and combine an excellent local cause with a memorable dining experience.
- Conclude your time in Cambodia by exploring the amazing Angkor archaeological complex in depth. You'll have a 3 day pass so as well as our guided tours you can return on your own to further immerse yourself in the beauty and mystery.
Combining the magnificence of the Khmer Empire with lively Phnom Penh, this introduction to Cambodia is the perfect way to get acquainted with this captivating nation. Witness the grandeur of ancient Angkor Wat, see the enigmatic faces of the Bayon, confront the tragedy of the recent past and delight in the hopes for the future on this classic Cambodian adventure.
Day 1: Phnom Penh
Sua s'dei! Welcome to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. You'll be met on arrival at Phnom Penh airport and transferred to your hotel. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm tonight - check with hotel reception for more information and have your insurance details and next of kin information ready for collection. Enjoy dinner with your fellow travellers afterwards at the excellent Friends the Restaurant, a Phnom Penh institution (and noble social enterprise). If you arrive early today and have some free time, why not stop in at the art deco-designed Psar Thmei (Central Market), a great place for browsing. Or stroll along the atmospheric Sisowath Quay and grab a coffee or cocktail at one of the many cafes while watching the busy river traffic.
Day 2: Phnom Penh
Today a full city tour introduces you to the sights of Phnom Penh, a city that lies near the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. The private quarters of the Royal Palace are home to King Sihamoni and are closed to the public. You will, however, be able to visit the Silver Pagoda that lies in the palace complex, which is the most sacred temple in the country. Phnom Penh remains a living relic of the country’s past struggles and successes. Your included visits to the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek tell the story of the tragic legacy of the Khmer Rouge. Tuol Sleng is a former school that served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre, and it’s estimated that more than 20,000 people were held and tortured here. The Choeung Ek Memorial is home to stupa made up of some 8,000 human skulls, marking the site of the infamous Killing Fields. This was the execution ground for the torture victims of Tuol Sleng, and standing in this peaceful setting it's almost unthinkable to imagine that to date nearly 9,000 corpses have been exhumed from the area. There is an optional visit to Wat Phnom, the temple that gave rise to the foundation of the city in the 15th century. An ideal way to spend your second evening here is to relax in a cafe by the riverfront.
Day 3: Siem Reap
Take a short flight to Siem Reap (approximately 1 hour). The small but expanding town of Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor. This is the most popular destination for travellers in all of Cambodia, perhaps even in all South East Asia. A visit to the market is a must, even if you're not looking for souvenirs; wandering through the stalls and surrounding shops the silks, cottons, sarongs, silver and statues are a riot of colour and a feast for the eyes; and there will be one for stomach too if you try some of the cheap, delicious street food. Indulge at a local restaurant, perhaps with a meal of amok, curry steam-cooked in banana leaves.
Day 4: Siem Reap/Angkor Wat
Spend a full day visiting the amazing temples of Angkor on a guided exploration. Angkor Wat is the largest and most complete structure, and the only one of Angkor's temples that has its entrance facing west – the others face east. Then there is Angkor Thom, the 'Great Royal City', a temple that is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone. Of all the temples visited today, Bayon temple is the centrepiece, with over 200 smiling carved faces and more than 50 gothic towers. For lunch you'll visit the Sala Bai Hotel School where underprivileged local youths learn skills that enable them to find gainful employment in the hospitality industry. After lunch you will head to the Ta Prohm temple, where nature has taken over again, with large trees embedded in the stone foundations of the structure. End the day with a sunset view of the temples: an extraordinary way to see the sun go down.
Day 5: Siem Reap/Angkor Wat
Embrace an early start today if you wish to experience a sunrise visit to the Angkor complex. Later this morning, venture to the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), a organisation that rehabilitates animals that have fallen victim to wildlife trafficking and provides a breeding facility for highly endangered animal species. From here, continue onto Banteay Srei. You'll see it's not a huge temple, but thanks to its intricate stone carvings it is sometimes referred to as ‘the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art’. At this point you can either head back to your hotel or carry on exploring more temples, such as Preah Khan. This temple contains a maze of vaulted corridors and is another complex that has been largely reclaimed by the jungle. Your ticket for the Angkor ruins also lets you spend more time today or tomorrow exploring this site. Otherwise you might like to take a free afternoon to explore the town or visit Tonle Sap Lake and its floating villages. If you have time, perhaps indulge in a traditional massage or a Khmer cooking class.
Day 6: Siem Reap
Your trip ends after breakfast today. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
- Hotel (5 nights)
- Siem Reap - Remork transport to Tonle Sap Lake
- Siem Reap - Khmer Cooking Class
- Siem Reap - Tonle Sap Lake Boat Trip
- Siem Reap - Khmer traditional massage
- Phnom Penh
- Siem Reap/Angkor Wat
- Siem Reap
Intrepid Travel is the world's largest small group adventure travel company. Intrepid trips are of the grassroots type and include travel via public transport, local food, and locally-owned accommodation Intrepid Travel has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1989. A company that began with two bearded backpackers, a typewriter and a kitchen table now leads 100,000 travellers across the globe each year. And although we’re a bit larger these days – with 1,000 local staff based around the world and over 800 different trips across every continent (not to mention multiple kitchen tables) – our mission remains the same. We still get a kick out of responsible travel, small groups and very (very) big adventures.