Discover the history of Cambodia with visits to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap and history museums in Phnom Penh, headquartered from your hotel. Enjoy the hospitality of a home-cooked Khmer dinner with a local family, see the temples and cities by cyclo and tuk tuk, and visit stilted villages on Lake Tonle Sap.
Duration5 Days / 4 Nights from NZD $3,350*
Type of Journey
• Phnom Penh • Siem Reap • Angkor Wat • Lake Tonle Sap
Departure DatesDaily, year round
• Tailor-made journey
• English-speaking local guides
• 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners
• 4 nights’ accommodation in 5-star hotels
• Economy class airfare Phnom Penh > Siem Reap including airport tax
• Transfers and transport
• Sightseeing and entrance fees
1 Jan – 31 Mar
1 Apr – 30 Sep
5330Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
Day 1: Phnom Penh
Upon arrival into Phnom Penh, you will be met and transferred to your hotel by private car.
Enjoy a cyclo tour to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, two of the most striking buildings in the capital and considered as some of the finest examples of Khmer architecture. They were initially constructed in 1866 by the French. The Royal Palace is home to the current King Sihamoni. The neighboring Silver Pagoda stands out in its own distinctive way. The floor consists of 5,329 solid silver tiles to which the building owes its name. The building houses many gold and jeweled Buddha statues including the highly prized 17th century baccarat crystal Buddha. Other important buildings that can be found within the compound include Wat Preah Keo Morokat, where Royal ceremonies are performed, and stupas such as King Ang Doung Stupa – the burial site of former King Norodom.
Phnom Penh is situated in between two rivers, the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap River. At night when the sunlight fades and the neon lights appear along the river banks, a small cruise boat will take you out onto the river to take in the city from a different perspective. Witness the sunset over the Royal Palace and the Mekong River while enjoying a drink and snack. Cruise back to the port and transfer back to your hotel.
Day 2: Phnom Penh > Siem Reap
Transfer to the airport for your morning flight to Siem Reap. On arrival, you will be met by your guide and transferred by private car to the hotel.
With your guide, explore the stunning temples by tuk tuk. Start with a visit to one of the wonders of the modern world, the intricately carved Khmer ruins at Angkor Wat. The temple still displays hundreds of fine carvings of Apsara and Hindu mythology in its bas relief. Stroll around the massive hallways and discover small shrines still in use today by the local people. You will be led by a Cambodian scholar who will help you to get a better understanding of Khmer history, culture, archaeology and civilisation. To end this eye-opening first visit to the complex of Angkor, rise 200 metres by a tethered helium balloon (if weather permits) from the plains to witness sunset over the temple and jungle. This evening, enjoy a simple home-cooked dinner with a typical Khmer family, experience the well-known Khmer hospitality and interact with family members.
Day 3: Siem Reap
Start the day with a transfer to the picturesque Ta Prohm. This beautiful temple is overgrown with fig trees, giving a haunting yet exotic atmosphere. The magnificent roots of the trees have merged over the centuries with the temple’s huge stone blocks, emphasising a ‘forgotten city’ feeling. Drive a short distance to Ta Keo, which would have been one of the finest temples in Angkor had it been completed. Continue to Angkor Thom, not a temple, but an entire walled city of 9 square kilometres and the royal capital from 1181. With a population of one million, it was far bigger than any city in Europe at the time. The centrepiece is Bayon temple crowned with 216 giant, smiling faces of King Jayavarman VII. Also visit the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King, which houses almost perfectly preserved carvings. Return to your hotel to relax and have lunch (on your own). After a leisurely break your exploration continues as you enter the rear gate of Angkor Wat. Surrounded by a 190 metre wide moat, it is claimed to be the largest religious building in the world. The temple, which took 30 years to construct, was built as the earthly representation of the universe. The central tower symbolises Mt Meru which, Hindus believe, is at the centre of the universe.
Day 4: Siem Reap > Bantey Srei > Tonle Sap > Siem Reap
This morning depart for Banteay Srei, the only major temple that was not built by a monarch. It was constructed in the 10th century and was dedicated to the Hindu god – Shiva. Banteay Srei translates to “Citadel of the Women” and is one of Angkor’s most significant structures as its walls are decorated with elaborate carvings which have been preserved remarkably well. Continue a short drive to Kbal Spean, which translates to “Bridge Head”. From the entrance it is an easy 3 kilometre hike up to the hill passing through a thick forest offering beautiful views over the surrounding plains.
On top you will find a river with many rocks under the surface holding inscriptions and Hindu statues referred to as lingas which date back to the 11th century. There is also a waterfall on top that drops significant amounts of water during the wet season but dries up entirely during the height of the dry season (March/April). Drive on for lunch in a traditional Cambodian Restaurant before returning back to Siem Reap mid-afternoon.
Later this afternoon, transfer to Chhong Kneas, a trading port of agricultural products on the edge of Tonle Sap Lake, also known as the Great Lake of Cambodia. Embark on a private local boat, and set out on a relaxing and insightful sunset cruise on the lake. Enjoy a selection of beers and soft drinks, while you observe the local lifestyle of the people living on the lake in their floating and stilted homes. Towards the end of the day, the activity on the lake picks up as people return from their fish farms to present and sell their catch at the local market. Continue to the open waters and take in sunset before returning to the port for a transfer back to Siem Reap town.
Day 5: Siem Reap
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
• Itinerary also available in reverse
• Surcharges apply over Christmas, New Year, the Lunar New Year and Chaul Chnam Thmey (Cambodian New Year)
NB: If travelling during Chaul Chnam Thmey and Cambodian New Year, many shops, restaurants and businesses are closed during this period or may operate on a limited schedule. Departing Phnom Penh or Siem Reap by road may be difficult during this period since many locals will travel over the holiday as well. Flying between cities should be fine, although please allow for some delays and more traffic than usual. Local attractions in the countryside and around Phnom Penh will be crowded with domestic visitors, who usually travel with their entire family. It is recommended that during the Khmer New Year period, smaller local attractions like streams, waterfalls and parks are avoided as they will be very overcrowded with locals on holiday.