Today experience an incredible tour to learn about life in a typical Cambodian village, meet friendly locals and discover traditional village customs and cultures.
Guests will be picked up from their hotel early morning by the local guide and driven to Ta Brak village, 25 minutes out of town. A western packed breakfast from the hotel will be taken and on arrival will meet and sit down with a local family and share this breakfast with them and to learn about local village life early in the morning when generally it is at its most active.
From here a 30 minute ox cart ride through the village will take you to a local market where a short walk through this bustling center will introduce you to Cambodian vegetables, herbs, fruits and other local produce. Continue 1km by foot through the picturesque countryside village, stopping off to meet the local community along the way to observe whatever seasonal activity is happening at that time, such as rice planting, weaving thatch roofs, planting or harvesting vegetable crops, making fish traps etc. Each tour will be different and the activities will depend on the time of the year, the family, and the needs of the local village. The surrounding countryside with its paddy fields and sugar palm trees is very typical for Cambodia.
End the morning at the local pagoda where a special water blessing by Buddhist monks await.
From here make a stop at the 9th Century Bakong Temple, part of the Roluos group and a site of an ancient center of Khmer civilization known as Hariharalaya, before continuing on an interesting boat trip on the Tonlé Sap Lake, where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. The Tonlé Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and officially designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, covering an area of roughly 2,500 km2, swelling to about 4 times it size in during the wet season: 10,000 km2!
Drive past expansive rice fields and through local villages where rice and fish can frequently be spotted drying alongside the road. Next, board a private wooden vessel for a boat trip along a canal that leads to the Tonle Sap Lake.
Cruise along the canal with houses on either side: depending on the time of your visit, the houses will either have immediate access to the water or stand perched on stilts high above the ground, a phenomena caused by the annual rising and receding waters of the Tonle Sap Lake, Southeast Asia’s largest lake. Pass by the boats and nets used by local fishermen, some of whom you may spot fishing in the waters through which the boat passes. As you near the lake, you will see floating houses that move location with the annual ebb and flow of the lake’s waters.
Along the way, gain a better understanding of the local lifestyle with lunch in a family house. This is a unique opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the way of life of the local people- sitting inside a stilted house while watching the boats pass outside. (Note: Due to fluctuating water levels on the lake and the canals, the village visited will depend on the date and water levels at that time).
Optional: Phare Ponleu Selpak in Siem Reap – (evening)
This evening attend a performance of ‘Phare, the Cambodian Circus’. Starting at 8pm, professional artists of Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) will perform an inspiring show suitable for people of all ages. Set up in Battambang in 1994 by young returnee Cambodians from the refugee camps who learned about using art as a means of coping with trauma, PPS has played an influential role in promoting and developing Khmer culture over the years after the Khmer Rouge genocide. The hour long show mixes traditional and modern theater, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion performed in a story about Cambodian lives and society. Student performances can still be seen twice weekly in Battambang but now the circus has arrived in Siem Reap!
Overnight in Siem Reap.