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Cambodia Adventure tour: 2-Week Exploration of the Unknowns

Go beyond the normal tourist stops and explore the remote provinces in the northeast. Head to the country’s most popular destinations, as well as getting off the beaten track to meet with the locals and visit places that are far less explored with this 14-Day Unknown Cambodia Tour.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Explore the city of Siem Reap & Phnom Penh and uncover the dark history of the Khmer Rouge
  • Discover the customs and traditions of the ethnic people in the remote mountainous areas of northeastern Cambodia
  • See the extremely rare Irrawaddy dolphins living in Mekong River’s freshwater. 
  • Ox cart ride tour to experience up close to the real rural life

Unforgettable moments

  • See the Angkor Temples and the bustling street life in Phnom Penh from a different perspective
  • Go beyond the normal tourist stops and explore the remote provinces of Rattanakiri, Kratie and Stung Treng
  • Meet friendly locals and discover traditional village customs and cultures.
  • Cruise the Tonle Sap, Mekong and Sangker Rivers to see stunning natural landscapes and unique ways of life.

Nature exploration

  • The beauty of the hidden temples of the ancient city of Siem Reap
  • The amazing and peaceful scenery of the countryside of Cambodia
  • The magical beauty of the forested mountains, waterfalls and hills

Culture experience

  • Learn about Khmer history through tours that explore the glorious ancient Khmer empire
  • Learn about Khmer cuisine while enjoying good food in Cambodia
  • Experience local culture & the life of Cambodian people

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Phnom Penh

Upon morning arrival in Phnom Penh, you will be welcomed by your local English speaking guide, who will accompany you to your hotel for check in.
Phnom Penh was once considered one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient, and despite its turbulent history and recent development, it still retains much colonial charm. Cambodia’s capital is a bustling city, majestically located at the confluence of the mighty rivers of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap. Wide tree-lined boulevards and many colonial-era buildings reflect the glorious days and add to the allure of the city, where Asian and Western traditions meet in a fascinating way.
Enjoy an atmospheric sunset river cruise and watch how Phnom Penh’s popular riverfront awakens to life.
You are free for the rest of the day.
Overnight in Phnom Penh.

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Day 2 - Phnom Penh - Tour

After breakfast, you will be greeted by a driver who will take you on a tour of the historical French Quarter. Continue to visit the Royal Palace built during the French colonial period. The same complex houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5,000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. Its original name is Wat Prakeo, meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In this temple you will view a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze. Also stop to visit the National Museum, which was built in traditional Khmer style. It houses the world's foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artifacts from the 4th to the 13th centuries.
After lunch you will have a little time to browse through the Russian Market, the best place in the city for wood and stone carvings, jewellery, clothes and Cambodian silk souvenirs, before gaining insight into Cambodia’s recent dark history on a visit to the remarkable Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in the former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture center named ‘S-21’. Further visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. The audio headset guide provided is available in 15 different languages and gives some harrowing but informative stories from survivors and liberators of the camp. A grim, but important visit that will allow you to dig below the surface and understand Cambodia better.
Late afternoon head to the riverside area of Phnom Penh, a pleasant French style promenade that is great for people viewing. In the early evening (and morning) various activities take place include exercise classes, Khmer dancing and plenty of snacking on local food. You can participate in a Khmer dance class which is a lot of fun for all! From here you can either be taken back to your hotel or left to explore this bustling area independently and have dinner at one of the many great restaurants on the riverfront.
Overnight in Phnom Penh.
 

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Day 3 - Phnom Penh - flight to Ban Lung (Rattanakiri)

Breakfast at your hotel. Transfer for domestic flight to Banlung, capital of Rattanakiri Province, nicknamed “the Red City” because of the omnipresent laterite. Transfer to lodge. Drive by jeep on rough roads to explore the surrounding waterfalls at Teuk Cha Ong and Okachang. Return to lodge for dinner and overnight in Banlung.

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Day 4 - Ban Lung

Drive north towards Laos and the village of Taveng. Cross the volcanic lava field of Veyrum Plang. Travelling north the landscape changes from primary forest to cleared forest, bamboo and bush. Stop to visit some Kroeung villages en route. The Kroeung people have the curious custom of erecting bachelor houses standing on long bamboo poles. These houses will remain so until the young man finds a wife. Only then will the unusual bachelor pad be destroyed. The time of year to see them is usually from February to August. Return to lodge for dinner and overnight. Overnight in Banlung.

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Day 5 - Ban Lung

Take the trip from Banlung heading northwest through bamboo forests to reach the village of Voeune Sai. This village is a Chinese enclave in Cambodian territory with most villagers not speaking Khmer. Upstream are the Tampoun villages, known for their funeral statuary or totems. Some of the best of totems are in the village of Ka Choan, reached by boat or jeep. Return to Banlung for dinner and overnight.
 

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Day 6 - Ban Lung - Stung Treng

This is time for early morning shopping at the Banlung market before a short trip to the volcanic lake of Yak Lom, in a superb location surrounded by pristine rainforest. Swim or take a stroll around the lake before transferring to Stung Treng. Un arrival, check in at the hotel. Late afternoon, explore this charming little town, its market and pagodas. Overnight in Stung Treng. 

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Day 7 - Stung Treng - Kratie

In the morning transfer by private vehicle to Kratie. On arrival in Kratie, stroll through town to check in at the hotel. In the afternoon travel 9km to visit Phnom Sombok and Kampi 12km north of town. The other reason for visiting this area is to try to catch a glimpse of the endangered Irrwaddy Dolphin. Overnight in Kratie

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Day 8 - Kratie - Kampong Cham

Transfer by private vehicle to Kampong Cham. On arrival visit Wat Nokor, an 11 century Mahayana Buddhist shrine of sandstone and laterite and explore the town to see old colonial buildings and the life of the residents. Overnight in Kampong Cham. 

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Day 9 - Kampong Cham - Kampong Thom

In the morning, drive across the new bride to a rubber plantation in Chup. On the way to Kompong Thom, stop to visit Phnom Pros (Man Hill) & Phnom Srei (Woman Hill), each with its own temple on the top. In the afternoon, climb the 980 steps of Phnom Santuk for a sunset view. Overnight in Kampong Thom. 

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Day 10 - Kampong Thom - Siem Reap

Today, you head to Sambor Prei Kuk, one of the most important pre-Angkorian sites in the country as well as Cambodia’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sambor Prei Kuk was built in the Chenla period between the 6th and 7th centuries and there are over 100 well preserved temples scattered in the forest. The three main sites are linked by small and shady tracks. Enjoy a beautiful walk through the jungle with breathtaking views. Your visit supports a community-based tourism project.
The villages around the temple complex still practice the ancient art of craft making, using materials such as bamboo and rattan. Stop at one village to observe the local production. The community runs the Isanborei Craft Hut next to the temples and sells their products there as part of a community-based tourism project. You will have the chance to visit and contribute to the sustainability of the people’s livelihood as the local community will prepare a simple but very tasty lunch for you near the temple.
Continue towards Siem Reap. On arrival, check in to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.
Overnight in Siem Reap.

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Day 11 - Siem Reap - Temple

This morning after breakfast, get your first close glimpse of Angkor today at the early temples of the Roluos Group. Roluos is the site of an ancient center of Khmer civilization known as Hariharalaya. It was the first town built by the Angkorian kings in the 8th and 9th century and consists of three main temples: Bakong, Lolei and Preah Ko. The surrounding countryside with its paddy fields and sugar palm trees is very typical for Cambodia – enjoy the natural beauty on an ox cart ride, a fun way to get in touch with rural Cambodia and its friendly people. In the contemporary Roluos Pagoda in the vicinity of the monuments, Buddhist monks will celebrate a private blessing ceremony for you, wishing you health and a safe journey – a very special experience!
After a break for some rest at midday return to explore the temples of the Small Circuit. The most illustrious of these is Ta Prohm, built in the mid 12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes the ‘Tomb Raider Temple’ one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. Your visit to Ta Prohm will also include Banteay Kdei, a Buddhist monastery from the late 12th Century, and Srah Srang, also known as the “pool of ablutions”.
As an alternative to Ta Prohm and Banteay Kdei you may wish to visit Preah Khan, a larger temple built by the same king in honour of his father (Ta Prohm was built for his mother). Less well known and therefore less frequently visited, Preah Khan is more grand in scale and yet provides a more intimate—more “Tomb Raider” if you will—experience because of fewer visitors and it’s many collapsing and crumbling corridors. Note: Speak to your guide on the day of your visit. Depending on the season you may wish to visit a different temple to avoid the crowds as Ta Prohm is very crowded during peak months.
You will be right in time to catch the beautiful evening light from Pre Rup, a pyramidal temple surrounded by a sea of rice fields.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
 

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Day 12 - Siem Reap - Temple

Get up early for one of the highlights of your tour through Cambodia: a visit to Angkor Wat at sunrise. Watching the first sunbeams glow over the largest religious edifice in the world will not leave you untouched.
Enjoy breakfast at Angkor Café just across from Angkor Wat before you visit the temple in depth. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat was constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing the Mount Meru, home of the gods. Built as the divine residence of Vishnu, the spirit of the King was also to reside here after his death. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Moreover, Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Angkor Wat is featured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.
In the afternoon, visit to the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8m-high wall, drawing a perfect square. You will enter the city from the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with three-headed elephants and capped by four giant faces of the Buddha.
From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur. The exterior gallery walls have extensive, superb bas-reliefs, particularly the East and South Galleries. The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate bas-reliefs.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
 

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Day 13 - Siem Reap - Beng Mealea - Banteay Srei

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the remote Beng Mealea, a temple tucked away deep in the Cambodian jungle. During the one hour drive, you will get a glimpse of the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, your English speaking guide will explain a bit of the history of the region and point out sights along the way. Upon arrival, explore the ruins of Beng Mealea. This formerly “undiscovered” temple has become increasingly popular so the earlier you arrive, the less crowds you will experience.  As this temple is thought to have been a model for Angkor Wat and its collapsed state is a wonder to explore, it’s all the more so if you have it to yourself! After your adventurous exploration, enjoy a delicious packed lunch at a local house close to the temple site. (Note: due to the increasing popularity of Beng Mealea it is best to arrive by 7:30am, just as the temple opens)
From here, travel to the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srei. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs, depicting Hindu god Shiva. Banteay Srei is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.
On the way back, you will have the possibility to stop at local communities along the way and your guide will help you to interact with the local population to learn about the way of life here. Seize the opportunity to see how rice paper is produced and to taste palm wine and palm sugar, which are a popular local produce.
Overnight in Siem Reap.

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Day 14 - Siem Reap - Tonle Sap - Departure

Breakfast at your hotel. 
Head to the Tonlé Sap Lake, where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. 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.
Then transfer to the airport for your departure flight. 
 

Notes

Due to fluctuating water levels on the lake and canals, the village visited will depend on the date and water levels at that time.

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We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below our detailed tips & guide for every places to visit in Cambodia, recommendation regarding the inclusion in each theme you prefer, and what you can do based on the time frame you have.

PLACES TO VISIT IN Cambodia
Siem Reap
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Tonle Sap Lake
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One of the most fish abundant lakes in the world and supports 360 floating villages and thousands of waterbirds.

Phnom Penh
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Battambang
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Sihanoukville
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Koh Rong Island
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Cambodia PLANS BY TRAVEL THEME
Must-see
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Check out all the must-see places and things to do & see

Luxury Holiday
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Unique experience combined with top-notch services

Wellness & Leisure
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Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

Cruise
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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

Cycling & Biking
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Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

Honeymoon Vacation
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Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

Unseen
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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Trek & Hike
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Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

Family Vacation
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The combination of fun and educational activities

Cambodia PLANS BY TIME FRAME
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Cambodia BLOG ARTICLES

How long to spend in Cambodia may seem like a ridiculous question to address, but if you have plenty of time and aren’t sure how much to dedicate, this blog will definitely help you out. 

How long can you stay in Cambodia? 

Well, as long as you like! From 7 days to a month, there are various ways you can travel across Cambodia and uncover its secrets. Advising an ideal trip length for Cambodia is a bit of a complex challenge, as it depends on several factors such as the places you wish to visit, the activities you plan to join, or if you want to combine Cambodia with its neighbor countries. 

Stay tuned! We are going to sort all these things out including the step-by-step guide to create the best itinerary in Cambodia.

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After nearly two years of restricting international arrivals as part of Covid-19 prevention measures, Cambodia yesterday become the first country in Southeast Asia to drop the requirements for both pre-travel PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test and on-arrival rapid antigen test for fully vaccinated travellers into the Kingdom.

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Cambodia has abolished the need for a PCR negative test obtained 72 hours before arrival and rapid test upon arrival in Cambodia. They also enable to visa-on arrival system on the strike to facilitate the reopening process of the tourism sector as reported on March 17th, 2022.

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Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, who is well known to Cambodians, has returned to the Kingdom for the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020.

In the past, the American film star directed the film First They Killed My Father here after starring in Tomb Raider, released in 2001, which is considered the first international movie in modern times to introduce the wonder of Angkor Wat to a wider, western audience.

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The below article is written by Reece Ferguson from Khmer Night about the experience with a visit to Siem Reap recently in the "new normal". Check it out to know what to expect if you are planning to visit Cambodia in the "new normal" in 2022.

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Siem Reap has really gone through the wars lately, with lockdown’s and “Red Zones” seriously impacting the city. The lockdown is though now over, meaning this might well be your last chance to visit a truly empty Angkor Wat.

Every now and again you get a job-perk, so when Khmer Nights were invited to test out a new tourism app in Siem Reap, we jumped at the chance. Visiting the floating village on Tonle Sap and Angkor Wat were duly picked as our personal tour choices and we got ready to embark on a mini-adventure.

When the crisis is over, you need this guide to visit Angkor Wat without the crowds

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