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Trekking Cambodia: Phnom Penh to Siem Reap in 12 Days

Start in Phnom Penh and end in Siem Reap! With the hiking & trekking tour Cambodia Trekking, you have a 12 day tour package taking you through Phnom Penh, Cambodia and 7 other destinations in Cambodia. Cambodian Trails - Angkor and Beyond includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Phnom Penh - Explore the capital on foot and uncover the dark history of the Khmer Rouge
  • Mondulkiri - hike to waterfalls and tribal villages and enjoy the unique experience of a day walking with elephants.
  • Kratie - River cruise to spot endangered freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins
  • Siem Reap - At the iconic site of Angkor walk from temple to temple on jungle footpaths known to few

Unforgettable moments

  • Bustling street life and creative vibe in Phnom Penh
  • Visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the 'Killing Fields' of Choeung Ek 
  • Go beyond the normal tourist stops and explore the remote provinces of Mondulkiri and Kratie
  • See the Angkor Temples from a different perspective

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

  • Discover the customs and traditions of the ethnic people in the remote mountainous areas of eastern Cambodia
  • 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 your arrival in Phnom Penh, you will be welcomed by your local English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel for check in. 
Overnight in Phnom Penh.

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Day 2 - Phnom Penh - City tour

In the morning we plan to visit the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. Built by the French in 1866, this spectacular pagoda-style structure is without doubt one of Phnom Penh's most impressive sights. In the afternoon we'll explore more of the city on a walking tour which will include some of the city's famous sights, such as Wat Phnom and the colonial era buildings of Post Office Square, but which will also delve into the everyday life of its markets and backstreets. Our walking tour today covers around three kilometres and is expected to take approximately one-and-a-half hours.

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Day 3 - Phnom Penh - Exploration

We set out this morning on a more sombre visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the 'Killing Fields' of Choeung Ek which are a gruesome reminder of life under the Khmer Rouge. Between 1975 and 1978 somewhere close to 17000 men, women and children were murdered here and its memorial stupa, a huge glass tower filled with human skulls, is a stark reminder of the scale of Pol Pot's atrocities. You should be aware that by their very nature Tuol Sleng and the 'Killing Fields' can be a distressing visit for some people. This afternoon is free for you to explore more of the city. One option, that reveals a totally different side to city life, is to take a ferry on the Mekong river visit the island of Koh Dach which translates as 'Silk Island' and is named after the many silk weavers who live here. This charming, secluded and sleepy island is small at just 30 square kilometres in size and offers a peaceful contrast to the bustle of Phnom Penh. You can enjoy some traditional Cambodian food at one of the local restaurants before catching another boat back to the city.

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Day 4 - Phnom Penh - Mondulkiri

Departing the capital this morning we head first for the provincial capital of Kompong Cham, passing through a landscape of vast rubber plantations originally established by the French. After breaking here for lunch, we continue our road journey to Mondulkiri Province in the far east of Cambodia, stopping off en route at the 11th century sandstone temple of Wat Nokor. With thickly forested mountains, waterfalls and lush rolling hills, this region is one of the most sparsely populated in the country. Over 80% of the population here come from animist hill tribes with the majority being Phnong, who live off the land, still practicing shifting 'slash and burn' cultivation. They also plant rice, fruit trees, coffee, rubber and cashew nuts and hunt wild animals. Our base for the next three nights is the charming and unique Nature Lodge, located on a hillside a few kilometres outside of the provincal capital (and only sizeable settlement in the region) of Sen Monorom. The simple, rustic, stilt bungalows we stay in have been hand built and decorated using recycled timber and blend beautifully into the peaceful natural landscape. All have attached bathrooms, hot showers and a private terrace with forest views. Mosquito nets are provided. The resort is also a social enterprise that provides vocational training and fair employment opportunities to locals in need from various backgrounds.
 

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Day 5 - Mondulkiri

Today we will visit the Elephant Valley Project, an initiative which takes care of a herd of retired, former working elephants. We will be able to enjoy a concept the project describes as 'walking with the herd', getting up close to the elephants as they roam free in their natural habitat. We expect to accompany the elephants for five to six hours, walking across open grassland and through the forests, taking in the views across the Otey River. For more information about the project see www.elephantvalleyproject.org Today's walk, in the company of elephants, is expected to take approximately five to six hours.

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Day 6 - Mondulkiri

To the west of Sen Monorom lie the forests of Andong Kraloeng, the setting for today's walk which is the most challenging of the holiday, due to the jungle terrain and possibility of mud if it has been raining. Driving first to the village of Veal Amerik (named after the Americans based here during the Vietnam war), the trail then leads us into a forest and towards a steep hill covered in towering clumps of Sra Lao trees and strangler vines that are home to black-shanked douc monkeys, giant squirrels and great hornbills. Following lunch at the Leng Kho Waterfall, we return to Veal Amerik this afternoon and drive back to the village of Andong Kraloeng, for the chance to swim at the Leng Kao falls. We return to the hotel via the Seima Protected Forest. Today's walk is expected to take approximately three to four hours but can be extended depending on the wishes and abilities of the group.

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Day 7 - Mondulkiri - Kratie

Today we head for the banks of the Mekong and the town of Kratie. Kratie is sprinkled with an interesting collection of old French and Khmer style buildings, but its most famous attraction are a group of rare Irrawaddy dolphins. We plan a walk this afternoon up the many stone steps leading to Phnom Sambok, a temple occupying a prominent hilltop to the north of the town from where we can enjoy a panoramic view over the surrounding countryside. Later in the afternoon we drive upriver to Kampi where we take to the waters of the Mekong in small boats to search for some of the last freshwater dolphins left in the Mekong. Today's walk to Phnom Sambok iz expected to take around an hour with a total ascent of 230 metres.

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Day 8 - Visit Koh Trong Island - Transfer to Siem Reap

First thing this morning we plan to visit nearby Koh Trong island, an extremely peaceful place where we walk and observe local village life up close, visit a pagoda and a small floating village. There's an option to rent bicycles and explore on two wheels. Whilst on the island you may like to support a grass roots tree planting project. Initiated by a local farmer with the aim of re-cultivating the once densely forested island, for a small sum you can leave a positive imprint by planting your own tree. Leaving Koh Trong later this morning we drive (around six hours) to the town of Siem Reap, gateway to the stunning temples of Angkor. Today's walk on Koh Trong is expected to take around two-and-a-half hours.

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Day 9 - Siem Reap - Kbal Spean - Banteay Srei

This morning we enjoy a gently ascending walk through the shade of the forest on the south western slopes of the Kulen Hills to the riverbed carvings of Kbal Spean. The site consists of a series of 11th century stone carvings of lingams (the phallic symbol of the Hindu god Shiva) and various Hindu deities, carved into the sandstone of the riverbed and banks. It is commonly known as the 'River of a Thousand Lingas' and has a very tranquil atmosphere. Our next destination is the nearby Centre for the Conservation of Biodiversity, Cambodia's first nature conservation and endangered wildlife rescue centre where we may see a number of the mammals that inhabit Cambodia's rainforest including the Pangolin, Palm Civet and Leopard Cat. Our next Angkorian site today is the temple at Banteay Srei known for the intricacy of its pink sandstone carvings. We end the day with a visit to the Cambodian Land-mine Museum, where education and support are provided for dozens of children whose bodies, hearts and minds have been affected by land-mines. Today's walk is expected to take approximately three hours.

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Day 10 - Siem Reap - Temples

Today we have a full day to explore the temples of Angkor on foot. Following in the footsteps of the intrepid explorers of old along jungle pathways, we will escape the tourist crowds and approach the temples with a different perspective. It's the perfect way to take in the rich archaeological majesty of the area. We begin our explorations first thing in the morning at Ta Prohm, the exquisitely ethereal 'Tomb Raider' temple that has been part consumed by the jungle, before we move on to Ta Nei a small temple that has been forgotten in the jungle and sees few visitors. Following jungle pathways, we negotiate our way to the immense fortified city of Angkor Thom and stroll along its massive stone walls, to the Bayon. One of the architectural gems of Angkor, this maze of corridors, temples and giant stone faces is also home to some of the finest bas reliefs anywhere in the city. Our route continues past the Baphuon, pyramid temple of Phimeanakas and the royal bathing pond to the Buddhist temple of Preah Palilay in the north west corner of the site. Ascending the Terrace of the Leper King, we then reach the northern end of the Terrace of the Elephants. After paying a visit to the hidden temple of Preah Pithu, we finally walk round to the East Gate and our waiting vehicle. Please note that from the 1st January 2020 the third tier of the Bayon Temple - the striking centrepiece of the ancient city of Angkor Thom - will be closed until 2022 for extensive restoration. As a result, it will only be possible to view the large stone faces from a distance and it will not be possible to get up close. However, the two lower tiers will remain open and accessible, so it will be possible to view the impressive bas-reliefs and intricate stone carvings around the temple. Today's temple to temple walking is expected to take approximately five to six hours.
 

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Day 11 - Siem Reap - Temples

Early this morning we will drive to the magnificent complex of Angkor Wat, to watch the warming glow of the rising sun bring life to what is without doubt the most breathtaking of all the jungle temple sites. Entering through the east gate on foot, we then enjoy an extended visit walking around a site that covers several square kilometres. Originally built as a funerary temple for Suryavarman II, in honour of Vishnu, it represents for many the pinnacle of Khmer art and architecture and little can truly prepare you for the initial sight of this stunning setting in the early morning light. This afternoon has then been left free to continue exploring more of the temples at your leisure or you may wish to spend some time in the pleasant town of Siem Reap which has a lively market and many shopping opportunities.

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Day 12 - Siem Reap - Departure

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Siem Reap. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Siem Reap at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Siem Reap International Airport (airport code REP), which is around 20 minutes drive from the hotel. If you have time free today before your flight, Siem Reap has some great markets to explore including the Old Market or Phsar Chas, a great mix of everything from fruit and vegetables, hardware and jewellery, to crafts and souvenirs.

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NOT READY YET?

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
white-icon About 1 week
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white-icon About 2 weeks
yellow-icon About 2 weeks
white-icon About 3 weeks
yellow-icon About 3 weeks
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Cambodia TRAVEL TIPS & GUIDE

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WHAT MORE? Choose the country you plan to visit, then search for your nationality below to see our special travel tips & advice for your country. CONTACT US if you cannot find yours.

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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

...more
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Vietnam
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A land of staggering natural beauty and cultural complexities, of dynamic megacities and hill-tribe villages, Vietnam is both exotic and compelling.
Thailand
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Friendly and food-obsessed, hedonistic and historic, cultured and curious, Thailand tempts visitors with a smile as golden as the country's glittering temples and tropical beaches.
Myanmar
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It's a new era for this extraordinary and complex land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.
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