Daily Activity Key:
Light:Mostly travel sitting and some walking.
Day 1: Welcome to Cambodia
We'll meet at our hotel at 3:00 pm in Phnom Penh's international district, a short walk from the Royal Palace and Tonle Sap Riverfront area.
Look here for information on navigating the airport, purchasing a tourist visa, and hiring a taxi to the hotel.
After resting and swimming in the garden pool of the hotel, we'll walk along the Tonle Sap River in the heart of Phnom Penh, a thoroughly Cambodian city grown over French Colonial buildings. The largest city in Cambodia, Phnom Penh rests at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers. We'll enjoy the sunset light on the tiers and spires of the Royal Palace and National Museum and get to know each other over dinner while tasting traditional Khmer dishes. On the way back to our hotel, we'll catch cool breezes riding in open tuk-tuks through the busy streets.
Day 2: History and Culture
Grim modern history and a rich ancient traditional culture.
Morning: Tol Slang, Killing Fields, lunch and rest, 2:00 National Museum. Dinner on your own, we will recommend restaurants within a safe, easy walk of the museum, and then meet you for the optional evening show.
Evening show at the National Museum: Cambodian Living Arts (Children of Bassac)
Day 3: The Cambodian City
Markets, markets, markets! Phnom Penh is a center of trade. After breakfast, we'll wander traditional markets, and feel the vibe of this bustling city as
we ride in open tuk-tuks. We'll make time for the traditional Khmer rest from noon until 2:00, the key to enjoying Cambodian culture is to hide from the
heat in the middle of the day! Phnom Penh is not a city with many tourist sights, it is a place to soak in the sights of the busy street life. It's also a
city bristling with international presence in the form of developers, humanitarian agencies, and embassies. In the afternoon, we'll visit the MCC offices
and talk about their work with local Khmer partner organizations promoting food security, access to education and a more just and peaceful future for
Cambodia. We'll visit the popular Toltempon market near the MCC office, packed with crafts and clothing as well as food and practical goods. We'll also
point out Fair Trade craft venders at Toltompon and near our hotel. Dinner on your own, there are many good restaurants within an easy walk of the hotel.
Evening: Optional movie at the Meta House, a German Cambodian cultural center screening socially engaged films.
Day 4: Rural Cambodia:
After breakfast, we'll say goodbye to Phnom Penh and cross the Mekong River into Prey Veng Province. You'll watch miles of rice fields, small villages and market go past as we drive along the elevated road through the flood plain. A two hour van ride into the countryside will bring us to Ba Phnom where we will visit a village wat and take time to talk with the chief monk about the wat's community work with poor children, Buddhism and traditional Cambodian arts. We'll walk up the mountain, hear local stories rooted in the animist spirituality of the area, and enjoy the panoramic view from the temples at the top. From Ba Pnom, travel through rice fields 40 minutes to Prey Veng.
Check into hotel.
Dinner at Ta Lungs
Day 5: Rural Cambodia: When the fly can land, the land belongs to the farmer, when it cannot land, it belongs to the fisherman. Over 85% of Cambodians live in rural villages and rely on subsistence rice farming and fishing. In the morning, we'll explore the town market, the center of this provincial town. Wooden boats arrive and leave at the waterfront, bringing goods and people from villages far out in the Meking River flood plain. We'll board one of these boats with a picnic lunch and follow the waterways through the rice fields and fishing areas.
River trip (leisurely travel in riverboat 4 hours with walking breaks)
Day 6: Rural Life and local humanitarian work.
We'll spend the day with local, Khmer humanitarian workers. Travel in a low-income country will have given you a store of questions. You will have an opportunity to talk with Khmer NGO workers about their vision for a future in which all Cambodians can thrive. Together, we'll visit small farmers and learn about rice farming.
Our final dinner in Prey Veng will be a traditional Ko Laan Phnom under the stars where we'll toast to new Prey Veng friends and experiences.
(travel in minivans)
Day 7: Prey Veng To Siem Reap
Over the Mekong around Tonle Sap Lake and through the rice fields to Seim Reap
Evening and dinner: After we check into our hotel, we'll explore the colorful, international restaurant offerings of Pub Street. You are sure to be tired after the rough roads, but for the energetic, a visit to the night markets always yields treasures and treasured memories. An early night is a good idea, we'll start out tour of the Angkor Complex early in the morning. (travel: 7 hours with breaks, minivans)
Day 8: The Angkor Wat Temple Complex
We'll meet for breakfast at 6:30 and leave for the temples at 7:30. The cool of the morning is the best time to walk and climb the amazing stone structures that make up this complex. A traditional Khmer midday rest will refresh us for an afternoon at Angkor Tom, Bayon and Ta Prom. This is a day to have your camera batteries charged. We'll walk up Phnom Bakheng for the 360 degree sunset experience.
Angkor one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 km2, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations. UNESCO has set up a wide-ranging program to safeguard this symbolic site and its surroundings.
Today will be a REALLY LONG DAY with lots of walking. The final walk up the mountain for the sunset is optional. We can make arrangements for the footsore to return to the
hotel and the pool.
Dinner on your own in Pub Street.
Day 9: Where it all started, Phnom Kulen.
After breakfast, bring your bathing suit along with your cameras and archeology guides, this day will include Angkorian era carvings in stone riverbeds, swimming in waterfalls and a traditional Khmer picnic.
Phnum Kulen is considered by Khmer to be the most sacred mountain in Cambodia. It played a significant role in the history of the Khmer empire, as it was
from here in 802 that Jayavaraman II proclaimed independence from Jaya, giving birth to modern-day Cambodia.
Dinner in Siem Reap and an evening you'll never forget at the Phare Cambodian traditional circus. (website)
Day 10: Siem Reap Area OptionsAfter breakfast at our hotel, we'll help you organize tuk-tuk travel to a variety of options: Visit remote temples, far from the crowds, perfect for wandering and exploring. Or visit one of several museums and traditional craft workshops.
For those who would like to spend more time in Angkor Wat or just shopping and hanging out in the town of Siem Reap.
Dinner on your own in Pub Street.
Dinner on your own in Pub Street.
On this last night in Seim Reap, you may want to visit the popular night markets for souvenirs. (travel: tuk-tuks and walking)
Activity: moderate to heavier:
Day 11 Travel to Phnom Penh
After breakfast, we'll travel by mini-bus back to Phnom Penh. Evening on your own could include a visit to the Night Market, people watching on the riverfront, or relaxing by the pool at our hotel. Dinner on your own at local restaurants.
Day 12: Phnom Penh Free Day
Breakfast is provided but we'll have no group activities today. The markets, the Riverfront, the Royal Palace tour, wats, museums and other Phnom Penh treats can be arranged. We'll meet for our final dinner cruise on the river, share favorite Khmer food and toast to new friends and memories.
Dinner on a Riverboat on the Mekong River
Breakfast is provided and people will be transported to the airport to meet their flights home or to travel on.