Working Itinerary for 2019 travel group to Cambodia. This is subject to change depending on our dates and availability at the time we book these tickets.
Arrive in Seim Reap – we will meet your flights.
In this document, each day, the hotel accommodation for that evening is listed first, it's always nice to know where you will be sleeping. We'll add dates to this when they're firm for now, I've listed days by number sequence.
1 Travel to Seim Reap (Rambutan Hotel aircon, good internet)
Breakfast included at hotel (good!)
Most people will be arriving this day. We will meet flights and get you all settled. Visit wat nearby, museum, artisan village, markets, walk and swim off the plane trip. Lunch and dinner around Seim Reap, many, many options. The Rambutan has good food at reasonable prices and makes very good drinks if anyone wants to lounge at the pool recovering. Early evening recommended.
2 Seim Reap (Rambutan Hotel)
6:30 Breakfast, tuk tuk to the temples for the day. Bring hat, water bottles, clothing that covers knees and shoulders, camera, be sure your batteries are charged, we will be out all day. Lunch in one of the tourist places ($8 or so) take time to rest in the middle of the day. Get a fruit smoothy!
We should probably go to Angkor Wat first, then Angkor Tom and Bayon, then Ta Prohm after lunch. That can take all day. There are hundreds of smaller temples and structures. I like to wander in the quiet, wooded area in Angkor Tom and I like to find a quiet place to sit and draw in the shade. We can hire a guide, take along a guidebook or just wander.
3 Seim Reap (Rambutan Hotel)
Temples or other sites in and around Seim Reap, outlying temples like Bantay Sri, one of my favorites.
Circus Phare in the evening – amazing, I go every chance I get!
4 Seim Reap (Rambutan Hotel)
Breakfast, leave 8:00 – the road goes up in the morning and down in the afternoon, so we need to leave fairly early. Bring: bathing suit, or swim in your clothes, hat, waterbottle, camera.
Phnom Kulen. This is the mountain from which Jayavarman the VII proclaimed the start of the Khmer Empire in the 700s. There's a trail along the River of 1000 Lingas with thousands of carvings of the stylized phallic symbol (linga) representing Vishnu in the sandstone riverbed – amazing! Also, a waterfall to play in, also amazing. This is a Khmer style holiday spot, few foreign tourists seem to find it.
Van drivers: We're arranging for friends from Prey Veng to meet us with two vans. They will be with us for the next week. They speak English and know a lot, one friend has been driving all over Cambodia since he was a teenager in the 90s. I am really hoping he can take this on, keep your fingers crossed!
5 travel to Prey Veng (Navy Hotel, aircon, not such great internet but we will have 4g on a Cambodian phone that we can share as needed.)
Breakfast, pack up, long van drive to Prey Veng. Lunch on the way. We'll arrive in Prey Veng Town
in the afternoon/evening, eat out at one of our favorite places and, no doubt, start meeting up with people we know constantly. Things will be taken out of our hands from time to time, but it will be fun. People I want you to meet:
Maly, my colleague, Visal her husband, Joronai their stubborn little 7 year old daughter.
Barbara, my eccentric mid-wife friend
Chantet and Sotia,our landlords, no doubt their daughter and som-in-law and grandchildren.
Sarun, our house helper, now has a little restaurant in her yard and serves beer and fried bugs of several varieties! She also cooks good food of other kinds.
6 Prey Veng (Navy Hotel)
Coffee downstairs, now we are really in Cambodia (as opposed to Seim Reap), so I'll explain how to get coffee. Breakfast in the market, noodles (gui-tiuh) or pork and rice (bai sich chruuck).
Boat ride out into the Mekong Delta rice paddies! Dinner with lots of people at the BBQ, a favorite place close to our old house.
Bring water, hats, prepare to be out most of the day. Tissue paper is a good idea, you may need to pee in the fields.
7 Prey Veng (Navy Hotel)
Day in Prey Veng – visit Tol Au Lok, neak taa shrine of great power near our old house. Walk around, market time, probably some meeting of everyone's new babies, etc. If there's enough water, we might get Visal to get his throw net out and let us try.
Dinner at Taa Lueng's, although Taa Lueng recently died, so I'm not sure what we call it now. Really good food, we'll have a feast. His daughter runs it now, lovely woman.
8 travel to Kampot (Les Manguiers: good internet in the common space, breakfast not included, reasonable prices)
Travel Day, breakfast early in the market, pack up into Tola's van and drive south to Ba Phnom. We'll visit V. Mao Koun, the monk I worked with on the traditional music and dance program. Visal may be able to go with us and translate, if not, you'll get to see Mao Kuen and we do our bad English/bad Khmer routine. I'm very fond of him. Monk manners in place on this day, shoulders and knees covered, women don't touch monks, he can't eat after 12:00 noon, he can't touch money, etc.
We'll climb up a hill to a shrine and look out over the view. Prey Veng is so flat that we can see into Vietnam.
We'll drive across the new bridge that now spans the Mekong River, pretty exciting, and then down to Kampot – about 4 or 5 hours. This night we'll stay at Les Manguiers, a Khmer-French family run guesthouse. We will have our own stilted houses on the Kampot River. It's a beautiful, simple place.
9 Kampot (Les Manguiers)
In the morning, go out and sit in one of the shelters at the edge of the river across from the kitchen and someone will come and bring you food. Or go talk to people in the outdoor kitchen area. They are very used to the French, they will understand your deep need for coffee!
We can kyak on the river or take this day to go up to Mt Bokor. We'll discuss options.
Dinner at Les Manguires, evening boat trip to see the fireflies.
10 Kampot (Les Manguiers) We can take a van to Kep, a town on the coast about 30 minutes away, catch a wooden boat out to Rabbit Island. The boats are beautiful, open fishing boats. You have to do a certain amount of climbing around to get into them, and then jump out into the sea when we get to the island. Bring: sunscreen, swimming garb, a book, a bag for beach combing, any other beach equipment you like to have. A kromah is a good idea, for drying off and for shade. We can buy food out there.
Or, take a boat trip down the river, or spend the day kayaking, swimming and writing that novel you've been thinking about!
Back to the Les Manguiers for dinner and the sunset looking out over the river and the hills.
11 Travel to Phnom Penh (Villa Langka, good internet, good breakfast included)
We can hang around at breakfast until checkout, then take a van to Phnom Penh and check into Villa Langka. We're the center of Phnom Penh, we can go for a walk through Wat Langka, an old Wat, down the huge boulevards, or get a tuk tuk and zip around with the traffic. Dinner at Khmer Surin nearby.
12 Phnom Penh (Villa Langka)
After breakfast, we'll get tuk tuks or a taxi and go out to Chueng Ek, the Killing Fields memorial. It is well done and will give you some context for stories you've been hearing all along the trip. It is sobering, however. We can go back to the hotel and rest in the hot part of the day, there's another lovely pool. Then, we'll go up to the Riverfront and walk past the National Palace and into National Museum. You can go into the National Palace, but there isn't a lot to see. The National Museum, on the other hand, is a lovely old building. Not many survived all the wars and I'm very fold of this one. It has a nice collection of pieces and a beautiful central courtyard garden. We're in the heart of the backpacker area here and there are restaurants everywhere. We can see what we feel like eating. After dinner, we'll go to the Cambodia Living Arts performance back at the National Museum. They do a beautiful job of presenting traditional dance and music from a variety of regions in Cambodia.
13 Phnom Penh (Villa Langka)
Markets, markets. Yesterday was history and culture, today we'll go to some of the markets that keep the economy of Phnom Penh running. We'll start with Oressay, a huge Khmer Market with streets of fabric markets surrounding it. It has everything you've seen in the villages and more. You won't see many white faces. In the afternoon, we'll go down to Toltompon market, a market that's half crafts and souvenirs and half real Khmer market. It is a favorite place. We can get Khmer ice cream if it gets overwhelming. There's also several fair trade venders we can show you. One that came out of an MCC supported group, now all Khmer owned and operated. For dinner, we'll take a sunset boat cruise on the Tonle Sap and celebrate!
14 Travel day
Our last day in Cambodia. We can leave our bags at the desk after we check out and go back out into the city. For folks with the better part of a day before their flight, there's a day trip up to a wildlife refuge that some people might want to take, or a boat trip to the silk weaving workshops. Or back to the markets or museum.