Into the Heart of Cambodia
If you haven’t been to Cambodia before, this classic first-timer's trip really packs a punch.
We’ve created this trip to showcase the crème de la crème of Cambodia’s archaeological wonders, artistic heritage, rural scenery, and tasty cuisine. Best of all, it’ll introduce you to the Cambodian people, including homestay hosts and eager guides whose stories will give you a rich understanding of the culture. Got your eye on a particular place, activity or hotel? All of our trips our custom-made, so let us know what you’re looking for.
All transfers are by private car. Some journeys are quite long, but the Cambodian countryside is idyllic, and the views mean the travel between places is as stunning as the destinations themselves.
There’s more to Cambodia than Angkor. This itinerary takes you deep into the countryside to show you a slice of life most travelers don’t experience.
Away from the main cities, you’ll find palm-fringed rice paddies, crumbling temples, islands and tiny villages. It’s a dream for photographers.
We’ve included lots of experiences with brilliant hand-picked guides to give you a deep insight into Khmer culture, tradition and history.
Things to consider
We’ve packed in the cultural activities and guided tours, so this is a busy trip. If you prefer to take things more slowly, we’ll tailor to suit.
There’s no air-conditioning and facilities are basic at the Banteay Chhmar homestay, but in our opinion it’s worth it to experience first-hand how people actually live in rural Cambodia.
There’s no greater start than this: the ancient wonder that is Angkor. First up is crumbling Ta Prohm, enveloped in jungle vines. Angkor Wat is the best-preserved monument, decorated in bas-reliefs of apsara dancers. Meanwhile, Bayon Temple has 54 towers with enigmatic faces carved into the stone. Toast the day with a glass of bubbly on a sunset gondola ride through Angkor Thom’s moat. On your second day, swap the past for the present as your guide introduces you to the villagers who live around Siem Reap. Explore a daily market, meet local monks, then visit the communities who live on Tonlé Sap Lake. In the evening, the Phare Circus brings Khmer culture to life in an energetic performance.
Explore Cambodia’s crown jewels, the spectacular temples of Angkor
As the sun sets behind the Prasat Chrung ruins, cruise the moat of Angkor Thom
Watch a moving Phare Circus performance, theater at its most powerful
You’ll leave the tourists and touts behind today as you venture off the beaten track to Banteay Chhmar. Built 800 years ago, this little-visited temple is applying for UNESCO World Heritage status and it’s not hard to see why. Although cloaked in vegetation, the inner sanctuary reveals walls adorned with astonishingly intricate carvings. Afterwards, an oxcart ride through the surrounding countryside will take you past paddy fields and sugar palm trees, setting the scene for tonight’s very special experience. You’ll spend the night in a Khmer village homestay, a magnificent opportunity to learn about local customs and traditions up close.
Soak up the atmosphere at Banteay Chhmar, a temple consumed by nature
Take an oxcart ride through the countryside, traveling as the locals do
Sit down for dinner with a Cambodian family at your village homestay
The finer detail
- Breakfast every day
- Six lunches: one in the Angkor park; one in the Siem Reap countryside; one at the Banteay Chhmar homestay; one in Battambang; one on the pepper farm; seafood barbecue on Rabbit Island
- Two dinners; one at the Banteay Chhmar homestay; street food tour in Phnom Penh
- Three full-day experiences: tour of the Angkor temples; tour of the Siem Reap countryside and communities; day trip to Rabbit Island
- Seven half-day experiences: introduction to Battambang's art scene; bicycle tour of the Battambang countryside; bats of Phnom Sampeau; explore Oudong Mountain; walking tour of Phnom Penh; Khmer Rouge history in Phnom Penh; visit La Plantation pepper farm
- Two evening experiences: Phare, the Cambodian Circus performance; street food tour of Phnom Penh
- Banteay Chhmar homestay activities
- All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
- All internal transport & accommodation
Logistics and journey times
Car transfer from Siem Reap Airport to hotel (20 minutes)
Car transfer from Siem Reap to Banteay Chhmar (2.5 hours)
Car transfer from Banteay Chhmar to Battambang (3 hours)
Car transfer from Battambang to Phnom Penh (5 hours)
Car transfer from Phnom Penh to Kep (3.5 hours)
Car transfer from Kep to Phnom Penh Airport (3 hours)
What's not included
- International flights
- Meals not mentioned
- Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
- Tips for guides & porters