Tailor-Made Holiday

Cambodia In Depth

19 days

from £3,500pp (excluding flights)

Meander through markets, amble around Angkor and ponder Phnom Penh - this itinerary allows the visitor to get under the skin of Cambodia’s highlights with a few hidden twists.

  • Sunset drinks on the moat overlooking Angkor Thom
  • Explore rural landscapes before dinner amongst the rice paddies
  • Rise at sunrise to photograph Angkor Wat
  • Discover less visited temples such as Beng Mealea
  • Learn more about the devastating rule of the Khmer Rouge
  • Relax and explore the coastal towns of Kampot and Kep

Undiscovered Temples

The journey begins with the iconic and much visited Temples at Angkor, based in Siem Reap. To avoid the inevitable crowds it’s all about timing. Photos at sunrise with breakfast, picnic lunch on a deserted temple wall, or sundowners when the crowds have left. From Angkor head to the countryside for rural Cambodia. A colourful pagoda for a blessing, local families cooking sticky rice, wandering the paddies and picking fruit from the trees. Finish with supper in a private villa overlooking the rice fields as the chef prepares a local style dinner. Tonle Sap, little-known temples, cooking lessons and old markets complete the time in and around Siem Reap and Angkor before moving onto Battambang and the limestone vistas of Phnom Sampeau and Phnom Banan.

Capital and Coast

A further few days are spent exploring the capital city of Phnom Penh where peaceful weaving villages sit in stark contrast with relics of the Khmer Rouge’s cruel control and buzzing markets siting alongside 19th century French architecture. The journey comes to an end on the coast with the peaceful towns of Kampot and Kep, just a stone’s throw from the Gulf of Thaialnd. Relax with a book, indulge in the local seafood and wander along the less visited beaches of Koh Ton Say (Rabbit Island).

How can we make your holiday even more special

  • Upgrade on the beach with time at Song Saa Private Island
  • Set up private camp at Banteay Chhmar
  • Journey over Angkor by helicopter
  • Extend the journey with a Mekong Cruise to Saigon
  • Spend time behind the scenes with Angkor’s on site archaeologist

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 3500 £ 800

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Bangkok

Day 2

Fly Bangkok to Siem Reap

Back in the 1960s, Siem Reap was the place to be in Southeast Asia and saw a steady stream of the rich and famous. Today it's well and truly back on the tourist map. Siem Reap is home to the wondrous Temples of Angkor, and the city itself exudes charm with old French shop-houses, Psar Chaa - an Aladdin's cave for silverware, silk, wood carvings and bargains galore, and contemporary dining, Khmer style with celeb chefs now an integral part of Siem Reaps' international scene.

You will be staying at Sala Lodge, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Full Day exploring Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat
Today visit Angkor Thom (13th Century), including the South Gate, the Bayon, the Terrace of the Elephants and The Terrace of the Leper King, finishing at the Royal Enclosure. In the afternoon, visit the epic Angkor Wat, viewing its well-known architecture and bas-reliefs.

You will be staying at Sala Lodge, Bed & Breakfast

Day 4

Temples of the Forest
6.30 AM start to avoid the crowds.
Depart by road to Srah Srang and then Ta Prohm (11km), take your time to walk through the temple from the west entrance to the east entrance to meet again with your driver (walk 1-2km).
From the northwest of Ta Prohm you will walk (15 minutes) through the forest to the lightly visited temple of Ta Nei. There is a reasonable chance of having this beautiful Angkor temple to yourself to explore. Pause for a light breakfast around this peaceful area before exploring further.
Pause for a light breakfast around this peaceful area before exploring further.
End the morning at Ta Keo temple, known as the mountain with bronze peaks, and admire its five-tired pyramid structure.
Return by road to Siem Reap for lunch (own cost).

Visit Grace House Community
Head to the Grace House Community Centre which is a non-religious, non-political registered Cambodian Non-Government Organisation (NGO). Situated 4km outside of Siem Reap, on the road to Tonle Sap, it is where villagers make a living subsistence farming and fishing. Grace House was opened in November 2008 by Globalteer, a UK charity, but is now an independent locally managed organisation.

You will be staying at Sala Lodge, Bed & Breakfast

Day 5

Angkor Wat Sunrise and Exploration
A sunrise tour starts at pre-dawn to witness the breathtaking view of the tropical sun emerging from behind the iconic lotus towers of Angkor Wat. Constructed over a period of 30 years during the reign of King Suryavarman II [AD1113], by some measures it is the largest religious complex in the world. Originally a Hindu mountain temple aligned to the spring equinox, around the C16th it was converted to a Theravada Buddhist monument, a capacity in which it continues today.
Explore the well preserved central complex and detailed bas-reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu mythologies and battles of the ancient empire. The beauty in balance and composition, combined with its sheer vast scale ensure Angkor Wat’s place as the crowning achievement in Khmer art and architecture. This is truly one of travel’s remaining great adventures.

Countryside Senses - Beyond the Temples
Beyond the temples lies a rural landscape often little changed since the days of Jayavarman VII. To depart Siem Reap having seen only the temple ruins is to miss contemporary Khmer culture and a living history of rice and fishing subsistence lifestyles. As infrastructure and technology encroach upon the countryside this opportunity will soon be lost forever. Your guide will lead you between rice paddies, through woodland and back gardens on foot, by ox-cart and boat to experience the very best of the countryside. After a short drive from Siem Reap visit a colourful contemporary pagoda to understand more of the importance of Buddhism in these rural communities and seek a blessing from the monks. Seasonal fruits will be brought straight from the tree, speak to families who have specialised in baking sticky rice in bamboo for over 30 years and gain hands-on experience of the essential rural skills of the rice harvest, thatching, fishing, or even making a simple meal over an open fire. Take an ox-cart ride through typical villages followed by a 20 minute easy walk to bring you to the vast Western Baray. An impressive engineering feat, this man-made reservoir was once integral to the complex Angkorian rice irrigation system which you will voyage by boat, both an education and an adventure from a slower, more romantic era of travel. On arrival at our partner's villa, surrounded by rice paddies, greetings for visitors are warm and generous.
Relax in the quiet of the countryside and enjoy sunset drinks (included). While your chef prepares your dinner take a wander across the levees of the rice paddies, look for fish traps, or walk a short distance to a viewpoint over the ancient reservoir, whilst listening to the elegance of traditional Khmer music played by local musicians, before being seated for your evening meal.
NB Please wear comfortable shoes for walking.

You will be staying at Sala Lodge, Bed & Breakfast

Day 6

Kulen Mountain and Banteay Srei Temple
After breakfast, travel out from Siem Reap to visit Sacred Kulen mountain boasting fine river carvings and beautiful waterfalls. Enjoy lunch at local restaurant (own cost) before visiting Banteay Srei [AD967], the small pink sandstone temple with the most exquisite, deep and complex carvings some 37km distant. En route visit the Landmine Museum, filled with a collection of ordinances and other old weapons used from civil war and now run by a former Khmer Rouge child soldier, Mr. Aki Ra.

Free afternoon.

You will be staying at Sala Lodge, Bed & Breakfast

Day 7

Hunters & Gatherers on Tonle Sap
The great Tonle Sap lake is the richest fresh water fishing ground in the world, a national treasure producing an ever-changing landscape.
The communities that live around the margins of th lake cope with huge seasonal variations in water levels by building their homes on floating bamboo rafts or 30ft stilts. It is well worth the extra effort to get away from the touristy village of Chong Kneas to the more genuine stilted villages - Kompong Khleang (dependent on water levels) - for an understanding insight of contemporary lake life.
Take the opportunity to pause at the stilted houses to see how a fishing family lives, before continuing by boat along the margins of the lake.

The Blueprint for Angkor Wat
Continuing from the lake you will drive on to explore the more remote temple of Beng Mealea, often described as the blueprint for Angkor Wat. Built under the control of Suryavarman II, this 12th century temple, overgrown with roots and vines, is in a much collapsed state retaining a very atmospheric feel. Venture into darkened doorways skirting crumbling pillars and walk down the long promenades lined by naga balustrades. Take advantage of the walkways to traverse the ruins and scramble over tumbled stones in the less-explored courtyards.

You will be staying at Sala Lodge, Bed & Breakfast

Day 8

Learn to Cook Khmer
Set within a shaded grove of palm and bamboo trees, enjoy a private Khmer cooking course. Your class includes a short walk in the local village to meet a local family and learn about food and its role in Cambodian life. You will also have the opportunity to learn about traditional beliefs, customs and superstitions regarding indigenous foods, herbs and spices.

Savour your Khmer cuisine as you dine on your own culinary creations in a private stilted pavilion perched over a lily pond.

Artisan Workshops and Old Market
Visit the Artisans d'Angkor Centre, one of the best workshops in town with excellent quality sandstone, silver, wood and silk products. Then explore the Old Market for typical souvenir shopping, selling all kinds of wonderful and exotic foodstuffs too. Whether you are in the market for uniquely wrapped spices, hand-woven silk lhats or a kroma - the Khmer fashion staple - you will find it here.

You will be staying at Sala Lodge, Bed & Breakfast

Day 9

Art Gallery Tour
Wander among the up and coming galleries that proliferate the streets of Siem Reap. Start at John McDermott’s Gallery at the famous FCC building overlooking the Siem Reap river. John’s mostly black and white photography captures surreal images of Angkor. Continue to DIWO Gallery, where Mr Thierry Diwo exhibits a selection of contemporary Khmer statues, Buddhas and original photographs.

Finally, visit Theam’s house, a quirky mix of art studio, atelier and gallery overflowing with artisanal products, lacquered panels and works-in-progress by the artist Theam and his artisan apprentices, who is helping to revive the Cambodian craft sector.

Drive from Siem Reap to Battambang (Road Journey)

Battambang is considered the 'rice bowl' of Cambodia. 90% of the population of this province lives an agrarian lifestyle and in the rich sedimentary soil grows everything from delicious tropical fruits to unique Khmer herbs and vegetables. Cambodia's 2nd largest city was originally founded in the 11th Century by the Angkorian Empire, was a major Siamese commercial center for 500 years and is also renowned for its rich colonial French architecture. Battambang has a unique charm, blending a modern city with small town friendliness. The best way to see these timeless temples are by bicycle and rickshaw. The river provides a scenic alternative to link Battambang with Siem Reap. Battambang is famous for oranges, scenic railway, heritage walking and culinary tours. There are some worthy local NGO initiatives to help young adults in Battambang, some of which can be visited.

You will be staying at La Villa, Bed & Breakfast

Day 10

Battambang Market & the Bamboo Train
Explore this laid-back provincial town full of (crumbling) colonial beauty slowly being repaired to its former glory, with long roads lined with tall overhanging palm trees and charming countryside. Whilst Battambang is Cambodia's second largest city, it's surprisingly sleepy.

Visit Psa Nath ('meeting market') in the centre of town, where you can get an insider's view into local life, then jump aboard the famous bamboo train for a fun and breezy ride. From here take in the rural surrounds and emerald green rice paddies and hold on: when two bamboo trains meet, the lighter one has to be dismantled and taken off the rails, leaving the other one to pass!

Phnom Sampeau & Phnom Banan
Travel southwest of the town to explore Phnom Sampeau, a limestone hillside with panoramic views out into the countryside. The area also hides several killing caves of the Khmer Rouge, a harsh reminder of tragic Cambodian history. Phnom Banan, an Angkorian ruin, is also located on the top of a mountain overlooking rural villages. The lintels of the temple's towers remain in beautiful condition whilst building blocks have fallen and trees grow within the site which adds to the atmosphere. On the way back to town you may like to stop off at Cambodia's first winery, and try a drop or two.

You will be staying at La Villa, Bed & Breakfast

Day 11

Drive from Battambang to Phnom Penh (Road Journey)

Phnom Penh is a changing and developing city. A city of contrasting sights, sounds and fortunes, the capital of Cambodia is at a crossroads - with a recent inrush of investment it has started to leave behind a history defined by poverty and war. Now this is a city blending old and new, where hardship and exotic extravagance stand practically side by side - but this is what makes Phnom Penh such an alluring and wonderful city. It is an endearingly ramshackle city, a city with an edge.

Providing history, culture and indulgence in equal measure, Phnom Penh is one of the jewels in South East Asia's crown.

You will be staying at Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Bed & Breakfast

Day 12

Khmer Rouge, Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda
A tough beginning to understanding Cambodia. You will make more sense of modern Cambodia with a familiarity of the events of the late 1970s and how the country continues to recover from this tragedy.

Visit the Killing Fields and Toul Sleng (S21), where only seven survived from thousands incarcerated.

Continue to the Royal Palace, built in 1866 by King Norodom, and the Silver Pagoda with a floor of over 5,000 silver tiles. Head afterwards to the National Museum, which houses the world's foremost collection of Khmer art.

You will be staying at Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Bed & Breakfast

Day 13

Okgna Tei Weaving Village
Begin today on the Mekong River with a trip up to Okgna Tei village, some 15km north of the city. The villagers' income derives mainly from the weaving of scarves and sarongs. All the production is based on individual family styles and traditional techniques. This is an excellent opportunity to pass from house to house and gain an insight into rural Cambodian living in the Mekong river valley. The people are very welcoming of visitors and genuine in their approach.

Hidden Gems of Phnom Penh
Weaving through Phnom Penh's colourful city streets bustling with activity and the whizzing of motos, today a local architecture student will reveal some of their favourite hidden gems of this multifaceted capital by traditional transportation method, the cyclo. Pedal power affords a gentler pace to soak up the modern architectural heritage of this burgeoning capital.

Take in highlights that showcase the city's fusion of past and present and its juxtaposition of old and new. Most of these buildings reflect three basic groups, the Chinese shop-house style, the late 19th and early 20th century French colonial buildings - with an eclectic mix of influences and the 'New Khmer Architecture' of the late 1950 and 1960s, built in the post-independent golden era. As brand new apartment blocks spring up from the charming chaos, discover that there's more than first meets the eye to Cambodia's capital.

You will be staying at Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Bed & Breakfast

Day 14

Markets of Phnom Penh
Visit the (in)famous Russian Market, commonly known as Toul Tom Pong Market. One of the more colourful markets in town, this chaotic place has a huge variety of things for sale. Especially good for silks and cloth, but be prepared to bargain. You may also opt to visit the Central Market (Psa Thmei) with its unique art deco architecture - a site to visit in itself, as well as for great bargains.

Visit Shops and Wat Phnom
Explore the shops and boutqies in Street 178 area then visit the small hill within the city, Wat Phnom and learn how the city got its name.

You will be staying at Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Bed & Breakfast

Day 15

Funan & Water Chenla
First by road and then by boat, delve into the Angkor Borei area, home to pre-Angkorian sites. Originally the whole area of the Takeo province was part of what was called the 'Water Chenla', a possible reference to the extensive annual flooding of the area. Many pre-Angkorian sites were built here between the 5th and 8th centuries.

Visit Phnom Da, twin hills, which in the wet season appears completely isolated. Here you will find both artificial caves built as Hindu shrines and also used as hide-outs during the Khmer Rouge war. Head down man-made ancient channels, across scenic wetlands and past green patchworks of rice fields for an off-the-beaten-path experience.

Drive from Phnom Penh to Kep (Road Journey)

The fascinating sleepy fishing village of Kep is situated on Cambodia's largely untouched south coast. Kep offers the perfect beachside setting after a cultural trip, with a rich history of its own. Famed for its spectacular sunsets and splendid seafood, particularly crab, it was founded as a colonial retreat for the French elite in the early 1900's. Boat excursions can be taken from Kep to reach the scenic island of Koh Tonsai.

You will be staying at Knai Bang Chatt Villa, Bed & Breakfast

Day 16

Savour the Coast
Explore the quiet riverside towns of Kep and Kampot with their attractive mix of colonial French and local architecture, just a few kilometres from the Gulf of Thailand. These two villages make a great base for visiting the surrounding pepper plantations, for which Kampot is best known.

Additionally, a visit to the salt fields (mostly exported overseas) is also of great interest - think fish and chips. Visit the beach town of Kep and savour the seafood, especially the delectable crabs cooked with Kampot pepper.

You will be staying at Knai Bang Chatt Villa, Bed & Breakfast

Day 17

Koh Ton Say
Koh Ton Say (Rabbit Island) is a great day trip from the mainland, reached by just a short private 20 minute ride in one of the bright green long-tail boats that line the shore from the port at Kep. Feel the sand between your toes as you explore and walk - even swim in places - around the inviting undeveloped island. Relax on its uncrowded beaches, snorkel in the shallow waters or just laze the day away in a hammock along the beach front. Feeling peckish? Along the sandy shores are scattered various crab shacks; try some of the freshest seafood anywhere.

You will be staying at Knai Bang Chatt Villa, Bed & Breakfast

Day 18

Free day to relax

You will be staying at Knai Bang Chatt Villa, Bed & Breakfast

Day 19

Drive from Kep to Phnom Penh (Road Journey)

Fly Phnom Penh to Bangkok

Fly Bangkok to London


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Raffles Hotel Le Royal

Raffles Hotel Le Royal

Raffles Hotel Le Royal brims with history....

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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