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CAMBODIA – Art & Culture – 8 Days / 7 Nights

Day 1: Phnom Penh Arrival – Sunset cruise on Mekong river
You will be welcomed by our local guide at Phnom Penh Airport on arrival. Then travel by air-conditioned vehicle to your hotel in the city center and have some time to relax after your flight. In the late afternoon, experience a romantic sunset cruise with time to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the Mekong River. Dinner on your own account. Overnight at the hotel.

Meals included: Meals on your own account
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

 

Day 2: Phnom Penh
You will take a city tour of Phnom Penh and visit the Royal Palace built in 1866 by King Norodom, comprising different structures grouped together in one enclosure. Here you will find the Silver Pagoda whose key works include a golden Buddha encrusted with 9,584 diamonds and weighing 90 kilos, and a Buddha featuring emeralds and Baccarat crystal dating from the 17th century. Afterwards travel to the south of the city to learn about the darkest period of Cambodia’s history: the regime of the Khmer Rouge. Here, you will visit the genocide museum of Tuol Sleng, an old secondary school which was transformed into a detention centre under the Khmer Rouge.
In the afternoon you will experience Phnom Penh in a truly exceptional way. Witness places rarely visited by tourists and have the chance to delve into this city of contrasts, its culture, history and its colorful daily life. During the afternoon excursion, you will visit places like the French Quarter, local restaurants, hidden temples and monuments, vibrant markets, architectural highlights and cultural institutes with private short movie screenings.
In the evening, enjoy a performance in one of the most memorable settings possible, just next to the beautiful National Museum in central Phnom Penh. During the show, you will hear explanations about the struggle of preserving traditional arts during and after the time of the Khmer Rouge and you will see a variety of dances representing different celebrations and important occasions in the lives of the local people.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Notes:
– Visits to the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda will be led by guides on site as our guides are not authorized to conduct tours there.
– The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are sometimes closed without notice for official ceremonies. The visit will be replaced with another if possible.

 

Day 3: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap
Leave your hotel in the morning to travel to the airport for a short flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival in Siem Reap, you will be welcomed and taken to your hotel for check-in.
After settling in, you will have a trip to the Angkor National Museum which focuses on the magnificent National Heritage that Angkor temples represent. Then, the evening will be free at your leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Note: Hotel rooms will be available from 13:30

 

Day 4: Angkor Wat – Banteay Srei
You will discover Angkor Wat, a World Heritage site with soaring towers and extraordinary bas reliefs. It is one of the most amazing man-made monuments in the world, erected in the 12th century in honor of Vishnu. Continue to visit Banteay Srei where a most impressive jewel of Khmer art exists. Erected in the 10th century, this small pink sandstone temple is known as the Citadel of Women.
Later in the afternoon, you will visit Theam’s House, which is the studio of a talented artist; including a workshop and a gallery in which the artist’s collections are displayed. Above all, the studio welcomes artist apprentices trained by Theam himself.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

 

Day 5: Cooking class at an organic farm – Angkor Thom – Ta Prohm
In the morning, learn how to cook Cambodian cuisine and gain insights into the food culture with a team of enthusiastic and talented local chefs at an organic farm. Enjoy a tour of the market and later pick your own fresh ingredients from the garden before learning some Khmer recipes.
After enjoying lunch at the farm, leave to explore some more beautiful temples of Angkor Park. Visit Angkor Thom (the Great City) beginning at the south gate and the famous Bayon of the 12th and 13th centuries, dedicated to Buddhism and composed of 54 gigantic towers featuring 216 smiling faces of Avalokitesvara. Then, visit the Elephant Terrace, which was used as a giant viewing stand for public ceremonies and served as a base for the King’s grand audience hall; and the raised Leper King Terrace, built in the 12th century and which features many beautifully sculptured Apsaras. Continue by visiting mysterious Ta Prohm. Built in the mid-12th century, it was one of Jayavarman VII’s great projects (he also built Angkor Thom).

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Note: The cooking class is a join-in activity

 

Day 6: Kbal Spean – Bang Mealea
Set off for a full day excursion to the river of the Thousand Lingas, locally known as “Kbal Spean” – the head of the bridge. To get there, after travelling by car, it will take about 45 minutes of walking through the jungle before reaching the river that contributes to the irrigation of Angkor.
In the afternoon, drive to the temple of Bang Mealea in the jungle. The temple was built during the reign of Suryavarman II, in the middle of the 12th century and the atmosphere will give you the impression of being the first explorer to discover the temple. After exploring, return to Siem Reap.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, Apsara dinner
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

 

Day 7: Tonle Sap Lake – Lotus Farm – Smok Village
In the morning, leave for Kompong Khleang. Here all the houses are on stilts offering an exceptional natural environment with breathtaking vistas of floodplains, rice fields and water views as far as the eye can see. After walking through the village and meeting the locals, travel by boat over the canals to a large lake where Vietnamese people live when they are displaced from their homes because of the seasons. Return to the village and have a picnic lunch in a villager’s home.
In the afternoon, visit a lotus farm where you will discover all the stages from the spinning to the weaving. At the end of the day, you will be introduced to the art of palm leaf handcrafting in a Smok Village. Smok is a Cambodian traditional palm leaf box, which is made by locals for many different varieties of usage.
In the evening, attend a new circus show called “Phare, The Cambodian Circus” organized by an NGO that supports community development by providing social, educative and cultural services to children and their families.

Meals included: Breakfast, picnic lunch
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Note: During the dry season (end of January – August), the scenery on Tonle Sap Lake is not as green and water filled as during the rainy season.

 

Day 8: Siem Reap Departure
In the morning, relax by your hotel’s pool or spend more time exploring the Old Market of Siem Reap. At the appropriate time, your guide and driver will take you to the airport for your departure flight.

Meals included: Breakfast

Note: Hotel rooms will be at disposal until noon only