Journeys International - vacations and travel
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Culture & Nature
|from $1,450* per person||7 Days||September-May|
|Comfort accommodations||Exertion level: 3|
|Operator: Journeys International||12 people max|
Place Cambodia vividly in a context of ancient grand kingdoms and recent human tragedy. The stunning ruins of Siem Reap, including Angkor Wat – one of the ancient wonders of the world – are the backdrop to a civilization that is still healing from events of the recent past. Captivating Cambodia reveals and explains the most significant aspects of Cambodia’s ancient and contemporary history. Beginning in Phnom Penh, visit the small monastery around which the town was built some six centuries ago, and then visit Security Prison 21, where the Khmer Rouge tortured prisoners a mere 30 years prior. Spend a day observing local life on Mekong Island, before heading to Siem Reap for the heart of your adventure. No trip to Cambodia would be complete without spending a good amount of time at Angkor Wat. On this trip, you will stay long enough to explore beyond the key sites which concentrate most of the tourism. Built in the 12th century, the city of temples still stands as a majestic reminder of a thriving civilization long past. Marvel at the intricate masonry that decorates nearly every surface of the entire massive complexes, and try to imagine what the scene must have looked like nearly a thousand years ago. Explore some of the other remote sites of Siem Reap before culminating with an excursion down the Tonle Sap River to Tonle Sap Lake. Located in the heart of the country, Tonle Sap Lake is a fitting place to end your Cambodian adventure. Cambodia is a small country with a big heart. The longer you stay, the more you will admire the people and their society.
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We love that JOURNYES is eco-minded. The quality of the overseas tour companies are excellent. We have been very pleased with the quality and diversity of the content of your tours. We will definitely be back.5
The major reasons that we enjoy traveling with JOURNEYS, are the fast responses to questions and information, talking to a real person who is friendly and empathetic to individual needs, the professionalism of the staff and the knowledge of all trips we have taken.5
This trip captured our souls and will live with us forever. Our daughter still talks everyday of the Masaai people in the Sinya camp who carried her during our stay. Our son bores anyone who comes through our door with our slide show. We all look at our pictures and pinch ourselves…..were we really there?! Did we really watch and listen as a mother lion “spoke” to her cubs and they sassed back? Did we really see giraffes, monkeys, elephants and zebra….all in the same spot?! Could we really see for hundreds of miles across the savannah?! Could the sky hold any more stars and has the Milky Way ever been clearer?! Could the people have been any nicer!? It is all like a magical dream…5
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- This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.
ItineraryDay 1 Phnom Penh
Upon arrival in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel. Phnom Penh sits at the confluence of the Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap Rivers, and is considered one of the loveliest of the French built cities. It was founded as a small monastery in 1372 by a rich Khmer woman called Penh. She set up the monastery on a nearby hill, or “Phnom” in Cambodian, after she found four Buddha statues in a tree trunk on the banks of the Mekong. You will have the opportunity to visit this site, as well as Wat Ounalom, a very important wat (temple) built in 1443 to house a hair of the Buddha. You will also visit the Silver Pagoda, often called the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Preah Kaeo after the statue housed there. King Norodom originally built the wooden temple in 1892, and its floor is comprised of more than 5000 silver blocks that together weigh nearly six tons. Continue with your tour to the National Museum, which was designed by French archeologist and painter George Groslier to exhibit works previously scattered about the country. Next, visit the Tuol Sleng Museum, home of the former high school that became the Khmer Rouge’s main torture and interrogation center known as Security Prison 21. Conclude with a visit to the Central Market, a covered market built in 1937 and distinguished by its central dome. It is filled with shops selling jewelry, fabrics and all kinds of souvenirs, making it a great place for browsing.
Lodging: 4 * hotel
Day 2 Mekong Island
Today you enjoy an excursion to Mekong Island, located north of Phnom Penh, by local boat. Witness local culture in action with classical dancing and handicraft productions. Return to Phnom Penh in the late afternoon for your overnight.
Lodging: 4 * hotel
Day 3 Siem Reap: First Glimpse of Angkor Wat
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap, where you begin your tour of the Angkor sites. Angkor Wat, the temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu by King Suryavarman II, was constructed over a period of 30 years and illustrates some of the most beautiful examples of Khmer and Hindu art. It also features the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the outer gallery walls and narrates stories from Hindu mythology. Continue your visit with a stop at Angkor Thom, a fortified royal city with five monumental gates, that is encircled by a moat over 325 feet wide. In the center of Siem Reap are the city’s most important monuments, including Baphuon, Bayon, and the Terrace of Elephants. The Bayon is one of the most popular of Angkor’s monuments, and is a place of narrow corridors, steep flights of stairs and an amazing collection of towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces. Overnight at a hotel in Siem Reap.
Lodging: 4 * hotel
Day 4 Siem Reap: In-Depth Angkor
Spend a full day on a guided tour of other Angkor sites. These include Banteay Srei, a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva; Banteay Samre, built in the 12th century and dedicated to the goddess Vishnu; Ta Keo, the first Angkorian monument built entirely of sandstone; Ta Prohm, surrounded by the jungle and looking very much like most of the Angkor monuments would have appeared when European explorers first discovered them; Pre Rup, a pyramid shaped temple; Ta Som, built by King Jayavarman VII for his teacher, Som; and Eastern Mebon, a temple erected by Rajendravarma where the base is guarded at its corners by stone figures of harnessed elephants. Return to your hotel for your overnight.
Lodging: 4 * hotel
Day 5 Siem Reap: Temples
The sites you visit today include the Chau Say Tevoda, built during the 12th century and dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu, and Thommanon, a temple that mirrors Chau Say Tevoda. You will also stop by Banteay Kdei, a massive Buddhist temple dating from the 12th century, and Neak Pean, a Buddhist temple consisting of a square pool with four smaller square pools arranged on each axis. In the center of the central pool is a circular island encircled by two nagas with intertwined tails. You will also visit Prasat Kravan, a temple built for Hindu worship and noted for the bas-reliefs cut into the bricks on the interior walls.
Lodging: 4 * hotel
Day 6 Tonle Sap Lake & Floating Village
Your final tour of Angkor includes the Roluos Group, monuments that mark the beginning of Classical art. Lolei is built on an islet with sandstone carvings in the niches of the temples. Preah Ko has inscriptions in Sanskrit on the doorsteps of each of its temples, and Bakong, the largest and most interesting of the Roluos group, still has an active Buddhist monastery. Afterwards, take a boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake. You will journey up the Tonle Sap River, which links the Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong River, until you reach Tonle Sap Lake. This “Great Lake” takes up much of the center of Cambodia and changes in size depending on the season. During the dry season in February, it shrinks to a tenth of its original size becomes one of the richest fishing grounds in the world. Your boat trip will take you to interesting fishing villages such as Chong Kneas, a floating village where both Khmer and Vietnamese live, and to Phnom Krom, a hill with spectacular views over the lake. The three towers on the hill are dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. Return to Siem Reap for your overnight.
Lodging: 4 * hotel
Day 7 Siem Reap / Onward
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
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