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Cambodian Trails - Angkor and Beyond

Cambodia - Trip code TWC Walking and Trekking
Days 12
Deposit From US$182
Price from US$1820
Flights not included
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Why book this trip?

Exploring on foot allows you escape the crowds and see Cambodia in a different light. At the iconic site of Angkor walk from temple to temple on jungle footpaths known to few. In the far eastern province of Mondulkiri, hike to waterfalls and tribal villages and enjoy the unique experience of a day walking with elephants.

  • Elephant Valley Project - Walk with a herd of 'retired' elephants
  • Phnom Penh - Explore the capital on foot and uncover the dark history of the Khmer Rouge
  • Irrawaddy dolphins - River cruise to spot endangered freshwater dolphins
  • Included meals

    Breakfast: 11

  • Trip staff

    Explore Tour Leader / Trek Guide

    Driver(s)

  • Transport

    Bus

    Boat

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    Accommodation

    8 nights comfortable hotel

    3 nights simple lodge

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    Walking grade:

    Easy

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    Group Size:

    10 - 16

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Join trip in Phnom Penh

The trip begins in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. Lying at the confluence of the Sap, Mekong and Bassac Rivers, Phnom Penh is an engaging mix of tree-lined boulevards, colonial villas and vibrant markets that reflect the country's fascinating mix of ancient and colonial traditions.

Your trip Leader plans to meet everyone in the hotel reception at 6 pm for a welcome meeting. Afterwards there's the opportunity for anyone who wishes to head out for dinner as a group.There are no other activities planned for today. If you don't arrive in time for this meeting, your leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.

If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH), which is around an hour's drive from the hotel.

Our hotel is centrally located not far from the lively riverside area. If you have time today it's easy to head out and start to explore the city on foot.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: None

Day 2 - Visit the Royal Palace; afternoon walking tour around markets and backstreets of Phnom Penh

In the morning we plan to visit the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. Built by the French in 1866, this spectacular pagoda-style structure is without doubt one of Phnom Penh's most impressive sights. In the afternoon we'll explore more of the city on a walking tour which will include some of the city's famous sights, such as Wat Phnom and the colonial era buildings of Post Office Square, but which will also delve into the everyday life of its markets and backstreets.

Our walking tour today covers around three kilometres and is expected to take approximately one-and-a-half hours.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 3 - Visit Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields. Afternoon free, option to visit Silk Island by Mekong ferryboat

We set out this morning on a more sombre visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the 'Killing Fields' of Choeung Ek which are a gruesome reminder of life under the Khmer Rouge. Between 1975 and 1978 somewhere close to 17000 men, women and children were murdered here and its memorial stupa, a huge glass tower filled with human skulls, is a stark reminder of the scale of Pol Pot's atrocities. You should be aware that by their very nature Tuol Sleng and the 'Killing Fields' can be a distressing visit for some people.

This afternoon is free for you to explore more of the city. One option, that reveals a totally different side to city life, is to take a ferry on the Mekong river visit the island of Koh Dach which translates as 'Silk Island' and is named after the many silk weavers who live here. This charming, secluded and sleepy island is small at just 30 square kilometres in size and offers a peaceful contrast to the bustle of Phnom Penh. You can enjoy some traditional Cambodian food at one of the local restaurants before catching another boat back to the city.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 4 - Drive to Mondulkiri Province where we stay at a peaceful rural lodge near Sen Monorom

Departing the capital this morning we head first for the provincial capital of Kompong Cham, passing through a landscape of vast rubber plantations originally established by the French. After breaking here for lunch, we continue our road journey to Mondulkiri Province in the far east of Cambodia, stopping off en route at the 11th century sandstone temple of Wat Nokor. With thickly forested mountains, waterfalls and lush rolling hills, this region is one of the most sparsely populated in the country. Over 80% of the population here come from animist hill tribes with the majority being Phnong, who live off the land, still practicing shifting 'slash and burn' cultivation. They also plant rice, fruit trees, coffee, rubber and cashew nuts and hunt wild animals.

Our base for the next three nights is the charming and unique Nature Lodge, located on a hillside a few kilometres outside of the provincal capital (and only sizeable settlement in the region) of Sen Monorom. The simple, rustic, stilt bungalows we stay in have been hand built and decorated using recycled timber and blend beautifully into the peaceful natural landscape. All have attached bathrooms, hot showers and a private terrace with forest views. Mosquito nets are provided. The resort is also a social enterprise that provides vocational training and fair employment opportunities to locals in need from various backgrounds.

Accommodation:

Grade: Simple Lodge

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 5 - Walking with elephants at the Elephant Valley Project

Today we will visit the Elephant Valley Project, an initiative which takes care of a herd of retired, former working elephants. We will be able to enjoy a concept the project describes as 'walking with the herd', getting up close to the elephants as they roam free in their natural habitat. We expect to accompany the elephants for five to six hours, walking across open grassland and through the forests, taking in the views across the Otey River. For more information about the project see www.elephantvalleyproject.org

Today's walk, in the company of elephants, is expected to take approximately five to six hours.

Accommodation:

Grade: Simple Lodge

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 6 - Hiking in the forests of Andong Kraloeng

To the west of Sen Monorom lie the forests of Andong Kraloeng, the setting for today's walk which is the most challenging of the holiday, due to the jungle terrain and possibility of mud if it has been raining. Driving first to the village of Veal Amerik (named after the Americans based here during the Vietnam war), the trail then leads us into a forest and towards a steep hill covered in towering clumps of Sra Lao trees and strangler vines that are home to black-shanked douc monkeys, giant squirrels and great hornbills. Following lunch at the Leng Kho Waterfall, we return to Veal Amerik this afternoon and drive back to the village of Andong Kraloeng, for the chance to swim at the Leng Kao falls. We return to the hotel via the Seima Protected Forest.

Today's walk is expected to take approximately three to four hours but can be extended depending on the wishes and abilities of the group.

Accommodation:

Grade: Simple Lodge

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 7 - Drive to Kratie; Mekong boat trip in search of dolphins

Today we head for the banks of the Mekong and the town of Kratie. Kratie is sprinkled with an interesting collection of old French and Khmer style buildings, but its most famous attraction are a group of rare Irrawaddy dolphins. We plan a walk this afternoon up the many stone steps leading to Phnom Sambok, a temple occupying a prominent hilltop to the north of the town from where we can enjoy a panoramic view over the surrounding countryside. Later in the afternoon we drive upriver to Kampi where we take to the waters of the Mekong in small boats to search for some of the last freshwater dolphins left in the Mekong.

Today's walk to Phnom Sambok iz expected to take around an hour with a total ascent of 230 metres.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 8 - Explore the villages on Koh Trong island; drive to Siem Reap

First thing this morning we plan to visit nearby Koh Trong island, an extremely peaceful place where we walk and observe local village life up close, visit a pagoda and a small floating village. There's an option to rent bicycles and explore on two wheels. Whilst on the island you may like to support a grass roots tree planting project. Initiated by a local farmer with the aim of re-cultivating the once densely forested island, for a small sum you can leave a positive imprint by planting your own tree.

Leaving Koh Trong later this morning we drive (around six hours) to the town of Siem Reap, gateway to the stunning temples of Angkor.

Today's walk on Koh Trong is expected to take around two-and-a-half hours.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 9 - Walk at Kbal Spean; visit to Banteay Srei, Biodiversity Conservation Centre and Land-mine Museum

This morning we enjoy a gently ascending walk through the shade of the forest on the south western slopes of the Kulen Hills to the riverbed carvings of Kbal Spean. The site consists of a series of 11th century stone carvings of lingams (the phallic symbol of the Hindu god Shiva) and various Hindu deities, carved into the sandstone of the riverbed and banks. It is commonly known as the 'River of a Thousand Lingas' and has a very tranquil atmosphere. Our next destination is the nearby Centre for the Conservation of Biodiversity, Cambodia's first nature conservation and endangered wildlife rescue centre where we may see a number of the mammals that inhabit Cambodia's rainforest including the Pangolin, Palm Civet and Leopard Cat. Our next Angkorian site today is the temple at Banteay Srei known for the intricacy of its pink sandstone carvings. We end the day with a visit to the Cambodian Land-mine Museum, where education and support are provided for dozens of children whose bodies, hearts and minds have been affected by land-mines.

Today's walk is expected to take approximately three hours.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 10 - Temple to temple walking at Angkor including Ta Phrom and Angkor Thom

Today we have a full day to explore the temples of Angkor on foot. Following in the footsteps of the intrepid explorers of old along jungle pathways, we will escape the tourist crowds and approach the temples with a different perspective. It's the perfect way to take in the rich archaeological majesty of the area. We begin our explorations first thing in the morning at Ta Prohm, the exquisitely ethereal 'Tomb Raider' temple that has been part consumed by the jungle, before we move on to Ta Nei a small temple that has been forgotten in the jungle and sees few visitors. Following jungle pathways, we negotiate our way to the immense fortified city of Angkor Thom and stroll along its massive stone walls, to the Bayon. One of the architectural gems of Angkor, this maze of corridors, temples and giant stone faces is also home to some of the finest bas reliefs anywhere in the city. Our route continues past the Baphuon, pyramid temple of Phimeanakas and the royal bathing pond to the Buddhist temple of Preah Palilay in the north west corner of the site. Ascending the Terrace of the Leper King, we then reach the northern end of the Terrace of the Elephants. After paying a visit to the hidden temple of Preah Pithu, we finally walk round to the East Gate and our waiting vehicle.

Please note that from the 1st January 2020 the third tier of the Bayon Temple - the striking centrepiece of the ancient city of Angkor Thom - will be closed until 2022 for extensive restoration. As a result, it will only be possible to view the large stone faces from a distance and it will not be possible to get up close. However, the two lower tiers will remain open and accessible, so it will be possible to view the impressive bas-reliefs and intricate stone carvings around the temple.

Today's temple to temple walking is expected to take approximately five to six hours.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 11 - Sunrise walking at Angkor Wat; free afternoon in Siem Reap

Early this morning we will drive to the magnificent complex of Angkor Wat, to watch the warming glow of the rising sun bring life to what is without doubt the most breathtaking of all the jungle temple sites. Entering through the east gate on foot, we then enjoy an extended visit walking around a site that covers several square kilometres. Originally built as a funerary temple for Suryavarman II, in honour of Vishnu, it represents for many the pinnacle of Khmer art and architecture and little can truly prepare you for the initial sight of this stunning setting in the early morning light. This afternoon has then been left free to continue exploring more of the temples at your leisure or you may wish to spend some time in the pleasant town of Siem Reap which has a lively market and many shopping opportunities.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 12 - Trip ends in Siem Reap

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Siem Reap.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Siem Reap at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Siem Reap International Airport (airport code REP), which is around 20 minutes drive from the hotel.

If you have time free today before your flight, Siem Reap has some great markets to explore including the Old Market or Phsar Chas, a great mix of everything from fruit and vegetables, hardware and jewellery, to crafts and souvenirs.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Trip information

Country information

Cambodia

Climate

Cambodia is a hot and tropical country, being hottest in April and coolest in January (still high 20s). Although rainfall is at its maximum in October, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap receive very little rain compared to the coastal areas, and when it does rain it tends to be in the form of sporadic mid afternoon downpours. There is normally very little rain between December and March.

Time difference to GMT

+7

Plugs

2 Pin Round

Religion

Buddhism

Language

Khmer

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.


Phnom Penh - Silk Island by Mekong Ferry US$ 14
Kratie - Koh Trong Tree Planting Project US$12; Koh Trong bike hire US$10
Siem Reap - Scenic helicopter flight over Angkor temples from US$ 135-$260; Apsara traditional Khmer dance and dinner US$ 22,Tonle Sap boat optional US$ 14; cookery class US$ 12; National Museum Culture Show US$ 12 (limited availability during low season May - September)

Clothing

You will need loose fitting, comfortable clothes for hot, humid conditions. Take a warmer layer (e.g. lightweight fleece) for evenings in Sen Monorom. A sunhat, long trousers and long-sleeved shirt are essential for protection from the sun. Please dress respectfully when visiting active temples and religious sites, covering your torso, shoulders and legs to below the knee. Take a swimming costume for the jungle waterfalls and some of our hotels have swimming pools.

Footwear

We recommend you bring lightweight worn-in walking boots or shoes plus trainers and/or sandals for travelling and other sightseeing. Bring thick socks to wear whilst trekking in Mondulkiri as if it has rained there may be leeches. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.

Luggage

20kg

Luggage: On tour

One main piece of baggage and a daypack. We recommend a soft holdall style bag for your main luggage as being the most practical.

Equipment

Bring a high factor sun cream, sunglasses, water bottle and a torch for use in power cuts and in dimly lit streets at night. Binoculars are useful for both wildlife spotting and looking at temple carvings.

Tipping

Explore leader
Tipping isn't compulsory, and we work hard to ensure that our leaders all receive a fair wage. You may however, want to recognise a leader that's done a great job or really added to your trip by giving them a tip. We're often asked about the recommended amount. It's a tricky one, and down to personal preference, but we'd recommend between £15 to £20 per person per week as a guideline.
Local crew
Local Crew: Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognized part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. In order to make things easier for you, the Tour Leaders may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the tour.

Accordingly please allow about US$40.
 

Cambodia

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Lunch price
£6
Dinner price
£10.00 - 12.00
Beer price
£1.3
Water price
£0.6
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Riel.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
In Cambodia, US$ is the most commonly used currency (small denomination notes are easier to use).
Where To Exchange
Large towns.
ATM Availability
There are ATMs in most towns and cities.
Credit Card Acceptance
Credit cards are accepted in some large shops and restaurants in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Travellers Cheques
They can be hard to change outside of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh; we recommend them for emergencies only.
Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Bus, Boat

Accommodation notes

All of the accommodation on this trip is graded 'Comfortable' other than for the three nights we stay in Sen Monorom which is graded as 'Simple'. Our base here is the charming and unique Nature Lodge, located on a hillside a few kilometres outside of the provincal capital. The simple, rustic, stilt bungalows we stay in have been hand built and decorated using recycled timber and blend beautifully into the peaceful natural landscape. All have attached bathrooms, hot showers and a private terrace with forest views. Mosquito nets are provided. The resort is also a social enterprise that provides vocational training and fair employment opportunities to locals in need from various backgrounds.

Essential Information

Government Travel Safety Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

Cambodia: A single visa is required by UK, New Zealand, Australian, USA & Canadian citizens and can be obtained on arrival. A passport sized photograph for immigration will also be required. Alternatively you can now obtain an e-visa prior to departure from www.mfaic.gov.kh

All visa information should be confirmed with the relevant consulate.


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
 

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.

The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Maximum altitude (m)

900

Cambodia

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against malaria, infectious hepatitis, tetanus, typhoid, diphtheria and polio. Consult your GP regarding tablets advised for malaria. Though not compulsory, travellers may wish to immunise themselves against japanese encephalitis. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Walking and Trekking information
Walking grade
Easy
Trek details
We walk on 7 days with walks ranging from 1.5 to 5.5 hours. Many of the walks also involve sightseeing within these timings. In Mondulkiri there is a maximum elevation gain of 300m and we walk through jungle where paths may be slippery. Elsewhere the walking terrain is flat and going is easy although you should be prepared for heat and humidity. We have graded the walking as Easy.
Max walking altitude (m)
900
Additional Information

Dates, prices and booking

All trips are subject to availability and prices are subject to change
Sun 8 Nov 2020 - Thu 19 Nov 2020 Guaranteed departure
TWC_2020
US$1820
was Save
Single room (optional)
i
+US$310

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Mon 21 Dec 2020 - Fri 1 Jan 2021
TWC_2020
US$1820
was Save
Single room (optional)
i
+US$310

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 

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