Classic Cambodia Holidays

Classic Cambodian Holidays are designed to show you the best that the country has to offer in the available time at your disposal and within your budget. We are reluctant to list “standard” packages because everyone has different needs as well as budgets.

What we will do here is to suggest a standard Classic Cambodia Holiday itinerary which will give you a great sample of the things you should do and see – particularly if you are a first time traveller to the country. You can then personalise your own trip by adding extra days to places you want to spend more time in or extra places you want to see.

There are also many activities that you can include in your trip which are listed here on our website. These range from a simple activity taking a few hours (such as a Vespa food tour) or a few days or longer (such as cycling or hiking adventures around Siem Reap or kite surfing in Kep).

We also offer custom holidays built around a specific activity – such as honeymoons, golfing, mountain biking, off-road motor-biking, kite-boarding, etc. These specialized holidays are addressed elsewhere on this website.

You will also personalise your holiday package by the standard of accommodation you require. These range from the beautifully upmarket Song Saa resort off the island of Koh Rong to a backpackers dormitory that costs just a few dollars per night for a bed or room. It’s all your choice!!

We have a section on our website called Cambodian Highlights which will help you when considering where you want to visit and what you want to do. Remember that getting around Cambodia by road is a fairly time-consuming process. You can fly easily (and cheaply!) between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

Essentially the first time visitor should spend a couple of days in Phnom Penh, some time in Siem Reap and then some time at the coast around Sihanoukville – preferably on one of the islands. How much time you want to spend in each place will be  determined by your available holiday time, your budget, your specific interests and how amenable you are to changing locations and checking in and out of hotels.

In Phnom Penh you will be able to visit the Royal Palace, Pavilion and the National Museum of Cambodia as well as some of Cambodia’s recent history at the Toul Sleng Prison and Choeung Ek – the Killing Fields Museum. You will also be able to do some wonderful shopping at the Central and Russian Markets where you can buy wonderful crafts, jewellery, clothing and souvenirs at excellent prices. There are also many fun pubs and good restaurants to discover as well as the opportunity to take a sundowner cruise on the Mekong River.

Siem Reap offers the incredible experience of the Angkor Wat temples and – depending on your capacity for antiquities – you could spend three days visiting temple after temple. Nearby you also have the remarkable Tonlé Sap Lake offering a myriad of experiences as well as all the adventure opportunities around the lake, the temples and Siem Reap itself. In the town itself there are wonderful markets, pubs and restaurants to keep you busy too.

Sihanoukville (normally pronounced “Sinoville”) is the main port in Cambodia and it is the departure point for the ferries going out to the islands. The town itself is very laid back and a favourite of backpackers. There is lots of inexpensive accommodation and pubs full of people having fun. There are some amazing beaches and a short distance away are the towns of Kep and Kampot – well worth visiting.

There are a range of ferries travelling between Sihanoukville and the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem every day. They are differentiated by their speed and their price. Koh Rong is the bigger island and considered to be more of a party island – hence generally a younger crowd than Koh Rong Samloem which is a picture postcard island offering a real get-away-from-it-all experience. Song Saa is a tiny private island just off the coast of Koh Rong and like a mini Maldives – absolutely beautiful and private.

One of the best things about the islands is that there are no hawkers bugging you constantly to buy their merchandise! It would be truly remiss of you to travel all the way to Cambodia and not send some time on one of these very special islands!!

SAMPLE ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrive in Phnom Penh

You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel for check in. Spend the rest of the day exploring the city on foot or by tuk-tuk or cyclo.
Phnom Penh was once considered one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient, and despite its recent turbulent history, it still retains its colonial charm. Cambodia’s capital is a bustling city, majestically located at the confluence of the mighty rivers of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap.
In the late afternoon, enjoy an atmospheric sunset cruise on the Mekong River and watch how Phnom Penh’s popular riverfront comes to life in the early evening.
Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Day 2: Phnom Penh

After breakfast at your  hotel you will start your day with a short walk to the Royal Palace, dating back to 1866 and the last palace built during the French colonial period. The same complex houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5 000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. Its original name is Wat Prakeo, meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In this temple you will view a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze.
Continue to the nearby National Museum, which was built in traditional Khmer style. It houses the world’s foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artefacts from the 4th to the 13th centuries. Over 5 000 pieces are on display, constituting the repository of the Kingdom’s cultural wealth.
End your tour at Wat Phnom, a contemporary hilltop pagoda that stands at the founding place of the city. Spend the rest of the day browsing through the colourful markets of Phnom Penh. Visit the Central Market, an art deco landmark and one of the largest markets in the city, if not in all of Cambodia. Here you will find clothes, souvenirs, jewellery and food.
Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Day 3: Phnom Penh

After breakfast in your hotel, depart for Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in the former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture center – named “S-21”. After that you will visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek – a startling memorial to those that were murdered by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.
Spend the rest of the day browsing through the colourful markets of Phnom Penh – particularly the Russian Market, the best place in the city for wood and stone carvings, jewellery, clothes and Cambodian silk souvenirs. Alternatively find a fun and vibrant pub or restaurant and relax.
A great place for beer lovers is the Hops Craft Beer Garden to sample some local craft brews.
Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Day 4: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap

After breakfast at your hotel you will head for the airport to catch your flight to Siem Reap (50 minutes). Upon landing you will be transferred to your hotel in the old part of Siem Reap.
You will have the rest of the day to acquaint yourself with this beautiful city which was once the capital of the Khmer empire. You can easily walk around Siem Reap or hop on one of the multitude of tuk-tuks. If you like craft beer, the Siem Reap Brewpub is a must and there is always a good time to be had in Pub Street which is full of establishments in which to eat and drink.
You could also do a quad bike tour, an evening Vespa food tour or a Khmer cooking class.
Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 5: Siem Reap

You will spend the day with your English speaking guide and driver on a tour to the temples. This will  include the magnificent Angkor Wat Temple.  It is the most famous of the Angkor temples and is featured on Cambodia’s national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.
Other temples you will visit will include Ta Prohm – unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines. It was a setting in the Tomb Raider movie with Angelina Jolie. Your visit will also include Angkor Thom, Bayon (or the “faces” temple), Sra Srang – once the Royal bathing pond, Banteay Kdei, a Buddhist monastery from the late 12th Century, and the exquisite Banteay Srei or “Woman’s Temple”.
Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 6: Siem Reap

Today you will meet your guide and go on an interesting boat trip on the Tonlé Sap Lake, where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. Tonlé Sap is South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake with its size varying greatly depending on the season – rainy or dry!
Board a local boat and visit the village of Kampong Kleang, where only few tourists venture. Embark on a boat ride through the village where the fisherman and their families live in stilted houses among the petrified mangrove forests and waterways. Many families live permanently on the lake.
You can also visit the Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary on the lake.
In the evening, if you are interested, you could attend a performance of ‘Phare, the Cambodian Circus’. Starting at 8pm, professional artists of Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) will perform an inspiring show suitable for people of all ages. The hour-long show mixes traditional and modern theatre: music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion performed in a story about Cambodian lives and society.
(Note: during the months Apr-Sep the water level may be too low for a visit by boat. However the village is still fascinating and can be visited by car. It is quite dramatic to see how the stilted houses are exposed above the lake when the  water levels are low!)
Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 7: Siem Reap – Sihanoukville – Koh Rong Samloem

After breakfast you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Sihanoukville (50 minutes). Upon arrival, you will be met by your driver to take you to the Serendipity Pier to catch your ferry to the island of Koh Rong Samloem. This trip will take 30-40 minutes.
Upon arrival at the island, you will be met by the resort staff who will escort you to your resort. Spend the rest of the day relaxing at the resort or take a walk along the more than two kilometre beach. You can also take a hike out to the lighthouse, visit the waterfall or walk 1,5 kilometres through the jungle to Lazy Beach, on the western side of the island. This beach was voted one of the 21 Best Beaches in the world by National Geographic!
Overnight on Koh Rong Samloem.

Days 8 & 9: Koh Rong Samloem

More of the same on the island today!
Later this afternoon you can take a trip with Captain Kem’s Caribbean Tour: you will be picked up outside your resort and motor around to the north side of the island. Here you will spend some time snorkeling in beautifully clear water surrounded by loads of fish.
Thereafter you will head for the nearby local fishing village – watch the sun set over drinks and then have a buffet meal in a local restaurant. On the way home you will stop and be able to jump back into the sea to experience the bioluminescent plankton.
Overnight on Koh Rong Samloem.

Day 10: Koh Rong Samloem – Sihanoukville – Phnom Penh

After a leisurely breakfast at your resort you will transfer back to the mainland by ferry where you will be met by your transport to take you back to Phnom Penh to meet up with your flight home.

PRICING

The cost of your holiday in Cambodia will depend on the time of the year that you travel, how many of you are travelling, the standard of hotels that you choose and the extra optional activities that you wish to include in your itinerary.
However, based on the itinerary above, you should expect to pay in the region of R12 000 per person sharing. This would include bed and breakfast, all transfers, transport, guides (where mentioned), internal flights and entry to the events as described above. All prices in Cambodia are quoted in US Dollars so this price is also affected – positively and negatively – by the fluctuations in the Rand/Dollar exchange rate.
It would exclude additional activities which would be quoted on as requested as well as flights to and from Cambodia. Expect to pay between about R10 and 12 000 per person depending on when you fly and where you fly through. It also excludes lunches and dinners (except where mentioned), insurance, personal expenses and visa costs. Some of these costs are addressed elsewhere on the website.