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Hidden Treasures of Cambodia

19 days from £3950 per person

Rugged, swathed in thick jungle and sparsely populated, life in Cambodia’s north eastern corner has changed little over the centuries. Bordered to the north by Laos, this is a region of colourful hill-tribes and spectacular natural scenery. Starting in Laos, travel by road into Cambodia to the remote town of Ban Lung. From here drive to Phnom Penh via the Mekong port of Kratie – in the hope of spotting rare Irrawaddy dolphin – then south to Kampot and the 4 Rivers Floating Lodge set in the virgin rainforest of the Cardamom Mountains. After visiting Battambang end the journey in the spectacular surrounds of Angkor.

Route: Bangkok – Dong Daeng Island – Ban Lung – Kratie – Phnom Penh – Kampot – Tatai – Phnom Penh – Battambang – Siem Reap

Itinerary Highlights

Located in remote north eastern Cambodia close to the Vietnamese border and the wilds of Virachey National Park, Ban Lung is a base for jungle walks and visiting minority villages.

Sleepy Battambang is Cambodia’s second city. The historic centre is a treasure trove of French and art deco architecture and a ride can also be taken on the rickety bamboo train.

The Cardamom Mountains form part of one of Cambodia’s largest wilderness areas. Stay in the unique 4 Rivers Floating Lodge in Tatai and explore the jungle and coastal mangroves.

Itinerary: Hidden Treasures of Cambodia

Today depart the UK on the Thai Airways flight to Bangkok. (N)
Arrive into Bangkok where you will stay overnight. Bustling and eccentric, intriguing and unforgettable, Bangkok is the gateway to the country and Thailand's principle city. With a history stretching back a little over two-hundred years, Bangkok has always been a modern forward-thinking place yet much traditional Thai culture remains, as do beautiful monasteries, colourful markets and opulent palaces. (N)
Accommodation in Bangkok: Hotel Muse Bangkok (or similar)
Upgrade option: The Sukhothai
Alternative upgrade option: Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Today transfer back to the airport and fly to the eastern Thai city of Ubon Ratchathani. From here cross into Laos and head towards Pakse then continue on to Dong Daeng Island and the pretty La Folie Lodge for a three night stay. Set amidst lush tropical gardens, this simple colonial-style lodge has twenty-four comfortable rooms all with fabulous views over the river to the Khmer temple ruins of Wat Phou. There is also a lovely swimming pool and good restaurant. (B)
Accommodation on Dong Daeng Island: La Folie Lodge (or similar)
This morning cross the river to Champassak which is located close to the fascinating archaeological site of Wat Phou. Sitting in the shadow of the sacred mountain of Linga Parvata, this is one of the finest temple complexes anywhere in Southeast Asia. Re-discovered by a French explorer in the mid-19th century, the crumbling ruins pre-date those at Angkor Wat by almost 200 years and are equally mysterious. Spend time exploring the site before returning to the hotel in the afternoon. (B)
Accommodation on Dong Daeng Island: La Folie Lodge (or similar)
Today follow the Mekong south to visit the 'Four Thousand Islands'. Located at the southern tip of Laos, close to the Cambodian border, here the river swells covering a vast area and dividing into numerous channels which in turn surround higher ridges of land forming the islands. Starting at Khong Island, travel by long-tail boat to the small village of Ban Khone, with its French colonial buildings, before visiting Liphi waterfall and Khone Phapheng – the largest waterfall in South East Asia. (B)
Accommodation on Dong Daeng Island: La Folie Lodge (or similar)
After an early breakfast drive south to Nong Nok Khian and the border between Laos and Cambodia. From here continue by road on to the remote town of Ban Lung for a two night stay. Capital of Rattanakiri province this outpost, located in Cambodia's far north-east, is rarely visited by foreign travellers and inhabits an area of unparalleled beauty. Focal point to the many local minority villages, this region is also rich in gems and the base for adventurous jungle treks. (B)
Accommodation in Ban Lung: Terres Rouges Lodge (or similar)
Today there are a number of options available. Visits can be made to local Jarai, Tampoun or Katcha villages or relax by the lodge's swimming pool. Alternatively, undertake a trek deep into Kroeung territory through villages and thick forest. The trails here are not overly testing and the opportunity to experience the jungle fascinating. (B)
Accommodation in Ban Lung: Terres Rouges Lodge (or similar)
Leaving Ban Lung, head south-west to Kratie where you will stay overnight. A Mekong port midway between Laos and Phnom Penh, Kratie is a pretty little town and a good spot to watch the rare Irrawaddy dolphin which inhabit this part of the Mekong River. Should time permit, it may also be possible to visit the nearby ancient capital of Sambor. (B)
Accommodation in Kratie: Rajabori Villas Resort (or similar)
This morning leave Kratie and drive to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh for a two night stay. Capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh is a bustling riverside city located at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. Retaining much of its charm, Phnom Penh is a bustling city of wide tree-lined boulevards, fabulous shrines and charming colonial-era architecture. (B)
Accommodation in Phnom Penh: White Mansion Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: Raffles Hotel Le Royal
Today explore this riverside city with your guide. Places of interest include the National Museum which houses the world's foremost collection of ancient Khmer archaeological, religious, and artistic artefacts, the French-built Royal Palace complex, the Silver Pagoda and the city's oldest shrine Wat Phnom with its mystics, faith healers and fortune tellers. In the afternoon travel out of the city to the Choeung Ek killing fields and Toul Sleng Museum which recounts the horrors of the notorious Khmer Rouge regime. (B)
Accommodation in Phnom Penh: White Mansion Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: Raffles Hotel Le Royal
After breakfast leave Phnom Penh and drive to Takeo to visit the temples at Tonle Bati, Ta Prohm and Yeay Peou then to Phnom Chiso, site of an 11th century Khmer Brahmanic temple. Following lunch travel by speedboat to Angkor Borei – a pre-Angkorian city over 1,500 years old – where a highlight is the brick sanctuary of Phnom Da. In the afternoon drive to Kampot where you will stay overnight. Life passes slowly in this riverside town with its crumbling colonial architecture and tumble-down French villas. (B)
Accommodation in Kampot: Rikitikitavi (or similar)
This morning explore Kampot then travel along the coast towards Koh Kong stopping in Tatai where you will join a boat and travel downstream to the unique 4 Rivers Floating Lodge for a two night stay. With only twelve comfortable tents set on platforms in the Tatai River, the lodge is set on the edge of the spectacular Cardamom Mountains bordered by impenetrable jungle and Southeast Asia's largest coastal mangrove. (B)
Accommodation in Tatai: 4 Rivers Floating Lodge 
At leisure to enjoy this special, secluded location. Kayak down the river entering the mangrove waterways that reach back into the jungle, go fishing or visit the Tatai Waterfalls. Alternatively, venturing further afield with a jungle trek to discover the customs, beliefs and natural cures of the inhabitants of the Cardamom Mountains and the secretive wildlife of its forests. The Cardamom Mountains are home to some of the region’s rarest mammals including tiger, elephant, clouded leopard, sun bear and pileated gibbon. Over 500 different species of birdlife have also been recorded here. (B)
Accommodation in Tatai: 4 Rivers Floating Lodge
After breakfast leave the 4 Rivers Floating Lodge and return by road to Phnom Penh where you will stay overnight. The rest of the day is at leisure. (B)
Accommodation in Phnom Penh: White Mansion Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: Raffles Hotel Le Royal
This morning leave Phnom Penh and begin the journey west to Battambang where you will stay for two nights. En-route stop to visit Oudong, Cambodia's royal capital between 1618 and 1866, the lively colonial port of Kompong Chhnang and the floating village of Kampong Leung. Cambodia's second city, Battambang is home to the country's finest collection of French colonial architecture as well as some interesting Angkorian sites. (B)
Accommodation in Battambang: Bambu Hotel 
Alternative accommodation: Maisons Wat Kor
Start the morning with a ride on the eccentric 'Bamboo Train' – a simple wooden platform on wheels that follows a railway track through beautiful Cambodian countryside stopping to drop off locals, cargo and animals to rural villages along the way. Stop to explore one of the villages then return to Battambang for a walking tour of the town's historic centre including the grand French Governor's residence. End the day at Wat Ek and the hilltop Wat Ban Non, the latter offering excellent views. (B)
Accommodation in Battambang: Bambu Hotel 
Alternative accommodation: Maisons Wat Kor
After breakfast leave Battambang for the drive to Siem Reap where you will stay for two nights. Siem Reap is the gateway to the temples of Angkor – some of the most spectacular religious monuments ever built. Capital of the ancient Khmer Empire, Angkor was abandoned in 1431 and reclaimed by the thick Cambodian jungle only to be rediscovered 400 years later by French naturalist Henri Mouhot. (B)
Accommodation in Siem Reap: Sokkhak Boutique Resort (or similar)
Upgrade option: Belmond La Residence d’Angkor
Alternative upgrade option: Raffles Grand d’Angkor
This morning visit Angkor Thom, the spacious walled capital of Jayavarman where highlights include the temple ruins of Bayon, Baphoun and Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace and 12th century Terrace of the Leper King. In the afternoon, visit the epic Angkor Wat. Explore its extraordinary architecture and enjoy the beautiful Khmer architecture and reliefs which adorn this ancient monument. End the day with a spectacular sunset viewed from the mountain temple of Phnom Bakheng. (B)
Accommodation in Siem Reap: Sokkhak Boutique Resort (or similar)
Upgrade option: Belmond La Residence d’Angkor
Alternative upgrade option: Raffles Grand d’Angkor
This morning transfer to Siem Reap Airport and fly to Bangkok. Here connect onto the Thai Airways flight non-stop to the UK. (B)
**KEY: N = No meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

What To Do Next?

We design unique, tailor-made holiday itineraries to suit you, by combining your ideas with our knowledge and experience. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or if you require some advice, please call us or complete the enquiry form online for a quotation.

What's included

  • International flights from the UK
  • Domestic flights
  • Private car and driver
  • Sightseeing with local English speaking guides
  • Hotel accommodation and taxes

What's not included

  • Cost of visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature

Guide to Price

The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements.

Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam Holiday Review

Just to let you know we are home from our gorgeous trip, and had the most wonderful time. Thank you so much. Overall, wonderful destination and brilliant choices.

OH - Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam - November 2015

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