Passage through Cambodia
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Last updated: 02/19/2009
Experience a country that has risen like a phoenix from the flames of a turbulent past. This independent trip takes you through Cambodia and youâll to visit all the country's highlights in one week.
Phnom PenhPhnom Penh is a very interesting city filled with many historic colonial buildings and a great atmosphere. Compared to other Cambodian cities it is quite modern and has paved roads, modern stores, a beautiful boulevard and many ATMs. Spend the day exploring the city at your own pace and in your own style. For instance, you could visit the Cambodia National Museum. The museum was built in 1917 and has quite a large collection of Khmer artefacts. Afterwards you can head over to the Silver Pagoda, also known as the Emerald Buddha's temple, and the royal palace. The Silver Pagoda is famous for its silver floors. In the afternoon you could also climb the mountain that is home to the Wat Phnom, the temple which the city was named after. You'll spend the night in a comfortable, cosy hotel in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Museum and Killing Fields monument
Today you'll have a chance to visit more remote parts of Phnom Penh with your guide, such as the Tuol Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields. In 1975 the Red Khmer invaded the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. Pol Pot became premier of Cambodia and made a very cruel and bloody attempt to turn Cambodia into a communist agricultural state. Cities were destroyed and everyone was forced to become farmers. Currency, education, religion and private property were abolished. From this point on, marriages were arranged and children were separated from their parents. Anyone who did not cooperate was executed. Intellectuals and college-graduates were also executed; even wearing glasses or speaking a second language was enough to make someone a suspect. Pol Pot did not believe in their ideas and considered them annoying nuisances.The Tuol Sleng Museum is quite an impressive museum. It confronts visitors quite directly with Cambodia's brutal past by means of photography. For instance, you'll see pictures of an old elementary school that was used as a prison for torturing political enemies during the rule of the Red Khmer. For many people this was their last stop before they were taken to the mass graves of the Killing Fields, located just outside of Phnom Penh in an orchard. Over 17.000 people were killed. At the end of the afternoon you'll visit the Apsara Foundation which teaches Cambodian children in low-income families how to dance and entertain. You'll spend the night in the same hotel in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh - Siem ReapOn this morning you'll travel by hydrofoil over the Tonle Sap Lake and the river with the same name and on to Siem Reap. A car will take you to the boat pier. The trip should take about 5 hours, which is much shorter than the trip would take by road, however it's best to count on the trip to Siem Reap taking most of the day. During the trip you can sit on the roof of the boat and enjoy the view of life on the mighty lake and its banks. Keep in mind that the sun reflecting on the water increases the risk of sunburn, even when skies are cloudy. It's also possible to sit inside in the air conditioned cabin. You'll cross Cambodia's largest lake which eventually pours into a river. In some areas the lake is kilometres wide, in other areas only dozens of metres. This is why at times you'll enjoy a view of the wide open water and other times you'll see houses and the people that live on the water. Villages on poles, floating islands, boats, rafts, cormorants, playing children on the banks of the lake and river and pigs in floating cages will pass you by. On arrival in Siem Reap you'll be greeted by a mass of pushy hotel representatives. Luckily your own guide will be waiting for you, carrying a sign with your name on it, and he will take you to your hotel. The hotel is located in the centre of town, has very spacious air conditioned rooms and has a friendly staff.
Angkor - visit with guideToday you'll visit a part of the Angkor temple complex with your guide. In order to see the entire complex, you would need to spend several days here since the dozens of temples are spread out over an area of about 25 kilometres. Wander endlessly through the statues, temples and historic reliefs. Be sure to stay on the defined and marked paths, there are still mines in some of the unchartered areas. The temples were built in various time periods; each ruler built his own temple. This has caused each temple to have its own character. The most famous temple, Angkor Wat, features Hindu influences. However, the Angkor Thom temple features Buddhist influences. After a day of cultural exploration, you'll spend another night in your hotel in Siem Reap.
Angkor - independent visitToday you'll visit Angkor independently. Angkor is the name of the ancient capital of the Khmer-empire that was established during the 8th century after Christ. The empire was enormous and included territory all the way down to Southern Vietnam and China. Later on the Thai ruled this territory during the Siamese empire and introduced many Buddhist influences. "Siem Reap" literally means "victory by Siam". It was very generous of the Khmer to allow the city to keep its name. The temples were once surrounded by a lively city full of wooden houses. Unfortunately the houses did not last the test of time, however the temples alone more than warrant a visit to this area. For centuries this city was covered by jungle until a French expedition discovered the ruins early in the 1900's. Several of the temples have since been restored. Several others still show how the jungle swallowed the temples from sight. The Ta Prohm temple has not yet been completely restored. It's quite interesting to see how towering trees have taken the temple prisoner. The tops of the trees shoot up into the sky, far beyond the temple roof and the roots of the trees have wrapped themselves around the walls of the temple..... truly an impressive sight. You'll spend another night in Siem Reap.
Siem Reap - BattambangSometime during the morning you'll be picked up at your hotel and taken to the pier just outside of Siem Reap. Here you'll board a boat to Battambang, your next destination. Along the way you'll pass floating villages filled with waving children. You'll travel through small waterways and later on you'll travel across the mighty Tonle Sap Lake. At the end of the afternoon you'll arrive in Battambang.
Here you'll be able to go for a ride on a bamboo train. The bamboo train is nothing more than a bamboo raft and a carriage that has been placed on a train track; however it is a traditional means of transportation for this area. The train trip will take you through rice fields and will give you a glimpse of traditional country life and houses on wooden poles. Battambang is a provincial city with a lively market where people come from all around to stock up on ingredients for their meals. You'll spend the night in a hotel across from the local market; the hotel is comfortable yet basic.
Battambang - TratYou'll head out of Battambang for the Thai border quite early in the morning by private car since the roads in this area are quite poor. About a 3-hour bumpy drive later and you'll reach the border. After receiving an exit stamp in your passport, you can take one last look at Cambodia from over your shoulder and cross the border by foot. You'll be amazed to see that the border is nothing more than two small offices across from each other and a gate between them. On the Thai side of the border another driver will be waiting to take you to Trat. The difference between Cambodia and Thailand will be noticeable immediately when you set foot on Thai soil; the roads are much better in Thailand. The sandy road you crossed in Cambodia will transform into a paved road, making the trip to Trat much more enjoyable.
- Inclusions -
- All transportation mentioned in the daily itinerary, accommodation with breakfast and English speaking guides
- Exclusions -
- Other meals and drinks, entrance fee to Angkor
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Email the tour operator - Passage through Cambodia
Important Notice : Avoiding Fraud
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