Grand tour around the Lake via Kratie Ratanakiri & Preah Vihear in 15 days
PHNOM PENH – KAMPONG CHAM – KRATIE – RATANAKIRI – BANLUNG – PREAH VIHEAR – SIEM REAP – ANGKOR – PREK TOAL – BATTAMBANG – PURSAT – KAMPONG CHNANG – PHNOM PEN
Considering the road conditions in Ratanakiri, during the monsoon, we do not recommend this circuit from June to October. If, however, you wish to make this tour during this period it is possible that two days in Ratanakiri are changed in case of impracticable roads. During the monsoon we’d rather recommend the region of Mondulkiri. The difficult parts of this tour are made in air-conditioned 4x4. For big cities, you choose your hotel in our selection based on category that you selected (exclusive Khuon tour). For the cities of least importance, trust us...
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You can download the complete circuit in PDF format with illustrations and enlarged plan.
A complete file will be provided upon arrival at Cambodia concerning all the information on the typical restaurants and certain visits in order to preserve the originality of our off-the-beaten-tracktour.
Day 1: PHNOM PENH
Welcome at the airport.
Check-in at the hotel. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 2: PHNOM PENH (B - L)
In the morning: visit the Royal Palace moved from the former capital Oudong in 1863; visit the Silver Pagoda (more than 5000 silver tiles decorate the ground where located the golden statue of Buddha Maitreya of 90 kg. Visit the central market renovated by France’s donation.
At noon: authentic meal will be offered to you in a restaurant at the edge of the Mekong. The atmosphere is very local and off-the-beaten-track. One or several representatives of the agency will lunch with you. They will share with you their loves of the Cambodia.
Around you the Khmers sell: crickets, fruits of the village (longan, jackfruit, apple studs, and mango). Here few tourists but the Khmer life in nature.
In the afternoon, visit the National Museum formerly called the Albert Sarraut museum where the objects, statues and parts of arts come from all the Cambodian provinces. You will continue by visiting the OunalomPagoda built in 1443, which is the most important pagoda in Phnom Penh.
Colonial District (Option, if time permits and if you wish): the Grand Hotel, the Post office, the Bank of Indochina, the Police station, the Superior Residence, the Treasury Bridge, the Chamber of Commerce, the Library and the Railway Station.
Visit the Wat Phnom (Pagoda on the hill) renovated in 1926. At the foot of the hill is a bas-relief sculptured by Théodore Rivière to honor the Siam-French treaty.
In the evening, take a small cruise along the river bank towards Chroy Changvar peninsula (according to weather and time, sunset on the Royal Palace).
Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 3: PHNOM PENH - Kampong Cham - Kratie (B)
Direction: Kampong Cham (about 130km for about 2h30-drive) located in the most populated agricultural province of Cambodia. Optional stop at Skun: a transit point where you will meet any sort of travelers. Enjoy insects (grasshoppers, locusts, scorpion, fermented ants - taste likea crunchy hazelnut) and local fruits (fresh or dried) green mangos, pineapples, bananas, etc... Adventurers will play with tarantulas in full hands or crunch its legs.
In Kampong Cham: Burn incense sticks at legendary hills of Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei. You will be welcomed by monkeys waiting for your bananas. Discover of the temple dedicated to Buddha built by King Jayavarman VII in the thirteenth century.
Along the way, visit Chup rubber plantation and its former Michelin factory (It is possible that in January and February, plantation remains closed because trees can no longer produce latex due to the north wind).
On the way, visit Chlong, ancient town of timber trade.
Arrive in Kratie, take a boat on the Mekong to observe freshwater dolphins, endangered species caused by an inexplicably high mortality of pup, inbreeding, disease and habitat destruction, especially gillnets.
Option: depending on the arrival time in Kratie province:
Visit Wat 100 columns (in Khmer Wat Sorsor Muy Roi) and the tomb of the princess Kror Pom Chuk, according to the legend, died after an attack of crocodiles in the Sambour district, the ancient city of Chenla Empire. The story goes that her spirit still haunts the region and the people of Kratie often speak of it.
On-site visit the soft turtles conservation center (Family Trionychidae). This international project involves the long-term conservation of the wild population of one of the rarest freshwater turtles and the biggest in the world.
Depending on your fitness at the time, possibility to climb the Sambok hill for a panoramic view of the region.
Overnight at hotel on the river in Kratie.
Or on the island Koh Trong (only if you spend more than one night).
Day 4: Kratié - Ratanakiri (B)
Direction: Banlung in Ratanakiri, approximately 4 hours drive. Since 2012 the passage through the Sre Pok bridge which were used to shoot partially in the movies Apocalypse Now and 317thsection is no longer done. A new road was built which reduces 45 minutes driving. Transfer to your lodge or hotel.
Afternoon: departure on the road through the rainforest and lead you to the Kachanh and Chaong water falls. Bring swimsuits... Possibility of an elephant ride to one of the waterfalls (If elephants are present that day, no reservation, you pay on spot, expect around $20 for 2 people and a little trekking.). If time permits, possibility to continue the track and go to the Ka Tien waterfall.
Return back to the lodge or hotel in the late afternoon.
Overnight in Banlung.
Day 5: Banlung - Taveng (B- Picnic)
Before you leave, visit the Banlung market where minorities sell vegetables from their harvest in their basket back.
Departure with 4x4 on a track towards the Taveng village. We cross respectively Norng Lekvillage, the lava field Véal Rumplan and theTorng Kampoul village.
Visit Kroeung villages (possibility of a trek between the Kala and Kres villages crossing the bamboo forest and plantations), and visit ethnic minority known for their particular constructions of their single houses.
Along the way, a picnic in the great collective house where the festivities and meetings are held and it will be served by the village chef.
Return to Banlung in the late afternoon. Pass by gemstone mines in surprising lunar landscapes. Ratanakiri is an area full of gems. You can buy 2 stones for $20 depending on size.
Overnight in Banlung.
Day 6: Banlung - Veun Sai (B)
Departure by road (1h30) through the bamboo forest to the Voeun Sai district (there is a little restaurant on site).
Pass bya local market at the exit of the city.
Boat trip on the Tonle Se San to visit the Koh Peak village renowned for its funeral totems. Most of the peoplein this region are Chinese or Laotian and speak Laotian.
We visit their village, Lao Pagoda and its surroundings.
In the late afternoon return to Banlung and visit the volcanic lake Yeak Lom, set in a lush jungle
For minorities living in the area, the site remains a sacred especially the mysterious creatures that live in this crystal clear water...
Overnight in Banlung.
Day 7: Banlung – Stung Treng – Preah Vihear (B)
Road to Preah Vihear "sacred sanctuary". On the way, discover the Stung Trengtown, and crossed by the Mekong by the bridge inaugurated in 2015 (Approximately 6h00 of route includingstops).
Break at Sraem (transit village of the Preah Vihearprovince).
In the afternoon:
Continue by the old conflict zone between the Thailand and the Cambodia where “king of sun”Sûryavarman I built the temple of Preah Vihear dedicated to the god Shiva.
At the foot of the hill, take a 4x4 to climb the hill to the temple’s entrance then continue by foot. At the peak,magnificent panoramic view on the Thailand.
(In case of hindrance you can transfer this visit to the next day in the morning.)
Back to Sraem at the end of the day (30Km).
Overnight Sraem village in the province of Preah Vihear.
Jour 8: Preah Vihear - Koh Ker - Beng Méaléa - SIEM REAP (B)
Departure in the direction of Koh Keran impressive and abandoned temple in 120km of Siem Reap, built by king Jayavarman IV (AD 928-942). The story of the creation of this Capital is quite familiar to the Indian mythology MAHABHARATA. It was the big evolution in the Khmer architecture which prefers statues much more impressive than natural size.
Prasat Thom has the shape of a 7-storeyed unfinished pyramid built within the temples which was built in the previous period.
After a small rest in the hammock, we continue the visit another forgotten temple, Beng Mealea (Flower in the pond).
The quality of the architecture and the decoration of this temple will amaze you in spite of the nature and the man who left it in ruin.
Before of arriving in Siem Reap, direction to the Big Lake, visit the fantastic and unique village of the fishermen of Kampong Pluk, a village on the water,cut off from the world (only accessible by boat).
You will take a boat to visit these houses on piles built only to face the floods during the monsoon.
During the dry season, you will have a walk in this village surrounding a pagoda. You can observe the constructions and the renovations of houses and boats, the lifestyle of the inhabitants, the means of transport of the villagers who live 6 months on the water. Visit houses and small factories of fishes, small market etc. During the rainy season, you will embark on a boat to visit from one house to another and you will change later again a small boat to discover the flooded forest.
Arrive at Siem Reap in the late afternoon.
You will go to discover Siem Reap, beginning with "Psar Chas", the old market. Then city tour of the much livened up district situated behind the hotel Ta Prohm where you can walk in the evening (restaurants, massages, workshops, crafts…night market).
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 9: SIEM REAP - Angkor Temples (B)
Discover the archaeological park of the Khmer empire. Adjust the visit onspot with the guide according to your desire and curiosity (You can also follow the chronological order of the temple constructions).
Visit the temples of the group Roluos marked by the beginning of the Khmer civilization. The royal temple of King Indravarman I, Bakong is one of first stone constructed temples,an architectural revolution of the period illustrating the cult Devaraja which gave legitimacy to the royal power.
Continue towards the other temples of the group.
Direction: the small temple Banteay Srei (Citadel of women) "Tribhuvanamahesvara". It is located 25km north Siem Reap, built in pink sandstone which make this motifs carved like the gem of Khmer art and which attracted the attention ofAndré Malraux in 1923.It is situated in 25Km North of Siem Reap.
Option and if you are passionate, on the direction of Banteay Srei possibility to visit
A butterfly farm (no extra charge). http://www.angkorbutterfly.com
The Mine museum (With additional charge, you pay at the door). www.cambodialandminemuseum.org
On the way back, visit small temples (Banteay Samré, Prasat Prei, Prasat Tor…).
6:30 p.m.: Dinner offered with "Apsara" showin the ’AMAZONE restaurant: enormous buffet of all kinds of Cambodian specialties with show Apsara (20 dancers and dancers).
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 10: SIEM REAP - Angkor Temples (B)
A whole day is dedicated to the temples in the small and big circuit:
Kravan, Ta Nei, Bat Chum, SrahSrang,
Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, Pre Roup, Tasom, Neak Pean, Krol Kor, Prasat Pithu, Preah Khan, Preah Palilay and Bakheng for the sunset.
Overnight in Siem Reap.To Siem Reap it exist a quality show realized by the circus school of Battambang. (Strongly recommended but with additional charge, ask your guide to reserve at your convenient date. Phone: 015499480).
Day 11: SIEM REAP - Angkor Temples (B)
This day is reserved for the visit the ancient capital of Angkor Thom and the famous temple of Angkor Wat.
Then the temples in the ancient capital of Angkor Thom: Bayon, Baphuon, Terrace of the Elephants, the Royal Palace, Terrace of the Leper King, Phimeanakas, Chau SayTevada, Thommanon Tanei and Takeo
Afternoon: visit the famous Temple Angkor Wat in detail
Option without supplement: at 18 km from Siem Reap, the silk farm center, the breeding of the silkworms in the traditional weaving, the craftsman treats the whole process and makes beautiful parts in the old motives.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Jour 12 : Siem Reap – Prek Toal - Battambang (B)
2 options for this day:
Option 1: Transfer to Battambang by private boat with hammocks for your comfort. You cross the Tonle Sap Lake and continue by Sangker River along Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary, and through the flooded forest (6 to 8 hours of motorboat depending on the season).Once arrive in Battambang, case by case, you will be transferred to the hotel by tuktuk or vehicle.
This crossing is normally navigable throughout the year.
If waters are too shallow, our boat will land you before Battambang and you will continuewith 4x4vehicle. When waters are low it's better to embark early, around 7:00.
Throughout this journey you will see small villages on banks, fish farms, the local residents who is bathing, herds in the water, the fisherswith Chinese square nets and the agriculture scenes on 2 sides.
For the groups you can divide your group, a partcan choose option 1, the other option 2...
Consult us about it when you wish.
Important but optional stops:
· To Prek Toal:
- A water hyacinth Workshop: In a large floating home, the women of the community produce general merchandise at the base of a variety of water hyacinth's "Long Branch." Water hyacinth is an invasive species. Osmose, a project who is trying to fight it by having local people make baskets from dried hyacinth.
- A floating crocodile farm.
· Wat ChoeuKhmao or "black wood" Pagoda ruined in a flooded area built by fishermen in 19th century during the Siamese occupation.
· floating village Bak Prea: A restaurant on the water is available but, however we recommend taking a picnic (see the guide, we provide the water).
Most of the agencies use a collective speed boat which does the trip in one breath by the main arm without guide, you embark with suitcases, and another guide waits for you on the other side to Battambang.
According to the season the surface of the lake can vary of 2500 in 120.000 km ² (4 - 5 times). Generally from February till May the crossing is not possible for the collective boats.
In Battambang we shall have the opportunity to see of numerous French colonial houses.
Overnight in Battambang.
Attention: This crossing along the Prek Toal bird sanctuary but it is not a business one. For a visit must devote a day and spend the night there to surprise the birds at daybreak ... Contact us.
Option 2: in case of impossibility or if you do not wish to make too much boat: 9:00 am: excursion with English-speaking guide and private boat, on the lake Tonlé Sap, the visit the floating village of Chong Khneas, approximately 1:30 am of boat. Then road for Battambang and at the beginning the planned visits the next day what will relieve the program of the next day.
Overnight in Battambang.
Optional this evening or the next day: pass by the school of the circus " Phare Ponleu Selpak ", an associative school where numerous young people come to learn not only the various disciplines of the circus but also the illustration and the theater, following in daytime possibility of shows with small additional charge (Generally it is closed Sunday and other days according to the peak seasons, Tel.: 016899809). The show of circus operates every evening in Siem Reap Tel.: 015499480. These shows are strongly recommended (quality show)
Day 13: Battambang (B)
The program of this day is a little loaded but feasible as indicated. Feel reassured, the guide will adapt this day according to your tastes and your rhythm.
Early in the morning: visit the central market before taking TukTuk along the bank of the Sangke river by crossing Cham et Khmer communitiesuntil the Ek Phnomtemple. On the way, stop at Prohoc market to check your tolerance with the odoroffermented fish. Continue the rural visit to the old pagoda, Wat Samroung Knong sadly known by its prison activity during the Khmer Rouge regime. On the road, we will stop several times to observe the preparation of Krolann(pastry cake with glutinous rice, bean and coconut); rice pancakes; incense sticks; fish Nems.
Afternoon: excursion by car until Prasat Banon or the hill Banon which is an attractive temple perched on the top of a hill, 368 steps to climb for the bravest.
Then we will continue the road until Phnom Sampeou, 12Km of Battambang. At the top of a calcareous outcrop of Phnom Sampeou raises itself a set of temples, where the monkeys took up residence, with a magnificent view on the surrounding plains (A good physical condition is required).
You will discover a profound canyon of "ghosts" and caves having served as mass graves in the time of the Khmer Rouges. The corpses of the tortured prisoners were thrown to it. At the foot of hill, before sunset, you can attend a magnificent show where millions of bats go out of the cave.
Option: without supplement price during the day:take ' Bamboo Train ' or train bamboo, visit a brickyardcraft. Watch out! It moves terribly...
- Pagoda Wat Damrei Sor, Wat Kandal,
- Small museum,
- Notables' Old house in the village Wat Kor saved by the Khmer Rouges.
- The Old house of the governor, the station, the colonial houses.
Overnight in Battambang.
Jour 14: Battambang - Pursat - Kampong Chnang - Phnom Penh (B)
Departure from Battambang to Pursat town, located halfway from Phnom Penh, we will adjust the departure time according to what you wish to do during this day.
On the road pass by the Krokor market famous for its fish products.
Visit Kampong Luong by boat, rustic, private. A surprising floating city of about 12000 inhabitants parting in two communities. The one assures the collection and the distribution of fishes and the other one sells the fishing tools and the differenthousehold products. These villages move according to the water level and are very well equipped: doctors, restaurants, schools … (It is most off-the-beaten-track)
Back to Phnom Penh via the Kampong ChnangProvince famous for its floating villages and its potteries.
At 36 km before arriving in Phnom Penh, visit Oudong, former Khmer capital. The palace was transformed into one of the most beautiful pagoda of this province situated at the foot of the Phnom Preah Jartroip hill (Mount Royal Treasury).
Visit the silversmiths village situated in Kampong Luongvillage, Pongnea Loeudistrict.
Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 15: PHNOM PENH (B)
The morning at about 8 a.m.: departure by car then take a ferry for the Silk Island conscripts also Koh Dach on the Mekong, a heaven of peace in 15 km from Phnom Penh. In almost traditional houses, women weave silk and cotton fabrics.
This discovery costs you a half day.
Option: on the way back: visit the Russian market, visit the museum S21 "Toul Sleng" notorious center of torture and interrogation the prisoners under the Khmer Rouge Regime.
Continue by following the road which had been used to deport prisoners up to the extermination camp of Cheong Ek, also known asKilling Fields.
After all these emotions, for the amateurs of photos, you can climb to the 7th floor of the Sorya Shopping Center where you will have a panoramic view of Phnom Penh. Last shopping atthe central market.
By late afternoon: transfer to the airport according to your flight schedule.End of our services.
If you want, you can spend a night in a homestay or other floating village and also enjoy a bike ride or tuk tuk during a morning ... Just let us know
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