Grand tour of the Lake via Kratie & Preah Vihear in 13 days
PHNOM PENH – KAMPONG CHAM – KRATIE – PREAH VIHEAR – SIEM REAP – ANGKOR – PREK TOAL – BATTAMBANG – PURSAT – KAMPONG CHNANG – PHNOM PENH
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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 Ounalom Pagoda 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 (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
Visit Cheungkok a small atypical village of 600 souls. It is a member of a united ecotourism and home-made project, introduced and accompanied by the NGO (NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION) AMICA. A unique and unforgettable experience…
Late in the afternoon, if you wish, you can rent one of the bikes at the hotel and walk until Koh Paen in the South of the city.
Depending on the season: You will discover an amazing bamboo bridge that connects the city to the quiet island of Koh Paen. Every year it is taken by the powerful river flow; it is persistently reconstructed every year. It is the quiet place, right in the middle of the Mekong that it is pleasant to discover on foot or by bicycle.
Return to the hotel.
Overnight in Kampong Cham.
Day 4: Kampong Cham - Kratie (B)
Road to Kratie via Chlong, old city for the timber trade(Approximately 130km, 2h30 drive).
Along the way, visit Chup Rubber plantation and its old manufacture of Michelin.(It is possible that in January and February, the plantation remains closed because trees cannot produce any more of latex due to the North wind).
Arrive in Kratie, take a boat on the Mekong to observe freshwater dolphins, endangered speciescausedby an inexplicably high mortality of pup, inbreeding, disease and habitat destruction, especially gillnets.
Optional according to the schedule of arrival to Kratie province recognition:
Visit Wat 100 columns (in Khmer Wat Sorsor Muy Roi) and the tomb of the princess Kro rPom 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 inKratie.
Or on the island Koh Trong (only if you spend there more than a night).
Day 5: Kratié - 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 end of the day (30Km).
Overnight Sraem village in the province of Preah Vihear.
Day 6: Preah Vihear - Koh Ker – Beng Mealea - 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 7: SIEM REAP - Angkor Temples (B - D)
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 precious of Khmer art and which attracted the attention of André 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…).
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 8: SIEM REAP - Angkor Temples (B)
A whole day is dedicated to the temples in the small and big circuit:
Kravan, Ta Nei, Bat Chum, Srah Srang,
Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, Pre Roup, Tasom, Neak Pean, Krol Kor, Prasat Pithu, Preah Khan, Preah Palilay and Bakheng.
6:30 p.m.: Dinner offered with "Apsara" show in the AMAZONE restaurant: enormous buffet of all kinds of Cambodian specialties with Apsara performance (20 male and female dancers).
Overnight in Siem Reap.
In Siem Reap, there is a quality show organized by the circus school of Battambang. (Strongly recommended but with additional charge, ask your guide to reserve at your convenient date. Phone: 015499480).
Day 9: 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 and Bakheng for the sunset.
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.
Day 10: 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 stops but optional:
· At Prek Toal:
- A water hyacinth Workshop: In a large floating home, the women of the community produce general merchandise product from a species of water hyacinth's called "Long Hand."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 BakPrea: A restaurant on the water is available but, however we recommend taking a picnic (check with the guide, we provide the water).
Most of the agencies use a collective speed boat that make the tripby following the main arm without guide, you embark with suitcases, and another guide waits for you on the other side in 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 is along the Prek Toal bird sanctuary but not a business one. The visit must devote a day and spend the night there to see the surprise birds at daybreak ... Contact us.
Option 2:in case of impossibility or if you do not wish to take too much boat: 9:00 am: excursion with English-speaking guide and private boat, on the Tonlé Sap lake, the visit the floating village of Chong Khneas, approximately 1h30 by 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 11: 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 communities until the Ek Phnom temple. On the way, stop at Prohoc market to check your tolerance with the odor of fermented 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 brickyard craft. 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.
Day 12: 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 local people living 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 Chnang Province 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 13: 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 as Killing 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 at the central market.
By late afternoon: transfer to the airport according to your flight schedule.
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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