Cambdia is a relatively smaller nation compared to some of its neighbours. But the country is full of surprises. Angkor Wat is unparalleled in the world in its beauty and magnificence. Beyond the vibrant culture of the country and rich legacy of the ancient Khmer empire, there is the buzzing capital city of Phnom Penh. There are some lovely beaches, Mekong River and so lovely cuisines waiting for you to explore in Cambodia.
Itinerary 1: Classic Cambodia Tour
Places Covered: Siem Reap (2nights) – Phnom Penh (2nights) – Sihanoukville (2nights) – Kampot – Phnom Pench(1night)
No. of days: 7nights/8days
Day 1: Siem Reap: Arrive in Siem Reap and transfer to the hotel. Get some relaxation and get acclimatized to the place. Visit the markets of Siem Reap which are full of stuff like hand-woven Cambodian silk, stone carvings, wood carvings, contemporary Cambodian art and handicrafts. Check out some interesting Cambodian cuisines. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 2: Siem Reap: Get up quite early and leave for Angkor Wat temple complex to see its beauty in the rising sun. Go around the temples and take phots to savour your memories. Return to the hotel after a few hours. Have lunch, and take brief rest.
Early in the afternoon, go to see Ta Phrom. This is a temple wonderfully overgrown by roots. Later head for Angkor Wat and watch the temple in the setting sun. It is a different experience altogether in the afternoon when light is softer and the carvings, towers and reliefs look awesome.
Later on go and visit Angkor Thom, the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. There are four gates to Angkor Thom where Bayon is situated. Bayon is the state temple built by Khmer rulers in the 12th Century onwards. Bayon situated at the south gate is most impressive. The most notable earlier temples within the city are the former state temple of Baphuon and Phimeanakas. These are hardly 200 meters to the northwest of the Bayon. This was built before the rest of Angkor Thom was built.
Feel free to visit lively restaurants, cafes and nightlife of Siem Reap in the evening.
Day 3: Siem Reap – Phnom Penh: Take a visit to some other temples around Siem Reap. One of the most popular ones is Preah Khan. Preah Khan is a large temple complex full of intriguing passages lined with carvings. The temple mountain of Pre Rup gives a good view of Siem Reap country side. The mountain top also has richly preserved carvings.
Later head to the airport and catch flight to Phnom Penh. Check into a hotel on arrival. Afterwards, head to Street 178 and enjoy the art galleries and boutiques, and take a look around the stunning collection of Angkorian and pre-Angkorian sculpture in the National Museum.
Phnom Penh is full of good restaurants, bars, and nightlife of all sorts. Enjoy whatever you like the most. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 4: Phnom Penh: Cambodia has a rich historical legacy but a part of it has been horrific. Horrific part, important to know to understand modern Cambodia, can be seen at Tuol Sleng or S21. Visit Choeung Ek, the Killing Fields where the terrified victims of S21 were killed and buried.
Take a trip to the Royal Palace and to Wat Phnom, the namesake heart of Phnom Penh. After lunch, take a cruise down the Mekong. You can find boats near the Royal Palace. Look at the traditional fishing villages and also look at the how the city looks moving in the river.
Cross over the Japanese Bridge to reach Prek Leap to enjoy dinner at one of the several popular traditional Khmer restaurants. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 5: Phnom Penh – Sihanoukville: After breakfast visit Psar Toul Tom Poung, often referred to as the Russian Market. Do some shopping here if you can do some bargaining with a joke and a smile.
Have lunch and leave for Sihanoukville – a drive of around five hours. Arrive late in the afternoon and check into a hotel. Afterwards watch out for a view of the sun setting over the Gulf of Thailand. Enjoy an aperitif with nature at its zenith.
Enjoy dinner at one of eateries. Overnight in Sihanoukville.
Day 6: Sihanoukville: Shianoukville is Cambodia’s beach capital. Enjoy whole day relaxing on the beach and swimming. Indulge in water sports if you want to. Enjoy seafood like lobsters and prawns or crabs. Overnight in Sihanoukville.
Day 7: Sihanoukville – Kampot – Phnom Penh: After an early morning bash at the beach, head to Kampot, a small riverside town short distance from Sihanoukville. Enjoy the languid atmosphere of the town. Afterwards, drive to Phnom Penh and check into a hotel on arrival. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 8: Phnom Penh – Onward Destination: After breakfast check out from the hotel. If time permits, visit local markets for last minute shopping. Afterwards, head to the airport and catch your flight for onward destination.