An Insider's Cambodia

Head deep into places the average tourist never even hears of on our Insider's Cambodia holiday. You'll see Cambodia through the eyes of a local, visiting inspiring NGO projects and staying in local homestays. You'll tick off the well-known Angkor temples, but also explore more remote creeper-clad ruins, and even camp amongst Khmer temples. All for a greater understanding of this fascinating country

At a glance
  • Explore Angkorian temples with an expert guide
  • Kayak through a flooded forest
  • Visit inspiring NGO projects
  • Hike up sacred mountain pilgrim paths
  • Camp in the ruins of an ancient city
  • Stay overnight with a local family
  • Explore the buzzing city of Phnom Penh with one of our friends
Itinerary
Price & Hotels

Phnom Penh - 3 nights

Cambodia’s capital is one of Asia’s fastest growing cities, booming and blooming as the country recovers from its time under Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime. Your stay will include a tour of the ornate royal palace, and lunch at Friends, a restaurant which teaches and employs former street children. Spend a morning at a traditional stilt village dedicated almost entirely to silk weaving, take a few hours out to see the city through the eyes of a local with one of our ‘Go Local’ friends, and visit key Khmer Rouge sites for a deeper understanding of the people you’ll meet during your stay in Cambodia

Day 1 - Arrive Phnom Penh, Go Local

Includes:

On arrival in Cambodia, you'll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your hotel.

Welcome to Selective Asia! This level of personal service (such as private transfers, private tours etc) is what you can expect throughout your trip. A few services (e.g. boat cruises) will be shared, but we'll always make sure you're aware of these.

There will be time to freshen up before you're met by one of our Khmer friends to take a stroll or join your companion for a coffee or something stronger (!) in a local café or bar. Your programme for the evening has no fixed structure; the aim is to give you time to immerse yourself further into the country’s culture, and enjoy the company of a local friend. Your companion will take the lead, with some suggestions on how to spend the evening, and they'll be ready to show you a side of Phnom Penh that only locals know. It’s also a great opportunity to get some insider tips and insight into life in the city. Your evening may involve enjoying some street food and live music, or a cycle ride along the river to witness a local ceremony. Your companion might know of a little-known backstreet eatery, or invite you to join them in a game of badminton or petanque. There may also be a chance to join them as they attend their local temple, or even to share a drink and some food with their family or friends. If there’s anything in particular you are interested in experiencing, just let them know and they will do their best to make it happen. Your companion will join you for any street food, snacks or dinner you have. They will spend about 2 - 3 hours with you, and will be happy to make some suggestions for where you can go next, or will direct you back to your hotel.

Day 2 - 'Old & New Tour’

Includes:

Your morning is at leisure. In the afternoon explore Phnom Penh’s contrasting neighbourhoods, journeying from the city’s traditional areas to its more modern; travelling, in true local style, by tuk-tuk. Over the course of the afternoon you will visit the old quarter, and the Royal University of Phnom Penh – the largest university in the country, before focusing on Phnom Penh’s hippest neighbourhood, BKK, with its stylish restaurants and coffee shops, contemporary apartment and office blocks. Your day culminates in style with a drink of one of BKK's small, trendy bars.

Day 3 - Cycling to Silk Island

Includes:

Head over the Japanese Bridge to board the public ferry to Koh Dach, or 'silk island', where you'll visit a village dedicated almost entirely to silk weaving. The village is a typical rural Cambodian stilt village, and you'll see a variety of silk weaving techniques while you observe the local weavers at work. People operate hand looms under most of the houses, while others busy themselves dyeing and spinning silk on wheels made of bicycles parts. Many of the silk products sold in Phnom Penh are weaved in Koh Dach, due to the very high quality of the work. Head back to Phnom Penh, where the remainder of your day will be at leisure.

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Rural Cambodia - 6 nights

This section of your holiday will take you deep into rural Cambodia, journeying through areas that are very much off the map for most tourists. Through visits to inspiring local NGO projects and an overnight in a homestay, you’ll gain an insight into local life. You’ll also explore remote creeper-clad temples, visit the Khmer Rouge’s final stronghold and camp amongst the remote ruins of the Angkor era’s largest temple complex, Preah Khan.

Day 4 - Visit Phnom Oudong, overnight at the Farmhouse Smiling Gecko

Includes:

Depart the bright lights of the big city and head into rural Cambodia. Make a stop at the ancient Cambodian capital of Phnom Oudong before arriving at your overnight accommodation, the Farmhouse Smiling Gecko, in time for lunch. Set up in 2015 by local NGO, Smiling Gecko Cambodia, the Farmhouse was established to offer disadvantaged local people a training opportunity to acquire skills that will enable them to earn a living wage without leaving the countryside. In the afternoon, a member of the Smiling Gecko team will give you an overview of their other inspirational projects that focus on education, supporting local employment initiatives and promoting self-help among the rural population. By staying here you’re directly contributing to the livelihood of the local people.

Day 5 - Drive to Battambang

Includes:

After breakfast, depart for Battambang, taking the time to stop en-route at a pottery village.Until recently, the riverside town of Battambang was very much off the map for visitors, as it was a Khmer Rouge stronghold. It’s slowly bouncing back and makes a great base for visiting nearby villages and a number of hilltop Angkor-era temples.

One of the more famous hills, which you will visit this afternoon, is Phnom Sampeau, which contains the notorious killing caves (another of Cambodia’s killing field sites). The caves are now home to thousands of bats and a group of macaques that feed on bananas left by pilgrims beside the cave’s shrines. If you wish, stay until dusk when you can witness the bats pouring out of the caves and heading out across the surrounding paddy fields in search of food.

Day 6 - Explore Battambang

Includes:

Spend your morning exploring Battambang and the surrounding region on two wheels.Many of the families in these parts make their living producing the rice paper used in spring rolls found on the local menus. Stop to see the manual production line, from steaming the ‘white disk-shapes’ to drying them on bamboo racks. Continue cycling to Wat Keo where you will have the unique opportunity to meet one of the resident monks and learn more about life as a monk before receiving a blessing.

Return to Battambang for lunch at Jaan Bai, a kindness restaurant run by CCT (Cambodia Children Trust), that provides vocational training for orphans and street children from the Battambang area.

Swap two wheels for four this afternoon to visit Phare Ponleu Selpak, an NGO project that teaches artistic performance; helping local children to express themselves and develop essential psycho-social skills. The centre supports around 30 orphans & trafficking victims whilst providing classes to many more. Continue to visit one of the oldest Cambodian vineyards. There will, of course, be the opportunity to sample the grapes before final stop of the day, Phnom Banan where, having climbed the 358 steps to the summit, you can enjoy views across the countryside.

Day 7 - Drive to Banteay Chmar & overnight in a homestay

Includes:

Depart in a northerly direction through the Banteay Meanchey Province which borders Thailand in the far north, before arriving at Banteay Chmar. The dusty streets of this traditional village are lined with beautifully crafted wooden stilt houses and wooden shops. It’s a delightful place to visit, a feeling that is only enhanced by the locals who will often find you of equal interest due to the relatively low visitor numbers the village receives.

You’ll be welcomed at the Community Based Tourism Office and accompanied to your appointed homestay where you will meet your hosts for the night. After enjoying a typically rural-style lunch, head out to explore the village and its surroundings by oxcart. A stop will be made at the ‘Temple of the Cat’, a breathtakingly beautiful temple, famous for its intricate carvings and long walls of bas-relief. In the evening you will dine at the temple: your makeshift dining area lit by homemade torches will create an atmospheric, serene scene as the light dances on the temple walls.

Day 8 - Visit Anlong Veng & Preah Vihear, drive to Srah Emm

Includes:

Having enjoyed a breakfast prepared by your host, continue in a northerly direction. Your journey takes you through a picturesque region of roadside hamlets and rice paddies to Anlong Veng, one of the last Khmer Rouge strongholds to fall. Here you can visit the house of Ta Mok, the Khmer Rouge military commander, and the grave of Pol Pot. You may be surprised to discover that both men are still revered by many in this northern region, with fresh flowers often being laid on Pol Pot’s grave. Continue onwards to Dengrek Mountain, which forms a formidable natural border with Thailand; at its summit, you'll find the temple of Preah Vihear. One of the most impressive and remote of the Angkor Kingdom’s temples, the site offers views across both Thailand and Cambodia. Continue on to Srah Èmm Village where you will be spending the night.

Day 9 - Explore remote Angkor sites, overnight camping

Includes:

Make a morning visit to the 10th century capital of Koh Ker. Whilst there are known to be over 200 temples within the boundaries of this ancient city, only 96 have been discovered thus far and in fact most of your morning is likely to be spent at just one; Prasat Thom, much of which is partially buried. Whilst the visitor numbers vary from one day to another, they are always low, and it is not uncommon for you to have the site to yourself. Continue on to the nearby 'Weaves of Cambodia' Silk Project to learn about the excellent work being done for the region's disabled and disadvantaged (who have no state support), before lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, explore the ruins of a mighty Angkorian city - Preah Khan of Kampong Svay, also known as Bakan. Until recently, this incredible site could only be reached by the hardiest traveller, but road improvements mean that a small handful of visitors now come each week. The original city is believed to have covered over 11 square miles, with the huge temple of Preah Khan as its religious centre. This was the most important temple of the Angkorian period, and much of it still stands. Along with exploring the main temple of Preah Khan, you will also have time to visit nearby sites such as Prasat Preah Damrei and Baray, before returning to Preah Khan where your camp will have been pitched, close to the main walls. Your guide will be happy to take you to explore the site by torchlight.

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Siem Reap - 3 nights

Siem Reap is the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor, the ruined capital of a historic Cambodian empire, and one of the ancient wonders of the world. The town is booming thanks to these fabled ruins, but remains low-rise by royal decree, and retains much of its original charm. 100s of them lie scattered around Siem Reap, largely hidden by jungle. You’ll have plenty of time to discover them with a knowledgeable guide. Your stay will also include a day exploring the floating villages and flooded forests of Tonlé Sap, by boat and kayak.

Day 10 - Drive to Siem Reap, Evening foodie tour

Includes:

After a camp breakfast, depart for Siem Reap. Your afternoon will be at leisure until 6pm, when it's time for an evening tour with a difference. Riding pillion on a Vespa, you’ll experience the city by night from a local perspective, enjoying authentic Cambodian food and drink along the way. Start in a chic bar where you'll join your fellow passengers and local guide for a cold beer, before heading to a food market to learn about the ingredients found in Cambodian cuisine. At a buzzing local night market, you'll sample street food, including the country’s infamous bug snacks, and enjoy a picnic style dinner. Although food is the focus of the evening, you'll also stop at a popular local shrine. Finish the evening at a winery, where you'll have the opportunity to taste Cambodia’s famous (and quite potent!) rice wine.

Day 11 - Angkor Temples exploration

Includes:

Begin your exploration of Angkor Wat, and the complex of ruined temples and palaces around it. You’ll be driven between them, so you can fit quite a few in (if you want to), and our guides know when to see the ruins at uncrowded times. If you wish, start the day with the magical (but popular!) sunrise over Angkor Wat, and let your guide know what kind of pace you prefer, whether you want to fill your day with archaeology, or spend some of it on Tonle Sap lake, or even back at your hotel pool.

Day 12 - Village Explorer, Tonle Sap kayaking

Includes:

Explore rural villages, and learn about the daily lives of the local people. You'll be a world away from Siem Reap - it's a perfect opportunity to get ‘off the beaten track’ and gain a better understanding of Cambodian rural life, along with insight into traditional Khmer culture; something few visitors are lucky enough to experience. You'll explore a local market and purchase supplies for your lunch, and travel by an (almost!) pollution-free ox and cart. Still widely used throughout Cambodia, the cart allows you to travel gently along the narrow sandy village roads. Spend time at the home of a local family, where there will be plenty of time to relax and chat (with your guide acting as interpreter) as they prepare lunch using your market produce. You can help if you wish; this is a fantastic opportunity to further your understanding of typical Khmer cuisine. You meal is likely to be very different from those offered in Siem Reap's more westerner-oriented restaurants!

After lunch continue to the Tonlé Sap Lake where you board a private boat, visiting a floating fishing village, and a flooded forest. If water levels are high enough you can kayak amongst the branches, and paddle out over the lake to enjoy the scenery, keeping an eye open for its diverse birdlife. Much of Cambodian rural life takes place on rivers and lakes, and you can only truly comprehend what this lifestyle is like by taking to the water yourself. Back on dry land, transfer back to Siem Reap.

Day 13 - Depart Siem Reap

Includes:

Transfer to Siem Reap airport for your onward flight.

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We only provide privately guided holidays - meaning that you will not be expected to share guides or transport for the duration of your visit. You can also start on any day you choose.

Please click on the hotel category buttons below to view hotel details. These are recommended properties only - we have many alternative options for you to choose from if you would prefer. You can mix hotel categories throughout your holiday.

Hotel class Price per person (based on total # travelling)
2 persons 3 - 5 6 - 10
Standard £2,837US$3,716 £2,340US$3,066 £1,841US$2,412

Anise Phnom Penh

Conveniently located in the very heart of Phnom Penh, and just minutes by foot from all the key sites and attractions, the Anise hotel allows you to... See more

Farmhouse Smiling Gecko

Surrounded by the wide, green plains of central Cambodia, Farmhouse Smiling Gecko’s selection of stilted bungalows offers a gratifying sense of simple style...

See more

Maisons Wat Kor

A boutique hotel in a traditional Khmer village just over a mile beyond Battambang, the Maisons Wat Kor consists of just three wooden houses with red-tiled roofs, arranged around a stylish pool in pretty gardens... See more

Homestays

Homestays have been operating in various parts of Asia since travellers started to seek a more authentic travel experience in less-visited regions....

Preah Vihear Boutique Hotel

In our opinion, the only thing lacking from a visit to the spectacular temples of Preah Vihear in the past has been suitable accommodation for those wanting to spend... See more

Adventure Programme Tent

Lightweight (although you won’t be carrying them!) and durable, the tents are suitable for sleeping a maximum of two persons… See more

The Moon Residence

Situated in the heart of Siem Reap, with the Old Market, shops and the river on its doorstep, The Moon Residence is a good value, locally owned and run hotel, in a brilliantly convenient location...

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1st Class £3,035US$3,976 £2,539US$3,326 £2,041US$2,673

VMansion Boutique Hotel

VMansion is a welcome breath of fresh air in one of the South-East Asia’s most exciting cities. Located within walking distance of many of Phnom Penh's key highlights... See more

Farmhouse Smiling Gecko

Surrounded by the wide, green plains of central Cambodia, Farmhouse Smiling Gecko’s selection of stilted bungalows offers a gratifying sense of simple style...

See more

Maisons Wat Kor

A boutique hotel in a traditional Khmer village just over a mile beyond Battambang, the Maisons Wat Kor consists of just three wooden houses with red-tiled roofs, arranged around a stylish pool in pretty gardens... See more

Homestays

Homestays have been operating in various parts of Asia since travellers started to seek a more authentic travel experience in less-visited regions....

Preah Vihear Boutique Hotel

In our opinion, the only thing lacking from a visit to the spectacular temples of Preah Vihear in the past has been suitable accommodation for those wanting to spend... See more

Adventure Programme Tent

Lightweight (although you won’t be carrying them!) and durable, the tents are suitable for sleeping a maximum of two persons… See more

Viroth's Hotel

Not to be confused with the original, smaller Viroth’s hotel, this fresher 1950’s inspired Viroth’s Hotel opened at the beginning of 2015... See more
Superior £3,094US$4,052 £2,597US$3,402 £2,098US$2,748

White Mansion

Set right in Phnom Penh’s lively heart - only 500 metres from the Royal Palace - the imposing White Mansion is a conveniently located, high quality hotel with very good facilities for a city-centre property... See more

Farmhouse Smiling Gecko

Surrounded by the wide, green plains of central Cambodia, Farmhouse Smiling Gecko’s selection of stilted bungalows offers a gratifying sense of simple style...

See more

Maisons Wat Kor

A boutique hotel in a traditional Khmer village just over a mile beyond Battambang, the Maisons Wat Kor consists of just three wooden houses with red-tiled roofs, arranged around a stylish pool in pretty gardens... See more

Homestays

Homestays have been operating in various parts of Asia since travellers started to seek a more authentic travel experience in less-visited regions....

Preah Vihear Boutique Hotel

In our opinion, the only thing lacking from a visit to the spectacular temples of Preah Vihear in the past has been suitable accommodation for those wanting to spend... See more

Adventure Programme Tent

Lightweight (although you won’t be carrying them!) and durable, the tents are suitable for sleeping a maximum of two persons… See more

Shinta Mani Shack

Funky and stylish, the Shinta Mani Shack enjoys a location in the heart of Siem Reap’s French Quarter... See more
Deluxe £3,455US$4,526 £2,959US$3,876 £2,460US$3,223

Raffles le Royal

Sister hotel to the renowned Raffles in Singapore, the Le Royal is located in the heart of Phnom Penh, just yards from Wat Phnom - the founding place of the city - and within easy reach of many other key attractions, such as the Royal Palace and Central Market… See more

Farmhouse Smiling Gecko

Surrounded by the wide, green plains of central Cambodia, Farmhouse Smiling Gecko’s selection of stilted bungalows offers a gratifying sense of simple style...

See more

Maisons Wat Kor

A boutique hotel in a traditional Khmer village just over a mile beyond Battambang, the Maisons Wat Kor consists of just three wooden houses with red-tiled roofs, arranged around a stylish pool in pretty gardens... See more

Homestays

Homestays have been operating in various parts of Asia since travellers started to seek a more authentic travel experience in less-visited regions....

Preah Vihear Boutique Hotel

In our opinion, the only thing lacking from a visit to the spectacular temples of Preah Vihear in the past has been suitable accommodation for those wanting to spend... See more

Adventure Programme Tent

Lightweight (although you won’t be carrying them!) and durable, the tents are suitable for sleeping a maximum of two persons… See more

Shinta Mani Angkor

So much more than 'just another' deluxe hotel in Siem Reap, the Shinta Mani Angkor is very much part of the city's early heritage. Rebuilt from scratch in 2011, opening again in 2012... See more

Solo travellers are always welcome - please contact us for a tailored quote.

These prices are shown in GBPUSD.
Selective Asia is a UK-registered company, but our client-base spans the globe, so we bank in both GBP and USD and can therefore provide a fixed price in either currency.
We also have payment facilities in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the EU, and can typically offer better-than-bank exchange rates on the date of payment in these currencies (against a booking priced in GBP).

Itinerary additions

  • If it's losing the trail and getting under the skin of Cambodia you're after then it's possible to add on a couple of nights in Ratanakiri, in the north east. It's a stunning area of the country that has only recently opened up to tourists.
  • If you're looking at this trip then you're probably the more adventurous type. Ask us about some of the cycling experiences we can include...
  • Many visitors to Cambodia ignore its southern coast in favour of Thailand and Vietnam’s better known beaches. We say if you're looking for a more authentic and less tourist focused experience then DON'T! Hence, we have based this holiday on downtime on the small unspoilt island of Koh Rong, hat sits just off Cambodia's coast. This is by no means set in stone and there are other nearby resorts and islands that we can suggest as an alternative.
At Selective Asia we specialise in creating unique, tailor-made experiences. The holiday itineraries provided on this website are intended to help you visualise what is achievable in your destinations of choice, over a given period of time and at an intended budget.
Whilst many clients are happy with one of our recommended itineraries in the current form (and at the price quoted), there are those that wish to personalise their holiday in some way, whether it be a change of hotel, an additional destination or even start from scratch. This is when our tailor-made specialists come into their own; with many years of experience both living and working in the region they are ideally equipped to advise on alternatives and to facilitate any necessary changes.

The important stuff

Please note: During high season periods (such as Christmas and New Year) hotels often levy a surcharge and these are not included in the above prices. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.

Inclusive:

  • English speaking, local guide
  • All accommodation listed
  • Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
  • All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All meals listed
  • International flight reconfirmation.

Exclusive:

  • Flights to/from Asia. We are an ATOL bonded operator and can arrange flights for all our clients, regardless of whether you are departing from the UK or from almost any other worldwide destination.
  • Entry visas
  • International airport departure taxes
  • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Drinks, other than water on activity days
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
  • Travel insurance
  • All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

Please note

All prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.

 

Extras

Flights

We will arrange all internal flights used within our holiday itineraries. We can also arrange discounted flights from all UK airports to Asia and we are a fully bonded ATOL operator. If you would like a quote for your international flights then please complete the required section on the enquiry form.

Visa

You will require a visa to enter Cambodia. Your consultant will be happy to advise you on visa requirements.

Passport

Please ensure that you have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after your return date. You will also need at least one blank page for each of the countries you are visiting.

Insurance

You will require a comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. We offer our customers a specially discounted insurance policy, ideally suited to the needs that a trip such as this creates. Tick the insurance box in the enquiry form and we will send you a quote to suit your needs.

Vaccinations and Malaria Prevention

You will undoubtedly require vaccinations for your visit to Asia. Please consult your doctor or a vaccination clinic for the most up-to-date advice. They will also be able to advise you of the most suitable anti-malarial medication if required. It is important that you do this well in advance of your departure date.

Booking Procedure

Only once you are completely happy with any holiday itinerary we create for you will we ask for a payment. In order that we can secure availability for your booking we would typically require a deposit of 20%.

Travelling Responsibly

We care about the places and the communities that you will travel through. It is important to us that we travel as responsibly as possible throughout Asia and that we are giving something back to the regions and the people that make these journeys so special. Full details on our approach to responsible travel can be found on a dedicated section of this website.

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Anna – Indochina tailor-made specialist

For those wanting to shun the busy temple sites, Cambodia still offers a multitude of 'off the beaten track' experiences if you don’t mind compromising on comfort for a unique and memorable trip.

AnnaIndochina tailor-made specialist

Speak to Anna on 01273 670 001

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Our tailor-made service costs you no extra

This itinerary is designed to work straight off the peg, but we'll happily tailor it until it's a perfect fit for you, to ensure we’re making the absolute best of your time and funds. All you need to do is ask...

Your own private guides & drivers

You'll typically have your own private guides & drivers throughout your trip. When you will be sharing a service (eg a boat cruise) with others, we'll always let you know.

Book With Confidence

For peace of mind when booking your future holiday to Asia, we have introduced flexible booking conditions & full financial clarity.