Cambodia: Beyond the Ordinary

On our Cambodia: Beyond the Ordinary itinerary you'll meet minority villagers and rescued elephants in the country's remote north-eastern provinces, and see fresh sides of Angkor, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

At a glance

  • Discover the fabled Angkor temples
  • Taste Siem Reap on a Vespa Streetfood Safari
  • Kayak the flooded forests of Tonle Sap
  • Visit Cambodia’s ‘Last Frontier’ in Ratanakiri
  • Swim in a crater lake
  • Spend a fantastic day at Elephant Valley
  • Explore the buzzing city of Phnom Penh
  • Learn how Cambodians are recovering from their horrific recent history
Itinerary
Price & Hotels

Siem Reap - 4 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 explore them with an expert guide, along with kayaking the flooded forests of Tonle Sap, and getting a taste of the modern city on a Vespa Streetfood Safari. Once you arrive in the Siem Reap, your day will be at leisure, be that a swim in the hotel pool or a wander around town - perhaps using our InspirAsian app to find a recommended local restaurant for dinner.

Day 1 - Arrive Siem Reap

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 (eg boat cruises) will be shared, but we'll always make sure you're aware of these.

Day 2 - 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 3 - Tonlé Sap Lake kayaking, evening foodie Vespa Tour

Includes:

Explore the Tonlé Sap Lake aboard a private boat, visiting a floating fishing village, and a flooded forest, where - 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. Once you're back in 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 4 - Beng Mealea, Phnom Kulen trek

Includes:

Head out of Siem Reap to the massive jungle temple of Beng Mealea, the size and scale of Angkor Wat but utterly swallowed by the jungle. Thanks to the distance from Siem Reap the number of visitors here is much lower than it's more famous counterparts, but word is getting out, so by visiting early in the morning you’ll be ahead of the pack.

After some time clambering about this titan of temples continue on to Phnom Kulen, one of Cambodia’s most sacred mountains (more of a large hill!), with deeply revered pagodas and ruins on its high plateau which overlooks the plains below. There are quite a few steps up, but you'll be able to pause to catch your breath and take in the excellent views. Having paid your respects at the Preach Ang Chup Pagoda, step into the jungle of Phnom Kulen National Path, on an old hunting trail that winds through the vine-covered trees until it reaches the River of 1000 Lingas, an array of unique riverbed carvings, and nearby Preah Ang Thom, a huge stone Buddha carved into the top of a rock set in a bustling but atmospheric temple complex.

After lunch in a local restaurant jump on a motorbike taxi for an exhilarating (if a little bouncy!) ride through the forest to visit Lion Temple and Elephant Temple - beautiful larger-than-life stone carvings, covered in moss and hidden deep in the jungle. There'll be time for a dip in a nearby holy waterfall, where you'll often find locals relaxing on the riverbanks, before returning to Siem Reap in the late afternoon.

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Srah Emm - 1 night

Day 5 - Explore remote Angkor sites & drive to Srah Emm

Includes:

Depart from Siem Reap, heading in a northerly direction towards the border with Thailand. 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.

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Banlung - 2 nights

Ratanakiri Province is considered to be ‘Cambodia's Last Frontier’, but thanks to recently improved roads, journey times are much quicker than just a few years ago, with the ever-changing backdrop guaranteeing plenty to occupy you en route. This region of Cambodia has only recently opened up to visitors, and is now becoming popular with both outdoor enthusiasts and those interested in ancient Asian cultures. With so much open space, it feels a million miles from the crowded streets of Siem Reap! You’ll spend your time here wild-swimming in a crater lake, and visiting a remote tribal village in the jungle.

Day 6 - Journey into 'Cambodia's Last Frontier', crater lake swimming

Includes:

Drop in at 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 heading to Banlung, Ratanakiri's provincial capital. Spend a few hours nearby at a stunning crater lake surrounded by lush tropical forest, which local people believe is home to mystical water spirits. It's unquestionably the finest natural swimming pool in Cambodia, and the perfect place to spend your first afternoon in this wonderful region.

Day 7 - Rural village visits

Includes:

Spend this morning visiting some of the fascinating minority villages nearby, such as Kres, where the Kreung people live in houses clustered in circles, and Krala, where unmarried adults’ bamboo houses are built separately in front of their family homes. Bachelors’ houses are always quite high on stilts, whereas the women’s are low to the ground. Bokeo is a small mining village where entire families are involved in hunting for gems. It’s hard and relatively dangerous work, in rough ‘mines’ that are generally no more than a meter wide, but 10-15 meters deep. The miners are nonetheless pleased to welcome visitors who wish to learn more about their lives and the challenges they face. Head back to Banlung for lunch at a local restaurant, before travelling by boat to a village with an unusual cemetery, complete with jauntily carved effigies. You can also visit a picturesque Chinese village which has been here for about 200 years and, time permitting, visit one of the many Lao settlements in the area.

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Sen Monorom - 3 nights

Mondulkiri is home to diverse wildlife, including elephants, leopards and tigers. There are even rumours that rhinoceros inhabit the more remote areas. It's also well known for its fruit orchards and quality coffee production, and is home to Phnong, Banong and other minority tribes, many of whom have maintained the same way of life for centuries in the region's forests and hills. You’ll stay in the provincial capital, San Monorom, visit a local coffee plantation, and spend a wonderful day at the Elephant Valley conservation project. It takes a couple of hours to get here from Banlung, so your first day will be at leisure before departure and on arrival.

Day 8 - Drive to Sen Monorom

Includes:

Journey south by car to Sen Monorom, the provincial capital of Mondulkiri, where, on arrival, the remainder of your day will be at leisure.

Day 9 - Poulong Trek & Coffee Plantation visit

Includes:

Meet a local guide for a morning trek through an extremely picturesque landscape of rolling hills, pastures and valleys. You are likely to pass a few minority hillside farms, which grow a mixture of crops, including rice, corn and vegetables. You may also see the footprints of wild boar and deer on the trails. Afterwards you'll be driven to the Bou Sraa Waterfalls, believed to be the highest in Cambodia, and the Coffee Plantation, passing many more plantations that grow durian, mangosteen, sapodilla, avocado, strawberries, and other tasty produce. Enjoy a leisurely lunch under the thatched cottage roof of the Coffee Plantation's restaurant, before exploring the plantation grounds. Return to Sen Monorom, where the rest of your day will be at leisure.

Day 10 - Elephant Valley Project

Includes:

Head to the Hefalump Café in Sen Monorom to meet the Elephant Valley Project team and other guests for the drive into the countryside. Just as you begin to suspect you may be getting lost, you’ll arrive at the unique Elephant Valley Project. Founded and run by an Englishman called Jack, the 1,600 hectare sanctuary has space for up to 20 elephants. It provides a safe habitat for retired elephants, and a sustainable income for local mahouts (elephant keepers), inviting visitors to join the herd for the day.

You'll walk with, rather than ride on, the elephants as they explore their natural forest habitat. It’s a unique approach in Cambodia, and one that undoubtedly enhances your understanding of the herd’s behaviour, and how the elephants interact with each other in their bonded family groups.

Receive an an informative briefing about the work of the Elephant Valley Project and what to expect from your visit, before trekking into the valley in search of the first elephant ‘family’ you’ll be meeting. Lunch will be a seasonal local-style meal with spectacular views over the valley, before an afternoon spent shadowing another group of elephants. You're also likely to observe the elephants bathing in the river and playing in the mud – both important parts of their daily beauty routine! Return to Sen Monorom in the late afternoon and drive up to Samut Chheu to enjoy the views across ‘Sea Forest’, as the sun sets over Mondulkiri.

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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. You’ll also spend a morning at a traditional stilt village dedicated almost entirely to silk weaving, and visit key Khmer Rouge sites for a deeper understanding of the people you’ll meet during your stay in Cambodia. Your first day here will be at leisure following the journey from Mondulkiri.

Day 11 - Drive to Phnom Penh

Includes:

Drive to Phnom Penh where the remainder of your day will be at leisure to begin exploring the city.

Day 12 - '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 13 - 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. Having stopped for lunch at a small restaurant in the village, you may wish to ride to the island's northern headland, a popular weekend spot for locals to picnic and enjoy a swim. If the water is high enough, you can take a dip before heading back over the Mekong for the drive back to your hotel, where the rest of your day will be at leisure.

Day 14 - Depart Phnom Penh

Includes:

Transfer to the 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 £2,534US$3,320 £2,105US$2,757 £1,672US$2,190

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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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

Terres Rouge

The Terres Rouge offers a high level of comfort in a remote rural location in north-eastern Cambodia. This inviting boutique hotel on the banks of the Banlung lake comprises the beautifully restored... See more

Mayura Hill Resort

For those wanting to get up close to nature, Mayura Hill Resort is a peaceful boutique base from which to explore the natural beauty of Mondulkiri... See more

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
First Class £2,786US$3,650 £2,357US$3,087 £1,923US$2,519

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

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

Terres Rouge

The Terres Rouge offers a high level of comfort in a remote rural location in north-eastern Cambodia. This inviting boutique hotel on the banks of the Banlung lake comprises the beautifully restored... See more

Mayura Hill Resort

For those wanting to get up close to nature, Mayura Hill Resort is a peaceful boutique base from which to explore the natural beauty of Mondulkiri... See more

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
Superior £2,886US$3,780 £2,456US$3,218 £2,023US$2,650

Shinta Mani Shack

Funky and stylish, the Shinta Mani Shack enjoys a location in the heart of Siem Reap’s French Quarter... See more

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

Terres Rouge

The Terres Rouge offers a high level of comfort in a remote rural location in north-eastern Cambodia. This inviting boutique hotel on the banks of the Banlung lake comprises the beautifully restored... See more

Mayura Hill Resort

For those wanting to get up close to nature, Mayura Hill Resort is a peaceful boutique base from which to explore the natural beauty of Mondulkiri... See more

Palace Gate Hotel & Resort

Surrounding a beautifully restored French-Colonial villa, the Palace Gate Hotel & Resort serves up a well-balanced blend of classic luxury and modern chic...

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Deluxe £3,247US$4,254 £2,818US$3,691 £2,385US$3,124

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

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

Terres Rouge

The Terres Rouge offers a high level of comfort in a remote rural location in north-eastern Cambodia. This inviting boutique hotel on the banks of the Banlung lake comprises the beautifully restored... See more

Mayura Hill Resort

For those wanting to get up close to nature, Mayura Hill Resort is a peaceful boutique base from which to explore the natural beauty of Mondulkiri... See more

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

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

  • Having travelled all that way to Ratanakiri you may wish to consider travelling onwards...just two hours further north and you'll be in Laos.
  • Many visitors to Cambodia ignore its southern coast in favour of Thailand and Vietnam's better know beaches. However, Cambodia has several excellent beaches close to Sihanoukville - not only are they just three hours drive from Phnom Penh, you'll also avoid the large crowds that descend on other better known Asian beaches during peak seasons.
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

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.