Ed's Impact Cambodia
Our Destination Specialists are experts at tailoring bespoke itineraries just for you, but what would their own perfect holiday look like? We asked Cambodia Specialist Ed what he’d include in his own ideal trip, and the result is Impact Cambodia, designed to have a lasting effect on you through unique experiences that are far apart from the ‘norm’, whilst also leaving a positive impact on the destination itself.
At a glance
- Get back to nature the extraordinary Shinta Mani Wild resort
- Explore the buzzing city of Phnom Penh
- Learn how Cambodians are recovering from their horrific recent history
- Experience sunset over the fabled ruins of Angkor
- Soar over outlying temples in a helicopter
- Navigate the Tonlé Sap lake in a private boat
- Revel in a performance-with-a-difference by Phare Circus
- Help build a local house with the Shinta Mani NGO
- Kick back on tropical Koh Rong
Kirirom National Park - 3 nights
Ed is a big fan of beginning a holiday far away from any cities, because doing so gives a much greater sense of arrival. Kirirom was Cambodia’s first national park, and covers a picturesque forested area with good walking trails, tranquil lakes and scenic waterfalls. Immediately to its north lies Shinta Mani Wild, the low-impact high-glamour resort created by the designer of the Four Seasons Golden Triangle Elephant Camp in Thailand. Painstakingly planned to protect the surrounding habitat and employ hundreds of local people, the resort offers an extraordinary level of comfort and a highly bespoke experience. Aided by your very own ‘Adventure Butler’, you’ll spend your time here getting back to nature in style, by exploring the forest, messing about on the river, foraging for ingredients and relaxing around the resort.
Day 1 - Arrive Phnom Penh, drive to Kirirom National Park
On arrival in Cambodia, you'll be met by a representative from Shinta Mani, who will accompany you to the resort.
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.
On arrival at Shinta Mani Wild, you’ll be encouraged to make a grand entrance by zipline, before enjoying the rest of your day at leisure.
Day 2 - Trekking & foraging in Kirirom National Park
Discover how much of the jungle is edible on a foraging trek with one of Shinta Mani Wild’s expert chefs, with the option to cook your finds in the camp’s kitchen. Explore the valley’s wild terrain at a pace that suits you, whether that’s a gentle downhill walk or a bouldering expedition!
Day 3 - Boat expedition
Climb aboard one of the resort’s home-made expedition boats to explore the backwaters with a picnic and possibly a cold beer or two. You can play in the water on an inner-tube or a kayak, and relax on a sun-lounger on the top deck. Return to the resort for some time in the spa, with its amazing waterfall setting.
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Phnom Penh - 2 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 visit to the ornate royal palace, a streetfood tour, cycling in the countryside and trips to significant Khmer Rouge sites. You’ll stay at the historic Raffles Le Royal, which opened in 1929 and has welcomed Charlie Chaplin and Jackie O amongst its significant guests, along with housing international journalists during Cambodia’s civil war.
Day 4 - Drive to Phnom Penh, city & streetfood tours
Depart by car for Phnom Penh, where your local guide will help you explore the lavish Royal Palace complex and intriguing National Museum. At 5pm, climb aboard a tuk-tuk for a food-focused tour of the city. Stop for a cocktail at a lively bar on Sisowath Quay and watch the sun set over the river, before heading down to the river, where roadside stalls sell a variety of edible bugs. Your guide will be on hand to decipher the surprisingly tasty offerings! Continue by tuk-tuk to the Russian Market, which draws local diners with typical Khmer food such as banh cheo, chicken rice porridge and beef skewers. Choose what you fancy, pull up a plastic stool alongside the locals, and soak up the atmosphere. Your final food stop for the evening will be freshly BBQ’d seafood, before you return to your hotel, again by tuk-tuk, and probably ready to loosen your waistband...
Day 5 - Rural cycling, hilltop temple, Khmer Rouge sites
You’ll be driven out of town to hop on two wheels for a pleasant cycle through the countryside, taking in villages and rice fields with plenty of panoramic views to enjoy along the way. Your destination is Phnom Oudong, whose beautifully ornate white stupa sits amongst a cluster of historic buildings atop a hill with rewarding views across the surrounding plains. Drive back to Phnom Penh for lunch at ‘Friends’, a restaurant which trains ex-street children and other vulnerable groups in the hospitality trade. The food also happens to be excellent! The afternoon will be a far more sombre experience: Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocidal Crimes and the Cheung Ek ‘killing fields’ will open your eyes to the true brutality of the Pol Pot regime. There’s no sugar-coating this deeply disturbing insight into human capacity for cruelty - but it’s essential to understanding Cambodia and its people today. Your guide will have almost certainly lost loved ones to the regime, and will answer your questions as you try to comprehend what you’ve learnt.
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Siem Reap & Angkor - 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 temples and palaces lie scattered around Siem Reap, largely hidden by jungle. You’ll have plenty of time to discover them with a knowledgeable guide, along with a private boat trip of Tonle Sap lake, a spectacular helicopter tour of some of Angkor’s outlying archaeological sites, and a performance by the NGO Phare Circus. You’ll stay in the unique Sala Lodges, a handful of carefully restored traditional dwellings.
Day 6 - Fly to Siem Reap, sunset at Angkor Wat
Fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, where you’ll be escorted to your hotel to check in before heading out to the Angkor complex. Your expert local guide will show you the Ta Prohm Temple half hidden under a tangle of gigantic roots, the crumbling Bayon Temple, and finally an extensive tour of Angkor Wat itself, finishing in time to watch the sun set over its distinctive silhouette.
Day 7 - Private boat cruise of Tonle Sap & floating villages
Step aboard the Ella, a lovely wooden launch, to explore the backwaters of Tonle Sap, which is South-East Asia’s largest freshwater lake and defines central Cambodia. Drift past the lake’s protected bird biosphere looking out for bright wings darting amongst the flooded vegetation, enjoying fine food and drink as you relax on board. Having returned to your hotel for some time at leisure, dinner will be at Romdeng, a sister restaurant of Friends.
Day 8 - Helicopter tour of remote temples, Phare Circus
Start the morning in style with a helicopter tour of some of Angkor’s outlying temples, enjoying a bird’s eye view of their layout. This particular mode of transport allows a greater perspective of the country and its landscape, allowing you to see features that are difficult to appreciate from the ground, not to mention fitting in many more significant sites without getting worn out! Spend the rest of your day at leisure until it’s time to head out to the Phare Circus for the evening performance. This is not your average circus experience - the performers are all graduates of an NGO school and professional arts training centre which offers opportunities for disadvantaged youth, and they use theatre, music, dance and circus arts to tell uniquely Cambodian stories.
Day 9 - Help build a house with the Shinta Mani Foundation
Spend the day with the Shinta Mani Foundation in Siem Reap, which works to provide opportunities for Cambodians to overcome poverty. Along with its hospitality school and small business loans, the foundation works directly with villages to implement World Health Organisation goals such as sanitation and clean drinking water. Today you’ll have the opportunity to join them in building a house. You can be as involved as you wish, and it’s a great chance to give something back as well as really making a difference to your holiday.
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Koh Rong - 4 nights
These gorgeous tropical islands, with their sandy beaches powder-puff white and their waters crystal clear, are developed enough to extend a luxurious welcome, but remain largely untainted by tourism. Resorts here are truly restful, designed to give you every opportunity to relax completely. Spend your time in the spa or the jungle, out on the water or on the sand. Enjoy the laid back but lively nightlife of Koh Rong's main beach, or seek picture-perfect seclusion in hidden spots around the coast. There's no light pollution here: once the sun goes down, you can experience the night sky in all its glory, and keep an eye out for the magical spectacle of bioluminescent plankton sparkling in the shallow waters.
Day 10 - Plane & speedboat to your beach resort
Journey by boat and car to Sihanoukville, where you will board a shared speedboat to the island of Koh Rong or neighbouring Koh Rong Samloem. Time to kick off your shoes and sink your toes into the sand!
Days 11 to 13 - At leisure on Koh Rong island
Enjoy a few days relaxing on the beach & making the most of your resort’s facilities.
Day 14 - Boat to the mainland, depart Sihanoukville
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|
Shinta Mani WildThe latest innovative project from renowned architect Bill Bensley, Shinta Mani Wild fuses the exhilaration of camping in the wilderness with luxury reminiscent of Golden Age Hollywood glamour, and a commitment to eco-sustainability… See more
Raffles le RoyalSister 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
Sala LodgesSituated in a quiet area of Siem Reap, the 11 wooden Cambodian houses at the Sala Lodges offer something totally different… See more
Royal SandsA scattering of secluded villas face towards the ocean at the Royal Sands resort, a fresh addition to the Koh Rong waterfront… 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).
The important stuffPlease 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.
- 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.
- 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 noteAll prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.
FlightsWe 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.
VisaYou will require a visa to enter Cambodia. Your consultant will be happy to advise you on visa requirements.
PassportPlease 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.
InsuranceYou 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 PreventionYou 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 ProcedureOnly 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 ResponsiblyWe 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.
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.