Best of Cambodia Trip Notes

Best of Cambodia

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Last Modified: 21 Sep 2016
Best of Cambodia
Trip code: TKSM
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Experience the best of Cambodia on a journey to the heart of the country and get to know the people, landscape, customs and cuisine that make Cambodia so incredible. Travel to the French-colonial elegance of Battambang and on to the time-worn grandeur of Angkor Wat. Travel to Cambodia's remote south to discover the magical country of the Khmers. Along the way, spice up the adventure with temple sunsets, get a glimpse at Cambodia's brutal history and escape to idyllic beach getaways. Indulge in heritage and culture on this fascinating tour through the best of Cambodia.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinishing point instructions
ThemesAccommodation NotesEmergency contact
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionVisas
Why we love itMealsWhat to take
MapMoney mattersClimate and seasonal information
ItineraryGroup leaderHealth
Itinerary disclaimerSafetyTravel insurance
Physical ratingJoining pointA couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeFinish pointFeedback
Your fellow travellersFinish point description
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip involves a lot of travelling and some long days of driving on a mixture of public and private buses. Some patience will go a long way towards your enjoyment here. Sit back, relax, watch the scenery go by, and embrace travelling like a local. There is also a boat from Battambang to Siem Reap on Day 5, which can take up to 7 hours. The boat is very basic, but the scenery is spectacular.
- The facilities at your homestay in Sambor Prei Kuk are basic – a thin mattress on the floor, with pillow provided and mosquito net provided. Bathroom facilities at homestay can be shared and often consist of an Asian style squat toilet. However, the rewards of such an authentic local experience are immeasurable.
Why we love it
- In just 2 weeks, this comprehensive journey around Cambodia will take you from the country’s main highlights to lesser-visited spots; places that take you into daily Cambodian life, like small cottage industries in the beautiful countryside surrounding Battambang
- A homestay in the village of Sambor Prei Kuk puts you right in the heart of rural life in Cambodia
- Get an insight into Cambodian cuisine with a visit to famous pepper plantations outside of Kampot
- Beach-lovers rejoice! Two days in Sihanoukville is your chance to discover secluded sweeps of sand on paradise-like islands
- Discover contrasting sides to Cambodia’s history with included visits to Phnom Penh’s Tuoi Sieng Genocide Museum (S21) and Choeung Ek, and the incredible structures and history of Angkor Wat

Day 1 Phnom Penh
Sua s'dei! Welcome to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm tonight. Check with hotel reception for more information and have your insurance details and next of kin information ready for collection. If you have free time in the afternoon, perhaps stroll the streets of Phnom Penh and explore the city, taking in the interesting French colonial architecture. The National Museum, with its collection of classic Khmer craftsmanship, is well worth a visit. The private quarters of the Royal Palace are home to King Sihamoni and are closed to the public, but you could visit the Silver Pagoda that lies in the palace complex, which is the most sacred temple in the country. Consider a visit to Wat Phnom, a peaceful temple situated on a hill for which the city is named. According to legend, a 14th-century woman named Penh found sacred Buddhist objects in the nearby river and placed them here on the small hill. A great way to spend your first evening after the meeting is to stroll along the famous Sisowath Quay and enjoy a coffee or cocktail at one of the many cafes while observing the busy river traffic.
Optional Activities
  • Phnom Penh - National Museum - USD5
  • Phnom Penh - Wat Phnom - USD2
  • Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda - USD7
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Phnom Penh
    Phnom Penh remains a living relic of the country’s past struggles and successes. Your included visits to the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek tell the story of the tragic legacy of the Khmer Rouge. Tuol Sleng is a former school that served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre, and it’s estimated that more than 20,000 people were held and tortured here. The Choeung Ek Memorial is home to stupa made up of some 8,000 human skulls, marking the site of the infamous Killing Fields. This was the execution ground for the torture victims of Tuol Sleng, and standing in this peaceful setting it's almost unthinkable to imagine that to date nearly 9,000 corpses have been exhumed from the area. An ideal way to spend your second evening here is to relax in a cafe by the riverfront.
    Included Activities
    • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Prison Museum (S21)
    • Phnom Penh - Choeung Ek (Killing Fields)
      Hotel (1 nt)
      1 breakfast
      Day 3 Battambang
      Travel by public bus to Battambang (approximately 5-6 hours). Cambodia's second-largest city, Battambang (pronounced Battambong), is a pretty riverside town of French elegance, friendly Khmer people and beautifully preserved colonial architecture. The city is famous for its many statues of animals and divinities that decorate the streets and buildings. The city lacks the traffic of Phnom Penh and the visitor numbers of Siem Reap, so it’s a great place to get a real slice of Cambodia. In the evening, perhaps walk along the riverfront where locals indulge in hobbies such as yoga and folk dancing.
      Hotel (1 nt)
      1 breakfast
      Day 4 Battambang
      This morning you’ll enjoy a half-day bike trip through the beautiful surrounding countryside of Battambang. Stop along the way to discover the local rural way of life, discovering small cottage industries producing sticky rice, noodles, and fish paste. There are a number of activities for your free afternoon today. Perhaps take a ride on the famous bamboo train, a great chance to interact with locals. Previously mainly used for transporting agricultural products and people, it’s often one of people's favourite activities. The train is made of a wooden and bamboo carriage powered by a small engine. Maximum speed is around 15 km per hour and it can easily be disassembled when carriages come in the opposite direction. You can also see students rehearsing in their circus and music school, and young painters at work in visual arts (open on Mondays and Thursdays only). There’s also an optional cooking class to learn the secrets of local dishes such as amok, Khmer curry, and fried spicy chicken.
      Included Activities
      • Battambang - Half-day Bike Trip
        Optional Activities
        • Battambang - Bamboo Train - USD10
        • Battambang - Artistic Social Centre - USD8
        • Battambang - Cooking Class - USD12
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Day 5 Siem Reap
          Make a classic journey by private boat across the Tonle Sap Lake (approximately 7 hours), taking in the magnificent views, scattering of fishermen and local people living atop their floating villages. The small but expanding town of Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor. This is the most popular destination for travellers in all of Cambodia, perhaps even in South East Asia. You'll probably notice a change of pace here, so take a walk and enjoy the atmosphere. A visit to the old market is a must, even if you're not looking for souvenirs; wandering through the stalls and surrounding shops, the silks, cottons, sarongs, silver and statues are a riot of colour and a feast for the eyes. There's also a long tradition of shadow puppetry in the region, and if you're lucky you might catch a show at one of the local restaurants in the evening, perhaps while you're eating the speciality cuisine of Cambodia – amok, the name given to curry steam-cooked in banana leaves.

          Notes: Between April and August, when water levels are typically at their lowest, we are unable to travel by boat and instead make this journey by mini bus. So that our Intrepid travellers at this time don't miss out on the Tonle Sap experience, we instead include a boat tour of Tonle Sap from Siem Reap.
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Day 6 Siem Reap / Angkor Wat
          Spend a full day temple-hopping with your local guide to make the most of your visit to the world-famous Angkor complex, built between the 9th and 13th centuries when the Khmer empire was the pre-eminent influence in South-East Asia. The ruins are scattered over an area of some 160 square kilometres, but the main cluster of temples is close to Siem Reap so you'll have plenty of time to fully appreciate the great archaeological sites. These include Angkor Wat, the Bayon and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm. The temples were believed to represent the cosmic world and were set in perfect balance, symmetry and composition. The intricately carved bas-reliefs and architectural designs are mind-blowing and there are spectacular photographic opportunities at any time of day - watching a sunrise or sunset is a must.
          Included Activities
          • Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass
          • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
            Hotel (1 nt)
            1 breakfast
            Day 7 Siem Reap / Angkor Wat
            Continue your exploration of the Angkor Complex this morning on a half-day tour. The constructions you’ll see yesterday and today include the eponymous Angkor Wat, the largest and most complete structure, and the only one of Angkor's temples that has its entrance facing west – the others face east. Then there is Angkor Thom, the 'Great Royal City', a temple that is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone. Of all the temples visited, Bayon temple is the centrepiece, with over 200 smiling carved faces and more than 50 gothic towers. You’ll also visit Ta Prohm temple, where nature has taken over again and large trees are embedded in the stone foundations of the structure. Your afternoon will then be free and there are some optional activities to keep you busy. If you feel like some adventure, maybe do the Flight of the Gibbon zip-line course, which gives you a birds-eye view of the beautiful rainforest – and an adrenaline rush, of course. You could get to the heart of Cambodia through its food with a cooking class, where you’ll whip up a 3-course gourmet meal, get to experience local village life, and, best of all, eat your culinary creations. Another option is to visit the sobering Landmine Museum. It's located a little further field, but is well worth the journey.
            Included Activities
            • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
              Optional Activities
              • Siem Reap - Landmine Museum - USD5
              • Siem Reap - Flight of the Gibbon Ziplining - USD129
              • Siem Reap - Urban Adventure Cambodian Cook-Out - USD48
                Hotel (1 nt)
                1 breakfast
                Day 8 Sambor Prei Kuk / Homestay
                Travel by private bus to Sambor Prei Kuk and your homestay (approximately 3.5 hours). You will embark on a tour of the village with your local guide. The guide will introduce you to the way of life of the local people, your homestay facilities and your hosts for tonight. Facilities are simple at your homestay, but this is a fantastic opportunity to experience everyday life in rural Cambodia. The temple ruins at Sambor Prei Kuk just nearby are some of the oldest in the country (dating back to the 6th century) and are well worth a visit (this is optional). In the evening, relax and unwind as you enjoy a traditional Khmer dinner with your host family.

                Notes: We stay in the one room in multishare accommodation. Depending on the group size, we may use two homestays that are located close to each other. There will be a thin mattress on the floor, with pillow provided and mosquito net. The bathroom facilities will be shared and will often consist of a squat style toilet and a washing area. The washing area may be a shower or it could be Asia-style with a bucket shower. This is when there will be a large bucket of water with a small scoop that you use to poor water over yourself. Towels will be provided for you to use for washing. For passengers wanting a little more comfort we recommend bringing your own towel and extra pillow.
                Included Activities
                • Homestay - Village Tour with local guide
                  Optional Activities
                  • Kampong Thom - Sambor Prei Kuk Temple - USD3
                    Homestay (1 nt)
                    1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                    Day 9 Kampot
                    Take a private bus to Kampot (approximately 7 hours), one of Cambodia's most attractive old towns. Famous for its pepper, Kampot supplied most French restaurants with this vital spice for many years during colonial rule. Today, the region is more renowned for its plantations of durian, a spiky, pungent fruit that either incites adoration or sheer loathing. Try it if you dare! In some free time you might choose to stroll along the riverside and observe the French colonial architecture, or have a cup of coffee on the veranda of one of the riverside restaurants and admire the view of Bokor Mountain Range. A traditional massage is also highly recommended. Certainly one of the most enjoyable ways of supporting a local charity, you change into loose cotton pajamas before putting yourself in the capable hands of one of the blind masseurs or masseuses. In a country with no social security, the training and support provided by the centres allows blind Cambodians to support themselves with dignity.
                    Optional Activities
                    • Kampot - Traditional massage - USD5
                      Hotel (1 nt)
                      1 breakfast
                      Day 10 Kampot
                      Enjoy a day out in the countryside, giving you the opportunity to discover the jewels of the Kampot Province. Visit the Kampot Pepper Project and learn why Kampot pepper has been acknowledged by international chefs as the world’s best. Also visit the Kampot salt field: the only salt field in Cambodia. A short walk through the rice fields and a climb provides a lovely outlook over the surrounding countryside. A few steps later and you enter the mouth of Phnom Chhnork limestone cave that has a small 7th century brick temple inside it. You will also visit different villages along the way, where you'll have the opportunity to talk to villagers and witness their daily lives. Explore the old buildings near Kep’s oceanfront. The town used to be Cambodia's most popular and prestigious beach town from the early 1900's until the 1960's. During the Khmer Rouge years, many of Kep's mansions and villas were destroyed, but the ghostly remains of many still stand as a silent reminder.
                      Included Activities
                      • Kampot - Countryside tour
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        1 lunch
                        Day 11 Sihanoukville
                        Travel from Kampot to Sihanoukville (approximately 2 hours). Named after the Cambodian royal family, this town has miles of lovely beaches and warm, welcoming people. It's also a jumping-off point to many beautiful islands. For a tasty lunch today you’ll visit one of our Intrepid Foundation projects. The Starfish Project supports local people with disabilities, along with disadvantaged families, so that they can ensure to send their children to school. It also provides a relaxing, attractive environment where travellers can enjoy fresh, delicious food, home-baked bread, coffee, fabulous brownies and cookies. Afterwards, settle in to the beach-life vibe and perhaps take a refreshing swim.
                        Included Activities
                        • Sihanoukville - Starfish Project visit
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          1 lunch
                          Day 12 Sihanoukville
                          You’ll seek out paradise today when you take a boat out to one of the nearby islands, where you're free to enjoy a barbecue lunch and relax among swaying palms, white sands and blue waters. Enjoy your final day in this paradise by soaking up the beach life and just generally taking it easy. There will also be plenty of time though to explore the town, the market at Otres, the pagodas, and to take in the view from Sihanoukville's surrounding hills. Tonight for dinner, you can try out some of the wide range of tasty food options that line the beaches.
                          Included Activities
                          • Sihanoukville - Island Boat Trip & Snorkelling
                            Hotel (1 nt)
                            1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                            Day 13 Phnom Penh
                            This morning you’ll leave the coast and take a local bus back to Phnom Penh (approximately 4 hours/250 kilometres). The rest of the afternoon and evening is free for further exploration, or maybe some last-minute shopping. Maybe take a walk on the riverfront at the Chatomok, where the Tonle Bassac, Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers meet. Perhaps end your Cambodian journey by joining your fellow travellers for an adventurous dinner – in the early evening market stalls set up selling fried cockroaches, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers and other culinary delights.
                            Hotel (1 nt)
                            1 breakfast
                            Day 14 Phnom Penh
                            This adventure comes to an end today. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
                            1 breakfast
                            Itinerary disclaimer
                            ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                            OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

                            BROCHURE MISPRINT 2016 The 2016 brochure indicated this trip would stay on Otres Beach in Sihanoukville. Please note this trip will continue to stay near Serendipity Beach in Sihanoukville. We sincerley apologise for this misprint.
                            Physical rating

                            Included activities
                            Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Prison Museum (S21)
                            Phnom Penh - Choeung Ek (Killing Fields)
                            Battambang - Half-day Bike Trip
                            Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass
                            Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
                            Homestay - Village Tour with local guide
                            Kampot - Countryside tour
                            Sihanoukville - Starfish Project visit
                            Sihanoukville - Island Boat Trip & Snorkelling
                            Important notes
                            A single supplement is available on this trip. Please see trip notes for further information.

                            Group size
                            Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
                            Your fellow travellers
                            GROUP TRAVEL
                            As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                            SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                            Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

                            A single supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information. Please note that on the following nights the supplement is not available:
                            Day 8 Homestay
                            Homestay (1nt), Hotel (12nt)
                            The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                            TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
                            Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

                            CHECK-IN TIME
                            Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

                            PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
                            If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

                            WINDOWLESS ROOMS:
                            Some hotels in Vietnam and Cambodia have windowless rooms, or windows that don't necessarily have a view. This is often due to high population density in large cities, however local building standards also don't require rooms to have windows. We do request rooms with windows, however they aren't always available.
                            Meals introduction
                            While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

                            In Cambodia - Breakfasts are often simple: eggs, bread, jam and coffee/tea would be most common.
                            9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 dinner
                            Money matters
                            SPENDING MONEY:
                            When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                            We recommend USD250.00 for meals not included.

                            The official currency of Cambodia is the Riel (KHR).

                            Unofficially however, US currency (US$) runs the country and is the currency you should bring, mostly in cash. Clean bills in small denominations are most useful. Notes should be 2006 series onwards. Torn, dirty or old notes, as well as the $2US note will be refused in most businesses Traveller's cheques can be difficult to change. Visa cash advances are available in major banks, and ATMs are are now available in most towns with most dispensing both KHR and US$. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels.

                            EMERGENCY FUNDS:
                            We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

                            If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier.

                            The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

                            Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

                            Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides.

                            Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-US$2 per day for drivers.

                            Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

                            In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

                            Optional Tipping Kitty:
                            At your group meeting on Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty at your own discretion.

                            Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult

                            The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, Intrepid has established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. Intrepid aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.

                            A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
                            Group leader
                            All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                            Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
                            Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                            We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                            Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                            For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:


                            FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
                            Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

                            SEAT BELTS:
                            Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

                            PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                            While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                            There has been a recent spate of bag/purse snatchings in Sihanoukville. They normally occur at night and often the assailant is on a motorbike. Travellers are reminded to leave all valuables at the hotel in a security envelope/safety box and to only take out money you will need for the evening. Carrying a bag can make you a target, if you choose to carry a bag, please ensure the bag is slung across the body. Don't walk alone if returning late at night and consider taking a 'remork' (tuk tuk) instead.

                            There have been incidents of scams involving rental of motorbikes and jet skis in areas frequented by tourists and expatriate residents in some regions of Cambodia including the town of Sihanoukville. Due to safety concerns we do not recommend renting motorbikes, quad bikes or jet skis in Cambodia.

                            BIKE HELMETS:
                            Helmets are provided for all included sightseeing by bicycle, however if you choose, you can bring your own to ensure the right fit and quality.
                            Joining point
                            Cardamom Hotel
                            No. 69, St. 174, Sangkat Phsar Thmey III, Phnom Penh
                            Khan Daun Phenh
                            Phnom Penh
                            Phone: +855 23 883 222
                            Joining point description
                            The Cardamom Hotel is located in the heart of vibrant Phnom Penh, a walk or quick 'motoremork' (Cambodian tuk tuk) away from landmarks such as the Central Market, Wat Phnom, the National Museum, the Royal Palace, the Independence Monument, and Sorya department store as well as a handy local supermarket. The hotel has a total of 102 guests rooms, a lobby bar, restaurant and free WiFi. Check-in is 14:00.
                            Joining point instructions
                            Please note an arrival transfer can be pre purchased prior to your departure through your booking agent.

                            Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid. Your driver will be waiting for you as you leave the customs hall, holding an Intrepid sign bearing your name.

                            Should you have any difficulties please contact the following local number: +855 925 55 969 or +66 898 103 722.

                            Alternatively you can book a taxi which shouldn't cost you more than about USD7.

                            Check in time from 14:00
                            Finish point
                            Cardamom Hotel
                            No. 69, St. 174, Sangkat Phsar Thmey III, Phnom Penh
                            Khan Daun Phenh
                            Phnom Penh
                            Phone: +855 23 883 222
                            Finish point description
                            The Cardamom Hotel is located in the heart of vibrant Phnom Penh, a walk or quick 'motoremork' (Cambodian tuk tuk) away from landmarks such as the Central Market, Wat Phnom, the National Museum, the Royal Palace, the Independence Monument, and Sorya department store as well as a handy local supermarket. The hotel has a total of 102 guests rooms, a lobby bar, restaurant and free WiFi. Check-in is 14:00.
                            Finishing point instructions
                            A departure transfer is available - please make sure you request this at least 2 weeks prior to departure.

                            Phnom Penh International Airport is a 20-minute drive from the Cardamom Hotel. A bus station is 10 minutes away or you can ask reception to call you a taxi.

                            Check out time from the hotel is at 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
                            Emergency contact
                            While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                            We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                            You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                            For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at

                            In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.

                            Intrepid's Cambodia Office: +855 92 555 969
                            As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.
                            Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

                            Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                            Visas can be organised either in advance or on arrival for most nationalities. Check with your embassy or consulate and allow approx 3 weeks for processing. It is also possible to obtain your Cambodian visa on arrival at the airport or border crossing for approx. US$30 (cost subject to change) - you will need a passport photo.

                            If a point of contact is requested, please write: Freedom Hotel, Road #6, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

                            E visas are now available for most nationalities through the official website
                            E visa cost will be USD30 (visa fee) plus USD7 (processing fee)
                            IMPORTANT - please note the Cambodia Government has reported many fraudulent E visa websites that pretend to be official e visa websites. Intrepid recommends only using the official E visa website above or by contacting your Travel agent.
                            What to take
                            What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

                            Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

                            Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:


                            Cambodia authorities have issued an official code of conduct for visitors to Angkor Wat and other religious sites regarding dress code, visitors should not wear skirts or shorts above the knee or tops that reveal bare shoulders; visitors not following the dress code are liable to be refused admission to the sites. Please ensure you pack clothing that follow these guidelines.

                            Climate and seasonal information
                            CAMBODIAN FESTIVALS & HOLIDAYS:
                            During public holidays and festival periods in Cambodia many businesses may close, transport may be extremely busy and travel times may increase. During these times please be patient and consider these moments as an opportunity to interact with the locals. Particularly worth noting are Khmer New Year (3 days in mid-April), Pchum Ben (3 days in early October) and Water Festival (3 days in late November).
                            All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                            You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

                            DENGUE FEVER:
                            Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.

                            BOX JELLY FISH
                            Box jelly fish have been reported in Cambodia's waters throughout the year. Please be aware when swimming alone and follow any warnings from local authorities as stings require immediate medical treatment and fatalities have been known to occur.
                            Travel insurance
                            Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                            When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                            If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                            A couple of rules
                            Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                            Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                            Responsible Travel
                            We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.


                            When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.

                            The Intrepid Foundation
                            Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                            The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:


                            Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Cambodia include:

                            * The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB) is focused on delivering education and training to increase awareness of the need for conservation and environmental protection. It also provides rescue, rehabilitation and release services for wildlife, and conservation breeding of selected endangered species.

                            * Green Gecko provides security, education, love and opportunities to Siem Reap street kids through their formative years and into their adult lives. It also supports the children's families and the broader community through long term health, education and training initiatives.

                            * The Starfish Project helps those unable to access government and other large NGO assistance. Activities include medical care, housing projects, water and sanitation, woman and children in prison, as well as small business assistance. They also run a popular cafe/bakery, massage centre and handicraft shop.

                            * All Ears Cambodia (AEC) provides a much needed medical service in a country torn by years of war, building capacity in the prevention and treatment of ear disease and deafness. Intrepid is collecting old hearing aids which are cleaned, reconditioned and fitted by professional audiology clinicians. If you are travelling to Cambodia please bring these along and pass them to your group leader who will arrange for them to be delivered to AEC.

                            * The Kaliyan Mith Riverside Restaurant provides quality skills training and business and employment support to caregivers of marginalized children. Based out of Friends-International’s existing support-services center, this new restaurant will aim to provide training to ten caregivers through an ongoing 3-6 month internship program.

                            For more information, or to make a donation please visit:

                            After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.