Explore Cambodia on foot, by river and on two wheels

Cambodia’s incredible beauty, fantastic food and unique culture are even better when combined with some serious outdoor adventure. Explore Phnom Penh and visit haunting monuments to Cambodia’s tragic past, take to the Mekong for an island homestay, get up close with Irrawaddy dolphins and kayak through spectacular flooded forests, then discover the ancient temple ruins of the incredible Angkor complex by foot and mountain bike before winding up in Siem Reap.


Start
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Finish
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Destination
Cambodia
Style
Original
Theme
Active Adventures
Code
TKXC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Get the best of Cambodia in one energetic helping – take in the highlights while getting active to uncover some underexplored treasures

  • Cycle off the main streets and into the heart of Phnom Penh with a backstreets bike tour

  • Discover traditional Khmer villages on the Mekong island of Koh Trong, and swing away the day in a hammock at a rural homestay

  • Temple hop through the jungle – Angkor Wat by private bus and bike allows you to avoid crowds and discover this incredible site from a unique perspective

  • Paddle through spectacular flooded forests in a kayak and try to spot rare Irrawaddy dolphins from a boat

Is this trip right for you?

  • We stay in a homestay on this trip which most travellers find a fascinating and insightful experience. Read more about what it is like here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/cambodia-homestay-experience/

  • This is an active and varied tour with a number of activities to get your pulse going. While specific prior training isn't necessary, some travellers have found parts of the itinerary quite challenging and a reasonably high level of fitness is needed to get the best out of the experience.

  • This trip involves a lot of public transport and some long days of driving, so some patience will go a long way towards your enjoyment here.

  • At times our accommodation may not have continuous hot water. Most travellers don’t find this a problem however, and are often keen to cool down from the heat with a refreshing cold shower!

  • Please note that Cambodia can get very hot, so days cycling or even temple hopping can take it out of you quickly. We recommend packing adequate clothing, sun protection, and that you always have lots of water with you.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019.
View the 2018 itinerary
Sua s'dei! Welcome to Cambodia. The sensational Angkor ruins may be the main attraction, but Cambodia’s exquisite temples, remote villages and magical markets deserve lots of attention too. With genuine locals always ready to share a sincere smile, Cambodia will steal your heart and enrich your spirit. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm 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. Phnom Penh is set at the meeting point of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers, and life centres around the lively river-front area. This evening perhaps join the locals as they come to take in the air, snack on the street hawker food and enjoy impromptu waterside entertainment.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Phnom Penh - National Museum - USD10
  • Phnom Penh - Wat Phnom - USD2
  • Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda - USD10
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Start your adventure on mountain bike, crossing the river by local boat, and then riding through the villages on an island in the Mekong River. The island is famous for silk weaving, agriculture and aquaculture. Stop to see locals at work in the village and enjoy cycling on quiet roads through orchards and along rice paddies. Then return to Phnom Penh for a free afternoon to sightsee. Your leader can help you organise many optional activities. Phnom Penh remains a living relic of the country’s past struggles. The Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek tell the story of the tragic legacy of the Khmer Rouge. The former school of Tuol Sleng 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. Perhaps visit Wat Phnom, the temple that gave rise to the foundation of the city in the 15th century, or the Royal Palace complex’s Silver Pagoda, the most sacred temple in the country. An ideal way to spend your second evening here is to relax in a cafe by the riverfront.

Notes: Total cycling distance today is 25 kilometres./ 15 miles
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Mekong Island cycling
Optional Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Prison Museum (S21) - USD5
  • Phnom Penh - Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) - USD3
  • Phnom Penh - Transport to Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) - USD15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning leave early by private bus for Kratie (approximately 6 hours). En route, pass through Skuon, a small town famous for its tasty spiders where it's possible to sample an eight-legged snack. Eat these furry arachnids like a crab, cracking the body open and pulling the legs off one by one – a delicious snack for the adventurous! Kratie is a picturesque town on the banks of the Mekong, and was until recently a strategic trading port between Phnom Penh and Stung Treng. Both the French and Khmer Rouge found the town useful and there are a number of French colonial buildings that remain. Board a local boat from Kratie waterfront to Koh Trong for your homestay – approximately 280 families call this 6-kilometre island home. Depending on the season and the river height, you may need to walk up a stretch of beach and then take a local bike to your destination. The island is famous for growing the citrus fruit pomelo (supposedly some of the best in Cambodia), rice and other agricultural products. Your homestay is a wonderful opportunity to witness everyday Cambodian life, and this evening you'll taste a traditional-style dinner. Facilities are basic and multi share with mattresses, bedding and mosquito nets provided. With hammocks strung up beneath the house, this a very scenic place to unwind. A 9-kilometre loop around the island’s perimeter is perfect for a leisurely cycle through traditional Khmer villages, fruits orchards and rice fields, observing daily rituals and routines of traditional village life. (1 hour cycling)
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Koh Trong - Cycling
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
After breakfast, take a guided walk (1 hour) where you’ll get a chance to see how the locals live and learn more about local culture in this part of Cambodia. During the days of the Khmer Rouge, much of the island’s forested interior was cut down. Villagers have started a three-planting project at Wat Ty Pram Kbal Koh Trong in response. You’ll have the opportunity to contribute to the project by helping to plant a tree in the pagoda grounds. Afterwards, say goodbye to your island hosts and head back to the mainland. There’s time to wander down the river boulevard and explore the local market in Kratie before travelling 2.5 hours to Stung Treng. Stop at Wat Phnom Sambok, an 18th-century Buddhist monastery along the way. Sitting atop a hill, climb to the top for a view of the lush forested surrounds. Also enjoy an optional lunch at Kampi Creek, where it’s possible to spot dolphins, before arriving in Stung Treng. Once part of southern Laos, Stung Treng switched to Cambodian ownership during the French colonial era. However, many people here speak both Khmer and Laos. The town is situated on the banks of the Sekong River (which flows into the Mekong River a few kilometres out of town).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Koh Trong - Village walk
  • Kratie - Phnom Sombok Temple
  • Kampi - Dolphin watching tour
Optional Activities
  • Koh Trong - Tree Planting donation - USD7
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Start early to make the most of a full day of activities. After breakfast, travel to the village of Voeun Kham. From there catch a local boat to cruise the Mekong River to the famous Sopheak Mitt Waterfall. Situated on the Cambodia-Laos border, the sight and sound of the thundering falls crashing over limestone crags and boulders is a wonderful example of nature’s raw force. Park the boat at a fish family’s hut and hike through jungle to a lunch spot overlooking the falls. Return to the boat and continue through a gorgeous, bird-rich stretch of the Mekong River to the village of Osvay. Pass through the Anlong Cheuteal Irrawaddy dolphin pool, where on rare occasions, it’s possible to spot freshwater dolphins. Hope off the boat and into a kayak where you’ll get to paddle amongst this spectacular scenery, through flooded forests to Vuen Sien village. After a full day exploring this glorious stretch of nature, return to Stung Tend for the night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mekong River - Kayaking
Meals Included
  • Lunch
This morning, set out on your journey to Siem Reap, travelling through the wilds of Cambodia (approximately 4.5 hours). Before you hit civilisation, the group can decide if they want to stop for an optional visit to Beng Mealea, a spectacular hidden jungle temple. Continue to Roluos Temple, where you’ll jump out of the bus for a scenic walk on sandy dirt trails through nearby villages. This is a side of Cambodia that not many tourists see. Walking under shady old trees, past small villages and rice plantations, you will get to see how the locals really live in this town. Finish at a modern pagoda before climbing back into the bus for the last few kilometres to Siem Reap. jump out of the bus and get ready for a scenic walk on sandy dirt trails through the villages into Siem Reap. This is a side of Siem Reap that many tourists never see. Get your first preview of the Angkorian temple magnificence that you’ll experience tomorrow as you pass Wat Bakong (unfortunately you can’t go in). Walking under shady old trees, past small villages and rice plantations, you will get to see how the locals really live in this town. Finish at a modern pagoda before climbing back into the bus for the last few kilometres to Siem Reap. 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. With its cafes, bars, restaurants, food and drinks stands, Siem Reap caters for foodies of all persuasions. 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. Upon arrive into Siem Reap your leader will take you on an orientation walk to help you get acquainted with this bustling town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - Countryside walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Temple hop with your local guide today 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 photo opportunities at any time of day. Tonight with free time in the city a great optional activity is to visit to Phare, the Cambodian Circus. Coming from vulnerable households, the performers have gained international recognition through their art practice. Like a Cambodian Cirque Du Soleil, modern Khmer tales mix theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling, aerial acts, and contortion. Your leader can help you purchase tickets to this show.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
Optional Activities
  • Siem Reap - Phare, the Cambodian Circus ticket - USD18
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, get set up on mountain bikes for a fun ride around the Angkorian ruins. By taking the bike you can avoid some of the crowds and get a unique perspective on this amazing site. Take the back roads along the river through local villages and into the Angkor Park. Your first stop is Phnom Bok – climb up 633 steps to the temple-ruin on top of the hill for an amazing view of the surrounding countryside. You can feel like Indiana Jones as you explore the small temple, together with the remains of a 5-metre long sandstone fertility symbol. On your return to Siem Reap, you’ll cycle along the wall of the ancient city of Angkor Thom. With the moat on one side and thick jungle on the other, you will rarely see another visitor. Tonight gather your fellow travellers and venture out to a local restaurant and celebrate the end of your adventure with an optional group dinner.

Notes: Total cycling distance today is approximately 60 kilometres. The terrain is relatively flat and you’ll cycle on paved and unpaved roads. The jungle trail will be sandy or muddy, depending on the weather.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples cycling tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The final day is departure day and no activities have been planned. If you have extra time you might like to schedule an Angkor zip-line and canopy walk adventure, a tasty Khmer Cooking Class, treat yourself with high tea at Raffles Hotel, or simply relax by the pool.
Optional Activities
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Zipline - USD129
  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventure Cambodian Cook-Out - USD52
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

6 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Transport

Bicycle, Boat, Private vehicle, Kayak

Accommodation

Homestay (1 night), Hotel (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Phnom Penh - Mekong Island cycling
  • Koh Trong - Cycling
  • Koh Trong - Village walk
  • Kratie - Phnom Sombok Temple
  • Kampi - Dolphin watching tour
  • Mekong River - Kayaking
  • Siem Reap - Countryside walk
  • Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples cycling tour

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Important notes

A single supplement is available on this trip, subject to availability. Please contact your sales agent if you would like to book this. Please note the single supplement excludes day 3 (homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation.

Essential trip information

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