Cambodia, a Southeast Asian nation is still a mysterious land for many people. The country attracts tourists not only for its beautiful natural scenery and unique cultural history but also the spirit and warmth of people. Phnom Penh, a peaceful city, located at the confluence of two rivers Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers. When exploring the city, you will find special cultural values, the combination of ancient and modern, a bustling modern city but still preserve its unique with ancient temples and vast palaces. Come to Cambodia, you certainly have to visit Angkor Wat, a temper complex in Siem Reap and the largest religious monument ever constructed in the world whose name means “temple city”. Traveling through the two sites will be extremely memorable and rewarding experience. Let’s check it out.
Day 1: Come to Phnom Penh
You will be picked up and transferred to the hotel located in the center of Phnom Penh and take time to rest. Phnom Penh, founded in 1434 by King Ponhea Yat, is situated on the side of the Tonlé Sap, Mekong and Bassac rivers, known for its beautiful and historical architecture. The short form name of Phnom Penh is Krong Chaktomok which means “City of Four Faces” given by King Ponhea. By the 1920s, Phnom Penh was called as the Pearl of Asia. In the total area of 678.46 km2, visitors can easily find the special architecture of Cambodia mixed with ancient French architecture.
Day 2: Explore Phnom Penh
The first place of the trip is Wat Phnom Temple, the origin of Phnom Penh. This is a Buddhist temple and was built in 1372, standing on a hill (27 meters above the ground). From there, you could see the vast city skyline of Phnom Penh as it is the tallest religious structure in the city.Continue to the Royal Palace (Preah Barum Reachea Veang Chaktomuk Serei Mongkol in Khmer language) which was built in 1866 under the French protectorate and King Norodom when he relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh in the mid-19th century. This is a complex of the building serving royal residence of the King. The Royal Palace of Cambodia imprints Khmer architecture with lightly French touch featuring in some walls, halls, and tempers.
Move to the south of the Royal Palace, we will come to the Silver Pagoda, built in 1962. It’s official name is Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot which means “Temple of the Emerald-Crystal Buddha”. Silver Pagoda houses many national treasures and gold and jeweled Buddha statues.In the afternoon, we will visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, chronicling the Cambodian genocide. The prison originally was a high school, but four months after the Khmer Rouge won the Cambodian Civil War, this place was converted to a prison and named it as “Security Prison 21”. After that, we will travel 10 km outside of the city to Killing Fields of Choeung Ek to learn of the horrors that unfolded here decades ago.In the site, you will be set free time for self-exploring. Then, we will spend the rest of daytime for shopping at the Toul Tompong Market (Russian Market).We will stay overnight in Phnom Penh.You are to wear long pants and long sleeves when visiting the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.
Day 3: Visit Siem Reap
After finishing breakfast at the hotel, we will travel to Siem Reap. First stop is Kompong, a picturesque town located on the banks of the Stung Sen River. There are beautiful views of fields, rubber plantations and typical Khmer Villages in Kamchar Leur and Kampong Thmor.Then we will come to Sambor Prei Kuk, established by King Isanavarman I, built of brick between the years 615 and 650. The buildings of Sambor Prei Kuk are characteristic of the Pre-Angkorean period with a simple external plan. Cambodian government has included Sambor Prei Kuk on its Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.From here we continue head to Siem Reap and spend one night there.
Day 4: Explore Angkor Complex
After breakfast served by hotel, we will head out to the UNESCO World Heritage site. First site is the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. The city was built as a square with four sides run exactly to four directions. Come to the center of the city is Bayon Temple which was built around 1190 AD by King Jayavarman VII. This is a Buddhist temple but it incorporates elements of Hindu cosmology, representing the intersection of heaven and earth. At one kilometer east of Angkor Thom is Ta Prohm Temple originally called Rajavihara. Ta Prohm nowadays still maintain its condition in which it was found. The combination of nature and architecture of the temple attracts many visitors.Continue to visit Angkor Wat, this is the most well-known and best-preserved of all temples among the Angkor complex. It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple of God Vishnu for the Khmer Empire. The temple becomes a symbol of Cambodia and appears on its national flag.It would be a good idea to visit Pre Rup Temple to sunset over the Angkor Archaeological Park and its surroundings.At late noon, we will come back to the hotel in Siem Reap.You are to wear long pants and long sleeves when visiting temples in Angkor Wat
Day 5: Explore Angkor Complex
In the morning this day, you will visit Kbal Spean. It stretches along 150m of the Stung Kbal Spean River, 25 kilometers away from the main Angkor group of monuments. The site consists of a series of stone rock relief carvings in sandstone formations of the river bed and banks. In this tour, we will introduce the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity which is the first protected nature and wildlife rescue endangered breeding center in Cambodia. You will give chance to experience procedure to rescue wildlife animal. Besides, we also come to Kbal Spean to admire waterfall and riverbed carvings. Banteay Srei, located near the hill of Phnom Dei, was built by red sandstone, displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art.We will stop at a Pradak Village noodle shop to try Num Banh Chok somlor kari, a must-try traditional dish served with peanut sauce and various pickles.In evening, you are free to explore Siem Reap night market and spend the night in Siem Reap.
Day 6: Siem Reap
In day 6 of this tour, there isn’t any arranged plan from the travel agency. Tourists could take some time to hang out. You can do shopping, go around to take a picture or try new local cuisine in some last hours before being transferred to the airport.
IdealTravelasia always believed that tourism is also a way to learn about the culture, society, history, and acculturation from your destination. We hope this tour will be an interesting suggestion for you to plan your vacation.