The Colours of Cambodia
Mystical temples stand like a mirage alongside shimmering lakes, floating villages drift downstream, and the promise of fried tarantulas is etched on every menu – Cambodia captures the imagination. The exotic slither of South East Asia serves up jungle thickets, wild elephants, and ancient worlds. Even with her painful history, the warmth of Cambodia seeps through a troubled past creating a stirring experience for all who visit.
The Colour of Cambodia
Touch down in Siem Reap – the gateway to the ancient glory of Angkor. But the chic town is more than just a passage – Siem Reap is a destination in its own right. From colourful Cambodian circus tricks to sizzling food tours, floating villages, temples, and yoga pavilions – get ready for a different pace in this South East Asian Kingdom.
Let the meet and greet service whisk you away to the Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa. A cool vision of a colonial tea planter’s house with French style ambience, a central courtyard with stunning pool surrounded by tropical gardens and modern-day luxury seamlessly blends to sweep you off your feet. Fall in love with your first famous Cambodian smile before plunging into the dark blue/green pool or resting on the crisp white sheets of your deluxe room.
Floating Homes + Fabulous Photos
For your first morning in Siem Reap take it soft and easy. Sip a coffee to the soundtrack of exotic feathered birds, stroll around the town, or indulge in a signature massage to unwind all that post flight tension.
Lost Cities + Lofty Temples
Today is all about entering the myth and magic of Cambodia’s temples. The intricately carved temples are the reason many travelers make the journey to Angkor. Lofty columns soaring to the sky, heavy stone hewn to Terraces of Elephants and Terraces of Leper Kings, and gigantic stone faces set against the back drop of twisted jungle roots – nothing can prepare you for the sight. Angkor Thom is lifted straight from the reels of the Tomb Raider movie and the history that seeps through the cracks, the tales of kings, and rulers’ weaves in even more wonder.
Next Angkor Wat – the Lost City – where orange robed monks tiptoe softly through sacred grounds. Be sure to see the surreal sight of a silk cotton tree strangling the carved stones from the Ta Prohm Temple. Hear the trees shake in the deep dark forests that fringe the UNESCO site. Admire the wild lilies that bloom, take photographs from across the lake, and lose yourself in shaded secret courtyards.
Holy Waters + Sunset Citadels
Delve deeper into the love and lore of ancient Hindu mythology as today you visit the places that bring these stories to life. Start at the Banteay Srei – the blushing temple dedicated to Shiva. Its russet sandstone walls are a vision of carvings so complex they look as though they will leap right off the stone. Next, Phnom Kulen will tempt with its sacred hilltop reputation and holy waters.
Just two inches beneath the surface of the water your hands can trace thousands of carvings etched into the riverbed. Follow the ebb and flow, listening to the elegant stories behind the carvings before reaching the gushing waterfall and pilgrimage pool. Pull yourself up the rickety staircase that wraps around the giant 55ft. Buddha – a place where incense burns sweetly into the thick air and monks bow and offer fruit.
Before sunset falls there is time to visit Banteay Samre and its 12th century citadel. Watching the changing light hit the golden stone is enough to make you tingle.
Palatial Spires + Pungent Spices
Leave the landscape of ornate temples behind as you board your flight to Phnom Penh. The capital of Cambodia can be overwhelming at first glance; a land of glimmering palatial spires, pungent spices, whizzing motorbikes, and the constant chatter of a city that has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of war.
Check into the Raffles Hotel Le Royal and receive a red carpet welcome as you enter the sweeping drive and welcomed by doormen fitted out in Khmer uniform. The colonial façade, understated elegance of the grand lobby of this former Indochine palace, walk the cool marble tiled halls with b+w images marking the timelines of history. Head to the bar and order a Femme Fatala cocktail created for Jackie Kennedy in 1967 and enjoy the scents of frangipani on a cool breeze – just the calming and charming haven you need in a city like Phnom Penh.
Enjoy an evening of leisure, exploring the city at will. Dine at one of the cosmopolitan restaurants that line the riverside, sip a sundowner at one of the many rooftop bars, and take a wobbly tuk tuk home to your hotel.
Silver Pagodas + Buzzing Markets
A thriving capital, a half day tour is the best way to get acquainted with the fashionable former Pearl of Asia. The city has a tangled history and the effects of the Khmer Rouge are devastating, but Phnom Penh is the light that shines through – a vision of hope and prosperity after the darkest hour. Wide bright boulevards, incredible museums awash with modern art, trendy cafes and restaurants, historical palaces, and the unrivalled warmth of the locals – these are the lasting visions of Cambodia.
Visit the Royal Palace in all its golden glimmer, admire the fabulous throne room, and duck into the Silver Pagoda to admire the gleaming Emerald Buddha. Afterwards, hit the National Museum to stock up on your Khmer art knowledge, before taking a trip to the sprawling bright, buzzing and endlessly entertaining markets.
Painful Pasts + Bright Futures
Some atrocities need to be looked at in the eye, and The Killing Fields is one of those places. The peaceful rural setting just outside the capital may not whisper immediately of death and fear, but this is the spot where thousands of people were slaughtered and buried in mass graves under the fierce regime of Pol Pot. Take your time at this site before heading to the Museum of Genocide to turn another page in the book of Cambodia’s heart-breaking past. The former high school shifted to become a Khmer Rouge interrogation facility in 1975 – from the thousands who passed through their doors, only seven lived to tell the tale.
After a day immersed in the bitter history, return to the capital with new eyes. Relax with a cold local beer brewed from rice, chat with the friendly locals, and if you are feeling brave – try one of the fried tarantula specialties.
Sublime Spas + Elephant Bars
For your final full day in Phnom Penh you are free to explore and relax at your own pace. Enjoy a cocktail at the famed Raffles Elephant Bar, indulge in some in-house spa treatments back at the hotel, visit the charmingly modest National Library, and stock up on some last-minute souvenirs.
Farewell to Cambodia
This morning after one final experience of Cambodia’s famed fluffy pastries, its time to take a private transfer back to the airport for your onward journey.
8 nights'accommodation, meals as specified by travel agent, private transfers, Venture Far Experiences (Half Day Tour of Tonle Sap + Chong Kneas, Full Day Tour of Angkor, Full Tour of Phnom Kulen + Bantey Srei, Phnom Penh City Tour, Phnom Penh Killing Fields) internal economy flight from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.
Be enchanted by scenes of shimmering rice paddies, emerald green seas + limestone mountains that are a backdrop for romantic images of gilded temples, colonial architecture + saffron robed monks where a lasting impression will be the people + their stories.
Indulge in local cuisines, take temple trails through ancient kingdoms, wander lantern lit lanes in old merchant towns + slow down the pace cruising down the rivers of the Mekong or Ayeyarwady, where time seems to have stood still.
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