Overview

An unforgettable family adventure within a peerless setting!

Forget about the school, about work, about the routine and get ready to enjoy a precious time together. The trip has been specifically designed to be a well enjoyed family holiday that combines the main highlights of Cambodia with other educational, adventurous and fun activities which will make the journey more pleasant both for children, adults and seniors. 

Highlights

  • Possibility to adapt the trip as per the needs of each family. 
  • Educational and fun trip which will allow the whole family to get to know in a deeper way the exciting Khmer History.
  • Discovering the stunning Temples of Angkor together. 
  • Fun activities like zip lining or the laureate Cambodian circus show and explorations by cyclo-taxi, tuk-tuk or bike.
  • Learning from the members of Wildlife Alliance in which consists being a real bear keeper for a day in Phnom Tamao. 
  • Hitting the waters of the biggest reserve of natural water in Southeast Asia, the Tonle Sap Lake, experiencing how life in an authentic floating village is.
Arrival in Phnom Penh & Sunset cruise on the Mekong

Day 1 Arrival in Phnom Penh & Sunset cruise on the Mekong

Meals: not included  | Accommodation: Comfort rooms, Iroha Garden Hotel (or similar), Phnom Penh

We will be received at Phnom Penh airport upon our arrival and driven to our hotel in the city centre. Time to rest and recover from our long haul flight, or have fun in the swimming pool.

In the late afternoon, our guide will meet and pick us in the hotel for our sunset cruise on the Mekong.  We will set off on the Tonle Sap River, widely known for reversing its direction every year, acting as the world's largest natural flood barrier for the Mekong River. We will cruise past the Royal Palace and around the Chrouy Changvar Peninsula on the mighty Mekong River, passing by small villages and seeing how the fishing boats get ready for their catch. It will be already dark when we will return to Phnom Penh.

Discovering Phnom Penh by Cyclo-taxi

Day 2 Discovering Phnom Penh by Cyclo-taxi

Meals: breakfast | Accommodation: Comfort rooms, Iroha Garden Hotel (or similar), Phnom Penh

Today we will discover the streets of Phnom Penh by cyclo-taxi, a popular form of transport throughout Southeast Asia that is still widely used in the Cambodian capital, and a local, comfortable and green mean of transport. Wat Phnom, symbol of the city, will be our first destination before heading west past the National Library and Hotel Le Royal. 

We will pass the emblematic Phnom Penh train station before winding our way down to Psar Thmei, the leading market in the city. We then will snake through some of the smaller back streets, including 178 St, brimming with art shops, and Bohemian 240 St with its cafes and boutiques. 

Afterwards, we will pass the Independence Monument, and continue to the elegant riverfront where there are dozens of cafes, bars and eateries to enjoy some refreshments. The glittering Royal Palace and the stunning National Museum will also be on our way.

We will be back in our hotel in the afternoon, enjoying the rest of the day on our own, as we prefer. 
 

A Day with the Bear keepers at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Alliance Center

Day 3 A Day with the Bear keepers at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Alliance Center

Meals: breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Comfort rooms, Iroha Garden Hotel (or similar), Phnom Penh

We will leave in the morning to the Phnom Tamao Rescue center, south of Phnom Penh, where thanks to the partnership between Wildlife Alliance and the Cambodian Forestry Administration, the animals rescued from illegal wildlife traders in Cambodia are guaranteed a lifetime of care. Those who manage to make a full recovery have the chance of being released back into the wild.

We will go behind the scenes and learn how it is looking after more than 100 rescued Sun bears, being able to join the bear keepers in preparing food and enrichment toys which keep the bears happy and healthy in their forested sanctuary. There will also be the chance to look at other endangered species at the Centre, before enjoying a traditional Khmer lunch. 

Note: Our visit will contribute to raise funds for the Rescue center, which is home to over 1,200 animals that have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. No animal in need is ever turned away. At the same time, our children will get a deeper understanding about the interaction, survival, and beauty of these creatures. 

Phnom Penh – Battambang

Day 4 Phnom Penh – Battambang

Meals: breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Superior rooms, Bambu Hotel (or similar), Battambang

Today we will bid farewell to Phnom Penh and the urban atmosphere while starting our journey to Siem Reap through a very special route. We will travel through the busy riverside town of Kompong Chhnang, where if we wish, we can visit a local pottery village, since this town is famous for producing undecorated items for the Cambodian homes. 

Afterwards, we will arrive to Kompong Luong, the largest floating community on the Tonle Sap, with its almost 10,000 inhabitants, where everything floats on the water, including the schools, a clinic, the shops and the petrol station. We will explore it by boat and experience life in a real floating community untouched by the mass tourism. 

We will head later to the provincial capital of Pursat for lunch, a pleasant riverside town in Central Cambodia, and continue then through Pursat province, passing through typical Cambodian landscapes of endless rice fields dotted with sugar palms.  It will be late afternoon when we arrive in the charming Battambang and check into our hotel. 

Soaking the Cambodian Rural Atmosphere around Battambang

Day 5 Soaking the Cambodian Rural Atmosphere around Battambang

Meals: breakfast | Accommodation: Superior rooms, Bambu Hotel (or similar), Battambang

Today we will visit in the morning a local village in Wat Koh and learn about farming, rice harvesting and rural life in Cambodia. 

After lunch, we will travel to the hilltop temple of Wat Banan. The winding road follows the Sangker River and passes by many traditional wooden homes, offering an authentic glimpse of rural Cambodia. We will also be rewarded with striking views when we ascend to the Temple. 

Phnom Sampeau, a sacred mountain dotted with interesting pagodas and stupas, will be our next target. There is also a moving memorial to Khmer Rouge victims who were thrown into one of the many caves that pepper this holy mountain.

We will return to Battambang town for the night.

Battambang – Siem Reap

Day 6 Battambang – Siem Reap

Meals: breakfast, dinner | Accommodation: Family Suite, Siddharta Boutique Hotel (or similar), Siem Reap

After breakfast, we will leave Battambang and travel North towards Siem Reap, the atmospheric gateway to the majestic temples of Angkor.

It will only take us only a few hours to get there (around 3 ½ - 4 hours). After checking-in in our hotel in Siem Reap, we will count on the rest of the day free till the evening, when we will enjoy a dinner with a classical dance performance, where we will see many of the most popular Cambodian dances, including the graceful Apsara dance, scenes from the Ramayana (known as Reamker in Cambodia), the coconut dance and more. The classical dances include elaborate costumes and date back to the time of Angkor, while the folk dances are connected to the harvest and the cycle of the seasons.  No visit to Cambodia is complete without attending at least one traditional Khmer dance performance!

Ta Prohm Temple, Zip-line in Angkor & Khmer Pottery and Painting class

Day 7 Ta Prohm Temple, Zip-line in Angkor & Khmer Pottery and Painting class

Meals: breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Family Suite, Siddharta Boutique Hotel (or similar), Siem Reap

We will rise early morning and travel to one of the man-made wonders ever built: The Temples of Angkor. 
We will get started by Ta Prohm temple. Ta Prohm has been abandoned to the elements, as reminding that while empires rise and fall, the riotous power of nature marches on, oblivious to the dramas of human history. Left as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhot in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones. 

Afterwards we will enjoy a very nice adventure around Angkor, a unique zip-line experience within a peerless setting. Family‐friendly, fun and safe, flying through the air above the jungle canopy is an exhilarating experience. The course includes 10 zip-lines, including a tandem line, rope bridges, a tree-house and a 15m abseil descent to navigate. There is also a nature trail and a family of wild gibbons in the jungle. 

In the afternoon, we will join the pottery and painting class at the Khmer Ceramics Center. We will learn how to throw a pot on the wheel, from pulling our clay out of the bag to removing our pot from the wheel. If we wish, we can make our own Angkorian bowl! We will be using the potter’s wheel and experience how it feels to make these art crafts.

After giving shape to our bowls on the wheel, we can be creative by adding a Khmer carving with our teacher’s help and with different potter’s tools. Later we will learn how to use some special painting tools and also about different ceramics painting techniques. We can draw, paint and design what we want, but sometime will be need to make our pieces functional (fire, glaze). They will be ready the next day at 4PM. 

Bird Watching at Prek Toal Biosphere & Innovative Circus

Day 8 Bird Watching at Prek Toal Biosphere & Innovative Circus

Meals: breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Family Suite, Siddharta Boutique Hotel (or similar), Siem Reap

Today we will travel to the pristine biosphere of Prek Toal, home to some of the most endangered birdlife on the planet, on the northeastern shore of the Tonle Sap and about one hour by boat from the port at Phnom Krom.  Prek Toal is a vast area of natural flooded forest that draws thousands of birds annually to breed during the dry season (Oct-Mar). This is one of the premier places in Southeast Asia to see rare birds such as storks, adjutants, pelicans and ibis. As birdwatchers, we will drift through their habitat and be able to observe large flocks of birds feeding on the lake shore, perched in the trees or soaring above the forest. 

A trip to Prek Toal requires an early start (around 5.30 am). We will transfer by boat from Phnom Krom to Prek Toal, enjoy breakfast along the way and spend the bird-watching morning on a traditional wooden boat as we glide through the flooded forest with local specialists. After our local lunch, we will experience the life in the floating village, learning about different fishing techniques and the traditional water hyacinth weaving. 

We will return to Siem Reap in the afternoon and head in the evening to the innovative Phare circus. Their nightly modern performers are highly appreciated by visitors and locals in Siem Reap, since they display a variety of disciplines including beautiful acrobatics, juggling, clowning, live music and much more.

Angkor Wat Sunrise, Mini-golf & Special Khmer lunch

Day 9 Angkor Wat Sunrise, Mini-golf & Special Khmer lunch

Meals: breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Family Suite, Siddharta Boutique Hotel (or similar), Siem Reap

Rising at the crack of dawn, we will journey out to the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat. Believed to be the world's largest religious building, this temple is the perfect fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers. Built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, this is the most famous temple at Angkor. We will have a picnic breakfast in Angkor Wat while the crowds return to their hotels and enjoy its magnificence in peace and quiet. We will begin by unraveling the mysteries of the bas-reliefs that reflects tales from Hindu mythology and the glories of the Khmer empire. Stretching for almost one kilometre, these intricate carvings are a candidate for the world’s longest unbroken piece of art. Following in the footsteps of the devout and the destructive before us, we will then continue to the upper levels of the inner sanctuary. The final steps to the upper terrace of Angkor are the steepest of all, as pilgrims of old were to stoop on their pilgrimage to encounter the Gods. We will finally find ourselves by the pinnacle, the sacred heart of Angkor Wat, a blend of spirituality and symmetry so perfect that only few moments will measure up.

After our exploration, we will go for a mini golf round at the Angkor Wat Putt, a fun, family-friendly alternative to the more expensive world of 18-hole golf courses. This 14-hole course includes many miniature temples as obstacles around the course, including headliners such as Angkor Wat and the Bayon, as well as temples further afield such as Banteay Srei and Preah Vihear.

At lunch time we will enjoy a very special traditional Khmer meal at Sala Kdei, an intimate location to eat and have a break in the middle of our day exploring the temples, although if you prefer, also breakfast, sunset cocktails or a Khmer cooking class can also be arranged at this gorgeous traditional wooden home on the banks of the Royal bathing pool at Sra Srang.

In the afternoon the immense walled city of Angkor Thom, masterpiece of King Jayavarman VII, will be our next destination. The scale is simply staggering, and we will be immediately overwhelmed by the audacity of Jayavarman on arrival at the city’s gates. The causeway is lined by an intricate bridge depicting the Churning of the Ocean of Milk from Hindu mythology in which the devas (gods) and asuras (devils) play tug of war with a naga (seven-headed serpent) to obtain the elixir of immortality. Located at the exact centre of Angkor Thom, the Bayon is an eccentric expression of the creative genius and inflated ego of Cambodia’s most celebrated king. Its 54 towers are each topped off with the four faces of Avalokiteshvara (Buddha of Compassion), which bear more than a passing resemblance to the king himself. Before clambering upwards, we unravel the mysteries of the bas-reliefs, with their intricate scenes of ancient battles against the Chams and their snapshot of daily life during the Angkor period. We will continue along the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances and traditional sports. 

Our exploration will finish today at the Terrace of the Leper King. This intricately carved platform was the royal crematorium and the statue that was originally thought to be the leper king is now believed to be Yama, the god of death.

A different Cooking Class at Sala Roluos

Day 10 A different Cooking Class at Sala Roluos

Meals: breakfast, lunch| Accommodation: not included

We will enjoy today a very special cooking class that follows the footsteps of some famous and infamous television chefs that have passed through Cambodia on their global culinary journeys. This course takes us deep into the Cambodian countryside around Siem Reap where we will visit the local market of Roluos, a traditional town far removed from the tourism industry around Angkor. After browsing the local market for some fresh ingredients, we will leave to the beautiful wooden house of Sala Roluos, whose architecture boasts a contemporary take on a traditional Cambodian design. This was the location where Gordon Ramsay learnt to cook stuffed frog with kreung paste, a delicious Cambodian dish involving lemongrass, turmeric, garlic and more, as part of his Gordon's Great Escapes series. We will learn about this dish, but using more conventional ingredients instead of frog.

Anthony Bourdain also visited Cambodia for his No Reservations show; we will learn how to make delicious fresh spring rolls as he did when in Cambodia. Finally we will look to Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey for some inspiration to cook amok, Cambodia's national dish involving a mild baked fish curry in banana leaf.

Note: The menu can be varied to take into account dietary requirements and preferences.

After enjoying our meal, we may count on some free time before heading to the airport for our onward flight. We suggest you to take a last family ride around the Temples of Angkor to bid the best possible farewell to this majestic country. 

Note: [If you wish, the trip can easily be extended to the coast or to another destination upon request. Please contact your Handspan Travel consultant if you would like to receive more information in this regard]

Price based on a Family trip for 2 adults + 2 children under 12 years old

Price per Family
6.936 USD

 

* Prices valid till 1st October 2019 for the ready-to-book family adventure for outlined on this detailed program which has been handcrafted by our production team and that includes the very best of every destination (highlights and some lesser known assets as well!). Our travel consultants will also be glad to customize this journey to suit your specific interests and travel-style.

* Would you like to adapt the itinerary, accommodation or any activity as per your needs and preferences? Then just get in touch with us with your comments at info@handspan.com.

* Special prices for larger and monoparental families, and the possibility to connect the tour with other stages of your trip around Indochina, by contacting us.

Included

  • Accommodation as mentioned on the program (upgrades possible with a supplement)
  • Transportation with experiences drivers as stated.
  • Meals as specified. 
  • All entrance fees, visits and activities mentioned on the program.
  • The services of experienced local English-speaking guides.
  • VAT and other taxes.

Not included

  • Flights and visas.
  • Personal travel Insurance.
  • Beverages, gratuities and personal expenses.
  • Supplements on peak season.

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