Bike, Hike & Kayak Cambodia

Starting From

$1,499/person

Number of days

12

Start Location

Cambodia

Group Size

4-16

Operated by

World Expeditions

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An active, off the beaten path journey through beautiful Cambodia. Learn of its recent history in Phnom Penh, spot Irrawaddy dolphins in Kratie & explore the majestic Temples of Angkor.

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Join Phnom Penh

Welcome to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The city suffered much during the long war years and the subsequent abandonment from the Khmer Rouge but today its wide, riverside boulevards are bustling with activity. Phnom Penh boasts a unique blend of Asian and French traditions. The story of the capital of Cambodia dates back to an event in the year 1327. It is said that a rich widow named Don Penh found a tree with five Buddha's in it. She thus founded a pagoda Wat Phnom Don Penh, the monastery on the Hill of Lady Penh. In 1434 the city founded years earlier by King Ponhea Yat was completed and in 1866 became the capital. Today Phnom Penh is a bustling city built at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. The city is reminiscent of its French colonial days reflected in the evocative European architecture. Upon arrival, please look out for the World Expeditions welcome sign at the arrivals hall. We transfer to your comfortable hotel where you can take your time and relax by the pool or venture out for your first explorations of this bustling South East Asian city. In the early evening your guide will meet you at the hotel reception where a trip briefing will be held before enjoying a typical Cambodian style BBQ. Overnight: Ohana Phnom Penh Palace Hotel or similar

Khmer Rouge & Local Markets

This morning, there will be visits to the Tuol Sleng Genecide Museum – an intense and sobering reminder of the recent traumatic history of Cambodia. This is followed by a visit to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek located about 10 km outside of the city. The morning will be an incredibly moving experience, providing a deeper understanding of modern day Cambodia. The afternoon will be a very different experience, spent at a bustling city market, where we'll see the upbeat, smiling nature of the modern city people. Here we''ll witness the modern day Khmer going about their daily lives, bartering for all manner of goods from foodstuffs to the latest fashions at the Tuol Tom Poung, commonly referred to as The Russian Market. Overnight: Ohana Phnom Penh Palace Hotel or similar

Silk Island Cycle & Royal Palace

This morning we transfer to the Mekong riverbank to board a ferry to Koh Dach, commonly known as Silk Island. Once on the island, it feels as though we're a million miles away from the city. We'll hop on our bikes and pedal through small rustic villages of silk weaving workshops and Buddhist pagodas, meeting friendly local residents along the way. After exploring the island we drive back to the city. The afternoon will be spent exploring the main city sights including the ornate Royal Palace and adjoining Silver Pagoda, famous for its lavish silver paved floor and Buddha statues made from precious metals & stones. The National Museum, filled with fascinating ancient artifacts and we''l also climb the few steps up the small hill, Wat Phnom, the birthplace of Phnom Penh. Cycling distance: ~15km (morning only) Overnight: Ohana Phnom Penh Palace Hotel or similar Note: To enter the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, visitors are required to dress appropriately. This means shoulders must be covered (no sleeveless tops) and trousers or knee length shorts/ skirts must be worn.

To Kratie, Mekong River Irrawaddy Dolphins

Today we leave the nation's capital Phnom Penh and head north to Kratie. A relatively small, easy-going riverside town, Kratie has an extensive riverfront and is renowned for some of the best Mekong sunsets in Cambodia. The town is rich with French-era architecture as it escaped the wartime bombing that destroyed so many other provincial centres. Upon arrival in Kratie, we'll head towards the village of Kampi where we board a small local boat in search of the endangered fresh water Irrawaddy dolphins of the Mekong River. It is thought that as few as 80 dolphins remain in these waters and local conservation projects are working hard to raise awareness and understanding of these gentle creatures. This evening our accommodation will be a simple but wonderful guesthouse which serves as a vocational training centre for disadvantaged local youths, providing training in the hospitality sector. By staying here we are giving back to the communities through which we travel, providing a helping hand for a better future. Overnight at Le Tonlé Tourism Training Center

Koh Trong Island

Following breakfast we'll catch the ferry for the short ride across to Koh Trong island, a small island in the middle of the Mekong. This small island is a peaceful retreat where Cambodian village life can be explored in the most relaxing way. We rent bicycles from the local community tourism centre and a guide will show us the beauty of their rural villages of traditional wooden houses and pagoda’s. The trail over the island is an easy 9km and along the route we will make several stops to taste the delicious fruit grown on the island. We can also visit the island's Buddhist temple and take part in a tree planting project initiated by a local farmer to rebuild tree cover on the once densely forested island. Late afternoon, we head back to Kratie and enjoy some free time on the river side to witness one of the most magnificent Mekong sunsets. Cycling distance: ~9km Overnight at Le Tonlé Tourism Training Center

Stung Treng

Today we bid our farewells to the training centre and head further north to Stung Treng, close to the Laos border. On arrival we'll check into our charming riverside accommodation before setting out for a boat trip upriver toward the border. Although Stung Treng receives relatively few tourists, the area's wetland is marked by the Ramsar Convention (an international treaty to conserve wetlands) as being of international significance. The wetland is renowned for its flooded forests, entire forests submerged every wet season, then left to emerge when the swollen Mekong River waters subside. The trees roots and bushes remain gnarled and pulled in the direction of the water flow, surrounded by contoured dunes of fine sand in a vast expanse of ever flowing water. Following our 1hr ride upriver, we disembark then hike to see the impressive Sopheak Mitt Waterfall. We can take our time at the falls before venturing back to our riverside resort. Hiking distance: ~7km Overnight at Mekong Bird Resort

Kayak the Flooded Forests, to Preah Vihear

A great opportunity this morning to witness the sunrise over the Mekong River - local fishermen will already be out on the water plying their trade. Following breakfast we embark on a kayaking adventure through the enchanting flooded forests we past the day before. The fauna and flora of the area are remarkable, particularly the trees sculpted by the flowing waters. If we're lucky, we may even experience a close up encounter with the elusive freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins. In the afternoon we leave Stung Treng and head west toward the border with Thailand and the site of the majestic Preah Vihear Temple sat atop a 525m escarpment in the Dângrêk Mountains. The very best time to visit the temple is in the morning and so we can relax for the remainder of the day at the poolside of our comfortable hotel. Kayaking duration: ~2hrs Overnight at Preah Vihear Boutique Hotel

Preah Vihear & Koh Ker Temples, to Siem Reap

This morning we switch to a jeep for the drive up the remote mountain road to Cambodia's most dramatically situated ancient Angkorian monument. Preah Vihear Temple sprawls for 800m along the edge of a cliff in the Dangrek Mountains, which forms a natural border between Cambodia and Thailand. The site provides breathtaking views of both nations below, stretching as far as the eye can see. In July 2008, Prasat Preah Vihear was granted Unesco World Heritage status. Following our visit of this incredible site we continue our journey, south toward Siem Reap. En route we stop off to visit another incredible ancient temple complex at Koh Ker, the jungle surrounded remnants of the capital of the Khmer Empire from 928 AD. - 944 A.D. - a unique period in the Age of Angkor. From the time the Khmer capital was first moved to the Angkor area in the late 9th century, it would remain there for almost 500 years, with one brief interruption when it moved to the site at Koh Ker. The most impressive monument here is the seven tired pyramid, Prasat Thom towering above the surrounding jungle. Continue on to Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor, arriving late afternoon. Overnight: Treasure Oasis Hotel or similar

Cycle the Temples of Angkor

Today is a full day to explore the most famous temple complex, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Archaeological Park by bike - the perfect way to experience this awe inspiring place. To beat the crowds we start early at Ta Prohm which unlike many other Angkorian temples has been left as it it was when first rediscovered - a photogenic and atmospheric maze of trees growing out of temple ruins amidst jungle surroundings. Continue on to the lofty heights of Ta Keo then through one of four mighty gatehouses into the ancient walled city of Angkor Thom. Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII and at the time was the most populous city in the world with 2m inhabitants. The crowning jewel of the city is Bayon at its epicentre. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur, its exterior gallery walls featuring world class bas-reliefs and its 54 towers, decorated with 216 gargantuan faces. We'll break for lunch before completing our day at the most incredible temple of them all, Angkor Wat - the ultimate expression of Khmer genius. The temple is in fact the largest religious structure in the world and has inspired visitors for centuries. Cycling distance: ~40km Overnight: Treasure Oasis Hotel or similar

Kayak Mechrey Floating Village

Today we head toward the vast wetlands on the edge of Asia's largest freshwater lake, Tonle Sap. The lake's size and depth increases with the annual monsoon rains by as much as six times and local people have found ingenious ways to live with the ever changing water world. Some villages build their houses on stilts, often up to ten metres high but Mechrey is in fact a floating village. The entire village floats and moves with the receding or increasing waters thereby continually shifting location throughout the seasons. We'll have the opportunity to kayak through the gently lapping waters of the village to witness and learn about the daily lifestyle of the local inhabitants. In the high water season we'll also be able to paddle through the surrounding mangrove swamps and flooded forests. We'll return to town for lunch and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Kayaking duration: ~1.5hrs Overnight: Treasure Oasis Hotel or similar Note: In low water season (Mar to Aug) the water level of the Tonle Sap Lake decreases which may affect the itinerary.

Hike Kulen Mountain

The Kulen Mountain range rises from the plains 50km north of Siem Reap. It is considered by Khmers to be the most sacred mountain in Cambodia and is therefore a popular place of pilgrimage during weekends and festivals. Recent lidar surveys have revealed that there was once an entire ancient city atop the mountain but this has long been lost to the jungle. However, a few remnants remain such as the River of 1000 Lingas, carved into the riverbed to bestow fertility to the waters flowing into the rice fields in the plains below. A hike through the jungle past remote villages reveals life sized stone elephants standing serenely at Srah Damrei. We'll also visit the small wat which houses Cambodia's largest reclining Buddha before heading to the 20m high Kulen Waterfall where we can enjoy a refreshing dip before returning to town. This evening is our final night and so we'll head out to enjoy a farewell dinner accompanied by a traditional Apsara dance performance. Hiking distance: ~10km Overnight: Treasure Oasis Hotel or similar

In Siem Reap, trip concludes

Today is free at leisure in Siem Reap. Relax by your hotel pool or venture out to explore the markets or boutique shops, cafes and restaurants until its time to transfer to the airport for your outbound flight. Trip concludes.

Additional Information

This trip takes in the must-see gems of Cambodia but also steps off the well-worn tourist trail to gain a deeper appreciation of the region’s people, culture and natural environments—by bike, hike and kayak. Our adventure starts in the capital Phnom Penh where we learn about the country’s turbulent past before venturing north following the course of the mighty Mekong River. We’ll go Irrawaddy dolphin spotting in Kratie, flooded forest kayaking in Stung Treng and visit the impressive Sopheak Mitt Waterfall which marks the border between Cambodia and Laos. Continue on to explore the truly remote temple complexes at Preah Vihear –overlooking Thailand- and the seven tiered pyramid of Prasat Thom at Koh Ker before marvelling at the world’s largest religious monument, the majestic and awe inspiring Angkor Wat. We’ll have time to visit rural villages along the way, try Cambodian cuisine and interact with the warm and friendly people of the Kingdom of Wonder.

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