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Bursting with UNESCO World Heritage recognised temples, off the beaten track beaches and a fascinating heritage, Cambodia has reinvented itself as an enticing destination for the discerning traveller.
Depart London on your scheduled overnight flight to Phnom Penh in Cambodia.
You will be met by your guide on arrival and transferred to your hotel with some time to relax before joining the group again for dinner.
Following breakfast, the day begins with a visit to the Royal Palace. Built by King Norodom in 1866, it is a spectacular sight to behold boasting ornately gilded Khmer roofs, a beguiling throne hall, a solid gold encrusted Buddha and the Silver Pagoda made up of 5,000 silver tiles. This afternoon includes a guided tour of Toul Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, both grim reminders of Cambodia's bloody past that took 1.7 million victims under Pol Pot's gruesome regime. These excursions may prove distressing for some but are important pieces of Cambodia's historical and cultural puzzle. Round off the day with sunset views over the tree-lined avenues from Wat Phnom Temple then return to your hotel for your evening meal.
Depart the capital in the morning for the beachside town of Kep, with some fascinating stops along the way. First visit Phnom Chhnork, a remarkable 7th-century shrine dedicated to Shiva found within a low cave formation that is reached by a 203-step staircase that leads up the hillside and down into the cavern below. Once in the cave, you'll be greeted by a stalactite elephant at the entrance before reaching the shrine itself which still bears the carvings found in unusually good condition thanks to the protection of the cave overhead. Later continue to Kampot Pepper Farm to learn about the renowned Kampot pepper that grows exceptionally well here owing to the excellent seaside climate and quality of the soil. The arrival of Chinese pepper planters dates back to the 13th century, however, it wasn't until the end of the 19th century that production really expanded on an intense scale as the French began to export 8,000 tonnes annually. Arrive in Kep late afternoon and take a wander around this tranquil coastal area, that was once the favourite holiday spot for Cambodia's French-influenced elite but still welcomes tourists today thanks to its delicious seafood and tropical islands.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before enjoying a visit to Kep's crab market where bustling stalls line the road with live crabs and sizzling barbeques. Guests can try their hand at bargaining for these delicious crustaceans, but be sure to remember the Khmer phrase "t'lay na!" meaning "so expensive!" to ensure the best price. Continue in the afternoon to Sihanoukville, Cambodia's premier beach resort. The rest of the day will be at leisure to explore the surrounding area. We suggest a walk up to the summit of Victory Hill which affords excellent views down over the town and the Gulf of Thailand.
Today it's time to sit back and relax on white sandy beaches or take a dip in the inviting blue ocean with a full day at leisure.
Breakfast will be served at your hotel then there will be some free time before your flight to Siem Reap. Dinner will be served at a local restaurant.
Begin your day with an early breakfast before setting off for Banteay Srei, a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva and considered by many to be the 'Jewel in the Crown' of Angkorian art as it is cut from stone of a pinkish hue and includes some of the finest carvings in the world. This afternoon you'll continue to the biggest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Tonle Sap, where you'll have the opportunity to learn about life on the river during a tour on a traditional wooden boat to the charming village of Chong Khnea. Tonight experience a wonderful Aspara dance performance, an ancient dance that you'll see depicted on the temple walls of Angkor Wat.
Take an early breakfast to watch the sunrise over the 12th century Angkor Wat temple complex, the best-preserved temple boasting fascinating decorative flourishes that took 30 years to build and represents Khmer civilisation at its grandest. Next visit Angkor Thom, a group of buildings that somehow surpass Angkor Watt in splendour and grandiosity, not surprising given that it was the last great capital of the Khmer empire. Start at the Southern Gate, flanked by a row of 54 stone figures on each side, followed by the Bayon and its beautifully crafted central towers. From here you visit Baphoun, Phimeanakas and the Elephant Terrace, once used as a giant viewing stand for public ceremonies and the Terrace of the Leper King. Lastly see Ta Prohm, undoubtedly the most atmospheric ruin at Angkor. Unlike the other monuments of Angkor, it has been left to be swallowed by the jungle and is the perfect place to watch the sunset.
Depart Siem Reap for your flight back to the UK via Hanoi or continue on to your chosen extension.
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
|Depart UK||Arrive UK||Price|
|09 Jan 2018||18 Jan 2018||£1679pp|
|06 Feb 2018||15 Feb 2018||£1679pp|
|06 Mar 2018||15 Mar 2018||£1679pp|
|10 Apr 2018||19 Apr 2018||£1599pp|
|15 May 2018||24 May 2018||£1269pp|
|05 Jun 2018||14 Jun 2018||£1379pp|
|04 Sep 2018||13 Sep 2018||£1479pp|
|02 Oct 2018||11 Oct 2018||£1679pp|
|06 Nov 2018||15 Nov 2018||£1679pp|
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