The 06D PHNOM PENH TO SIEM REAP takes you to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. These two cities provide an extravaganza of cultural and modern sights and smell. The ancient temples infuse you the cultural heritage of Cambodia. The modern riverfront dotted with parks and restaurants offer a modern escape to present times. The Royal Palace and the National Museum is a repository of antique artefacts.
Central Market (Phsar Thmei) is the busiest market in the city. It has a unique art deco version reminiscent of the French colonial period. The building displays an amazing collection of gems, jewellery, and souvenirs. Take a walk along the Mekong River for a breath of fresh air.
The city tour of Phnom Penh takes you to the Wat Phnom Pagoda, the Independence Monument and the 15th century Wat Unalom Pagoda, the oldest Buddhist foundation in the city. Visit the 19th century Royal Palace and the glorious Silver Pagoda located within the palace compound. Pay a visit to the infamous Tuol Sleng and Cheung Ek, better known as the Killing Fields. It is one of the mass graves for fallen heroes in the battle.
Siem Reap hosts The Tonlé Sap Biosphere Reserve. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is home to hundreds of species of freshwater fishes and birds. Numerous villages are located on the lake. Khmer is one of the floating villages and is said to have about 3000 inhabitants who live in stilted houses. The UNESCO heritage Angkor Wat and other intricate stone buildings will awe you. Enjoy the Modern restaurants, spas, massage parlours and the night-life with its exuberant music and laughter.
Take this vacation if you want the right mix of cultural heritage and party nights.
02 Nights at Phnom Penh
03 Nights at Siem Reap
Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s busy capital, sits at the junction of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers. It was a hub for both the Khmer Empire and French colonialists. On its walkable riverfront, lined with parks, restaurants, and bars, are the ornate Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum, displaying artifacts from around the country. At the city’s heart is the massive, art deco Central Market.
Cafes, urbane restaurants, and boutiques cluster around Street 240, while the buzzing Russian Market in the south sells goods from clothing to jewelry. The atmospheric French Quarter, to the north, is filled with faded, picturesque buildings like the yellow-hued Cambodia Post Office. The pagoda of Buddhist temple Wat Phnom rises above the city on a hilltop. The haunting Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in a school turned prison, and Killing Fields memorials outside of town serve as sobering reminders of the country’s history under the Khmer Rouge regime.
WHEN TO VISIT:
Peak travel season runs is Nov–Feb. Rainy season is Jun-Oct. Key annual events include Khmer New Year (Apr); Pchum Ben (Sep), a week-long period in which Cambodians pay respect to their ancestors; and Bon Om Touk, the Water Festival (Nov) with boat races, concerts, and traditional dishes.
Siem Reap, a resort town in northwestern Cambodia, is the gateway to the ruins of Angkor, the seat of the Khmer kingdom from the 9th–15th centuries. Angkor’s vast complex of intricate stone buildings includes preserved Angkor Wat, the main temple, which is pictured on Cambodia’s flag. Giant, mysterious faces are carved into the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom.
As a low-key but modern gateway to the archaeological site, Siem Reap has boutique hotels, large resorts, and numerous galleries and spas. The Angkor National Museum features Khmer artifacts, including a display of 1,000 Buddha statues and images. The Old Market and the Angkor Night Market sell wares like souvenirs, books, and spices. The Old French Quarter offers trendy restaurants serving takes on international and Cambodian fare (which focuses on ingredients like rice and fish). And Pub Street is lively after dark.
When to Visit:
Peak travel season is Dec-Mar. The weather is tropical, with a rainy season Jun-Oct and the hottest period Apr-May. Key events include the Giant Puppet Parade (Feb), Khmer New Year (Apr), and the Bon Om Touk Water Festival (Angkor, Nov), with longboat races, music, and dancing.
Day 1: Arrival at Phnom Penh
Upon Arrival at Phnom Penh Airport, get transferred to check into the hotel. Freshen up and leave for a visit to Central Market (Phsar Thmei). The popular tourist landmark is the busiest market in the city. It has a unique art deco version reminiscent of the French colonial period. The building displays an amazing collection of gems, jewelry, and souvenirs. Later, take a walk along the Mekong River for fresh air. Overnight at Phnom Penh.
Day 2: Phnom Penh
After breakfast, proceed to discover the Phnom Penh City. Visit the Wat Phnom Pagoda, an ancient pagoda enjoying the location of being atop the hill. Next, halt at the Independence Monument. This building commemorates the end of Cambodia's ruled by France in 1953. The next stop is the 15th century Wat Unalom Pagoda, the oldest Buddhist foundation in the city. This building predates the abandonment of the capital at Angkor.
In the afternoon, continue with your city tour. Visit the 19th century Royal Palace and the glorious Silver Pagoda located within the palace compound. Also pay a visit to the infamous Tuol Sleng and Cheung Ek, better known as the Killing Fields. It is one of the mass graves for fallen heroes in the battle. Overnight at Phnom Penh.
Day 3: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap
After breakfast, proceed to Siem Reap. The 5-hour journey by road has a stop for your lunch and refreshments.
On arrival in the afternoon, continue to Banteay Meanchey. The natural tourism destination of Cambodia is a part of The Tonlé Sap Biosphere Reserve, a unique ecological phenomenon surrounding the Tonlé Sap. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is home to hundreds of species of freshwater fishes and birds. Numerous villages are located on the lake. Khmer is one of the floating villages and is said to have about 3000 inhabitants who live in stilted houses. The population depends largely on fishing and tourism for their incomes.
On arrival, embark on the traditional wooden boat through the flooded forests of the Great Tonle Sap Lake. Spot many bird species in their natural habitat in Chong Kneas. Also pay a visit to island pagoda, a school, and traditional stilt houses to interact with the local families. After a fulfilling day return to Siem Reap for buffet dinner accompanied by Apsara dance show. Overnight at Siem Reap hotel.
Day 4: Siem Reap – Temple Tour
After breakfast, proceed for a tour to the crowning jewel of Khmer architecture, Angkor Wat Temple. The national symbol is the highlight of any visit to Cambodia. Angkor amazes visitors by its beauty. The enormous complex houses a treasure of artistic carvings. Cross the vast moat to approach the temple, walk through galleries and courtyards.
Next, visit Ta Prohm Temple. The popular attraction of Angkor is nestled in the lap of pristine nature. The next stop is, Angkor Thom. Enclosed by a wall and wide moats, this city includes many of Angkor's most popular sights. Marvel at life-like statues of demons and gods.
Stop to wonder at the ruined Baphuon, Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, and the mysterious Bayon Temple. Overnight at Siem Reap.
Day 5: Siem Reap – Temple Tour
After breakfast, embark on the tour to visit Roluos Group. These monuments mark the beginning of classical art, as some of the earliest great temples built by the Khmer. Lolei Temple is the next halt of the tour. It was built on an islet by the founder of the first city of Angkor, Yasovarman I and notable for sandstone carvings and the Sanskrit inscriptions. Next, pay a visit to the 9th century Preah Ko Temple in dedication to his deified ancestors. Bakong Temple is next on the tour. Built and dedicated to Lord Shiva, this is the largest and most interesting of the Roluos Group of temples and still has an active Buddhist monastery.
Afternoon, pay a visit to Banteay Srei Temple. The Angkor temple is considered to be the jewel of classical Khmer art. Built in pink sandstone, the walls are covered in exquisitely preserved carvings. Owing to its small size, fairy-like atmosphere, and extraordinary Khmer sculpture, this temple is often a favorite with visitors. Last but not least on your temple tour is the magnificent Banteay Samre Temple.
After the day of incredible sights, return to the Siem Reap hotel for overnight stay.
Day 6: Siem Reap – Departure
After breakfast at the hotel, get transferred to Siem Reap airport to board your return flight.