Amazing as they are, there is a lot more to the Kingdom of Cambodia than the temples of Angkor as you'll soon discover on this fantastic off the beaten track tour of Cambodia
A 12-day, off the beaten track Cambodia Tour
If you’ve visited the Foreign Correspondents Club, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Angkor Wat and then looked on a map of Cambodia and wondered what the rest of the country was like, then this is your chance to find out! This comprehensive, 2-week, off the beaten track Cambodia tour will push back the regular tourist boundaries with visits to a wide and highly varied array of fantastic, and often rarely-visited, sites as well, of course, as its well-known ones.
Hike along the ‘Pilgrim’s Way’ and across the ‘River of a Thousand Lingas’ on the sacred mountain, now national park, Phnom Kulen. Discover also the country’s ancient and modern history as we explore the enigmatic 7th-century forest temples of the ruined early capital, Sambor Prei Kuk., recently added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and pay an unusual visit to the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Anlong Veng on the Thai border. From here we travel overland along the foot of the Dandrek Escarpment to another UNESCO-listed site, the awe-inspiring, spectacularly situated cliff-top temple of Preah Vihear.
Heading to the south of the country our destinations include the excellent wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre of Phnom Tamao as well as more ancient temples with Takeo Province’s Ta Prom and Phnom Chisor. Reaching the coast we’ll discover the French colonial architecture of charming Kampot Town as well as, of course, visiting one of its world-famous pepper plantations and take a boat trip to nearby, unspoilt Rabbit Island while staying in the picturesque coastal town and former French seaside resort of Kep-sur-mer.
This Cambodia tour offers an exploration of the kingdom’s varied sites for first-time visitors – looking for something ‘a bit different’ – as well as a more in-depth look for repeat visitors keen to discover more of this fascinating country as well as Angkor Wat and the infamous Killing Fields.
Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.
Day 1 - Phnom Penh - an introductory walking tour
Morning start with a check-in to a small, comfortable, boutique-style, Phnom Penh hotel. Time to relax before a leisurely afternoon walk taking in the vibrant street-life and local markets of the old French quarter and riverside district.
Overnight: Phnom Penh Transport: Walk, Meals: D,
Day 2 - Phnom Penh - city tour or Silk Island
For first time visitors, a day tour of some of the sites of Cambodia’s capital city includes the Royal Palace, infamous Killing Fields site, the highly moving Khmer Rouge Genocide Museum at Tuol Sleng & Russian Market. Or……
Explore scenic Koh Dach. This tranquil island lies in the Mekong River just a few kms, but a world away, from the hectic capital. Wander the island’s quiet lanes and check out the traditional weaving methods still employed by the local villagers.
Overnight: Phnom Penh Transport: Walk, Tuk Tuk, Meals: B, L,
Day 3 - Sambor Prei Kuk - former 7th-century capital, now UNESCO site
Departure overland, via the famous ‘spider village’ of Skuon to the 7th/8th-century jungle ruins of Sambor Prei Kuk, former capital of the Chenla civilization – a little known, but stunning site and since 2017 Cambodia’s most recent World Heritage site. Lunch by a scenic lake before completing our journey to Siem Reap.
Overnight: Siem Reap Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 4 - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat and Angkor Tom
A day at Angkor. For first-time visitors a tour of some of the principal sites such as Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Prom can be arranged, otherwise, we propose a day’s hiking along the ancient city ramparts and amongst the jungle of Angkor Tom.
Overnight: Siem Reap Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B,
Day 5 - Phnom Kulen - along the Pilgrim's Way
Off to the sacred mountain of Phnom Kulen, lying some 50-kms north of the main Angkor temples, where we’ll begin our hike with an ascent by the ancient ‘Pilgrim’s Way’ path and continue through well-preserved forest to Kulen Waterfall and famous River of a Thousand Lingas, Overnight in a charming, family-run villa at the foot of the mountain.
Overnight: Banteay Srei Village Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 6 - Preah Vihear - a spectacular World Heritage temple
Departure north towards the Thai border with a stop at Anlong Veng – last stronghold of the Khmer Rouge and only liberated in 1998 – before continuing eastwards along the foot of the Dandrek Escarpment to Preah Vihear. This UNESCO site has the most dramatic setting of any Khmer temple, rising from Thailand’s Khorat Plateau to culminate in a sheer 400-meter drop-off overlooking the plains and forests of Northern Cambodia.
Overnight: Sra Em Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 7 - Koh Ker - return drive to Siem Reap
Complete our return loop to Siem Reap by way of the fantastic 10th-century, forest ruins of Koh Ker. Some afternoon time at leisure could include checking out the town’s markets and handicrafts or the very smart, giant African rats at the Apopo de-mining visitor’s centre.
Overnight: Siem Reap Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B,
Day 8 - Siem Reap - Tonle Sap tour and return to Phnom Penh
Boat tour to the ‘flooded forest’ – a highly unusual and picturesque area on the edge of the Tonle Sap lake and on to the photogenic Kompong Phleuk stilt village. Return to Siem Reap and transfer to the airport for the short afternoon flight to Phnom Penh.
Overnight: Phnom Penh Transport: Minibus, Plane, Boat, Meals: B,
Day 9 - Phnom Tamao - Wildlife Rescue Centre and on to Kep
Morning visit to the fascinating animal refuge and rehabilitation centre at Phnom Tamao. An extremely interesting and worthwhile visit! In the afternoon we’ll continue south to the delightful, scenic coastal town of Kep with perhaps a stroll along the waterfront for sundowners at the famous Crab Market?
Overnight: Kep Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 10 - Kampot - historic Kampot
A tour to the nearby, charming old colonial port of Kampot with the opportunity to wander the waterfront, check out the handicraft shops, cafes and well-preserved French architecture plus a visit to one of the region’s world-famous pepper plantations.
Overnight: Kep Transport: Walk, Tuk Tuk, Meals: B, L,
Day 11 - Kep - morning on Rabbit Island and afternoon at leisure
Boat trip to nearby unspoilt Rabbit Island for some beach and swimming time or a hike around the island for the energetic. Afternoon at leisure in Kep; relax by the pool or hone your photographic skills on the fishing boats or abandoned French villas.
Overnight: Kep Transport: Boat, Walk, Meals: B, D,
Day 12 - Kep - morning at leisure and return to Phnom Penh
Time at leisure before a return drive to Phnom Penh via the well-preserved, 12th-century temple of Ta Prom Tonle Bati. Afternoon arrival in the capital and departure at your leisure.
Extra nights in Phnom Penh after your tour are available on request.
Airport transfers are included if you purchase the 'with flights' package. If you purchase your own flights, airport transfers can be arranged.
Overnight: Departure Transport: Minibus, Meals: B, L,
The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.
Just a few of the many highlights
World Heritage sites of Sambor Prei Kuk and Preah Vihear; Phnom Kulen, Kep and Kampot are just a few of the lesser-known highlights plus of course the Angkor temples and Phnom Penh street-life
- Visit the spectacular cliff-top UNESCO World Heritage site of Preah Vihear
- Travel through the scenic and timeless Cambodia countryside; ox carts, stilt villages, emerald paddy-fields and serene landscapes
- Stay at the charming old coastal resort of Kep; visit scenic Rabbit Island and take sundowners at the famous Crab Market
- Go trekking on the 'Pilgrim's Way' to reach the sacred mountain of Phnom Kulen
- Visit Phnom Tamao; a fascinating and highly worthwhile visit to one of Southeast Asia's premier wildlife rescue projects
- Meet the exceptionally friendly and welcoming local people...and sample the sumptuous and varied local cuisine
Air Departures (UK)
- 25 July 20 2,450 GBP
- 15 August 20 2,350 GBP
- 17 October 20 2,350 GBP
- 21 November 20 2,350 GBP
- 26 December 20 2,550 GBP
- 23 January 21 2,350 GBP
- 20 February 21 2,350 GBP
- 29 May 21 2,350 GBP
- 24 July 21 2,350 GBP
- 26 July 20 1,550 GBP
- 16 August 20 1,550 GBP
- 18 October 20 1,550 GBP
- 22 November 20 1,550 GBP
- 27 December 20 1,550 GBP
- 24 January 21 1,550 GBP
- 21 February 21 1,550 GBP
- 30 May 21 1,550 GBP
- 25 July 21 1,550 GBP
Guaranteed Places Left Special Price Solo Traveller Closed
*Air departures are from the UK. Land departures start from Phnom Penh
*Land departure dates correspond to the FIRST day of the itinerary.
We choose our hotels based on a combination of location, comfort and convenience. Here is a *selection of the types of hotel/rooms you can expect to stay at on this tour...
The 252, Phnom Penh view
- Small, boutique-style and low-key
- Quiet but central location near cafes and restaurants
- Garden setting with pool and cafe
City River Hotel, Siem Reap view
- City River is out first choice in Cambodia's Siem Reap.
- Rooftop pool; spa, riverside location, super friendly staff
- Only a 5 minute walk from the bustling Old Market district
Villa Banteay Srei view
- Very comfortable upscale homestay or Khmer-style B & B accom
- Well-appointed with private, air-con, ensuite bedrooms
- Run by a charming, welcoming, retired Franco-Khmer couple
Preah Vihear Jaya Hotel, Sra Em view
- Comfy accommodation in rather remote Sra Em Town
- In-house swimming pool, bar and restaurant
- Convenient short drive to UNESCO site Preah Vihear
Mealea Resort, Kep view
- Perfect location; seaviews and next door to the Crab Market
- Small, low-key and single storey, chalet-style rooms
- Lush garden setting, pool and cafe overlooking Kampot Bay
*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.
Visa Info & Notes
Visas: Citizens of Asean countries do not require visas while passport holders from certain African and Middle Eastern nations need to apply in advance. For the majority of nationalities though, a visa on arrival is issued at international airports and all land borders including arrival from Laos and the Mekong entry point from Vietnam. Visa fees and conditions are subject to change but are usually $30 payable in cash in US dollars although certain land crossings may cost a few extra dollars in random ‘service fees’. A passport photo is required. Tourist visas are issued for 30 days from date of entry into Cambodia.
E-visas (thus cutting down on queuing time at the airport) are now available for many nationalities at this link and cost $36 with a stated processing time of 3 working days. These are accepted at international airports and certain land crossings only and do not include the Mekong crossings from Vietnam or Laos.
When entering Cambodia make sure you get an entry stamp in your passport and keep your departure card.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Cambodia. You may be refused entry if your passport is damaged, in poor condition or does not have at least 2 blank pages remaining.
Tipping: we recommend a kitty system for the smaller, daily tips such as hotel/restaurant staff and local drivers. Amounts inevitably vary with group size but would generally be in the region of $2-3 per person per day. With regards guides accompanying you for longer periods we’d recommend a separate tip of approximately $5 per person, per day though of course, this is always discretionary and performance related. (Local currency or USD are fine.)
Meals: breakfasts are either buffets or a la carte in smaller hotels with lunch and dinners based on local food. Lunches on the road are typically simpler dishes such as variations on noodles or fried rice while your tour-leader will generally order more elaborate-style dinners consisting of a selection of local fare. The excellent cuisine shows both Thai and Vietnamese influences though with plenty of unique dishes too.
Dishes are only mildly spicy and both vegetarians and vegans are very easily catered for. For any other likes and dislikes please remind your tour-leader at the start of the tour. A number of meals are not included, which allows you to ‘do your own thing’ or take a break if you’re feeling ‘riced out’.
Accommodation: all choices fall into the comfortable 3* range, with an emphasis where possible on the smaller, ‘boutique-style’, and are en-suite and air-conditioned with pools. We have posted a selection of sample accommodation on the lefthand hotel tab but please note that as we try and avoid the larger hotels, availability, in high season particularly, means we use several options in each destination.
Activities: note that no activities are compulsory and that any offered can be tailored for various fitness levels or alternatives suggested.
Further info: detailed descriptions and photos can be found on the corresponding page of our travel blog.
Holidays should never end, stay a little longer. These extensions go well with this tour...
Here is what out guest have to say about their experience on this tour...
Erica and Stuart
" A very interesting tour of some of the less well-known parts of Cambodia. Too many highlights to mention them all, but Preah Vihear, in particular, was outstanding. Kep was a nice, relaxing, end to the tour and the National Park there is well worth a visit. Perhaps to my surprise I found the pepper farm to be extremely interesting and the tour by the owner fascinating. "February 2020
" An absolutely fantastic holiday with something to look forward to every day & the knowledge of a comfortable, clean & friendly hotel to return to at the end of it. We came with an open mind and the aim to enjoy ourselves - our expectations were met way beyond what we could have imagined. Basically - just loved it - from beginning to end! "