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Cambodia's Lake, Rivers & Mountains

See Angkor Wat and Cambodia's natural wonders of Tonle Sap, the Mekong River and Cardamom Mountains.

Itinerary & Prices

14 Day / 13 Night - Cambodia's Lake, Rivers & Mountains
itinerary map

Welcome to Cambodia!

Welcome to Siem Reap – a getaway to the ruins of ancients Angkor.

Your guide will meet you at the arrival hall of the airport. If you require a visa on arrival, we will have a representative at the immigration office to take care of the process. Once you have your visa stamped and your luggage collected, you will transfer to the hotel by private car. The remainder of the day is yours to rest and relax before the upcoming adventure.

Meals: x

Location
Siem Reap
Day
1 / 14

Kayaking Tonle Sap and Angkor Wat Exploration

AM: Transfer to the floating village on the great Tonle Sap Lake, The largest lake in South East Asia. A local boat will take us to the traditional village, where life takes place on the water. Hop into a kayak and paddle through the floating village where you will be welcomed by warming smiles from the humble Cambodian people living lakeside. If luck is on our side, you will see some of the rare species of tropical birds from the nearby wildlife sanctuary.

Your guide will answer all your questions about the “water world” life – how the local people live, work, and play and raise their children. Back to the hotel for lunchtime.

PM: After lunch, we transfer to Angkor Wat, one of the modern wonders of the world. Be amazed by the sheer size of the temple and learn how the Khmer Empire prospered between the 9th and 13th centuries, around the time when Angkor Wat was built. Stroll through the intricately carved hallways that show hundreds of fine carvings and discover small shrines still in use today by the local people.

Take your time to explore and see every part of this amazing complex.

Meals: B

Location
Siem Reap
Day
2 / 14

Angkor Temples by Bike

Start the day with a ride to Ta Prohm. This beautiful temple is Angkor’s jewel and is overgrown with fig trees, giving a haunting yet exotic atmosphere. The magnificent roots of the trees have merged themselves over the centuries with the temple’s huge stone blocks, emphasizing a ‘forgotten city’ feeling.

Continuing to Banteay Kdei, which is one of Angkor’s largest structures in the area and well worth a visit.

In the afternoon visit the ancient royal city of Angkor Thom with its magnificent centerpiece; the Bayon. At first glance, it may seem like a shapeless mass of stone, but further scrutiny reveals towers with enigmatic faces of former King Jayavarman VII looking into every direction. The faces are believed to be protecting the city from potential attackers.

Continue the exploration with a visit to the Terrace of the Elephants, which served as a platform from where the King could welcome back his victorious army. Next door is the Terrace of the Leper King which holds perfect carvings winding along a narrow passageway that leads to the Baphuon complex. (Maximum of 14 kilometers cycling)

Meals: B

Location
Siem Reap
Day
3 / 14

Cruise and Young Monks

After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel to transfer to the Jayavarman – overland ride to the town of Kampong Cham, where the ship awaits us (approximately 4.5 hrs transfer time including rest stop). To keep you entertained during the ride, our expert guides share interesting insights about Cambodia and the region we journey through.

After you settle in, come outside to the sun-deck or enjoy the views from the balcony, as the Jayavarman sets sail on a journey downriver.

This afternoon you learn more about the education of the young Cambodians. Children from the small village of Chiro come on board, always excited to show their skills in music and dance. The Organization for Basic Training (OBT) provides free, supplemental education in English, maths, and the arts to these local youths. Shower the young performers with applause and in return, you are bestowed upon with the most genuine and happy Cambodian smiles. With smiles on our faces, we prepare to leave the ship for a bus excursion to a nearby spectacle only present during the Mekong’s low water season (December to May). The Koh Paen Bamboo Bridge connects the mainland with Koh Paen Island and is re-built by the local community every November when water levels drop.

We continue our land journey to the enchanting pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey (7th century). Formerly built to honor the Hindu god, Hirahara, the complex is now a Buddhist temple, a testament to the country’s past and present religious beliefs. This small complex sits on a hilltop with breath-taking views over the Mekong. Many young, novice monks live on the compound of Wat Hanchey, and we have the chance to observe their daily activities.

Meals: B, L, D

Location
Jayavarman
Day
4 / 14

Silk Making and Secluded Village

Wake up early to witness the spectacular scenery at the break of dawn. Join our daily morning Tai Chi class before breakfast.

Today, the small village of Angkor Ban is our first destination. The village is famous for its unspoiled community and beautiful, traditional houses. It feels like being transported back a hundred years, into an era unaffected by modernity where villagers are characterized by their unbridled warmth.

Back on board, a monks’ blessing ceremony delivers spirits and wishes for health and prosperity for us all. While we sail downstream, afternoon tea is offered at the bar. The Jayavarman’s staff is keen to show you a variety of traditional Khmer fashion the local people still wear on special occasions.
Meanwhile, we arrive at the island of Koh Oknha Tey in the middle of the Mekong, famous for manufacturing high-class silk products. We go sightseeing along the island’s roads a bit via tuk-tuk before arriving at the village’s workshops and witnessing the curious process of making silk, starting from a tiny silkworm larva to cocoon, then dyeing, spinning, and weaving the fibers into high-quality Cambodian silk.

Tonight, we pass the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Rivers, and the boat anchors near Kampong Chhnang for the night.

Meals: B, L, D

Location
Jayavarman
Day
5 / 14

Ox Carts and Water World

After a sumptuous breakfast, we are now at Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia’s “water world”, where everything is balanced on sticks in water-rich soil. It is perhaps the most fascinating cruising spot in Cambodia. We take a local boat to the shore and hop on a minibus to reach a unique, nearby rural village. As we explore the village on foot our guide reveals the village’s specialties – Khmer style pottery and the process of making the palm sugar from the Cambodian “skor t’not” palm tree.

We drive back to the shore where our local boat starts an exploration of nearby floating villages and the surrounding wetlands. Although we are still in the heartland of Cambodia, the residents of these floating villages are actually of Vietnamese descent who were expelled by the Khmer Rouge and soon returned after the ruling party was overthrown in 1979. No longer having land to settle on, they have since lived “on the water”.

Back on board and with lunch ready in the restaurant, the vessel continues cruising languidly along the Tonle River towards Kampong Tralach. This part of the Tonle River is quite interesting to watch from the terrace as the river at certain points is very, very narrow. The boat glides through leafy swaths of this jungle-like landscape. We reach Kampong Tralach, where laughing children wave enthusiastically at our arrival.

We are in the middle of Cambodia’s countryside where the traditional ox carts are still a common means of transportation. Our ox-powered vehicle takes us on a journey along the riverside and through back roads lined with rice-paddy fields until we arrive at a tiny village. Beginning a few short years ago, local children have had the chance to receive an education here. The “Green School” is a local project supported by Heritage Line in this remote area to support the underprivileged youth. The students, who are dressed in green shirts, are always happy to meet us every week as the principal gives an introduction and updates us on the current situation of the school.

After some additional cruising time back aboard, the boat arrives and docks at the pier of Phnom Penh. Feel free to go out and explore by yourself after dinner. Stroll along the river promenade and watch the locals chit-chatting, selling odds and ends or have a drink in one of the numerous bars.

Meals: B, L, D

Location
Jayavarman
Day
6 / 14

Phnom Penh and its History

Welcome to Phnom Penh – the city once named Paris of the East. Despite its rapid development, it has retained its rustic charm and elegance. It is an amazing town with centuries of incredible history and culture which can still be felt at many street corners.

Start with a full sight-seeing tour right after breakfast. By bus, we visit the Killing Fields outside the city and afterward the centrally located prison “S21”. Both historic sites display the sad and cruel chapter of the country’s history when the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia with terror and oppression. Those places have not changed much since this horrific time back in the early seventies and it can be quite heart-breaking. Alternatively, you may explore the city on your own in the morning before rejoining the group.

We have lunch at a well-renowned restaurant in town and experience the elegant air Phnom Penh’s top addresses are known for. Our exploration of Phnom Penh continues with the cultural highlights of the city’s heritage. The golden edifice of the Royal Palace with its Silver Pagoda and the exceptional Khmer crafts at the National Museum top the list of the city’s must-sees. The day trip ends with a “cyclo” ride along the bustling streets of downtown Phnom Penh and back to the ship.

Take some rest or join fellow passengers at the bar for refreshing drinks. Today’s evening is a special one: let us invite you to a wonderful open-air gala featuring a barbecue dinner feast. The dinner is accompanied by a classic Apsara dance performance along with other folklore dances.

As the evening unwinds, enjoy your supper with a good glass of wine and marvel at the skyline of Phnom Penh and the calming flow of the Tonle River.

Meals: B, L, D

Location
Jayavarman
Day
7 / 14

Leisurely Day and Nightlife of Phnom Penh

AM: Disembark Jayavarman after breakfast and meet your driver for a transfer to your hotel early check-in.

PM: Take a day to explore the city on your own and meet your guide in the evening for a tour discovering the coolest hidden bars while exploring Phnom Penh by private tuk-tuk with a local expert. This all-inclusive tour offers locally produced drinks at 4 unique bars for a glimpse into the city’s incredible and emerging craft beverage and nightlife scene.

Meals: B

Location
Phnom Penh
Day
8 / 14

On Bicycles Through the Countryside

Spend a full day bicycling 30km (19mi) in the charming countryside surrounding Phnom Penh, exploring markets, villages, and pagodas.

Depart Phnom Penh on a 12km (7mi) drive to Prek Phnov, the starting point of a full day’s cycling trip. Cycle from the busy market, and over dikes, through beautiful countryside, passing pagodas and traditional houses. Continue to Udong, the capital of Cambodia between 1618 and 1866 and home to impressive Khmer architecture recalling the glory days of Cambodia. Climb the main stairway that leads to an impressive stupa to admire panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the surroundings of Udong before continuing to the small handicraft village of Koh Chen. The artisans in this village produce all kinds of silverware. Continue to the riverside town of Kampong Tralach by bicycle or private vehicle, home to an ancient pagoda. Observe the remarkably well-preserved wall paintings at Wat Kampong Tralach Leu depicting scenes of rural life over a century ago.

Return to Phnom Penh by private vehicle.

Meals: B, L

Location
Phnom Penh
Day
9 / 14

Wildlife Rescue Center

Spend a full day exploring Phnom Tamao, Cambodia’s foremost wildlife rescue center.

The 1,200ha (2,965ac) park is home to the world’s largest captive collections of pileated gibbons and Malaysian sun bears. Other rare species which can be observed here include Siamese crocodiles and Greater Adjutant storks.

Drive 45min southeast of Phnom Penh to Phnom Tamao and meet with a local caretaker who will show you around the park. A large number of the animals found here are endangered species and many of them have been rescued from the hands of poachers or from being held as pets. With its spacious grounds, large animal enclosures, and excellent caretakers, Phnom Tamao is a refreshing change from some of the lesser-equipped and cramped zoos elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Enjoy lunch in the park before returning to Phnom Penh by car.

Meals: B, L

Location
Phnom Penh
Day
10 / 14

Cardamon Mountains Community of Chi Pat

Today, leaving before 8am you will drive the 5 – 7 hours out to the far eastern plains of Cambodia and into the Cardamom Mountain area. (Depending on traffic around the city and the condition of the road)

First driving along the major highways, until you branch off into the more jungle scenery that this areas is famous for. Once you enter the unsealed red soil roads, your ride will become more adventurous as you cut a path, known well in this region as the only route through to the community based tourist project of Chi Pat. This area was once home to the Khmer Rouge strongholds, who fought at the borders until fairly recently and animal poaching where large amounts of money change hands for the rare species found in this area.

Now turned around, into a community tourism outreach the former poachers seek to protect the animals and showcase the regional beauty, under the watchful eye of the Wild Life alliance.

Upon arrival to the designated river location, your motor boat will be waiting to take you the 1.5 hour journey via the creek – to the booking office.

Pass by beautiful scenery and breathe in some of Asias most freshest air and untouched scenes.

Lunch will be served at the arrival guest house, as the owner settles you into your basic but well equipped accommodation.

After some relaxing you make the small jungle trek to the Rapid Waters for swimming in the fresh clear mountainous water!

Dinner is served family/ buffet style this evening, and you can retire to bed or enjoy the stars at leisure. Overnight in your charming but simple guest house.

Meals: B, L, D

Location
Phnom Penh to Cardamon Mountains
Day
11 / 14

Rivers in the Mountains

Leaving just before sunrise, you will head out by motorboat into the beautiful waters of the Cardamom Mountains for around 1 hour.

As the river changes pace, you will change the boat into a traditional rowing boat for around 2 hours, trying to spot local birds along the quieter stretch of the Cattle Skin River. A simple boxed Breakfast is taken as you wish.
Arrive into the Damnak Kos area, a perfect place for swimming and sunbathing for an hour or so as you wish, before returning to Chi Pat Community, and your guest house.

Dinner is taken family-style, and you’re free to relax at leisure

Meals: B, L, D

Location
Cardamon Mountains
Day
12 / 14

Return to Phnom Penh and Apsara Dance Show

After early breakfast embark on a ride back to Phnom Penh.

In the evening your driver will pick you up for a short ride to the National Museum, for the Traditional Dance Show.

The performance showcases intricate and elegant pieces of classical dance descending from the former Royal Courts of Cambodia, including the iconic Apsara and the ritual dance Moni Mekala. In addition to the traditional folk dance, you will experience and immerse yourself in a range of more upbeat, relaxed pieces, inspired by daily life around Cambodia. Featuring 30 talented artists, wonder at the abundance of sights and sounds presented on the stage set with a special backdrop in the beautiful grounds of the National Museum of Cambodia.

Return to your hotel at 10 pm.

Location
Cardamon Mountains to Phnom Penh
Day
13 / 14

Departure

Your driver will pick you up from the hotel to bring you to the airport for you flight home.

Location
Phnom Penh
Day
14 / 14
1 / 14

Accommodations

Cruises & Lodges

Jayavarman at night

Jayavarman

This floating art gallery and French-colonial masterpiece comes with heartfelt Khmer hospitality.
54 Guests
27 Cabins
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Hotel Options

5 Star

Navutu Dreams Resort

Siem Reap
Pool in the exotic setting