This 7-day trip gives you an unique chance to visit the architectural splendours of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, follow by a trekking course in the off beaten track Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia, where walking trails have only very recently been developed through the inviting forested landscape. Walk to waterfalls and caves and spend time in the village of Chi Phat witnessing village life at first hand. The area is renowned for its biodiversity and we hope to see silver langurs, long-tailed macaques, greater hornbills and other forest creatures.
Welcome to Phnom Penh! Upon arrival, you will be met by your Cambodia guide and transferred to the hotel for check in. Start the Cardamom Mountain Trek afterwards with a leisurely visit to Wat Phnom and experience the amazing confusion of Phnom Penh's streets. Wat Phnom, which lies in the north of the city, is today a meeting place for many of the city's inhabitants and on top of the hill resides a lovely temple and stupa. Traffic of all sorts moves in every direction, generally very slowly and quietly and most drivers display astonishing patience. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
- The Plantation Urban Resort & Spa
- Raffles Hotel Le Royal
This morning, enjoy a fully guided tour of Phnom Penh including the National Museum of Arts. This museum holds many of the country's rarest art works. Much of the country's art was either ruined and destroyed by the Khmer Rouge, or sold by unscrupulous dealers over the Thai border, and these impressive exhibits offer only a glimpse of what once was. See the Royal Palace with its Silver Pagoda then take a break for lunch. The Royal Palace (home to Cambodia's current King - Norodom Sihamoni) is a striking example of Thai-influenced Cambodian architecture while the Silver Palace (so called because of the 5,000 silver tiles which make up its floor) again contains many rare relics of the country's history.
After lunch, visit the Toul Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. The Toul Sleng Museum (better known as the Genocide Museum) acted as the base for the Khmer Rouge security force, prison and interrogation centre, S21. The building, formerly a primary school with the photographs of many of its victims displayed on the walls, now stands testament to the brutality and murderous actions of the Pol Pot regime. After the prisoners were interrogated here they were taken to Choeung Ek to be executed. Many of the country's intellectuals along with some Westerners were labelled 'enemies of the revolution' and killed in this complex. There now stands a stupa filled with human skulls as a memorial to the victims. The Killing Fields, situated just outside Phnom Penh now has a memorial Stupa and small museum dedicated to the memory of the 17,000 people killed in the extermination camp conducted by the Khmer Rouge in the mid-1970s.
National Museum of Arts, Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Killing Fields of Choeung Ek and Toul Sleng Museum
Set off in the morning for the south of the country, driving down Highway 4. Once the shadows and environs of Phnom Penh are left behind, you bagin to see traditional life emerging. The landscape gradually becomes hilly and there are fascinating sights to be caught all around. Upon arrival at the small riverside settlement of Andoung Tuek, embark on a boat for the two hour trip up the Preak Piphot River. Initially mangrove forests thickly cover the two banks. Gradually small dwellings begin to appear on either side and you will catch several boats being traditionally rowed. Your afterwards destination is the village of Chi Phat and on arrival spend ten minute walk up the main street to see around then interact with locals. After lunch and checking in your accommodation, walk to the Chhay Chrey rapids. Start the route up the main street and then wind through forest and farmland to the river. There are gentle rapids and pools and it is a great chance to swim before the return walk.
OPTIONAL: If your energy allows, before ending the day, there is an optional walk from Chi Phat up to the viewing point on Bald Mountain from where you can watch the sunset over the surrounding Cardamom Mountains.
Leave Chi Phat early in the morning by motor boat as the sun rises, cruising about an hour on the river to Vong Kroch Kick before being transferred to a traditional row boat for your wildlife boat tour. Gently transported along the river for the next couple of hours, you will be looking the many birds and witness wildlife that inhabit this verdant area. Your guide will help you spot and identify the various species you come across. Have packed breakfast carried on the boat. Make a stop at Damnak Kos, which is renowned for its bird watching opportunities. There will be plenty of time to persue your interests here.
Returning to Chi Phat the same way, then spend rest of the day to explore the village and at leisure.
After a local breakfast, leave early and start your trek towards the Wildlife Release Station. The Wildlife Alliance (WA) has been working since 1999 in the conservation of the Southern Cardamom Mountains, a large range of mountains covered by evergreen forest. It is the second largest continuous forest in Southeast Asia (SEA) and one of the last remaining elephant and large predator's corridor in the region. Wildlife Alliance has successfully released thousands of animals, including pangolins, binturongs, civets, slow loris', macaques, leopard cats, porcupines, parakeets and hill mynahs. Your trek will slowly take you to the centre of the jungle with plentiful wildlife spotting opportunities along the way.
On arrival at the Wildlife Release Station (WRS) , check in and then have an introduction to the project and activities by the staff. Overnight at the WRS.
NOTE: The accommodation provided blends with its surroundings, and occasionally there are unexpected visitors such as geckos, birds, or spiders! Our thatched chalets are located within a natural grassland clearing and built from sustainable local materials.
Begin the day with the opportunity to watch the morning feeding of the sun bears in their 'soft release enclosure', followed by a walk in the forest to explore more the flora and fauna of the area. The walk lasts between one and three hours.
Later, in the afternoon you may follow and join the staff as they check the camera traps and observe the feeding of the other animals preparing for release at the station. The animals presented at the station are always changing but, in addition to sun bears you may see pangolins, monkeys, hornbills or bintorungs.
In the evening, sit round the campfire, stargaze and go on a little wildlife walk around the camp - looking for animal eyes shining in the dark. Overnight at the WRS.
After bidding farewells to the staff and animals at the WRS, trek back to Chi Phat where you will be met by a vehicle for the drive to the beach town of Sihanoukville or Phnom Penh capital. End the Cardamom Mountain Trek with Cambodia Senses.
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Centrally located in Phnom Penh, The Plantation Urban Resort and Spa is situated directly behind the Royal Palace. It features two outdoor swimming pools and guests can enjoy meals at the in-house restaurant or have a drink at the bar. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.
It is 1.2 km to Chaktomouk Conference Hall 2, while Aeon Mall is 3.6 km away. The Plantation Urban Resort and Spa is a 10-minute walk from the lively riverfront and Phnom Penh’s entertainment area. Phnom Penh International Airport is 10.3 km from the property.
Featuring colourful interiors, air-conditioned non-smoking rooms also have a fan option. Rooms open up to different views and allow plenty of natural light. The seating area is fitted with flat-screen TV, minibar and a desk. The en suite bathroom includes shower facilities, a hairdryer and free toiletries.
Guests can approach the 24-hour front desk for currency exchange, tour arrangements, concierge services and meeting facilities. Recreational facilities include a fitness centre and spa. Private business meetings can be conducted at Le Petit Salon and The Study, where light refreshments from La Pergola will be served or at Red Pool Lounge. Guests can buy souvenirs at Cambomania and the Lotus Pond Gallery plays host to many art exhibitions all year round.
La Pergola features Chef Olivier Guillon's fusion cuisine of French and local Cambodian flavours. Poolside Restaurant and Bar serves up an international selection that includes Western, Asian and authentic Khmer fare.
Situated along the Tatai River, 4 Rivers offers a peaceful treat with its overwater tented villas, stunning views and restaurant.
Offering a view of Cardamom Mountains, each villa features a private terrace. They are equipped with a flat-screen TV, DVD player, minibar and private bathroom with shower. DVD rentals are free-of-charge.
Guests can enjoy kayaking down the river or have a relaxing massage. A daytrip to the nearby Tatai Waterfalls or coastal mangrove can be arranged by 4 Rivers Floating Lodge.
4 Rivers Floating Lodge's gourmet restaurant offers western and Asian dishes. Vegetarian meals are available.
Situated between Bangkok and Phnom Penh in Tatai, 4 Rivers Floating Lodge is a 20-minute drive from Koh Kong City. The Lodge is a 4-hour drive from Phnom Penh or a 2 hours drive from Trat.