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Key: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Depart the UK
On your overnight flight to Phnom Penh.
Welcome to Cambodia! Upon your arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport, meet with our drivers and enjoy a convenient private transfer to your hotel in town. After check-in and having some time to relax, enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant and get briefed on upcoming activities for the next week. (D)
After breakfast this morning, our excursion begins with a visit to the ornate Khmer Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. Next, get ready for a sobering and poignant visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum; a testament to Cambodia’s bloody past.
Then drive to Choeung Ek - the Killing Fields, where the brutal executions of more than 17,000 men, women and children took place. The large mass grave pits have all but gone, however the stupa filled with skulls is a chilling memorial. Lunch and dinner will be provided at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)
Today, after breakfast, meet with your guides and hop on the transfer from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap via Kampong Thom (314 kilometers – taking approx. 7 hours) with half-way stop.
On the way, make a stop to visit the former Khmer capital Sambor Prei Kuk, the earliest example of Khmer temple architecture. The temple complex, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, has dozens of structures built from brick and laterite stone in the 7th century. The temples were abandoned, rediscovered and restored in 1980 though only parts of the jungle have been cleared.
Have lunch at a restaurant en-route then continue heading to Siem Reap. Upon arrival, check in hotel and have some time to relax after a long day of overland transfer. (B,L,D)
Today starts with a visit to the South Gate of Angkor Thom where statues of the gods of good and evil line the entrance. Your next stop is the Bayon, known for the hundreds of smiling faces that grace the towers. The bas reliefs are quite impressive and tell stories of daily life and the great battles that were fought between the Khmers and ancient Thais.
Move on to Phimeanakas, shaped a bit like a pyramid with two ponds in the rear. The ponds were once used for religious rituals but today serve as swimming pools for Khmer kids. Walk to the top of the temple for impressive views of the Angkor complex. See the rows of trunks that form the wall of the Terrace of the Elephants, a platform from which King Jayavarman surveyed his army.
Close by is the Terrace of Leper Kings, which includes a statue depicting Yana, the Hindu god of death. Then it’s a short drive to one of the most loved temples of all - Ta Prohm. This small crumbling temple is held together by giant tree roots giving it a magical feel. Return to Siem Reap for lunch and to escape the hot sun.
Then later in the afternoon explore the magnificent Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument. This visually spectacular temple is a massive three-tiered pyramid, rising 65 metres from the ground and crowned by five lotus towers. It’s the national symbol of Cambodia and proudly appears on the country’s flag. (B,L,D)
This morning, head to Ton Le Sap Lake - the largest fresh water lake in South East Asia - and the lifeblood of the Cambodian fishing industry. Hopping on board a small shaded vessel and moving between the floating homes and small fish farms you will experience close up, daily lake life.
After lunch, visit Cambodia Landmine Museum & Relief facilities is located 6Km South of Banteay Srey Temple. In 1997, former Khmer Rough child soldier Aki Ra founded the Cambodia Landmine Museum at his home on quiet dirt road just outside Siem Reap. He created the Museum under shanty styled huts to house his collection of decommissioned mines, some and other explosive remnants of war (REW) that he had cleared throughout the country since 1995.
Later this afternoon, participate in a performance workshop led by Phare, the Cambodian Circus which is run by the NGO of the same name supporting the futures of Khmer youth with art and performance training. Please note that the group will be able to apply the skills they learn today when having cultural exchange activities at local school the upcoming days.
Then get transferred for an early dinner at a local restaurant before getting back to Phare for the Circus Show. Phare is a lively show combining elements of high flying, tight-rope walking, juggling, contortion, music and theatre circus arts in one energetic showcase of Cambodian culture. Phare artists will astonish you with their energy, passion, talent and dedication. They come from some of the most difficult social and economic backgrounds imaginable, these Cambodian youth transform their lives through art. Enjoy an evening of cultural discovery for a good cause. After the show, return to your hotel for a rest. (B,L,D)
After breakfast this morning, the group will head to Knapor community, which is located 35km Northeast of Siem Reap. Upon arrival, the group will stop at Knapor Junior High School and get welcomed by local students and teachers then listen to the school Introduction delivered by the Headmaster.
Then split into smaller teams of 5-6 to participate in cultural exchange activities with local students to have better understanding of their daily lives and school life. The group will also have chance to walk around the village and talk with some local families with your new local friends then come up with a village map and presentation of what you observe.
Lunch will be prepared by some great local cooks. In the afternoon you will learn traditional Khmer dance and songs then enjoy some sport activities with some of the people from the local community as well as friendly games with local students. (B,L,,D)
This morning, get ready for your performance at another local school - Chansar Junior High School. Meet with the local students and staff then it’s time to show up the skills you have learned at Phare workshop as well as traditional dance lessons learned yesterday at the local community.
This is a great opportunity for cultural exchange and making friends with local peers. The local students will also prepare some performances to exchange. After lunch in the village, after a short drive to the starting point, head out to Banteay Ampil Temple on ox-cart, one of the very unique experiences you may never forget. This remote temple is untouched by tourists. The only way to visit this temple is by hiking or ox-cart.
Afterwards, get back to the village and take a short walk to enjoy sunset at the rice paddies – this is perfect time for reflection and group sharing of the experience. (B,L,D)
After breakfast this morning, free time at leisure until appointment time, meet with your guide and get transferred to Siem Reap airport for your onward flight to Phnom Penh, connecting with you flight back to the UK. (B)
Arrive back in the UK.
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