THE ESSENCE OF THE KHMER KINGDOM

- A Secret Retreats journey -

 

Je crois parfois que toute mon écriture naît de là, entre les rizières, les forêts, la solitude.
– Marguerite Duras.

Exploring Cambodia is also discovering the Cambodians and their wonderful smile. The Khmer Kingdom offers its visitors truly a wonder of the world in the archeological site of Angkor, a place of breathtaking splendor - with the perfection of Angkor Wat, the mystery of Bayon and the abundance of vegetation in Ta Prohm – and a warm and welcoming people with an ancient culture.
Bertrand-Srey-Touch

Photo: Bertrand & Srey Touch

After a private cruise of 171 km across the Tonle Sap lake you will reach Battambang, a charming colonial town built along the banks of the Sangker River. A day later you will visit Phnom Penh, long known as the "Pearl of Asia" with its many buildings with European and colonial architecture and then drive south-west to Kep, the seaside resort of the country where you will enjoy fresh caught seafood after a relaxing day of sunbathing.

11 Nights / 12 Days starting from 3,270 USD (including the cruise) or 2,885 USD (without the cruise)
8 Nights / 9 Days itinerary (excluding Kep) from 2,100 USD
7 Nights / 8 Days from 2,050 USD (excluding Battambang and Phnom Penh)
All prices are net and based on two people sharing a room.

Highlights of the Journey: The best of Cambodia

  • Angkor Archeological Site
  • Lake Tonle Sap
  • Battambang
  • Phnom Penh
  • Kep seaside resort
  • and some of the best culinary experiences the country has to offer along the journey

 

BOOK HERE





Secret Retreats Journeys
The Essence of The Khmer Kingdom

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Day 1 – Siem Reap (D)

After welcoming you on arrival at Siem Reap Airport with a cool refreshing lemongrass towel we will drive you to the hotel and let you settle down in your junior suite at the Samar Villas and Spa Resort. During your stay at the hotel, the barber will be offered to gents and a relaxing mask for the ladies and with all other spa treatments offered at an exclusive discount of 15% off throughout your stay.

If you land early enough in Siem Reap a visit of the National Museum will be proposed. The museum gives the visitor a great introduction to the history of the Angkor complex, perfect before visiting the temples. Later in the afternoon, a tuk-tuk will take you for a drive to give you a general overview of the location the main temple of Angkor.

Dinner will be served at The Samar from your choice of either a large Khmer tapas platter set and served for you by the pool. Or the menu of the day served at the Samar Restaurant.

Hotel: The Samar Villas & Spa Resort (Junior Suite)

Day 2 – Siem Reap (B / L /D)

After breakfast your discovery of the Angkor complex will start at the temples known as the Roluos group.
- a visit to Preah Ko to admire the first temple built in the ancient city of Hariharalaya. Preah Ko takes its name from the 3 sandstone statues facing the central towers of the temple representing the white bull that served as the mount of Shiva.
- then to Bakong, the Temple of the State of King Indravarman I, to see fragments of the original bas-reliefs.
- finally before lunch, a visit to the Temple of Lolei to see its beautiful carved lintels.
Lunchtime, returning to the Samar for a BBQ lunch and time for a cooling dip in the pool or a relaxing massage (optional) before returning to the temple complex to visit the most dramatic temples of the site.
- discover the city of Angkor Thom.
Angkor Thom means the "great city". It was the last major capital of the Angkorian Empire. It is the largest site in the Angkor Archaeological Park. At its peak, it was estimated that the city had a population of nearly one million. To enter the city you have to go through one of the five large entrance doors that are surmounted by four giant faces and the bridges leading to the gates are bordered by statues. Inside, Angkor Thom has several temples, some of the most impressive of the Angkorian period, you will begin your visit by:

  • The temple of Bayon: located in the center of the large fortified city of Angkor Thom, is well known for housing dozens of face sculptures. The site is simply wonderful and bewitching.
  • The terrace of the Elephants: the great interest of this terrace is the very long sculpted frieze representing a parade of elephants.
  • The Terrace of the Leper King: located at the northern end of the Elephant Terrace, it was so named because of a statue on top of the wall that purportedly represents the "Leper King".
  • The Baphuon: the largest mountain temple in Angkor. It was built around 1060, under the reign of Ydayadityavarman II, to the glory of Shiva.

Returning to the hotel to relax before dinner. Dinner will be enjoyed at the Mie Café restaurant, a Secret Table, where the very creative and dynamic Chef Pola will serve you a unique and exciting menu of Khmer and Western flavours.

Hotel: The Samar Villa & Spa Resort (Junior Suite).

Day 3 – Siem Reap (B / L /D)

An ‘early bird’ start to the day, to see a rare and magical sight, to see the sun rise above Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is the masterpiece of Suryarman II (1113-1150). This competent king made himself master of all Southern Indochina. At that time the Khmer genius reached a harmonious perfection in art and architecture.
If you opted for this early morning visit you will return to the Samar Villas for a late breakfast and time to relax.
After lunch, departure by tuk-tuk to Ta Nei, a 12th century temple built by Jayavarman VII. And from Ta Nei to one of Angkor’s most enigmatic temples, Ta Prohm, a romantic site with spectacular sculptures, statues and ancient banyan trees growing across and amongst the ruins. The whole disordered picture gives an image probably fairly faithful to what the first adventurers discovered on the site of Angkor in the 19th century.
Dinner will be served at Restaurant Malis, the new gastronomic address of chef Luu Meng.

Hotel: The Samar Villa & Spa Resort (Junior Suite).

Day 4 – Siem Reap (B / L /D)

After breakfast, departure by private car to Banteay Srei. Older than Angkor Wat, this temple dates from the end of the 10th century. It is remarkable for the quality of the sculptures that highlight the finesse of Khmer art. The beauty of the bas-reliefs amply competes with what can be seen in Angkor Wat. This temple is located about 20 km north of Siem Reap. Return for lunch at the Samar Villas and a relaxing afternoon by the pool or at the spa.
Dinner this evening will be at another Secret Table, the much lauded Cuisine Wat Damnak by Chef Joannès Rivière for a gourmet experience using only excellent local produce.

Hotel: The Samar Villa & Spa Resort (Junior Suite).

Day 5 – A private cruise from Siem Reap to Battambang (B /L /D)

Please note: the full cruise is only available between August and February. From February to July, a cruise and lunch on Tonle Sap lake then returning to Siem Reap.

An early morning start and a generous breakfast before heading to the port of Siem Reap to board your vessel, a traditional wooden boat, for a whole day cruise to Battambang (depending on water level, the cruise will between 6 and 7 hours). The first part of the cruise is the crossing of Tonle Sap lake to then head up the Sangker river. Tonle Sap lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and a site of ecological importance, recognized as a biosphere reserve by Unesco in 1973. This lake is also the geographical centre of Cambodia.
Lunch will be served on board with picnic baskets prepared by the Samar’s chef.
During the cruise we will see several floating villages where traditional fishing techniques are still used and visit the Wat Chheu Khmao Pagoda. On arrival at Battambang we will transfer you to your hotel, the Maisons Wat Kor, to check in (the Lotus Room). Once checked in an excursion by tuk-tuk will be arranged for a late afternoon visit to Phnom Sampauv, about 7 km from Battambang. This site is famous for the 1000 Bats Cave, an incredible natural wonder to witness at dusk as the bats leave the cave to hunt.
Dinner at the hotel

Hotel: Maisons Wat Kor (Lotus Room).

Day 6 – Battambang (B /L /D)

After a relaxing breakfast a tour by tuk-tuk to discover Battambang.
- visit the seamstresses of Kramas,
- visit a traditional incense making workshop
- meet a lady of Battambang to learn how she makes traditional cigarettes
- visit to traditional wood carvers
- visit an artisan kitchen that specializes in rice noodles
- visit a traditional rice wine factory
During the excursion, we will stop for lunch in a local restaurant and continue the visits with:
- a stop in a house that is famed for a Battambang speciality, rice cakes.
- and another one famed for sticky rice cooked in bamboo
- followed by a visit to the market to see Prahoc (fish paste)an essential ingrediant in Khmer cuisine, being made.
- finally a stroll through the city to see the colonial old town, the Governor's House, the Provincial Museum (closed Saturday, Sunday and public holidays) and the Psar Natt market.
Return to the hotel in the late afternoon and enjoy a dinner at the hotel.

Hotel: Maisons Wat Kor (Lotus Room)

Option: During your stay in Battambang you can attend a circus show organized by the NGO Phare. The show takes place every Monday and Thursday from 19:00 to 20:30 (14 USD/person)
We recommend that you head there for arrival at 18:00, before the performance, to have time to visit a visual arts exhibition created by the students.

Day 7 – Battambang-Phnom Penh (B /L /D)

Departure by road to Phnom Penh after breakfast. We will stop on the road for a local style lunch and visit Kampong Chhnang, a village famed for its pottery.
On arrival in Phnom Penh, check in at Iroha Garden Hotel (Deluxe Balcony)
Free time at the pool to relax and dinner at the hotel

Hotel: Iroha Garden (Deluxe Balcony Room).

Day 8 – Phnom Penh (B /L /D)

After your breakfast, you will tour the Khmer capital starting with the National Museum (also known as the Museum of Fine Arts) followed by the Royal Palace, built in 1866 by King Norodom with its Silver Pagoda and then a trip to the Hill of Wat Phnom considered as the center of the city.
Lunch at the NGO-run restaurant “Friends”, an interesting culinary experience prepared by the students of this vocational school.
In the afternoon, visit to the Russian market and an option to visit the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum.
Dinner at the Secret Table, the Tiger's Eye restaurant, one of the capital’s best restaurants.

Hotel: Iroha Garden (Deluxe Balcony Room).

Day 9 – Phnom Penh – Kep (B /L /D)

After breakfast, departure by road to Kep.
Along the way we will stop to explore of a pepper plantation in Kampot. Kampot pepper is acclaimed by Grand Chefs as the best pepper in the world !
We will enjoy a simple lunch of local food nearby.
On arrival at Samanea Beach Resort you will check in to your Deluxe Villa and enjoy the rest of the afternoon by the pool.
Kep's culinary specialties will be prepared for your dinner at Samanea's restaurant.

Hotel: Samanea Beach Resort (Deluxe Villa).

Day 10 – Kep (B /L /D)

In the bay of Kep lies one of Cambodia’s most beautiful islands “L’Ile aux Lapins” (Rabbit Island), located 16km off the coast. After breakfast, board a converted traditional fishing boat to visit the island. On the way, we can stop at leisure for fishing and swimming and for lunch enjoy a seafood BBQ on the beach. Fishing gear, safety equipment, snorkel sets and aquashoes will be provided. This excursion is exclusive to Samanea and Secret Journeys. We will return to Kep around 16.30 in the afternoon.
Dinner will be served at the hotel.

Hotel: Samanea Beach Resort (Deluxe Villa).

Day 11 – Kep (B /L /D)

After breakfast a chance to enjoy a tuk-tuk tour of Kep.
- visit Kampot to see buildings dating from the period of the French protectorate, a pagoda on the bank of the river and the local market.
- then we head towards Phnom Chh'nork in the countryside to reach a 7th century temple built in a cave.
- take a fishing boat tour in the mangrove, guided by an association for the protection and conservation of the mangroves, until we reach the bay (where a swim is possible)
Lunch in a local restaurant.
Back to the hotel around 16.30 in afternoon.
Dinner will be served at the hotel.

Hotel: Samanea Beach Resort (Deluxe Villa).

Day 12 – Kep - Phnom Penh Airport (B /.)

Departure after breakfast, depending on the time of your flight. The journey from Kep to Phnom Penh Airport takes approximately 3hours so planned departures should be at least 5hours ahead of your scheduled flight time.

The Hotels

The Samar

Samanea Beach Resort

Maison Wat Kor

Iroha Garden

11 Nights / 12 Days starting from 3,270 USD (including the cruise) or 2,885 USD (without the cruise) 8 Nights / 9 Days itinerary (excluding Kep) from 2,100 USD 7 Nights / 8 Days from 2,050 USD (excluding Battambang and Phnom Penh) All prices are net and based on two people sharing a room.

Valid for travel before 30 September 2017.

BOOK HERE

Secret Retreats Journeys
The Essence of The Khmer Kingdom

First Name*:
Last Name*:

Email*:

Country of Residence*:

Check In Date*:

Number of person(s)*:

Comment

  The total price includes:
  • Accommodation on a bed & breakfast basis in the hotels detailed in the itinerary.
  • All meals (lunch and dinner) when mentioned in the program.
  • All transportation by Air Conditioned car or tuk-tuk for some of the tours.
  • Entrance fees to all sites and museums mentioned in the program.
  • Local English-speaking guide (other languages possible when required) for all tours mentioned in the program.
  The total price does not include:
  • VISA - A valid visa for Cambodia is required. Visas are issued on arrival for certain countries or please enquire and apply with the Cambodian Embassy in your country of residence well in advance or your travel dates (Please make sure your passport is valid for 6 months beyond your departure date).
  • Other meals that are not included in the program.
  • Drinks, personal expenses, tips and gratuities.
  • Options and other activities not included in the program.
 

This Secret Journey was designed in cooperation with Bertrand, Kim Nou and TravelArch (license #00024239)