The Temple Safari
The Temple Safari is a unique and adventurous way to experience the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor and beyond. The roads sometimes bumpy and the temples sometimes dilapidated, but the intimate experience of camping at the walls of an ancient monument more than compensate. Temple Safari delivers the Angkor experience of old, timeless temples with not a visitor in sight. Witness the most atmospheric temple ruins on earth, forgotten in the forests for almost a millennia. Solitary sunsets, spiritual sunrises, the Temple Safari experience brings the magic back to travel.
Colonial Phnom Penh
Embark on an afternoon city tour of a different kind: focussing on Cambodian architecture of the late 1950s and 1960s, a vibrant time both culturally and politically. The then en vogue ‘New Khmer Architecture’ uniquely focused on integrating an international style with responsiveness to local tradition, materials and climate. Travelling by local ‘remok’ (tuk tuk) discover the turbulent history of Cambodia from a different perspective as you view the city’s eclectic blend of buildings and structures. Enjoy dinner at the renowned Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC), a colonial gem with great riverside views. Finish off the day at the historic ‘The Mansion’ an old dilapidated yet stunning colonial building, the venue for regular Monday movie projections & live guitar or violin on Wednesdays organised by the FCC.
Take a trip to a countryside town where time has stood still. Situated between the Thai – Cambodian border and the tourism hotspot of Siem Reap, Battambang is an excellent example of a community lost in time. Home to some of the best preserved French colonial architecture and known as the rice bowl of Western Cambodia. Take a ride on the Bamboo Train, Battambang's premier attraction, that is unique to Cambodia and visit a village filled with traditional wooden houses amid rural isolation. This train is a unique and inspired form of improvised local transportation powered by a small motocycle engine that rides the railroads picking up passengers and cargo along the way.
The Eastern Experience
Eastern Cambodia provides a stunning setting for any adventure seeker who wants to get off the well-trodden trail and into rural countryside. Mondulkiri Province remains less visited than Phnom Penh & Siem Reap, but provides one of the best opportunities to meet local Cambodian people going about their daily lives. Rural life here is basic and to see international visitors in some areas is still a novelty – but you are always made very welcome by their endearing Asian hospitality. Travel on bumpy roads and through dense jungle growth, to spend five days exploring this stunning side of Cambodia, home to a great number of endangered wildlife and remote villages. Dine on local food, learn of cultural traditions unique to the area and even join a hill tribe ceremony.
An intriguing way to explore Cambodian countryside life and Buddhist culture that adds that special something to your Cambodia experience. A ride in a traditional ox cart and a private monk blessing ceremony are simple commotions, but they create lasting memories as they give a compelling insight of ‘real’ Cambodia. All with the backdrop of the oldest temples of the Angkor area. The Roluos is the site of an ancient center of Khmer civilization known as Hariharalaya and as such the oldest temple complex of this area. Explore the three main temples Bakong, Preah Ko and Lolei. The surrounding countryside with its paddy fields and sugar palm trees is very typical for Cambodia – enjoy the beauty on a cow cart ride to Roluos Pagoda, a great and fun way to get in touch with rural Cambodia and its friendly people. Here, in a small contemporary pagoda, Buddhist monks will celebrate a private blessing ceremony for you, wishing you health and a safe journey – a very special experience!
A Bird’s Eye View
Hovering in the skies above Angkor Wat and the surrounding myriad of ancient temples provides a different perspective on the size, scale and beauty of the ancient Khmer empire and their incredible creations.
Some are purely scenic, while others are multi-landing flights that take you to the remote temples of the Angkorian civilisation in a full day of adventure looking for lost jungle temples, offering a birds-eye perspective of Cambodian life and the full layout of the Angkorian civilisation.
Life on the Tonle Sap
This homestay module is a very special way to experience life on Cambodia's Tonle Sap Lake. You'll visit the almost untouched fishing village of Kompong Khleang and over two days experience the traditional lifestyle of the villagers up close. You will spend the night with a Khmer family in a traditional, simple stilt house. During the rainy season the houses and the floodplains of the Tonle Sap lake are surrounded by water. It's the largest lake in Southeast Asia, populated with a multitude of fish, so you should take the opportunity to go out fishing with the fishermen at sunrise. This truly authentic Cambodia experience will be hard to forget.
Bonn Om Touk – The Water Festival
Time your Cambodia trip to coincide with any of the country's festivals - there are plenty to choose from & the event will likely be a highlight of your visit. The Water Festival, which ushers in the fishing season and marks the reversing of the current in the Tonle Sap river, is a spectacle to behold. At the height of the rainy season, the water in the Mekong river flows with such power that it backs up into the Tonle Sap river, forcing the Tonle Sap to reverse its current and begin flowing northward to the Great Lake. As the water level begins to subside, the current reserves again. The festival draws tens of thousands of people to the river banks to watch longboat races, fireworks and a lighted flotilla of boats under the full moon.
Cooking With Kethana
Discover the secrets of authentic Khmer cuisine in the course of a half-day cooking class with Mrs Kethana Dunnet at her beautiful country home near the Banteay Srei Temple. Kethana is the owner and founder of the Sugar Palm restaurants in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and is known for her work with many celebrity TV chefs including Gordon Ramsay and Luke Nguyen. Over the course of the morning learn various dishes that are served at Sugar Palm and the differences between Khmer and other regional cuisines. After dining on your creations take a guided visit to the Golden Silk Farm followed by the jewel of Angkor, Banteay Srei. Return to Kethana’s house at the end of the day to watch the sunset over the rice fields and toast your memorable day with a glass of champagne.
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Brenda Frances and Valerie - India Holiday
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