Kayaking in Tonle Sap, Cambodia

More Than Just Temples Tour

Country: Cambodia

8 Days | $2,030

Although the magnificent Angkor Wat Temple, along with many other incredible historical monuments, have made Cambodia famous, there is so much more to this special country. This tour will give you a chance to really see Cambodia from all angles. Not only will you visit Angkor Wat, but you will also have the chance to soak up the natural beauty by kayaking on the Tonle Sap Lake and hiking in the beautiful Phnom Kulen National Park. Absorb the local arts and culture at the Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus, the John McDermott Gallery and Theam’s House Art Studio. Finally, get to know the heart and soul of Cambodia through the eyes of the locals- spend a night out on the town sampling Khmer Food with Narla and give back to the community through JWOC’s Hospitality Class and Backstreet Academy’s Football Match.

Day 1   Siem Reap: Arrival

Arrive on your flight in Siem Reap where you will be met by a Journeys Within representative and will be transferred to your hotel.

Meals Included: None

Overnight at Shinta Mani Resort –Pool View Room

Day 2   Siem Reap: Angkor Wat Sunrise, Sala Kdei and Angkor Thom

Wake up early and head out to watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat and then explore the temple during the cool morning hours before the crowds arrive. After exploring Angkor Wat, head to a very special breakfast. Escaping the temple crowds, you will enjoy a delicious breakfast set amidst the grounds of a beautiful traditional wooden house, overlooking the royal bathing pool of Sra Srang.

In the afternoon head to Angkor Thom, the famous walled city, and see the many temples within its borders, including the fascinating Bayon temple with its many magnificent faces smiling out. There are several beautiful spots from which to watch the sunset. Discuss with your guide where you would like to be and then relax and enjoy a memorable end to your day at the temples.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Shinta Mani Resort –Pool View Room

Day 3   Siem Reap: Kayaking and Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus

Experience a unique Journeys Within day kayaking on the Tonle Sap Lake. You will set out around 8am and drive for about an hour before boarding a boat for a 40 minute ride to one of the lake villages. Here the homes are built on stilts because, while in the dry season the surrounding area is dry, in the rainy season it is flooded and so they rise above the water level. You will arrive at the local home that stores the canoes and after a short safety briefing head off with your guide who will lead you through waterways, flooded forests and out into the Tonle Sap Lake where you can take a dip if you wish. After you’ve had a good explore, wind your way back through the village, taking in local life in this watery environment before returning to a local home for some lunch and a leisurely boat and car ride back to town.

This evening you will be treated to a unique performance by the Cambodian Circus, also known as the hugely talented Phare Ponleu Selpak from your VIP seats. Literally translated as ‘’the brightness of the arts’’, this Artistic and Social Center has been running as a non-profit association since 1994, and was founded by a group of young ex-refugees from Battambang Province. With your reserved VIP seats, there is no need to wait in line your seat is reserved for you! Sitting in the centre of the big top tent, you will witness some remarkable acrobatics and visual arts while supporting one of Cambodia’s most inspiring projects. Performances start at 8:00pm.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Shinta Mani Resort – Pool View Room 

Day 4   Siem Reap: John McDermott Gallery, Theam’s House and Village House Unique Dining Experience

Today you will visit the John McDermott Gallery. Once hailed as ‘the Ansel Adams of Angkor”, McDermott first came to Angkor in 1995 to witness and photograph a total eclipse of the sun. Throughout the years that followed, he continued to return to the area and develop his fine art series of the temples, eventually moving to Siem Reap in 2004. Here he has set up two galleries, which exhibit not only his own work but a selection of pieces from both international and local artists.

On arrival you will be met by a representative of the gallery and given a one hour presentation of the works. Due to the nature of his work, John may be travelling in Cambodia or beyond, but if he is in Siem Reap during your stay, he will be more than happy to meet you and discuss his work in person.

This afternoon you will be taken to Theam’s House Art Studio, where you will meet the inspiring Theam and learn about his unique project. Having been Artistic Director of Artisans D’Angkor for the past 10 years, Theam is one of the few Cambodian artistic designers to have been educated abroad, having spent time at both the École Boule and the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris. With his knowledge and experience, he decided to return to Cambodia where he has spent the last 18 years focusing on the revival of Cambodian art, travelling the country far and wide to advance his knowledge and learn about the people and their different crafts. Part of his new project includes training a group of artisan apprentices as well as developing his own creative path.  Enjoy a two hour presentation by Theam and learn more about Cambodia’s numerous crafts and Theam’s own artistic journey.

You will be met at your hotel at 4pm and taken to the beautiful Kompheim village, located just outside Siem Reap. Here you can enjoy a short stroll through a traditional village with one of the local guides, finishing with sunset drinks at the beautiful and unique Village House. Relax and enjoy your very own private dining experience, surrounded by nothing but rice paddies and accompanied by traditional music. After enjoying your very special culinary experience, you will be transferred back to your hotel around 9pm.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight at Shinta Mani Resort Pool View Room

Day 5   Siem Reap: Banteay Srei, Land Mine Museum, Other Temples and • JWOC Community Library Class

This morning set off with your guide to Banteay Srei, the intricately carved temple located just 30km beyond Angkor Wat. As you head back towards town you can stop at Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm, two of the prettiest temples in the complex, where you can enjoy climbing through these smaller unique temples. Make a short stop at the Land Mine Museum, a rather humble look at the land mine problem, past and present, in Cambodia. Return to your hotel for lunch, or have your guide help you find a good lunch spot in town. Remember to take a look at our Cheat Sheet which lists a number of our favorite restaurant recommendations!

Come and spend an hour in JWOC’s Community Library where you’ll get to meet some of the children from the surrounding communities. Between 3pm and 4pm you can help the younger children complete a puzzle, engage in some arts and crafts, or perhaps enjoy constructing a castle from the building blocks, while helping them practice their basic English. Or if you prefer something quieter, there’s always someone looking for story time. You will also have a chance to meet with our scholarship students and gain a greater understanding about the work we do within our community.

Please note: You should arrive at 2:30pm so you can get an overview of JWOC before jumping in to help!

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at Shinta Mani Resort – Pool View Room 

Day 6   Siem Reap: Kulen Mountain Forest Discovery Trail

Today you will take a guided hike with Indochine Exploration through the protected Cambodian jungle of Phnom Kulen National Park. Located about an hour and a half north of Siem Reap, Phnom Kulen is home to a community-protected area of mainly intact evergreen and boulder forest. You will leave early in the morning for this forest that surrounds Preah Ang Thom, the largest community on the mountain. As you drive to the village, your guide will talk to you about how this conservation initiative involves local villagers who maintain the trails. By including them in the tour development, locals are provided with an income and therefore an incentive to help stop deforestation and help protect the wildlife. After arriving and walking through the village, the trail heads into the forest with the canopy high above providing shade even in Cambodia’s hottest months. Hike along the cleared trails, while you keep your eyes open for the wildlife that inhabits the area – in addition to the flying squirrels and birds, rare Silver Langurs were recently discovered in Kulen. After passing over a boulder passageway and through an active bat cave, you will stop for lunch along the banks of the Kulen River before heading back to Preah Ang Thom to visit Cambodia’s largest reclining Buddha, and if you still have energy, take in the beauty of the Kulen Waterfall.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Shinta Mani Resort – Pool View Room

Day 7   Siem Reap: Hidden Temples, Backstreet Academy Football and Locals Night Out

This morning your guide will meet you at the hotel at 7am and you will head into the temple complex, driving through the quiet of the morning to a special hidden road. Here you will find a smaller temple rarely visited by tourists. Despite being in the Angkor temple complex this is a quiet escape from the noise and bustle of some of the other temples. Once at the temple relax and do some exploring. When you’re ready to move on you can walk to a nearby Ta Keo Temple…climb to the top and enjoy the amazing views! From Ta Keo head to the Angkor Thom Gate and take a walk along the Angkor Thom wall. Again, no one visits this beautiful area and it’s quiet and peaceful. At the end of the wall you will get to the East Gate, which was used for taking dead bodies to be cremated in Angkorian times. A beautiful gate with Bayon faces you’ll be the only tourists there to see them. Return to your hotel for lunch or have your guide help you find a good lunch spot in town. Remember to take a look at our Cheat Sheet which lists a number of our favorite restaurant recommendations!

You might be familiar with a spontaneous football match with local kids, barefoot on the beach or in a field in the countryside. It’s the kind of experience that one remembers fondly. When we found that The Volunteer Development Children School organized weekly football matches under their Y&T (Youth and Tourism) program, we were thrilled and immediately approached them to offer their experience to our traveling guests. In the evenings on every weekend, the students get together with other locals and travelers alike and have a friendly match. Join us in this one-of-a-kind experience where you can interact with locals and the culture through the universal language of sport!

Head out in a tuk-tuk with one of the Journeys Within staff for a real taste of local nightlife. Plov Hoksep, or the Road 60 Fun Fair is a perennial favorite for families and young Cambodians alike. Take in the hustle and bustle of this busy street, sampling Khmer fruits and snacks as you go. From deep fried beetles and bugs to some of the tastiest barbeque in Siem Reap, enjoy all the local flavor this hotspot has to offer. As you make your way through the crowds, your guide will give you the rundown on the Khmer food you sample and answer any questions you may have about contemporary Cambodian cuisine and culture. Feeling adventurous? Take a ride in the fair’s bumper cars but remember that health and safety aren’t up to the same standards as back home!

When you are finished, your tuk-tuk will be waiting to take you back to your hotel or into town for dinner if you haven’t filled up on local treats.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight at Shinta Mani Resort – Pool View Room

Day 8   Siem Reap: Departure

Your driver will meet you at your hotel for your private transfer to the airport, where you will arrive in time for your onward flight

Meals included: Breakfast

Tour Rates:

$ 2,030.00 per person based on 2 people traveling

$ 6,800.00 for a family of four – 2 adults & 2 children (with a single supplement of $1,800.00)

Price includes:

  • Boat tickets as specified above
  • Accommodation as specified above
  • Air-conditioned car/van with driver
  • Licensed English speaking guides
  • Tours and admission fees as mentioned above
  • Meals as specified in itinerary, including water

Price excludes:

  • Personal expenses
  • Visa fees
  • Airport tax
  • Drinks (except water) and meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tips
Kulen Mountain hike in Siem Reap, Cambodia

One-day itinerary: Kulen Mountain Forest Discovery Trail

Country: Cambodia

1 Day

Get active while on tour in Cambodia. Take a guided hike with Indochine Exploration through the protected Cambodian jungle of Phnom Kulen National Park. Located about an hour and a half north of Siem Reap, Phnom Kulen is home to a community-protected area of mainly intact evergreen and boulder forest.

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