14 days self drive jeep tour | Southwest of Cambodia
Day 1: Siem Reap airport to Siem Reap
Welcome in Cambodia
Welcome to the magical land of Cambodia – the Kingdom of Wonder. Our team will meet you at the airport and transfer you directly to your hotel. Here you can check in and enjoy the hotels facilities getting used to your new environment before starting what will be a truly memorable journey.
In the afternoon you will have an orientation briefing (traffic rules, staff introduction, road explanation book, Jeep instruction, etc.) followed by a drive around Siem Reap for you to get familiar with things. You will be taken on different types of roads and in varying degrees of traffic in order for you to get completely comfortable.
In the evening we will take you out for a delicious local meal.
Day 2: Siem Reap
Admire the impressive temples of Angkor
This morning you will depart by jeep for the magnificent UNESCO world heritage site, the ancient temples of Angkor Wat. We have scouted and researched some back roads to the temples which still exist, taking you away from the tuk-tuks and busses, giving you a much more beautiful and relaxing trip to the temples. With a little imagination, today’s journey will allow you to truly picture the lost temples the way they have lain for thousands of years. An English speaking guide will take you through the historical park where you visit majestic structures to take in the grandeur of the ancient Kingdom. Most of the temples originate from the 12th century and house some of the most anticipated bas reliefs and beautiful sculptures such as garudas and apsara dancers. First you will visit the talismanic temple of Angkor Wat, the biggest of all the temples, which has survived the sands of time and remained in marvelous condition. Next you will continue to Angkor Thom, with the spectacular Bayon temple. Here 54 intricate and visually stunning four-headed Buddha statues will eye you as you walk round this quite magnificently preserved temple, truly one of the most impressive sights of the temple complex. After lunch and a short rest to recharge, you will visit the Ta Phrom temple. The temples iconic trees have slowly taken over with their gigantic roots embracing the walls and creating a visually striking and unique setting, providing a stunning finish to your day of “templing”.
Day 3: Siem Reap to Kampong Thom
Siem Reap – Kampong Khleang – Kampong Thom
Driving through the countryside, your first stop is at the largest stilted village in Cambodia where we have a boat tour a floating village where we will be able to observe the fascinating scene of daily life on the lake, before you will sail onto the mighty Tonle Sap, the largest lake in South East Asia. On your way to Kampong Thom you will stop in Kampong Kdei, where you will visit an ancient Bridge, the best preserved laterite-built bridge of the Angkor era. On the fascinating drive you will experience the way of living in the Cambodian villages. You will have time to visit a local market and have a have refreshing drink. During your drive you will amazed by the roads and sights in Cambodia, so don’t forget to take pictures!
Day 4: Kampong Thom to Phnom Penh
Kampong Thom – Phnom Penh
Travelling past rice fields, you will make your way towards to the country’s capital. After a while the surroundings will change from paddies to rubber trees. In the morning we will visit a rubber plantation. Afterwards you will drive your jeeps to a beautiful Pagoda next to the Mekong River to enjoy an excellent view of the delta. Driving through villages next to the River you will enter Kampong Cham where you will have a lunch at a local NGO. Following the river you will enter the capital of Cambodia, the bustling heartbeat of the country.
Day 5: Phnom Penh to Phnom Penh
The bustling capital of Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh, located at the intersection of three rivers, the Bassac, Tonle Sap and the mighty Mekong, is the heartbeat of the nation. Its French colonial past is evident through the city, no more so than in the old French quarter. This morning, in a tuk-tuk, equipped with a digital tablet & headphones for each guest, you can step back in time with Phnom Penh Heritage Tour, discovering the fascinating colonial heritage of the city. The tour includes 19 stops around the city with 22 historic sites such as the old post office, the China House and Le Hotel Royal. The video guide reveals the story of each place showing films, old photos, descriptions & historical anecdotes, and also gives you the privilege of virtually entering some buildings not accessible to the public.
After lunch, you can choose which attraction to go to. One choice is to visit the architecturally stunning Royal Palace, including the famous Silver Pagoda, where you can marvel at the sheer beauty of the buildings and murals. Alternatively you can visit either the Tuol Sleng Museum, a former Khmer Rouge prison and torture center, or The Killing Fields of Choeng Ek, the final resting place for tens of thousands of Cambodians killed during the Khmer Rouge regime. While not the most uplifting sites, they provide what, for many visitors to Cambodia, is an essential part of understanding the country and its troubled past and each has a very interesting and informative audio guide.
At 4.30pm, you will all meet up again and transfer you to pier. You will enjoy a sunset boat cruise watching the sun go down over the Phnom Penh skyline from the middle of the Mekong River. A beautiful and fitting end to your first full day.
Day 6: Phnom Penh to Kep
Set out for the coast at picturesque Kep
Leaving the hustle and bustle of the capital behind us, you will drive over a mix of dirt and paved roads towards Cambodia’s southern coast. Continuing your way through small towns and villages you will arrive at the provincial town of Takeo where lunch will be served. As we get closer to the southern coast, pepper plantations appear and the paddy fields are a deeper green and even more lush. From the jeeps you have plenty of opportunity to observe the authentic Cambodian countryside lifestyle as people plough the fields with oxen and water buffalo rest in the shade. After about 3 hours you will arrive at the coastal village of Kep. This is where Asia meets France by the seaside. A favourite holiday spot for the French, Kep still shows signs of its affluent past as old colonial buildings and villas litter the small village. With a little imagination you can picture life the way it used to be. After a long day you will be able to relax in the comfort of your hotel and re-energize yourself.
Day 7: Kep
Learn everything about peppers on the Kampot Pepper plantation
Today you will visit the local Trapeang Sankea community. Here a special project designed to bring the mangroves back to the coast. A boat will take you into the mangroves where you can help keep this project going! You will be given a baby mangrove plant from us which you can plant on the Kampot coastline, helping to return this vital ecosystem to the area. You can also take a short walk through a specially laid out footpath allowing you to immerse yourself in the mangroves. After this exciting activity you will drive small roads to the beautiful Secret Lake. We will serve lunch here surrounded by a stunning mountain view. In the afternoon we’ll visit the famous Kampot Pepper plantation. Kampot’s unique geography and climate work in harmony to provide the perfect environment to grow the best pepper in the world. You’ll learn everything about red, white and black pepper. There is also a school on the farm and you will get an explanation about how the school system in Cambodia works. A nice idea is to prepare a sort mini-lesson or talk to explain, for example, where you come from and maybe teach the students some new English words. You will be rewarded by the smile on the faces of the fantastic kids. You will be impressed by the beauty of the countryside around Kep as you travel back into the village. For dinner you will have the opportunity to experience the best sunset location in Cambodia overlooking the ocean as you sample the delicious menu at the Kep Sailing Club.
Day 8: Kep to Koh Kong
Kep – Koh Kong. By boat to your accommodation….
You will start your jeep drive along the highway before turning into the wild Cardamom Mountains. Driving through the undulating hills, you will enjoy the beautiful national park. Your journey will end at the coastal province of Koh Kong where will take a boat ride to our floating bed for tonight. You will enjoy your stay a natural, peaceful area where you can swim in the river next to your floating accommodation where the water is so clear that you can see the bottom of the river.
Day 9: Koh Kong
Relaxing in the middle of the nature…
Your day, depending on the tide, starts at around 10 a.m. with a 45-minute boat ride past Tatai village. Turning on to a tributary you head into the heart of the Cardamom jungle to the far-off sounds of exotic birds and its secretive wildlife. As you travel further away from your accommodation you will begin to hear the rush of water powerfully falling over rocks getting stronger as you travel down the river. Within minutes you are at journey’s end, gazing down into the turbulent waters of the falls, seeing the true power of the falls as it drops six meters to the rocks below. Soon it is time for lunch, after maybe a few moments hydro-massage and a refreshing drink as you find some shade for a picnic and open your senses to the sights and sounds of the jungle. We will also arrange to transport some kayaks so the adventurous among you can take to the water and experience truly special view of the falls. After leaving the falls, depending of the season, we might stop at the mouth of a small river where you can paddle your kayak to a traditional Cambodian farm; you will see rice fields and some fruit trees and a first-hand experience of how agriculture works in the countryside. Upon returning, you will be able to relay, eat and enjoy your special lodgings for one more night.
Day 10: Koh Kong to Veal Veng
The unknown road: Koh Kong – Veal Veng
Today will provide you with some of the most adventurous, small road jeep driving of this tour. Early in the morning you will begin what will be a fascinating journey to Veal Veng, taking you on a very scenic and adventurous drive into the enchanting Cardamom Mountains. Special permission had to be sought to drive on this military road, and its special status means we will have a ride with virtually no traffic. This Cardamon Mountain range runs 300 km from the north-west to the south-east and 200 km from east to west spanning 4.4 million hectares of rainforest. It is one of Southeast Asia’s largest remaining rainforests and is home to a number of species of endangered wildlife such as elephants, sun bears, crocodiles, gibbons and the stunning clouded leopard. The extensive jungle and hills are also home to around 25,000 people, many of whom are ethnic minorities. Frequent rain makes it one of the wettest areas of Cambodia, but produces luxurious vegetation giving the whole area a fresh and vibrant feeling. Its sheer seclusion means you will take one of the few roads that penetrate into this beautiful mountain range. A challenging drive, but one that will offer you some of the most breath-taking scenery. Upon reaching your accommodation in Veal Veng you are sure to have experiences a jeep drive not easily forgotten.
Day 11: Veal Veng to Battambang
Veal Veng – Battambang. Back to civilisation…
Today’s From the Cardamom Mountains you will drive through rough terrain to Battambang. On the way you recognize the real Cambodia with the difficulty way of living. Depending on the state of the road (it can be especially challenging during rainy season) we will either drive over Pursat or Sam Lot towards Battambang.
Day 12: Battambang
Admire the view from the Phnom Sompov Mountain
You will start your tour at 8am in the morning with a ride on the famous bamboo train. The bamboo train is a 2.5m x 4m raft-like device that is made from bamboo for local villagers to transport their goods. There is really no other way to describe it other than “simple but inspired”. There is only one track used for both directions so if you see someone coming in the other direction the drivers you will have to decide which train has the lightest load. The train with the lighter load or fewer passengers must be ready for a little exercise as you will have to unload the goods and people and remove the train from the track to let the other train go by. After this unique experience you will explore the north of Battambang and drive up to the historic 11th century Ek Phnom temple. On the way we will stop to visit the villagers and see how they produce local products such as fish paste, sticky rice, rice wine, rice papers, noodles, and clay pots which are commonly used in the countryside to collect rainwater. You will also get a chance to learn more about the Khmer Rouge when you visit the Well of Shadows, taking a monument to honour the people killed during the war. Near the monument you will get the opportunity to visit the hundreds of Fruit Bats that hang on trees producing a loud and interesting noise. During lunch you will have the opportunity for a cool and refreshing swim. After lunch the tuk-tuk ride traverses through small villages and criss-crosses between rice fields towards Phnom Sompov Mountain. The mountain is about 140 meters high and has more than 800 steps to reach the top. You will avoid climbing up all the steps by taking a motorbike up the first part of the mountain to visit the temples, shrines, and killing caves used during the Khmer Rouge period. Once at the top you will also have a beautiful view over all of Battambang and enjoy a truly vast and beautiful scenery. You will end your journey before sunset by walking down the mountain steps and visiting the “bat army” – thousands of bats flying out of their caves in the mountain side at dusk. Afterwards you will return to your hotel to eat, rest and reflect on what has been a full and fascinating tour.
Day 13: Battambang to Siem Reap
Learn more about silk: Battambang – Siem Reap
From Battambang, our ride continues through the Cambodian nature and we visit the lovely Khmer Temple Ek Phnom. After a break for lunch, you will visit the local silk farm, where learn everything about the process which makes the world renowned Cambodian silk. Before entering the city we take a ride off the beaten path, and marvel the countryside of Cambodia for the last time.
Tonight you will have a delicious farewell dinner.
Day 14: Siem Reap to Siem Reap Airport
Time to say goodbye
Sadly, all good things come to an end. Today is time to say goodbye to Cambodia, so enjoy the taxi ride to the airport, and have a final good look at the wonderful country you have enjoyed for the past 14 days. We are sure you have had an amazing adventure here, which will live long in your memory. We hope that you will come back very soon, and allow us to show you more of what Cambodia has to offer. Bon voyage!
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