Start date: January 07, 2023
Every year since its conception over seven years ago, we have striven to develop and enhance each Lotos Rallye itinerary the best and most interesting way we can for our vintage car lovers from Europe. We carry on in search of new and exciting routes, unique and suitable accommodations, delightful restaurants and thrilling experiences for our guests.
For our Lotos Rallye 2021, we travelled the extra mile in putting together what we believe is going to be the best Lotos Rallye Jeep Tour ever. New roads have opened up, interestingly new places have been added and charming new hotels included. For a new visitor to Cambodia, this tour will provide the most exhilarating way to experience this amazingly special country. While for our guests who have had the chance to enjoy our past tours with us, they will discover completely new adventures and a fascinating, new side to Cambodia on this tour.
The LOTOS-RALLYE is not designed to be driven at speed but is all about experiencing the magnificent landscape of Cambodia with its cultural and historic buildings, and amazingly friendly people. Trips to temples, local markets and other special places of interest are all included in this wonderful journey, but we have taken special care to ensure that each day of the tour will take you on paths less traveled granting you a truly personal and memorable jeep travel experience.
We drive with 2 participants in 1 jeep. The minimum participation is 6 jeeps (12 participants) and there is a maximum limit of 10 jeeps. So we drive with a small select group. Most participants have a passion for vintage cars and are adventurous. This is the perfect way to get to know Cambodia.
The organisation is in the trusted hands of André and Lily from Cambodian Travel Partner in cooperation with Gunther Frauenkron.
The closing date for registration is 25 November 2023
7 january 2023: Welcome to 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 hotel 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.
8 january 2023: Explore Angkor by jeep
On this day we will visit the famous ancient Angkor Wat temple complex in style. We will let you experience the charm of this temple tour by jeep. The jeep is a historical witnesses of the Vietnam war and will bring you to the world heritage temple Angkor Wat, Bayon (Angkor Thom) and one of the most popular temple Ta Prom with its trees growing out of the ruins. The advantage of your ‘own’ jeep is that if you would like to spend more time at a certain temple, we don’t mind. Even visiting other temples, which are on the way, is possible. The unique way of visiting the temple complex by jeep makes you enjoy the jungle surroundings even more. For those who have already visited Angkor in the past and want to take a different route, we have created an alternative itinerary for you.
9 january 2023: On the road
Now it really starts. We leave Siem Reap and drive to Battambang, the rice kingdom of Cambodia.
Several times we will leave the main road and drive through the countryside. First, you will drive over a dyke of the largest man-made water reservoir in Angkor. Everywhere in Cambodia you find temples from the Angkor and pre-Angkor era, so also today we encounter a number of them, hidden in pagodas or outside the inhabited world. In the evening we bring you to Phare the Circus. The Cambodian Circus tells uniquely Cambodian tales using modern circus arts and high energy music, touching on themes strong in Cambodian tradition, ethos and spirit. The performances mix theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling, aerial acts, fire and contortion with an explosion of virtuosity and sensitivity. During the hour-long shows, the Phare performers share their emotions and excitement, blowing the audience away with their integrity and power. Note: this is not a daily performance so it might we need to change it to another day during your stay in Battambang.
10 january 2023: The historical side of Battambang
Driving a jeep around Battambang is the perfect experience and crash course into this city. Today is a good balance of culture, old and modern history, architecture and local traditions. We take you to unknown places but of great value from a historical aspect. You will go inside unique buildings, meet with local people and explore the hidden stories of Battambang. You will visit also the most beautiful and mysterious pagodas of Battambang. You will learn about the history, customs and diverse culture of this ancient city.
After lunch you will drive 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 pick up car 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.
11 january 2023: Could she be at home?
Another exciting day of driving awaits you today, A mix of tarmac roads, dirt roads and, if it has been raining, also muddy roads. We drive through beautiful landscapes and hills with vast plantations of bananas, durian and mangoes. We have lunch at a small river where it is also possible to swim. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to enter Angelina Jolie’s house, but a sneaky view from the fence gives us a little peek into her summer residence. We continue our journey and sometimes drive over bumpy roads alternated with good roads. In the evening, we have a BBQ dinner organised by our hostess where we are staying.
12 january 2023: A challenging drive
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 l Koh Kong taking you on a very scenic and adventurous drive into the enchanting Cardamom Mountains. A challenging drive, but one that will offer you some of the most breath-taking scenery. In the late afternoon you will arrive in Koh Kong. Here you will spend the night exploring the pristine waters and forests at the foot of the Kravanh and Cardamom Mountains. In the evening you will have the truly special experience to escape to paradise, at one of the most luxurious and exclusive of Cambodia hotels, Canvas & Orchids Retreat, where you can relax in a serene floating bungalow on the Tatai River. The floating tents at the tranquil, overwater hotel, are the first of their kind, and a must-see destination, for anyone who loves to fully immerse themselves in nature, while still maintaining the ease and comfort of a luxury vacation.
13 january 2023: Enjoy a wonderful day of rest
Wake up and enjoy the beautiful sight on nature from your tent. There are several options for today, you can visit the waterfall, go to a mangrove forest , explore the river by kayaking or take a relaxing massage.
14 january 2023: Kirirom, ‘Mountain of Joy’’
After resting well in these beautiful surroundings, it is time to move on again. After breakfast, we take the boat back to the mainland and get back into our jeeps. We start at the first bridge and then we have 3 more big ones to go. At one of the bridges, we see a skyline of birdhouses along the banks. What these are, we will tell you on the way. We drive through a hilly landscape and the roads are easy to drive on. Our accommodation is in Kirirom National Park and hidden between the pine trees. These trees were planted by order of King Sihanouk in the 1960s. Before we check in our accommodation for tonight , first The Coconut School is on the schedule. Not an ordinary school. The school is managed by Mr Vanday. He has an innate passion for education and a skill for innovative and creative construction. The students do not pay for anything, not even for the teachers’ fees. But they are required to bring recyclables and help Mr Vanday in keeping the school intact and orderly.
15 january 2023: Wash your face with hot spring water
Today is an exceptional day. Somewhere between Kirirom and Aural on a dirt road is a small tattoo shop. The owner is a master of the Yant tattoo. He learned this art in a pagoda in Siem Reap from a monk. To master this art takes years of study and dedication. Yant is a form of tattooing originally introduced by Khmer people of the Khmer Empire These tattoos are believed to give magical powers such as luck, money, good health, family, protection, etc.
We continue our way and drive to the Hot Springs. What? are there hot springs in Cambodia? You would hardly believe it, but it is true. Cambodia has 1 hot spring and it is located in Kampong Speu province. Te Teuk Pus as these springs are called is located in the Aural district and the accessibility is not easy. The water temperature is 70 degrees and the people living here believe that this water brings luck and health. It is said to cure various illnesses and skin diseases.
Tonight you will stay in Farmhouse, Smiling Gecko. Located in the countryside about 65 km north of Phnom Penh, the Farmhouse Smiling Gecko is surrounded by paddy fields and rolling hills. Our boutique bungalow resort is a training hotel and part of the holistic social organization Smiling Gecko. The resort is located in the very heart of the agricultural area of the project.
16 january 2023: Driving and drinking?
We can start the day’s activities a little later, but then it’s time to explore the region again. Of course, we will be going off the beaten track again. Sometimes it can be a very exciting challenge. One of our visit is an impressive 500 year-old Buddhist monastery.. Also we visit a local family where they grow palm trees, produce palm sugar and sell the palm juice for a living. You will see where the palm trees grow and how the farmers harvest and process the palm sap. You will have the opportunity to taste the natural palm juice that has just been extracted, straight from the palm or as palm wine. Tonight we enjoy our dinner at the Farmhouse.
17 january 2023: Who pays the ferryman?
We leave Farmhouse and embark on a new adventure. We drive our jeeps on small roads in the province of kampong Chhnang. The dirt roads alternate with asphalt roads through a beautiful landscape with palm trees. We avoid the highway and take a ferryboat to cross the Tonle sap river. This crossing is the most beautiful ferry trip ever. You don’t just sail to the other side but you sail between the islands with the hills as a background. We now enter an unknown area for tourists. First we drive through a hilly landscape and then we end up in the floodplains. This is a very extensive area where you will find many water birds and water buffalos.
18 january 2023: The Floating Village of Kampong Khleang.
Also today, we pass unknown temples from the pre-Angkor era. They are not on the main road and are located in small villages near a pagoda and therefore nobody knows these temples. In the afternoon you will visit of one of the most impressive floating villages in Cambodia – Kampong Kleang. When we arrive at the village, we will board a boat and head out in exploration of the floating village. At lunch time, we will take you to a stilt house in the village to share a typical Khmer lunch with very friendly locals. Next, we proceed to the Vietnamese floating village. This village is unlike the rest of Kampong Kleang. The Vietnamese Village is not composed of stilt houses. The houses there are built on floating objects that keeps them afloat on the Tonlé Sap. The village moves along the river and sometimes up to the lake depending on the season. They have a floating school, a hospital, local shops, and even a hair dresser! A spectacular sight indeed. In the late afternoon we are back in Siem Reap
19 january 2023: Morning with the elephants – Kulen Forest Project
In the foothills of Kulen Mountain, lies the Bos Thom Community Forest, 1100 acres of protected forest inhabited by the 14 elephants of Angkor. For 22 years, these elephants have given rides to visitors in the temples of the world heritage site. Today, they roam free in their natural habitat and are living testimony of a changing world.
Learn about the elephant morning routine. Experiencing the elephants’ mornings is a great way to gain a better understanding of how to care for them. At noon, retire to base camp and enjoy a traditional meal at the same time as our large residents before bidding them adieu and heading back to Siem Reap.
We returned to our hotel in the midst of the afternoon. You can relax by the pool or buy some souvenirs in town. In the evening we have a farewell dinner and award ceremony in the garden of the hotel.
20 january 2023: Time to say goodbye…
Sadly, all good things come to an end, and this year’s Lotos Rallye is, unfortunately, no exception. 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!
USD 5.221,- per person