This trip brings you from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap through Battambang, the rice bowl of Cambodia. The adventure begins with a visit to the incredible floating town of Kompong Luang, the largest floating community on the massive Tonle Sap Lake. At Battambang we'll make an in depth exploration of rural Cambodian life by visiting local villages and sacred temples. There is also an option to visit the incredible jungle temple of Banteay Chhmar, famous for its signature carved faces of King Jayavarman VII.
• Kompong Luong, the largest floating community on the Tonle Sap Lake• Battambang, one of Cambodia's largest towns, nestled on the banks of the Sangker River
• Visit the incredible floating town of Kompong Luong• Board the bamboo train and enjoy great views of the surrounding countryside• Choose your favorite option for the third day
[Day 1] Phnom Penh – Kompong Luong - BattambangMeals: N/A | Accommodation: hotel
We leave Phnom Penh and travel west towards Battambang province, the rice bowl of Cambodia. We leave the capital on National Highway 5 and travel through the busy riverside town of Kompong Chhnang. If you wish, we can take a small detour for an opportunity to visit the local pottery village of Kompong Chhnang - famous for producing a range of unglazed pottery items for the Cambodian home. We come to the small town of Krakor and turn off the main road to visit the incredible floating town of Kompong Luong which is the largest floating community on the immense Tonle Sap Lake with almost 10,000 inhabitants. Everything floats on water here, including homes, schools, the clinic, the shops, and the petrol station. Our boat will take a leisurely cruise through the town and you'll get fantastic glimpses of life in a floating community untouched by mass tourism.
We head to the provincial capital of Pursat for lunch, a pleasant riverside town in central Cambodia. We continue northwest through Pursat province, passing through the typical Cambodian landscape of endless ricefields dotted with sugar palms. We arrive in Battambang in the late afternoon and check into our hotel. We leave the rest of the day free to soak up the charm of this historic riverside city. Take a stroll, go shopping, or curl up with coffee and a book in a cozy café.
[Day 2] Temples and Lifestyle around BattambangMeals: N/A | Accommodation: hotel
After breakfast, we travel to Wat Koh district to visit a local village and learn about rural life in Cambodia. We learn about rice cultivation, fruit farming, and the variety of uses for the sugar palm. After our village visit, we board the bamboo railway to travel back to Battambang. These small local trains are bamboo platforms with wheels for the rails, and they putter along the rail tracks while offering great views of the surrounding countryside.
After lunch in town, we travel to the hilltop temple of Wat Banan. The winding road follows the Sangker River and passes by many traditional wooden homes, offering an authentic glimpse of rural Cambodia. Arriving at the temple, we ascend to the summit and are rewarded with striking views of the surrounding plains. There are five towers here, leading some ambitious Battambang residents to claim it may have been the original inspiration for Angkor Wat.
We continue to Phnom Sampeau, a sacred mountain dotted with interesting pagodas and stupas. There is also a moving memorial to Khmer Rouge victims who were thrown into one of the many caves within this holy mountain. We then return to Battambang town for the night.
[Day 3] Kompong Thom – Siem ReapMeals: lunch | Accommodation: N/A
Option 1| Battambang to Siem Reap by shared boat
We leave Battambang after breakfast and board a local fast boat for our journey to Siem Reap. This cruise is a beautiful ride along the narrow Sangker River and offers some intimate glimpses of rural life in the province. We travel through incredible networks of fishing areas and our boat often slows to avoid damaging bamboo traps and fishing lines. We also travel through areas of thick water hyacinth where the boat must travel very slowly, affording you the chance for some lovely photos of the tropical vegetation. We pass close by the Prek Toal Biosphere and may be lucky enough to see some of the rare large water birds. We eventually emerge on the Tonle Sap Lake which is so vast it feels like an endless inland sea. We travel to the floating village of Chong Kneas from which we'll transfer by car to Siem Reap town.
Option 2 | Battambang to Siem Reap via Banteay Chhmar (1 day)
We leave Battambang after breakfast and travel north towards the trading town of Svay Sisophon. We then head deeper into Banteay Meanchey province to the incredible jungle temple of Banteay Chhmar, famous for its carved faces of King Jayavarman VII. After traveling through beautiful stretches of Cambodian countryside, we arrive at the main temple of Banteay Chhmar for a thorough exploration of its beauty. We see the magnificent carvings of Lokesvara with 32 arms, and the beautiful Hall of Dancers, similar to the one at Preah Khan. After clambering about the ruins of this sleeping giant we explore the outer complex including the protective moat and outer gate of Ta Prohm, a smaller cousin of the impressive Angkor Thom gates, as well as strolling around the jungle-clad towers of Yeay Chy and Samnang Tasok. After a picnic lunch, we travel south through Sisophon before veering east to Siem Reap, the atmospheric gateway city to the majestic World Heritage Site temples of Angkor.
Note: A trip which starts in Siem Reap and ends in Phnom Penh is available.
PRICE PER PERSON
Available for: Aug – Mar
• Accommodation• 1 picnic lunch• Drinking water during sightseeing• Travel in an appropriate air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced driver• Boat ticket Battambang – Siem Reap for option 1.• The services of an experienced English-speaking guide• All entrance fees
• Other meals• International flight tickets and airport tax, currently $25 per person• Cambodia entrance visa, currently $20 per person• Beverages, gratuities and personal expenses.• Camera fees (if any)• Personal expenses.• Surcharge in peak season (Christmas & New Year)• Insurance
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