Day 1: Arrival (Phnom Penh)
You will be met at the airport in Phnom Penh by our representative, who will transfer you to your hotel before running through your trip details with you. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy as you wish.
Day 2: Phnom Penh Cyclo Tour (Phnom Penh)
This morning we begin the day South East Asian style with a Phnom Penh cyclo tour through the city. It’s a completely different experience from the red buses you see in some European capital cities; but one that is definitely more enjoyable. On your Phnom Penh cyclo tour you will pass many of the main sites the capital has to offer; Wat Phnom, the National Library, Central Market, the Royal Palace compound and the National Museum to mention but a few. Should you want to stop on your cyclo tour just tell your driver and you will be able to stop and explore for a while before continuing. Your tour will end at the river; where you can enjoy a relaxing lunch with a view. The afternoon will be free to spend exploring the Cambodian capital at your leisure.
Day 3: Phnom Penh to Kratie (Kratie)
Leaving Phnom Penh in the mid morning as you’ll begin your journey to Kratie, pausing for lunch on the river front in the bustling provincial city of Kompong Cham, before continuing through the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Upon arrival in Kratie, you will be free to explore the town and riverside as you wish or perhaps spend a leisurely few hours exploring the bustling market. As evening approaches, choose a spot on the riverfront to watch the magnificent sunset before heading to a local restaurant for dinner.
Day 4: Irrawaddy Dolphin – Kratie to Ban Lung (Ban Lung)
This morning we’ll journey up the river to the dolphin pool of Kampi; home to the rare Irrawaddy dolphin. Here you will board a traditional fishing boat and venture into the deep pools to see the Irrawaddy dolphin in their natural surroundings. Then visit the nearby hilltop pagoda at Sambok Mountain which boasts stunning views of the surrounding area and a quaint little pagoda on top.
Leaving Kratie behind us we’ll then head in search of Cambodian Wildlife in Ban Lung. After a late lunch you will be free to settle in to your surroundings before meeting at Terre Rouge hotel in the early evening in order to go through the briefing for the Gibbon trek ahead. This will be an opportunity for you to meet the other people on the trek and run over final details before the real adventure starts the following morning. After the briefing you will be free to enjoy the evening as you wish.
Day 5: Gibbon Experience (Day 1)
A Gibbon Spotting Cambodia guide will arrive at 08:00 to collect you from your hotel, before departing at around 08:30 in an old fashioned 4×4 for an authentic jungle experience. After a short drive you will arrive at Kachon village, where you’ll take a traditional boat and head downstream on the Sesan river for approximately 12km to the town of Veun Sai.
Here, we’ll collect our mountain bikes, before crossing the river on a local ferry and then cycling to I Tub village, a Laotian community that is approximately the half way point to camp and the beginning of the Veun Sai-Siem Pang Conservation Area. The trail for this part of the ride is mainly flat and crosses a few bridges on the way. Once at I Tub village we’ll break for a western style packed lunch and sign into the conservation area. We’ll then continue to base camp along slightly more challenging jungle terrain. Fortunately time will be on our side and we can take as long as we wish to reach camp, even taking time to walk in places and to enjoy the wonderful surroundings.
Arriving at camp at around 15:00; you can then relax, take a basic jungle shower to cool off or explore the paths surrounding the camp. You may also like to talk to some of the team based here to gain a deeper understanding of the project as well as other Cambodian wildlife that is being studied. At dusk we will venture out of the camp and into the savannah where you will see a B52 bomb crater which now acts as a watering hole for the animals. Back at camp we’ll sit down to enjoy a delicious camp dinner.
The night hike
After dinner, we will head off on a jungle night hike, equipped with head lamps. On the hike we hope that you will see some of the jungle’s nocturnal animals such as the pygmy-loris (a small arboreal primate) and the civet (a small jungle cat). Close to the ground, it is much harder to spot other night animals; however with the torches the reflection of their eyes often reveals their location. We’ll then return back to the camp and an early night is recommended as we will have to be up for sunrise tomorrow!
Day 6: Gibbon Experience (Day 2)
Today we will rise early (at around 3:30 am) and after a quick coffee we’ll leave camp and trek to the edge of the jungle savannah, arriving before dawn ready for the gibbons to begin to call. Once the gibbon song begins we will have an approximate 15 minute window to locate the gibbons before they stop. Thankfully your guides have an amazing knowledge of the jungle and know roughly where they should be! Walking and sometimes even running after your guide with the gibbon song getting louder is a thrilling experience, but one that is soon beaten as you come face to face with the gibbons. We will follow the gibbons for a couple of hours and in some cases can get to within 15 metres of them, providing an excellent opportunity to take pictures. Leaving the gibbns, we’ll return to camp for a well-earned brunch at around 10:30.
After brunch we’ll pack up and get ready to leave on our mountain bikes, this time taking a different route out of the jungle. By now you will have gained an understanding of the terrain and should be able to cycle through the jungle with ease. We will again get off the bikes at points of interest, and also visit a Chinese and Laos settlement taking short walks around the villages. We’ll then continue back to Veun Sai town and cross the Sesan River on the local ferry, stopping for lunch at a restaurant that boasts a beautiful view of the river. After lunch we’ll get back into the 4×4 and head to Ban Lung arriving at approximately 15:00. The rest of the afternoon is yours to do as you wish but after an active and early morning on the gibbon experience we find that people tend to spend it relaxing by the hotel pool!
Day 7: Relaxation Day & Yaek Lom Lake (Ban Lung)
Today will be a day of relaxation and after the excitement of the gibbon experience we have found it to be just what the doctor ordered. The morning is yours to do as you wish however in the afternoon we venture to the beautiful volcanic Crater Lake of Yaek Lom where you can relax, enjoy a swim or a pleasant walk around the lake.
Day 8: Ban Lung to Sen Monorom (Sen Monorom)
Today we will leave Ratanakiri and transfer to Sen Monorom, passing through the lovely Cambodian countryside on route. Once we arrive in Sen Monorom we’ll head to a coffee plantation for a local lunch and the chance to sample some of the wonderful coffee grown here. We’ll then continue to your hotel where you can enjoy the rest of the day settling into your country surroundings.
Day 9: Cambodian Elephant Experience (Sen Monorom)
Today you have two options to choose from:
The Elephant Sanctuary:
Take a trip to the nearby Elephant Valley Project, situated about 11km from town. Surrounded by forest and grassland dedicated to the conservation and welfare of the Cambodian elephant this location is ideal for the rehabilitation of the elephants and is one of only a handful of elephant sanctuaries in the world.
The sanctuary, with the support of the Bunong villagers, rescues and treats elephants who have suffered injury and abuse. Here, you can enjoy a unique ‘Walking with the Herd for a day’ experience. You will be introduced to the herd of elephants and get to know more about their history, character, behaviour and body language while walking alongside them in their natural environment. You will be able to feed the elephants buckets of bananas and bathe the elephants before watching them cover themselves in mud again! After lunch, you will trek through the stunning Mondulkiri countryside to a waterfall for a refreshing swim with the elephants.
Cambodian Elephant Trekking:
Head to a Phnong minority village where your Cambodian elephant and local guide (mahout) will be waiting to greet you. Take an elephant trek through some stunning jungle, across rivers and past some local minority farms before ending up at the Trok River for lunch. During lunch the elephants are released and free to wander around the forest, to rest and to scavenge for food. After lunch you will then have to go and search for your elephant with your guide before taking the elephants down to the river for a wash and to cool off. It’s up to you whether you prefer to watch from the river bank or go for a swim and help to wash your elephant – definitely great fun and a good way to freshen up after a hot day!
As a wonderful insight into Cambodian culture, after returning from your chosen Cambodian elephant experience we will take you to a local village just outside the town. Once at the village you will be free to explore and play games with the local children before the village elders return from their days work in the fields. You can then help prepare a traditional evening meal and BBQ with your family. Enjoy a fantastic cultural evening, be brave and sample a few shots of traditional home brewed rice wine if you dare before returning back to your hotel.
Day 10: Sen Monorom to Siem Reap (Siem Reap)
Leaving behind Sen Monorom, we’ll start the long day transfer to Siem Reap, stopping on the way at Kampong Cham for lunch and arriving in Siem Reap in the late afternoon – giving you the evening to explore the town and the local night markets before bed.
Day 11: Floating Villages Tour (Siem Reap)
An early start will see us departing for Kampong Phluk, where you can visit some of the floating villages of Cambodia as well as the beautiful flooded forest. Pause at the Rolous Market before stepping on to a boat to visit Kampong Phluk village. On the way we will pass an island pagoda and schools and houses standing on 8-10m stilts. We’ll then stop for lunch in the village before learning more about village life and then continue to explore the flooded forest and take a brief ride to the famous Tonle Sap Lake. We’ll then return you to your hotel where you can spend the afternoon at leisure.
Day 12: Angkor Temples (Siem Reap)
Your guided tour of the Siem Reap temples will begin with the most famous of the Angkor temples, the stunning Angkor Wat. Your guide will begin by unravelling the mysteries of the bas-reliefs that tell of tales from Hindu mythology and of the glories of the Khmer empire. We’ll then continue to Ta Prohm temple which has been left exposed to the elements and as you will see is now almost being reclaimed by nature.
In the afternoon we’ll continue to explore the Angkor temples, with a visit to Angkor Thom, an immense walled city built as an impregnable fortress at the heart of King Jayavarman VII’s kingdom. Here you will see fantastic sights such as the Terrace of the Leper King, the Terrace of Elephants and at the southern end the Baphuon, one of the most beautiful of the Angkor temples. The climax of the day will be the temple of Bayon, which is at the exact centre of Angkor Thom, and almost rivals the beauty of Angkor Wat itself.
Day 13: Departure (Siem Reap)
Today you will free to enjoy your last day in Cambodia before we transfer you to the airport for your departing flight.