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Cambodia Expedition: Elephants & Jungles

From €1,688pp including flights
Depart From
Fly from Dublin, tour starts from Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Departure Date
01 Nov 2020 - 09 Nov 2020
Alternative dates available on request
Duration
8 Days
Destination
Cambodia
Price
From €1,688pp including flights
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Fly from Dublin to Cambodia and embark on an eight day tour of this amazing country's lesser known historical and natural wonders. See past Angkor on an outlying Cambodian adventure.

Cambodia has been largely in the tourist eye in past years, but don’t let that stop you exploring some of its lesser-known historical and natural wonders. Spend eight days wandering lush forests, swimming in remote lakes and waterfalls and traversing through countryside that is sure to delight and surprise you.

Observe elephants in their natural habitat, enjoy delicious Khmer food with a local cooking demonstration, and visit the temples that are lesser known than Angkor, but no less fascinating.

Your expedition through the outlying eastern haunts of the country will move you away from the usual tourist trail and into a more insightful Cambodian journey.

Spend a day observing elephants in their natural habitat with an active hike at the Elephant Valley Project – an initiative that puts elephants’ welfare and treatment first, rather than the tourist dollar

Experience a heart-warming feast at social enterprise Friends International's Futures Factory and share a home-cooked meal with a local family in the Ratanakiri Province

Your active adventure gets you away from the tourist trail and to the most beautiful and natural sights of Cambodia’s eastern regions. Hike past waterfalls, swim in pristine lakes, and journey through the thickets of forest

Angkor what? You’ll have your own fascinating temple experience with a visit to the UNESCO World-heritage listed Preah Vihear temple site, ready to be explored without as many tourists

Touch base in two of Cambodia’s major hubs – Phnom Penh and Siem Reap – with the option to extend your stay in either, experiencing more that this country has to offer

Temperatures and humidity can be high in Cambodia, especially when walking around the jungle and historic sites where there may be little shade. Be prepared by taking plenty of drink breaks and wearing appropriate skin protection. Some travellers find an umbrella handy to keep the sun off (this will also come in handy should it rain!).

Some of the best scenery in Cambodia is found on hikes. While this trip doesn't require a very high level of fitness, it’s essential to be regularly active if you want to partake in all activities.

Tracking elephants in the dense jungle can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable. The terrain is by no means easy either, so it can be pretty strenuous and often humid. But the sheer thrill in coming across a habituated group of elephants more than outweighs any difficulty. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk up to 4 hours – including up and down hill on uneven and slippery terrain.

This trip includes time spent travelling in a private minibus with your group. Extra space can be tight, and conditions may feel a little cramped. It’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers. Please note that some of the roads can be quite bumpy. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.

Some accommodation outside of the cities is no frills, simple guesthouses and hotels, perfect for travellers on a budget. On occasion our accommodation may not have hot water, but you will probably be keen to cool down from the heat with a refreshing cold shower!

As this trip spends very little time in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, we recommend you add a few extra days before or after your trip if you want to experience all these cities have to offer.

You will visit a number of temples on this trip, and this requires a level of modesty. Be sure to bring clothes that cover the arms and pants or skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.

Day 1: Phnom Penh

Welcome to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, situated at the junction of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. You will have an important welcome meeting at 6 pm, where you will meet your group leader and fellow travellers.

After your important meeting, head with your group to the Futures Factory – a dining and creative space, dedicated to training vulnerable Cambodian youth to work in the hospitality industry. You'll enjoy a welcome dinner with your group here, perhaps with a live soundtrack from a local band.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities:

  • Phnom Penh - Futures Factory dinner

Optional Activities:

  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) - USD5
  • Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda - USD10
  • Phnom Penh - National Museum - USD10
  • Phnom Penh - Cyclo tour - USD4
  • Phnom Penh - The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek - USD3

Meals Included: Dinner

Special Information:  It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Day 2: Mondulkiri Province

This morning, head away from Phnom Penh and travel into the Mondulkiri Province, northeast of the city. You’ll travel by private vehicle for approximately 7-8 hours, with a couple of stops along the way.

En route, stop by Skuon, a town which has a unique delicacy on the menu – spiders. If you’re up for it, why not take a bite of the crunchy critter, which has been fried and tossed in garlic and tastes like a cross between chicken and cod! If that hasn’t filled you up, do not fear, you have the option of stopping by a local house on the outskirts of Kampong Cham for a meal of traditional (and less furry) food. Sit cross-legged on the floor for an authentic Cambodian experience.

Afterwards, continue on to Sen Monorom for the evening, where you’ll take a leader-led orientation walk to get your bearings. The evening is free for you to do as you please – keep an eye out to catch a spectacular sunset.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities:

  • Mondulkiri Province - Leader-led orientation walk

Optional Activities:

  • Kampong Cham - Home cooked meal - USD7

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3: Mondulkiri Province

This morning, travel from Sen Monorom to the Elephant Valley Project to spend time in the company of an elephant herd. This experience is the first of its kind in Cambodia, enjoying a day with these ancient beasts, observing them as they play and wander in their natural habitat.

While you hike through the thickets, you’ll learn about the species, the local indigenous culture and the conservation efforts of the surrounding forest. You'll shadow an elephant herd through the jungle in the morning, and in the afternoon you will take part in a jungle hike. A traditional buffet lunch is included, serving up Khmer favourites.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities:

  • Mondulkiri Province - Elephant shadowing hike
  • Mondulkiri Province - Jungle hike

Meals Included: Breakfast | Lunch

Special Information: For animal protection reasons it is not possible to ride an elephant at EVP. EVP is endorsed by the Wildlife Conservation Society in Cambodia.

In terms of today’s hike, please be aware of what to bring for the day. It is highly advised to wear appropriate trekking footwear and jungle trekking attire (long pants/long shorts and a tshirt). Also, be mindful of the Bunong staff by wearing culturally appropriate, modest clothing. Bring sunscreen, a hat, mosquito repellent and a rain jacket, especially in the wet season. Bring a large water bottle, which you can refill at base camp, at lunch time.

The jungle terrain can prove difficult at times, especially when it has been raining. The trail undulates uphill and downhill and can be slippery in sections.

Day 4: Ratanakiri Province

Salute the sun with a private sunrise yoga class in the hills this morning, focusing on awakening your senses for a day of exploring. The experienced local yogi will tailor each class to the group’s level of expertise. Continue north to Ratanakiri Province (approximately 4-5 hours), and on the way, stop by Bou Sra Waterfalls. The dramatic three-stage falls are a lovely natural landscape, and a perfect spot for a swim and a picnic.

Continue to Banlung in a private minibus, and on arrival, be treated to an authentic cooking demonstration, where you’ll learn the tricks of the trade from a local family. Enjoy time to interact and share a meal with the family by sitting down to an included home-cooked dinner.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities: 

  • Mondulkiri Province - Sunrise yoga class
  • Ratanakiri Province - Bou Sra Waterfalls
  • Ratanakiri Province - Cooking demonstration and home-cooked meal

Meals Included: Breakfast | Dinner

Day 5: Ratanakiri Province

Strap your walking shoes on, as it’s time to get active. Begin with a stroll through the morning markets, observing the daily practice of farmers selling their produce in town. Then, transfer through fields and rubber plantations and head to the Okatieng waterfalls.

Hike directly into the heart of the forest past towering trees and lush jungle, possibly passing an elephant on your way! Along the way, stop for a picnic lunch, and cool off with a swim at Boeng Yeak Laom – a sparkling clear lake lined with forest.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities:

  • Ratanakiri Province - Okatieng waterfall and forest hike
  • Ratanakiri Province - Swimming at Boeng Yeak Laom

Meals Included: Breakfast | Lunch

Special Information: Today’s hike is approximately 10 km, which is mainly an easily walk, with slight undulations. Please remember that Cambodia gets quite hot and humid, especially in forested areas, and so hydration is key. It is important to wear proper hiking/walking shoes, and if you wish to have a swim, bring appropriate swimwear and a towel.

Day 6: Preah Vihear

Continue on your eastern Cambodian expedition by taking a private minibus to the Preah Vihear Province (approximately 7-8 hours). You’ll stop by Preah Rumkel in Stueng Treng Province to visit the Sopheakmit Waterfall.

These cascades are situated on the Cambodia-Laos border and offer a series of moving rapids through large rock formations. The sights and sounds of the falls crashing over limestone boulders is a wonderful example of nature’s raw force. A picnic lunch overlooking the falls is included today.

Accommodation: Guesthouse (1 night)

Included Activities:

  • Steung Treng - Sopheakmit Waterfall

Meals Included: Breakfast | Lunch

Day 7: Siem Reap

This morning, take a short drive from your accommodation to the Preah Vihear temples – a UNESCO World-heritage site atop a cliff with views overlooking the region. There’s 2442 steps to the top of the site, but is seriously worth the hike, with architecture and history akin to the more renowned suspects like Angkor Wat, but without the crowds.

After you’ve explored Preah Vihear, continue on your journey towards Siem Reap, with the option of stopping by Beng Mealea jungle temple, if your group wants to. Once arrived in Siem Reap, take an orientation walk to get your bearings and introduce you to this city.

Accommodation:Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities:

  • Preah Vihear - Preah Vihear Temple
  • Siem Reap - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Beng Mealea - Beng Mealea Temple

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8: Siem Reap

With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to end! As this expedition spends little time in Siem Reap, the gateway to the Angkor complex, we highly recommend spending an extra day or two here to see the sights.

Better yet, we also offer a range of urban adventure tours in and around Siem Reap, including Tonle Sap Secrets – a day spent out on the water and past the floating villages of South East Asia’s largest lake. Please ask our agents for more information.

Optional Activities:

  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventure Cambodian Cook-out - USD52
  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventures Tonle Sap Secrets - USD45
  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventure Angkor Adventure - USD80

Meals Included: Breakfast

Price is per adult sharing and includes:

  • Return flights and charges from Dublin (flight departs Oct 31st)
  • 8 day Cambodia Expedition: Elephants & Jungles adventure tour
  • Meals: 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
  • Transport: Private minibus
  • Accommodation: Hotel (6 nights), Guesthouse (1 night)
  • Included activities:
    • Phnom Penh - Futures Factory dinner
    • Mondulkiri Province - Leader-led orientation walk
    • Mondulkiri Province - Elephant shadowing hike
    • Mondulkiri Province - Jungle hike
    • Mondulkiri Province - Sunrise yoga class
    • Ratanakiri Province - Bou Sra Waterfalls
    • Ratanakiri Province - Cooking demonstration and home-cooked meal
    • Ratanakiri Province - Okatieng waterfall and forest hike
    • Ratanakiri Province - Swimming at Boeng Yeak Laom
    • Steung Treng - Sopheakmit Waterfall
    • Preah Vihear - Preah Vihear Temple
    • Siem Reap - Leader-led orientation walk
    • Beng Mealea - Beng Mealea Temple

Please ask us about:

  • Join this tour as a solo traveller with supplement
  • Extend your holiday with a stay in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap
  • Travel insurance
Subject to availability. Terms & conditions apply.

For more information please call us on 021 427 7094 or 01 696 5135, email info@shandontravel.ie, request a call back using the red button or submit an enquiry through the form below.

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