Community-based Tourism

Community-based Tourism

Learning Journeys

Northern Cambodia rural homestays & temples

9 nights

DAY 1

Your guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation in Siem Reap. For the next couple of nights you’ll be staying at a social enterprise hotel in the heart of the city. Activities will vary on this day depending on your time of arrival. You’re free to explore during the day at your own leisure, and your guide will welcome you over dinner, introducing you to Cambodian culture and explaining your adventure that lies ahead.

DAY 2

It’s an early start today to catch the sunrise over the iconic Angkor temples. The morning will be spent soaking up the grandeur and mystery of these magnificent temples, exploring lesser-known ruins in the forest, as well as the more famous sites too. After lunch at a local restaurant in the temple park, we’ll return to Siem Reap for some rest. You can spend the afternoon relaxing at your hotel. This evening, you’ll visit the Cambodian circus, Phare. Prepare to be amazed, this social enterprise initiative provides education for disadvantaged youth, and training in performing arts. Dinner this evening will be on your own.

DAY 3

Siem Reap might be firmly on the tourist map, but with a local expert guide, you can get off the beaten path and see a different side of this city. Watch Siem Reap wake up as you explore the backstreets by bike, including a visit to a local pagoda and market, learning about sites of historical significance, and eat a favourite local hangout. After lunch, we head to a rural village about 45 minutes from Siem Reap. Despite its proximity, it certainly feels a million miles away, as you’re well and truly in the heart of the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Spend the afternoon learning about farming practices and trying traditional skills, such as preparing food and practicing weaving with a group of local women. Tonight, you’ll sleep in a family home, an insightful experience into life in the village.

DAY 4

After a morning with your hosts and a walk around the peaceful village, we’ll drive onto another rural community. This time we head to a community that feels quite different; your next village experience is a community of people who have recently relocated out of the Angkor temple park, and the village is very new. It’s an interesting insight into the impact of tourism development and world heritage status, and how local people’s lives have to adapt. You’ll have a traditional wooden Khmer home to yourself this evening, with views across a lake and onto the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen. After dinner tonight you’ll make a sky lantern with family who has been making these for generations in a nearby community.

DAY 5

Following breakfast you’ll travel onto the mysterious crumbling temple of Beng Melea. Explore this beautiful place where fallen structures intertwine with vines, and gain a sense of peace imagining how this place of worship once looked. After a picnic lunch we head north to a hotel in the town of Sra’aem. You’ll have a free afternoon to enjoy the hotel pool. Dinner will be served at the hotel tonight.

DAY 6

This morning you’ll visit the magnificent mountain top temple of Preah Vihear. Besides the breathtaking beauty of the temple itself, the views across the countryside and onto Thailand are awe-inspiring, and the towering trees in the jungle on our descent add to the atmosphere of this very special place. After lunch served at a local restaurant, we’ll drive onto the small town of Samrong. Tonight you’ll sleep at a local guesthouse, or where available, spend the night at a rural pagoda with Buddhist monks.

DAY 7

You’ll spend the morning with a group of inspiring activist monks who are working tirelessly to protect their forest. Deforestation and illegal logging is a big problem in this area, and Buddhism is a powerful approach to engage the community with environmental conservation and education. Monks in this area ordain trees with saffron robes to protect them. After lunch in this area, we travel a little further to the pretty village of Banteay Chhmar. This community has set up an equitable tourism model where local players benefit from the tourism economy. You’ll have some time in the afternoon to explore the very quiet temples with a local guide. These temples are of the same significance and age as those at Angkor but receive far fewer visitors. Tonight will be spent sleeping with a host family at their home, and dinner will be served to traditional music and candlelight within the temple complex itself.

DAY 8

Enjoy a peaceful day soaking up village life and getting lost in the crumbling temple ruins. You’ll spend another night at your homestay, so take the time to get to know your host family and learn about the way of life of the community.

DAY 9

After breakfast we’ll transfer back to Siem Reap. En route, we’ll stop off at a silk farm and discover the intricacy of this traditional craft. Meet artisans and learn how silk is farmed, prepared, through to producing beautiful delicate clothing and home furnishings. We’ll arrive in Siem Reap at lunchtime and you’ll have the rest of your final day to explore at your own leisure.

DAY 10

Sadly, your trip comes to an end and your guide will take you to the airport and bid you farewell.

Live with locals – Cross-Cambodia journey

10 nights

DAY 1

Your guide will meet you at the airport and take you to your boutique hotel. Activities on this day will vary depending on your arrival times, but we’ll leave you some free time to settle in and provide a welcome dinner, where your guide will give you an introduction to Cambodia, its culture, and your adventure that lies ahead.

DAY 2

Today you’ll be learning about Cambodian history. Your guide will share insights into ancient history and the role of Buddhism in the country, including a visit to a beautiful pagoda for a welcome blessing. You’ll also discover the devastating story of the Khmer Rouge period and visit a memorial centre that was once a prison. This evening, you’ll watch a traditional arts performance at the national museum, before the rest of the evening to dine and explore at your own leisure.

DAY 3

After breakfast we’ll head south to Kep. This seaside town is enchanting and a great place to relax for the day. Make sure you sample the local seafood which is delicious!

DAY 4

We’ll spend today with a community living on the river in stilted houses. We’ll explore the waterways by boat and learn about mangrove ecosystems. Today you’ll eat lunch with a local family and have the opportunity to plant some trees to contribute to the areas conservation.

DAY 5

After breakfast we’ll travel to the holy mountain of Oudong. High on the hill is a stunning pagoda with views to match. You’ll spend the afternoon with a group of lovely Buddhist nuns who will share with you their way of life. They’ll introduce you to the practice of Vipassana meditation and dress you in their traditional white robes. Tonight you will sleep at a meditation centre; accommodation will be basic but a very memorable experience.

DAY 6

We wake for sunrise from the hilltop and an early breakfast before hitting the road west to Battambang. This is quite a long journey today, so we’ll ensure there are plenty of rest stops as we drive through coconut tree lined roads and past verdant green rice fields. Upon arriving in Battambang, you’ll have the rest of the afternoon to explore the quiet streets of the city, and soak up the colonial architecture, or simply relax at the hotel pool.

DAY 7

This morning we’ll cycle to the surrounding countryside with a local student guide who is working with a social enterprise tour company that helps subsidize their education. We’ll learn all about rural livelihoods and meet local people practicing farming and traditional skills. We’ll return to town for lunch and you can have some free time for the rest of the day.

DAY 8

After breakfast we’ll drive north to the picturesque village of Banteay Chhmar. This community has set up an equitable tourism model where local players benefit from the tourism economy. You’ll have some time in the afternoon to explore the very quiet temples with a local guide. These temples are of the same significance and age as those at Angkor but receive far fewer visitors. Tonight will be spent sleeping with a host family at their home, and dinner will be served to traditional music and candlelight within the temple complex itself.

DAY 9

There’ll be chance this morning to explore a few more temples, as well as enjoy life the village, before transferring to Siem Reap. En route, we’ll stop off at a silk farm and discover the intricacy of this traditional craft. Meet artisans and learn how silk is farmed, prepared, through to producing beautiful delicate clothing and home furnishings. Spend the rest of your day exploring the city before meeting with your guide this evening to be marveled by the Cambodian circus, Phare. Prepare to be amazed, this social enterprise initiative provides education for disadvantaged youth, and training in performing arts.

DAY10

It’s an early start today to catch the sunrise over the iconic Angkor temples. The morning will be spent soaking up the grandeur and mystery of these magnificent temples, exploring lesser-known ruins in the forest, as well as the more famous sites too. After lunch at a local restaurant in the temple park, we’ll return to Siem Reap for some rest. Your farewell dinner will be held a lovingly restored traditional Khmer wooden house with delicious fusion cuisine.

DAY 11

Sadly, your trip comes to an end and your guide will take you to the airport and bid you farewell.

Cambodia’s Wild Side

2 weeks

DAY 1

Your guide will meet you at the airport and take you to your boutique hotel. Activities on this day will vary depending on your arrival times, but we’ll leave you some free time to settle in and provide a welcome dinner, where your guide will give you an introduction to Cambodia, its culture, and your adventure that lies ahead.

DAY 2

Today you’ll be learning about Cambodian history. Your guide will share insights into ancient history and the role of Buddhism in the country, including a visit to a beautiful pagoda for a welcome blessing. You’ll also discover the devastating story of the Khmer Rouge period and visit a memorial centre that was once a prison. This evening, you’ll watch a traditional arts performance at the national museum, before the rest of the evening to dine and explore at your own leisure.

DAY 3

Today we’ll be heading northeast to one of the wildest landscapes in the country, to the region of Monulkiri. Here, hills roll and wild things live! We’ll arrive in the late afternoon to check into our eco-camp. This comfortable camp has been built in a protected forest to serve intrepid travellers eager to get close to nature. Dinner will be served at the camp as the sunsets over the enchanting forest, and prepared by local indigenous communities.

DAY 4

After a quiet night it’s time to head into the jungle with a local guide. You’ll learn all about why this habitat is of high conservation value, and the work that is being done here through programs such as community-based ecotourism to encourage local people to preserve the environment. On your trek we hope you’ll see the rare black-shanked douc and many beautiful bird species. After a day of trekking, we check into a nearby eco resort for a bit more comfort tonight.

DAY 5

You’ll be spending today in the life of a Mahout. The Elephant Valley Project facilitates ethical interactions with elephants and will teach you all about these beautiful giants. Mondulkiri is the indigenous home of elephants but their natural habitat is under threat from deforestation and human animal conflict.

DAY 6

After breakfast we’ll drive to Kratie along the mighty Mekong River. You’ll have some free time to relax at your accommodation or explore the local area at your own leisure.

DAY 7

This morning we’ll take a boat to the island of Koh Pdao on the river. This community comprises of several villages and is an insightful location to understand life in an isolated community. You’ll be staying with a host family as part of the islands rural tourism development program. Get to know your hosts and immerse yourself in village life.

DAY 8

Spend the day exploring the island by bicycle, or learning traditional village crafts and activities, such as cooking and weaving, and exploring Animist superstitions and local beliefs.

DAY 9

We return to the mainland by boat and travel onwards to a community near the ancient temple site of Sambor Prei Kuk. You’ll be sleeping with another host family tonight in their stilted wooden home.

DAY10

Spend the day exploring the temples of Sambor Prei Kuk, and with your host family to experience life in the countryside.

DAY 11

After breakfast, we’ll head north to the city of Siem Reap at the doorstep of the magnificent Angkor temples. We’ll arrive in time for lunch and then the rest of your afternoon is free to explore by yourself or hang out at your hotel pool.

DAY 12

Siem Reap might be firmly on the tourist map, but with a local expert guide, you can get off the beaten path and see a different side of this city. Watch Siem Reap wake up as you explore the backstreets by bike, including a visit to a local pagoda and market, learning about sites of historical significance, and eat a favourite local hangout.

DAY 13

It’s an early start today to catch the sunrise over the iconic Angkor temples. The morning will be spent soaking up the grandeur and mystery of these magnificent temples, exploring lesser-known ruins in the forest, as well as the more famous sites too. After lunch at a local restaurant in the temple park, we’ll return to Siem Reap for some rest. You can spend the afternoon relaxing at your hotel. This evening, you’ll visit the Cambodian circus, Phare. Prepare to be amazed, this social enterprise initiative provides education for disadvantaged youth, and training in performing arts. Dinner this evening will be on your own.

DAY 14

Sadly, your trip comes to an end and your guide will take you to the airport and bid you farewell.

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