custom school group & youth adventure travel specialists

M.G.G.S Cambodia Journey 2017

M.G.G.S Cambodia Journey 2017

Trip Highlights

  • Participate in the Angkor Half Marathon
  • Immersion program at Wat Chork Primary School
  • Explore one of the great wonders of the world, Angkor Wat
  • Cycling around small village towns near Siem Reap
  • Experience authentic Cambodian life at Bong Thom homestay
  • Complete a service project in Phnom Penh
  • Explore the cultural and historical highlights of Phnom Penh
  • Relax on the white sandy beaches of Sihanoukville

Itinerary

This evening we check-in for our overnight flight to Siem Reap. Meals: on aircraft.

Meals:  Nil

On arrival at Siem Reap we will be met and transferred to our hotel, and after checking-in, we will have a trip briefing with our Cambodian local leader. After lunch we travel by ‘remork’ (similar to the Thai tuk tuk) on an orientation tour of the town. We will explore Siem Reap’s colourful markets and visit Artisans d’Angkor, established to help young people find work in their local villages through traditional arts and crafts, and where we will learn about the skills and significance of wood and stone carvings, lacquering, gilding, and silk paintings. We continue to the edge of town to Siem Reap’s famous “60 Road”. Many Cambodian’s come here for dinner, Cambodian style. It is a long road lined with street food sellers and a small fun fair, locals spend the evening here, enjoying the vast range of Khmer food on offer. They bring rugs or hire picnic mats and sit in groups, enjoying the occasion. We depart for Marum Restaurant, a delightful wooden house with a spacious garden, and featuring a winning mix of creative local cuisine. Your visit is not only a great dining experience, but it also helps to build a new life for the students in training here. Part of the Tree Alliance group of training restaurants, they provide opportunities in the hospitality industry for local street kids and disadvantaged youths. Overnight at the hotel. New Riverside Hotel. Superior Room.

Meals:  L,D

This morning we cycle through the jungles of Angkor Wat, seeing the race route while enjoying the sights. We will have a back-up bus for those who require it, and we will be mindful of tomorrow’s half-marathon. We begin with a visit to Ta Prohm Temple (a setting in one of the Tomb Raider films). Built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries, Ta Prohm Temple has largely been left as it was found, overgrown by jungle, trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes Ta Prohm, one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. From Ta Prohm we cycle through hidden passages to the ruins Angkor Thom. This was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. We enter via the ancient East Gate through an eight metre high wall that forms a perfect square around the ancient city ruins. On each side of the entrance path is a row of fifty-four stone carved gods and demons. We also visit Bayon Temple with its fifty-four towers representing the fifty-four provinces of the Great Khmer Empire, as well as the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King, both known for their intricate bas-reliefs. We finish with the famous Angkor Wat, the most significant of all the sites and displayed on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people. Overnight in Siem Reap.New Riverside Hotel. Superior Room. ** Cycling distance is up to 40km, but the back-up bus enables us to vary the riding distance.

Meals:  B,L

After an early breakfast we will drive to the 21Km Marathon Race, arriving about 5:45. The start and finish lines are in the temple complex, in front of the Angkor Wat Temple. Your route will link the sites of Angkor Wat, Sras Srang, Ta Prohm, Takeo, Bayon & Bakheng Hill. After the conclusion of the race, and after the presentations we return to our hotel to relax and celebrate. Overnight at the hotel. New Riverside Hotel. Superior Room.

Meals:  B

We cycle through the countryside to the traditional village of Wat Tabeng. Set in never-ending rice fields the village is among the most scenic in Cambodia. Your guide will take you to the local pagoda, and to explore the village and surrounding farms. The activities of the village will be explained by the guide, who will translate your questions and answers with the locals. We continue cycling to the beautifully detailed temple of Banteay Srei and, as earlier, along the way there are opportunities to stop and see how the locals live. We can stop to take photos and to say “hello’, and learn about their daily lives. Rice paper is produced in this region, and we will get the chance to taste palm sugar, a popular local seasonal product. We have lunch at a local restaurant before exploring the temple. Banteay Srei, the “Citadel of the Women” is the best preserved temple in Cambodia, and displays the finest examples of classical Khmer art. It’s pink sandstone construction is unique in Angkor. We will be reminded of Cambodia’s modern history during our visit to the Landmine Museum. Mr. Aki Ra, the museum’s founder, was trained as a child soldier during the Khmer Rouge regime and is now working to decommission land mines. The museum also serves as a home for landmine amputee children from the streets of Phnom Penh who Aki Ra has assisted. We contine cycling to reach our overnight village accommodation at the Bong Thom Homestay, multishare style accommodation in the Cambodian countryside. Tonight we will experience rural hospitality with an excellent meal and the chance to join in traditional dances. Overnight at Bong Thom Homestay. Multi share room with mattress and mosquito net. **Cycling distance is potentially up to 55 kms, but activities will slow us down and actual distance ridden will vary according to opportunities along the way

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we are welcomed into life in a typical village, where the villagers are keen to show you aspects of their life and introduce you to their culture, and to the seasonal tasks essential for their survival. We break into smaller groups and a village family welcomes you into their home and lives for the day, and you take part in whatever seasonal activity is happening at this time. Each group will be different and the activity will depend on the family and the needs of the local village including, rice planting, weaving thatch roofs, planting or harvesting vegetable crops, etc.. Before leaving, we plant a fruit tree for the family. We meet another family and take part in preparing a delicious Khmer lunch from fresh ingredients, which we then enjoy with the family. After lunch we take a walk through the the village, taking the opportunity to interact with the locals (and try practising some Khmer!), before transferring back to Siem Reap. After dinner we enjoy an incredible performance of ‘Phare, the Cambodian Circus’ performed by artists of Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS). Established in 1994 by young returnee Cambodians from the refugee camps, PPS has played an influential role in promoting and developing Khmer culture over the years after the Khmer Rouge genocide. The hour long show combines music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion to tell a story about Cambodian lives and society. Overnight at the hotel in Siem Reap. New Riverside Hotel. Superior Room.

Meals:  B,L

After breakfast we drive a short distance to Wat Chork Primary School where we will be welcomed by the school principal and students together with a Khmer traditional dance. After a briefing by the principal we will divide into sub-groups to share different activities with the students. It may be simple games to improve their English, or they may teach you traditional Khmer games. We will have lunch today at LAVA Restaurant, and later this afternoon we will visit a pagoda where Buddhist monks will explain many of the beliefs and customs of Buddhism, and conduct a blessing ceremony in our honour. Dinner tonight includes a show of traditional Apsara dancing. After dinner we can head to the Night Markets where we can enjoy the activity of a bustling market before we return to our hotel. Overnight at the hotel. New Riverside Hotel. Superior Room.

Meals:  B,L,D

We will have an early breakfast this morning before we drive to Phnom Penh. The journey takes 5-6 hours, and on the way we stop in the town of Skuon to see their famous specialty, and a favourite snack of many Cambodians- deep-fried tarantula! You will be surprised how many Cambodians stop at the market to buy a bag of the ch’ngain (tasty) eight-legged creatures. We have lunch in Phnom Penh, regarded by many as the most beautiful of all the French built cities in Indo-china. Its location, where the Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap Rivers merge, adds to its appeal. We will travel the same way as the locals do, on a 2 hour Cyclo tour, to explore the rich past of ornate Khmer-style temples and the grand colonial buildings. We start by riding along the riverside to Wat Phnom, a 15th century stupa. We visit Wat Phnom, a small hill where we get a wonderful view over the city, and take a sunset river cruise and see Phnom Penh’s popular riverfront come to life in the early evening. Overnight at the hotel. Ohana Hotel. Deluxe Room.

Meals:  B,L

This morning we reflect on Cambodia’s recent dark history on a visit to the remarkable Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in the former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as the main detention centre. We also visit The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. These sites are moving and important, but how cambodia has put this behind them and worked together for the future is the big story. We have lunch in Phnom Penh at Le Lotus Blanc, a training restaurant for the humanitarian organization Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (for the smile of a child) which provides education and vocational training to former street children. In the afternoon we visit the famous Royal Palace, which was built in 1866 when Indo-china was controlled by the French, and the National Museum, a treasure chest of significant artifacts. After the museum we walk along the riverside where locals come to exercise, talk and dance, and maybe join-in if you are willing. Overnight at the hotel. Ohana Hotel. Deluxe Room. *** The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh, requires visitors to wear appropriate clothes, which they consider to be knees covered and shoulders covered.

Meals:  B,L

This day is allocated to a service project in Phnom Penh, and can be incorporated on any day. Evening visit to the night markets Overnight at the hotel. Ohana Hotel. Deluxe Room.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we drive to the coast at Sihanoukville, a drive of around 4 hours. On arrival we have lunch at Sandan training restaurant. Sandan is run by M’Lop Tapang, an NGO that has been working with vulnerable children, youths and their families in the Sihanoukville community since 2003. Check-in at hotel. No activities planned for the rest of the day Overnight in Sihanoukville. Holiday Villa Nataya Resort.

Meals:  B,L

Breakfast is included today, but otherwise the choices are your own today. Overnight at the hotel. Holiday Villa Nataya Resort.

Meals:  B

After a leisurely morning we drive back to Phnom Penh. We will browse through the colourful markets of Phnom Penh, and visit the Russian Market, considered the best market for jewellery, clothes and Cambodian silk souvenirs. Late afternoon we will transfer to Phnom Penh Internatonal Airport for our flight home.

Meals:  B,L

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • return economy class flights from Melbourne including all international taxes
  • 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 4 dinners
  • 10 nights comfortable hotels/lodge in triple room
  • 1 night at homestay (shared facilities)
  • All transfers and transportation during the trip by air conditions coach
  • Local English speaking group leader throughout
  • All entrance fees for activities described in program
  • Back up bus and truck to carry bikes on cycling days
  • Bike rental on cycling days
  • Snacks and fruit during cycling days
  • Participation fees for Half Marathon
  • Monk Blessing Ceremony
  • Village life experience program
  • Mineral water on bus on days of transfer and sightseeing
  • 3 staff members from MGGS traveling with group

What's Not Included

  • Bike helmet (compulsory)
  • Community project expences
  • Any donations to local school or any other organisation
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Visa fees: Cambodia
  • Personal travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Early check in or late check out
  • Optional excursions and activities
  • Items of a personal nature

Upcoming Travel Dates

 

AT A GLANCE

Duration:14 Days
Countries:Cambodia
Starting Point:Melbourne
Finishing Point:Melbourne
Activities:Half Marathon
Community Project
Cycling
Grade:Moderate to Challenging  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG4569