WCCS Hike, Bike & Explore Cambodia 2017

WCCS Hike, Bike & Explore Cambodia 2017

Trip Highlights

  • Trek and bike your way across Cambodia!
  • Siem Reap and the iconic temples and ruins of Angkor
  • Supported cycling through some of Cambodia's most stunning landscapes
  • Visit the harrowing genocide museums of the Pol Pot legacy in Phnom Penh
  • Exploring the rivers, waterfalls and lush rainforests of the Cardamom Mountains
  • Experiencing village life and supporting local eco-tourism with community homestays

Trip Summary

This all inclusive journey takes in the must-see gems of Cambodia but also steps off the well-worn path by trekking or riding by bike to gain a deeper appreciation of the region’s people, culture and natural wonders.

Departing from Sydney and arriving in Siem Reap the real adventure starts when we explore by bike and on foot the magnificent temples of Angkor and the less-frequented temple complex of Banteay Srei. We then trek an ancient pilgrimage trail to the summit of Phnom Kulen, Cambodia’s most sacred mountain.

Leaving Siem Reap we drive to Phnom Penh where we visit the Royal Palace and then learn about the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge at the Killing Fields.

We depart the capital by private mini bus to explore and discover the jungles of the Cardamom Mountains, trekking and cycling our way through lush rain forest and staying in local village home stays and meeting with remote communities.

The combination of engaging with local communities, adventurous activities and exploring unique World Heritage sites makes this an ideal trip for someone looking for an active and engaging journey in Cambodia. Come along and get involved!

Suitability

These adventures involve trekking, cycling, rafting or sea kayaking for up to 6 or 7 hours a day at a steady pace. You will need a good level of fitness and be in good health. The majority of our moderately graded treks involve the carrying of a day pack only. Be prepared for potential variable weather conditions.

Suggested preparation; 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week and extended periods of exercise during the weekend will accustom you to regular exercise. Hill walking with a pack in variable weather conditions will be beneficial if you are taking part in a trekking adventure, kayaking or road cycling is also recommended depending upon the activity you plan to undertake.

Sample Itinerary

After so many months thinking, preparing, and planning for your Cambodian adventure the departure day has finally arrived! Your Vietnam Airlines flight departs Sydney at 10:15am. After transiting HCMC you will arrive into Siem Reap, Cambodia at 8:10pm. Sua s’dei! Welcome to Cambodia! Upon arrival you will be greeted by your local English speaking guide and transferred to the comfortable City River Hotel. After a short break the guide will take you out for a walk around the nearby streets where you will be able to change money and get a little familiar with your surroundings. After a big day of travelling we encourage you to have an early night so as you're ready to get out and explore and get among the amazing temples and busy markets and streets which make Siem Reap such a fascinating city. Accommodation: City River Hotel – Superior Room VN 772 28SEP SYD SGN 1015 1600 VN 815 28SEP SGN REP 1905 2010

Meals:  L

Today we have a full day exploring Angkor Wat and its surrounding temples on our bikes following what is known as the ‘short circuit’. In the morning, we cycle to the South Gate of Angkor Thom Temple and marvel the wonders of the eerie Bayon, Phimeanakas, the terrace of Elephants and terrace of Leper King. Afterwards, we continue to visit Ta Prohm temple, shrouded in jungle and left just it was founded by French explorers in 1850s. In the afternoon, we continue explore the Angkor Wat Temple complex. The architectural master piece was built in the 12th century, took 30 years to complete and represents the Khmer civilization at its grandest. Built in between the 9th - 13th century, its general view are five ancients towers’ figure that embroidered or printed to the Kingdom of Cambodia’s Flag now. Cycle back to our hotel. In the evening, we will have a welcome dinner with Traditional Apsara Dance Show in a local restaurant and an opportunity to sample specialty dishes of the Khmer. Cycling information: - Cycling distance: approx. 40km - Cycling duration: approx. 3 hours with support vehicle Note: Appropriate attire when visiting temples in Angkor Wat is long pants (covering the knee) and shirts that cover shoulders. Skirts, small shorts, tank tops, and other items of revealing clothing are not allowed within Accommodation: City River Hotel – Superior Room

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we drive to the beautiful Phnom Kulen (Kulen Mountain), about 60 km out of Siem Reap. Phnom Kulen is revered as Cambodia’s most sacred mountain, and is a popular pilgrimage site for Hindu and Buddhist locals on weekends and during special religious festivals. At the top of the mountain we will see statues and other relics dating back to the Khmer Empire and a small wat atop the mountain, housing a large Buddha carved from the sandstone boulder upon which the wat was built. Up here we’ll trek along scenic jungle trails leading to small hidden villages and swim in natural waterfall-fed pools. In the evening, we will visit The Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) NGO. Since 1998 PPS has produced numerous acts and shows that are performed all over Cambodia as well as abroad. We are introduced to their program and enjoy a revue show afterwards including live music, choreography, acrobatics, poetry and burlesque. Trekking distance: 12kms. Trekking time: 3-4 hours Accommodation: City River Hotel – Superior Room

Meals:  B,L,D

After your breakfast, we depart from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh via private air conditioned minibus. Phnom Penh was once considered as one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient, and despite its recent turbulent history, it still retains a colonial charm. Cambodia’s capital is a bustling city, majestically located at the confluence of the mighty rivers of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap. Wide tree-lined boulevards and many colonial-era buildings reflect the glorious days and add to the allure of the city, where Asian and Western traditions meet in a fascinating way. On the way, we stop in the town of Skuon to see their most famous specialty being sold: deep-fried tarantula! A favorite snack of many Cambodians many buses and pick-ups stop at the market to buy a bag of the ch’ngain (tasty) eight-legged creatures. The spiders are caught in the soft ground of the surrounding countryside and dug out of their burrows. After a short stop continue to Phnom Penh. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and enjoy a break at your hotel. Afterwards, we will take a short walk along the riverside 10-15min (starting point Royal Palace) to boat pier where we will enjoy the sunset view and see people lifestyle along Mekong River on a boat for 1 hour. Tonight, you will have a dinner at Bopha Phnom Penh, the kitchen serves tasty Khmer (and Western) cuisine on the terrace of a breezy terrace restaurant with sweeping river views. Apsara dancing is performed nightly between 7-9pm. Driving distance Siem Reap-Phnom Penh: 314 km / Traveling time: 5-6 hours Accommodation: Cardamom Hotel & Apartments

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we have a full day’s sightseeing which we provide you with confronting experiences along with moments of awe and amazement. First stop is the Tuol Sleng Museum, or Museum of Genocide. This place is testament to a more recent and bloody past. Originally this building was a high school, until in 1975, when it became the Khmer Rouge's main torture and interrogation centre, gaining the acronym 'S-21'. From here the victims were taken out and executed in what is now known as the Killing Fields. Aboard our private coach we drive to the killing fields of Choeung Ek (16 km south of Phnom Penh). Between 1975 and 1978 about 17,000 men, women, children and infants (including nine westerners) were detained and tortured at S-21 prison, and were then transported to the extermination camp of Choeung Ek. These two visits are very powerful and confronting where many conflicting emotions maybe experienced. There will be time afterwards to reflect and discuss one of humankind's most brutal periods. After learning about some of Cambodia’s tragic past it is time to put a smile back on your face and experience modern Khmer life. We return to central Phnom Penh for lunch before visiting the impressive Royal Palace and the adjoining Silver Pagoda. The Silver Pagoda, also known as the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha, named after the statue housed there, was created by King Norodom in 1892. The floor is comprised of more than 5,000 silver blocks, weighing a total of 6 tones. The National Museum, built in the Khmer style in the 1920’s has an extensive collection of Khmer art. After the museum, we will scale the steps of a small hill nearby to see Wat Phnom Temple, the birth place of Phnom Penh. Your dinner will be arranged at Romdeng, a true taste of Cambodia in cuisine and décor. Romdeng serves Cambodian food that ranges from almost forgotten recipes from the provinces to contemporary creative Cambodian cuisine. Accommodation: Cardamom Hotel & Apartments Note: To see the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh, visitors are required to wear appropriate clothes. Guests wearing short pans (above knee level) and sleeveless tops are not permitted.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we depart to the remote communities in the Cardamom Mountains, Chi Phat community. This village has received training and development from Wildlife Alliance, an international organization that protects wildlife and nature. Transferring from Phnom Penh, you'll be met by a community motor taxi in Andoung Teuk for the final stretch of road and cross the river to the village. It’s a beautiful trip into the Cardamoms and the first wildlife can be observed in the form of birds. Once we arrive in Chi Phat we’ll be welcomed by our community guide who will show us around the village and teach us about life in the village, as well as local flora and fauna. After lunch a short mountain bike trip leads to the waterfalls just north of Chi Phat. Here we can admire the falls and enjoy a relaxing swim. At sunset we will ride to Bold Mountain View and enjoy seeing the colors across the jungle. We return Chi Phat were a basic shower will make you feel fresh again and where we eat a meal prepared by the community at the CBET restaurant. Cycle distance 15kms Overnight at homestay in Chi Phat Note: Homestay with basic conditions: no hot shower; squat type toilet; electricity is not available at night; mosquito nets are available.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we make an early start and spend the day exploring this beautiful wilderness with a motorboat ride (PFD's compulsory) and traditional rowboat ride along the scenic Stoeng Prat River, both of which are operated by the local CBET program. After stopping for lunch we’ll then spend the afternoon trekking through the rainforest landscapes of the Cardamom Mountains en route to Antong Prang, where we’ll stay overnight in basic cottage accommodations. If we arrive early enough, our guide will walk us to Veal Ta Prak, a nearby watering hole where we might get to see some local wildlife. Overnight in a basic cottage at Antong Prang Transportation: 18km boating Trekking details: Distance: 13km / Duration: 4 hours Note: You’ll spend the night in a hammock inside the cottage in the forest. Blanket and mosquito net are provided.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning after breakfast we’ll set off for our trek back to Chi Phat village through dense forest, stopping along the way for a picnic lunch. Back in Chi Phat, the afternoon will be free, at your leisure to relax at our homestay or head out for a bike ride or swim nearby. Overnight at homestay in Chi Phat. Trekking distance 14km, approx 4 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we return to Phnom Penh, breaking up the journey with a combination of trekking and swimming. First up we’ll trek through the lush scenery of the Cardamom Mountains, visiting the small hamlet of O’Key and stopping for a swim at the beautiful O’Malu Waterfalls. After a picnic lunch we’ll take a boat ride back to the main road where our driver will be waiting to transfer us back to Phnom Penh. Check in hotel and the rest of the day is free at leisure to make some last minute souvenir purchases before a farewell dinner will be served at Banana Tree Restaurant. Accommodation: Cardamom Hotel & Apartments

Meals:  B,L,D

Today is a free day to do some last minute shopping at the markets we return to the hotel for refreshment and transferring to the airport for your flight home to Sydney, via HCMC. Accommodation: You will have access to some rooms of the hotel to prepare for the flight. VN3856 07OCT PNH SGN 1650 1745 VN 773 07OCT SGN SYD 2035 0915+1 (Arriving Sydney 9:15am 8 Oct 2017)

Meals:  B

Upon arriving in Sydney all services conclude yet the friendships made and lessons learned will last a lifetime. Congratulations on completing a challenging and educational expedition!

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • Return Vietnam Airlines flight from Sydney to Siem Reap then Phnom Penh to Sydney including taxes and luggage
  • All meals. 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 8 dinners
  • Airport transfers in Cambdoia
  • Comfortable hotel accommodation on a twin share basis
  • Simple guesthouses and local homestays on a multishare basis
  • Modern 21 gear bikes
  • Support vehicle on cycling days
  • Private air conditioned mini buses with safe and reliable drivers
  • All sightseeing and entry fees as listed in the itinerary
  • Expert bilingual guide
  • Medical kit
  • Pre Departure Information kit to help you plan and prepare

What's Not Included

  • Travel insurance (compulsory) Suresave Basic Policy 20% discount - now $85) Available from WYA
  • Bike Helmet (compulsory)
  • Visa (US$35 paid on arrival in Cambodia)
  • Tips and gratuities (not compulsory yet customary - approx US$40)
  • Meals and beverages not included in the itinerary
  • Expenditure of a personal nature such as carbonated drinks, souvenirs, laundry etc
 

AT A GLANCE

Duration:11 Days
Countries:Cambodia
Starting Point:Sydney. From 10 to 13 Students
Finishing Point:Sydney
Activities:Adventure Touring
Hiking
Cycling
Grade:Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG4509