After arriving at the Phnom Penh airport, our good friend and city guide Sanghi will pick you up in his tuk tuk and bring you to our hotel. Today is mostly about recovering from your flight and adjusting to the time change, but it’s also a good opportunity to walk around the Central Market and go on a tuk tuk tour of the city. In the evening we will have dinner and discuss our plans together.
We’ll wake up early for breakfast before hopping into a tuk tuk to be at the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek when it opens to the public. This site provides a moving look into Cambodia’s dark past with the Khmer Rouge and is an important stop to get a better understanding of the country. When we are done in the killing fields, we will have lunch in a nearby restaurant before heading back into Phnom Penh to visit Wat Phnom. Keep an eye out for the giant bats which sometimes hang in the nearby trees. Remove your hat and shoes before entering the main building and see the giant golden Buddha surrounded by beautiful paintings on the walls and roof. Time permitting, we will feed monkeys at the monkey pagoda and see some other interesting sites. If anyone would like to learn more about the Khmer Rouge, Tuol Sleng is another highly recommended stop where the Khmer Rouge tortured and interrogated prisoners before sending them out to Choeung Ek for execution. The KR kept good documentation of their prisoners. Many of the confessions and thousands of photos are on display. Of all the prisoners to enter this facility, only seven are known to have survived. If there is time, visiting Tuol Sleng instead of Wat Phnom is optional. Spend the rest of the evening strolling around riverside, eating in one of the many restaurants, getting a Khmer massage, or exploring the night market.
Today we’ll take our private transport for a 5 hour drive from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville where we will stay in beachfront bungalows at Otres Beach. We will arrive in time to visit the local dive shop to complete waivers and get fitted for any rental gear, then return to the bungalows where you can enjoy a stroll down the beach and dinner at any number of quiet beach establishments.
We get an early start, boarding our dive vessel with all our belongings and taking a two-hour boat ride to the first dive location, the Koh Rong island cluster. Local guides will lead two shallow boat dives to get us acquainted with the area, marine life, and local liveboating procedures. The boat will drop us off on Koh Rong Samloen island where we will stay in bungalows on the beach for two nights. If time allows, divers may participate in an optional cleanup dive from shore before settling into this beautiful, remote location. Sunset Beach is located on the west side of the island and has no internet or cellular connectivity. Fresh water must be brought in, and therefore must be used sparingly. The electricity will also be shut off overnight. It’s an island paradise…get over it!
Another two tank dive day begins and ends from our beachfront accommodations with a trip to one of the neighboring islands where larger coral stands and greater diversity of fish life can be found. Breakfast and lunch are provided on the boat, then we return to Koh Rong Samloen for dinner. You can select another Sunset Beach location for dinner, or join us for a 45 min. trek through jungle to explore the east side of the island, and do a night walk for the return trip.
Continuing our exploration of the Cambodian reefs, we head out for an overnight trip to one of the more remote islands 40 miles off the coast of Sihanoukville where there is a greater chance of seeing large animals like whale sharks and turtles.
Day 7 begins with breakfast on the boat ride out, two dives split over lunch, and a break for dinner before the night dive. We’ll sleep on the boat on large sleeping pads in a shared area, then wake up early for a sunrise dive and one day dive before the ride back to Sihanoukville where we’ll stay in bungalows at Otres Beach once again.
Buckle up buttercup. We’re making the long haul over land to Siem Reap. Grab a book and prepare for a full day of off-gassing during the drive. Once in Siem Reap, we’ll check into our hotel and start exploring this beautiful city.
Get up early and take a tuk-tuk to watch a beautiful sunrise over the famous ruins of Angkor Wat. Spend the day exploring Angkor and the surrounding ruins for an unforgettable experience. Angkor Wat is almost a requisite stop for anyone visiting Cambodia and for good reason; it’s amazing. Built in the early 12th century, it is the largest religious complex in the world and considered one of the seven wonders. You can read more about Angkor Wat or from any number of guide books. It would be wise to read about the surrounding ruins as well and decide which ones you would like to see since one day isn’t quite enough to see it all.
Either fly out of Siem Reap (more convenient but possibly more expensive) or come with us back to Phnom Penh (6 hours on a bus). If you are flying out of Phnom Penh, make sure you schedule an evening flight to accommodate travel time to the airport. We encourage everyone to spend more time in Cambodia and we can help you with hotels and travel arrangements if you do.