Explore the past at the ancient heart of the Khmer Empire, Angkor. Experience its many temples and soak up the atmosphere of its lush verdant setting. Witness how people tame nature on the Tonle Sap and contrast rural Cambodia with the buzz of Phnom Penh before chilling out by the sea in colonial Kep.
This morning depart from London on an overnight flight to Siem Reap, connecting through your preferred hub city in Southeast Asia. Options include Singapore and Bangkok, and the flight will take roughly 11.5 hours.
Transfer across to your onward flight to Cambodia, which will take approximately one hour, and with your bags checked straight through.
Arrive at Siem Reap where you'll need to complete the visa and immigration formalities. We can arrange for a VIP welcome package. A personal immigration officer will assist with any paperwork and you'll skip the queues, ready to take a private transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day has been left free so that you can relax and unwind after the journey.
This morning, you'll begin to explore a place on many a bucket list: the temples of Angkor Archaeological Park.
This morning's highlights include the awe-inspiring Ta Prohm,
where the fat fingers of kapok roots grasp the temple stones as
they have done for centuries. Further off the beaten track lie Ta
Nei, buried in the forest, and Ta Keo, known as the 'mountain with
This afternoon visit sprawling Angkor Thom. This was the world's largest city in the 12th century and today draws travellers from across the globe. Must-sees include the Terrace of the Leper King, atmospheric Preah Palilay and Phimeanakas, surrounded by tranquil lakes. Saving the best until last, you'll end up face to stone face with the Bayon before embarking on a leisurely sunset boat ride on Angkor Thom's moat, glass of champagne in hand.
Angkor Wat is at its most spectacular at dawn, so we'd encourage you to forgo breakfast in bed this morning and head out before dawn.
It's a truly memorable sight to watch the first rays of sunlight appear behind the iconic form of Angkor Wat. Once the sun has made an appearance, continue to explore this architectural marvel. Once a Hindu mountain temple and later converted to the Buddhist monument it is today, this huge complex is packed full of features. Ornate bas-reliefs adorn the walls of its terraces and each corridor and room reveals more secrets from the past. Eventually, drag yourself away to return to the hotel for brunch and the chance to enjoy each other's company. A driver will be available should you wish to return to Angkor Wat to explore further.
The area surrounding Siem Reap has much more to offer than solely archaeology. Today, you'll have the opportunity to see what life is like for Cambodians living in the countryside on and around Southeast Asia's largest freshwater lake, Tonle Sap.
During the monsoon, water from the Mekong is pushed back into the lake, forcing inhabitants to cope with wildly fluctuating water levels. Their ingenious stilt and raft houses are an effective solution as well as being especially photogenic. Aboard Ella, our custom-made traditional wooden boat, you'll explore this fascinating landscape. Later, you'll paddle kayaks through the flooded forest, gliding past the diverse birdlife that calls this verdant setting home. The waters are calm, so this is suitable for all abilities, but where appropriate footwear. Lifejackets are provided.
One of the greatest pleasures of a visit to Angkor is appreciating some of its hidden temples and ruins. It's easy to venture off the beaten track and have space to yourselves.
This morning, you'll set off for a four mile hike which takes you from Angkor Thom's moat under the shade of leafy mature trees to Angkor Krau village. From there, you'll walk to Prasat Prei temple, featuring a single tower and fire shrine, and past paddy fields to atmospheric Prasat Banteay Thom temple. There are no roads to this temple, which means you're likely to have it to yourself. You'll need suitable clothing and footwear as you may have to walk or wade through a stream or two. Take plenty of water; the sun packs a punch here.
This morning you can enjoy another highlight of your trip: morning prayers and meditation.
A driver will be waiting at 4am to take you to the base of Phnom Krom Pagoda. You'll climb the hill aided only by torches and the light of the moon. At the pagoda, you'll meet the abbot and an elder of the temple. Immediately before dawn, the monks will begin a purification ceremony. A final blessing with holy water from the abbot himself follows chanting and prayer. As the sun rises, you'll witness the illumination of the Angkor plain from your lofty vantage point, its temples and lakes laid out before you, surrounded by forest. Enjoy a breakfast picnic after the ceremony. Later, return to Siem Reap and this afternoon, transfer to Phnom Penh by air, a roughly 50-minute flight.
This morning we've arranged a city tour for you to experience the highlights of Cambodia's charming capital city, Phnom Penh.
You'll begin at the 19th century Royal Palace and witness the glittering Silver Pagoda whose floor features over 5000 silver tiles. Next we'll take you to the National Museum to admire the world's premier collection of Khmer art. Later, you can browse the boutiques of Street 240, visit Wat Phnom hill or stroll the characterful waterfront promenade. This evening, you can choose to enjoy our Dine around Phnom Penh tour. Start with a sundowner before a tuk tuk whisks you to a hidden gem of a restaurant tucked down a back alley. Feast on Cambodian barbeque and locally-brewed beer before finishing your romantic evening on the riverfront.
Leaving the delights of Phnom Penh behind, it's time for you to make your way to the former French settlement of Kep.
People refer to Kep as the jewel in the crown of Cambodia's colonial era towns, Once, the villas that stretch along the waterfront would have been the homes of wealthy ex-pats; today they make for impressive sightseeing. These days, Kep is renowned for its seafood, with rows of crab shacks lining the beach. This afternoon, take a dip in the pool or hike to the top of nearby Kep Hill from where you'll enjoy far reaching views over the Gulf of Thailand. When it's cocktail hour, make your way to the pier of the Knai Bang Chatt Sailing Club for a well-deserved sundowner. Kep's sunsets are legendary and you may wish to take advantage of our optional sunset boat cruise to enjoy it from the water.
Today you can relax and do as much or as little as you like.
Perhaps make the most of your waterside setting: rent Hobie cats, kayaks or even a speedboat from the hotel, or spend the day fishing. If you prefer to remain on land, why not take a self-guided walk or bike ride around Kep Hill. A well-maintained five-mile trail circumnavigates the hill. It winds through shady forest with breaks to view the area's spectacular ocean setting and catch an invigorating sea breeze to cool off. The second half of the trail reveals some ghosts from Kep's past: post-war modernist villas reclaimed by the jungle. You'll need to pay a small entrance fee to access the path but it is well worth it.
One of the most popular day trips from Kep is an excursion to Koh Tonsay, also known as Rabbit Island.
Only seven families call the island home, making a living catching fish and growing coconuts. Its beaches are free from crowds and its warm shallows invite you to snorkel and swim. Of course, it's perfectly acceptable to laze the day away in one of the beachfront hammocks. The freshest seafood is served from the locally run shacks on the beach or a private dinner can be fixed up by your own personal chef. Rabbit Island is just a 20-minute ride in one of the colourful longtail boats; it is easy to arrange a private transfer from Kep's port.
Spend your last day in Kep as you please. The day has been left free for you to relax or explore, whichever you prefer.
This evening it's possible to arrange a private dinner at the end of the Knai Bang Chatt Sailing Club's jetty. As the sun sets in this spectacular seafront location, make a toast and enjoy freshly caught seafood. This romantic setting, where mountains frame the twinkling waters of the bay, is the perfect end to your honeymoon.
You'll make the return journey to Phnom Penh by boat and road, in time for your international departure flight.
As before, you'll connect through a hub city in Southeast Asia en route back to the UK, this time on day flights, with a total time of between 13 and 15 hours.