Adventures / Adventure Tapas

Roam the Jungles and Temples of Cambodia

Hike, paddle and pedal through Cambodia’s wild places, exploring ancient temples and storied waterways

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Trip Ref #10533

Adventures / Adventure Tapas

Roam the Jungles and Temples of Cambodia

Hike, paddle and pedal through Cambodia’s wild places, exploring ancient temples and storied waterways

DURATION

9 nights

LOCATION

Cambodia

ANNUAL LEAVE

6 days off work

SEASON

Oct-Jul

GROUP SIZE

Up to 12 people

MEETING POINT

Phnom Penh Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel · Homestay

DIFFICULTY

Easy

With short hikes, paddles or rides most days, this is manageable by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness and a sense of adventure

Trek the trails of the remote Ratanakiri jungle and Phnom Kulen National Park, discovering lost shrines, hidden waterfalls and indigenous villages

Kayak the Mekong River - eyes open for rare Irrawaddy dolphins - and cycle around sleepy Koh Trong Island

Pedal among the enigmatic Angkor Thom temples, explore the ancient city of Angkor Wat and paddle Tonlé Sap, Southeast Asia’s biggest lake

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

Included

Guides

Local, English-speaking, expert guides

Accommodation

7 nights in hotels and 2 nights in homestays

Meals

All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 4 dinners

Transfers

Airport transfers and everything in between

Equipment

All kayak and cycling equipment, including safety gear

Permits

All permits, tickets and entry fees

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Phnom Penh International Airport

Any time on Day 1

Ends

Siem Reap International Airport

Any time on Day 10

Transfers

Your host's driver will meet you on arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport and transfer you to your hotel. On Day 10, you'll be transferred to Siem Reap International Airport in time for your onward flight.

Airport transfers are included in the main price if you arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 10. For those arriving early or wanting to stay on longer, extra nights at the hotel and airport transfers can be arranged with your host at an additional cost. Please see Optional Extras for more information.

Travel options

There are indirect international flights to Phnom Penh from the UK, as well as from various major hubs in Europe, which transit via Hanoi, Saigon, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Bangkok. From the US, there are indirect flights from various major hubs which transit via Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

If you need to return to Phnom Penh at the end of the trip for your onward flight, there are direct and indirect internal flight options, please check schedules in advance. There are also options by public bus, with regular departures from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. Your host can assist you with organising this if required.

For those arriving early or wanting to stay on, extra nights (and transfers) can be arranged with your host at an additional cost. Please see Optional Extras for more information.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Homestay · Same sex dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 – Day 4

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Homestay · Same sex dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7 – Day 8

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 9

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

The main staple in Cambodia is rice, with a vast array of dishes using rice or rice noodles as a base to create a cuisine of varying flavours, colours and ingredient combinations. Banh chok (rice noodles topped with a green curry of with lemongrass, turmeric root, and kaffir lime) is popular, and sometimes called the Cambodian national dish. Street food favourites include iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk (kar-fe toek doh koh toek gok), fried noodles (mi char), chive cakes (num kachay), and paté sandwiches (num pang pâté). Fresh fruit is readily available and locally grown seasonal vegetables are widely used to create tasty and original flavours.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Phnom Penh

Your first night in Cambodia will be spent at the 4-star Atlos Hotel in the heart of Phnom Penh. With comfortable rooms, contemporary decor and within easy reach of the river and National Museum, this a great place to bed down. You’ll stay in a twin-share room with a private bathroom.

Koh Trong

Accommodation on the island of Koh Trong is a homestay experience, staying with a family in the local community. You'll stay in a traditional wooden stilt house, where you’ll share meals and conversation with your local hosts. You’ll bed down together in a large room, with a mattress, sheets, blankets and a mosquito net. The facilities are rustic but comfortable, with toilets and washing facilities located nearby.

Ban Lung

In Ban Lung you’ll stay at the Ratanakiri Boutique Hotel, overlooking Boeung Kan Seng Lake. This is an elegant and modern hotel within easy reach of the jungle. You’ll stay in twin rooms with private bathrooms and balconies.

Koh Ker

With its own garden setting surrounded by agricultural land, the Kor Ker Temples Garden Hotel is a great spot to relax into the rural vibes or take a dip in the pool. You’ll stay in a modern, twin-share, Khmer-style bungalow, with a garden view and private bathroom. Each bungalow has its own terrace, a perfect place to watch the sun set.

Phnom Kulen

Now you’re a homestay pro, you’ll slot right into life at the next wooden stilt house, in Phnom Kulen. You'll be welcomed by your host family, relax over dinner, share stories and exchange photos of family back home. You’ll share a room with a mattress, sheets, blankets and a mosquito net. The simple facilities are comfortable, with toilets and cold water showers at the back of the building.

Siem Reap

Your final nights in Cambodia will be spent at the Amber Angkor Villa Hotel and Spa. This property strikes a cool balance of contemporary Khmer art concepts, with touches of Cambodian charm. You’ll stay in a deluxe twin room with a private bathroom. Wander the gardens, swim in the saltwater pool or hit the sun lounger after the day’s activities.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability). Please note, it is not possible to have a private room at either of the homestay accommodations.

Day 1

Welcome to Cambodia

Your host will meet you on arrival at Phnom Penh Airport, and transfer you to your hotel in the city. If you have time, wander a while amid the sights and hubbub of the capital. Meet up with the rest of the group in the early evening for a welcome dinner in a local restaurant and chat through the adventure to come.

Day 2

Koh Trong Island

Cycling

2hrs · 9km

Driving

5hrs · 240km

Jump in the van and hit the road - National Road 8 to be exact, heading east. Roll past lush countryside which unfurls into a green patchwork of paddy fields, to the Mekong riverside town of Kratie. Here, you'll hop on a small ferry bound for sleepy Koh Trong Island. Stretch your legs with a pedal around this rustic island, fringed by fine sandy beaches. Spend the evening with your host family in a traditional stilted house, and enjoy the simple pleasures of conversation and a delicious home-cooked meal.

Day 3

Paddle the Mekong River

Kayaking

3hrs · 12km

Driving

4.5hrs · 277km

Fuelled by a healthy breakfast, hop into a kayak to paddle down the mighty Mekong River, past sandbar islands - eyes open for the rare and elusive Irrawaddy dolphin. There’s time for a dip and some local snacks before coming ashore for lunch at a local restaurant. Back in the van, you'll continue onwards to Ban Lung, known as the ‘Red City’ thanks to the iron-rich dirt roads in remote Ratanakiri province. This region boasts a wide range of biodiversity - as well as the odd forest genie, according to legend - and is home to many communities of minority ethnic Cambodians.

Day 4

Into the jungle

Hiking

3hrs · 10km · 300m up · 290m down

Lace up your boots for an adventure in the forested eastern province. You will take a van, a small ferry, an even smaller boat, and a ‘Koyoun’ (motorised tractor) to the start point of your hike. Trek through the lush greenery until you reach a local indigenous community, where you'll share a dram of ‘srah thnam’ rice wine with lunch. Hit the trail again and learn about edible plants and jungle survival techniques, and soak up a stunning panoramic vista. Step aboard a traditional river raft to be transported downstream with time for a dip, before the return journey to the hotel.

Day 5

The Koh Ker temples

Hiking

1.5hrs · 2km

Driving

5hrs · 335km

Head north out of Ratanakiri, stopping at the small town of Stung Treng for lunch - a remote place with charming wooden houses and an interesting history. Continue onwards to the archaeological site of Koh Ker, found close to the borders of Thailand and Laos. Spend the afternoon hiking around the compact, atmospheric and peaceful temples. The complex is nestled in forest, with the jungle slowly reclaiming its ancient structures.

Day 6

Phnom Kulen National Park

Hiking

3hrs · 12km · 255m up · 210m down

Drive past the foot of Kulen Mountain, into Phnom Kulen National Park. After a briefing from the park ranger, head into the jungle to discover the enigmatic River of a Thousand Lingas - a holy site deep in the jungle with carvings (lingas) dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. You'll also visit the reclining Buddha statue at Preah Ang Thom, and take a refreshing dip at a waterfall. Keep your eyes open for wildlife as you hike through the thick forest, before you push on to your homestay. Meet your hosts and kick back for the evening.

Day 7

Phnom Kulen jungle temples

Hiking

4hrs · 10-12km · 410m up · 315m down

Rise early to soak up the tranquil forest village amidst palm and coconut trees, and fuel up on breakfast. Head out to the Phnom Kulen plateau loop, where you'll wind your way through the forest and past tumbledown 10th century temples, to the Sra Damre holy elephant shrine. Enjoy lunch under a shady pagoda before moving on to the impressive Hindu stone carving of Phnom Tbal and the Prasat Rong Chen pyramid temple. Back in the van, your next stop is Siem Reap.

Day 8

Cycle Angkor Thom and explore Angkor Wat

Cycling

2hrs · 20km · 75m up · 40m down

This morning you'll head out on two wheels, pedalling towards the captivating south gate of the Angkor Thom complex - the entrance to the great Khmer capital. Take in the Bayon’s 54 intricately carved faces of Buddha and the famous ruined temple of Ta Phrom, a tangled living mosaic of trees and stone. In the afternoon, enter the iconic temple of Angkor Wat via the central avenue, a symphony of stylised stone.

In the evening, roll up to Phare, The Cambodian Circus - an authentic and unique acrobatic journey through Khmer history and culture. The performers here are trained by Phare Ponleu Selpak, an NGO supporting disadvantaged young Cambodians.

Day 9

Paddle the mangroves and floating villages of Tonlé Sap

Kayaking

3hrs · 2km

Jump into a kayak on the largest lake in South East Asia, Tonlé Sap. Paddle gently across the calm water where you'll pass floating villages, meet the locals who live in them and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the mangrove-fringed shores. In the afternoon, enjoy some downtime or explore vibrant Siem Reap town.

Day 10

Goodbye Cambodia

After breakfast, you can explore more of Siem Reap or just relax. You will be transferred to Siem Reap airport in time for your onward flight.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Kayaks, paddles and lifejackets
  • Bicycles and helmets
  • Mattress, cushion, mosquito net, blankets, and a small towel at each homestay

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
  • Daypack (20-30 litres)
  • Waterproof liner for kitbag or rucksack/drybags

CLOTHES

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Sandals

SLEEPING

  • Travel pillow or pillowcase

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable water bottle x1 litre
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks

Pre-trip Hotel Room in Phnom Penh

Payable Before Departure

Pre-trip Hotel Room in Phnom Penh

Per Night

Post-trip Hotel Room in Siem Reap

Payable Before Departure

Post-trip Hotel Room in Siem Reap

Per Night

Solo upgrade for hotel rooms only

Payable Before Departure

Solo upgrade for hotel rooms only

Private Transfer from Phnom Penh Airport to Phnom Penh Hotel

Payable Before Departure

Private Transfer from Phnom Penh Airport to Phnom Penh Hotel

Per Person

Private Transfer from Siem Reap Hotel to Siem Reap Airport

Payable Before Departure

Private Transfer from Siem Reap Hotel to Siem Reap Airport

Per Person

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 540kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

Whilst no prior experience is needed, a reasonable level of general fitness is required - you'll be hiking, kayaking and cycling at different points across the itinerary, for between 2 and 5 hours in duration.

The hiking will be through forest and jungle trails, and although it's not at high altitude or on difficult terrain, the heat, humidity and potential rain will mean you need to be prepared. The Phnom Kulen plateau loop is an easy hike if a little longer than previous days, but there are support vehicles and the option to extend the hike if the group wishes.

Kayaking on the Mekong River and Tonlé Sap will generally be a leisurely paddle, downstream or on placid water. Occasionally, at times with higher waters and currents, the paddling will be a little more challenging.

Cycling around Koh Trong island will be easy, on level terrain. Cycling in Siem Reap and around Angkor will be a little more challenging as it involves narrow, off-road jungle trails as well as some paved road sections.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Yes, a visa is compulsory for travellers entering Cambodia and not included into the price of trip. Visas can be obtained either in advance or on arrival, with both methods being quick and easy.

If you opt for a visa in advance (an e-visa), please visit the website of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information and pricing.

If you opt for a visa on arrival, you will need two recent passport photographs, an arrival form (provided by your airline) and cash in US Dollars, in order to be granted your visa. Please visit the Cambodian Embassy website in your country of origin for more information and pricing.

Tap water in Cambodia is not safe to drink. Clean drinking water will be provided from a 20-litre refill container in the vehicle. There will also be water bottle refill stations available in the hotels and homestays, in order to reduce plastic consumption. Please pack your own reusable bottle, it will be well used.

Water bottles with in-built filters are becoming increasingly popular for travellers to use in countries without clean tap water. Please see our guide for advice on the best water filters for adventurers if you wish to bring your own filtration bottle on this trip.

Cambodia is a hot and tropical country, at its hottest in April and coolest in January, and reliably warm for much of the year. The dry months are between late October through to the end of May, with more rain expected between June and early October.

Although rainfall is at its maximum in September, the central region, east and Siem Reap receive very little rain compared to the coastal areas, and when it does rain it tends to be in the form of sporadic mid-afternoon downpours. There is no 'best time' to go, as each time of year benefits the varied trip activities in turn: drier months mean easy cycling or hiking, but wetter months mean higher water levels for kayaking with green lush jungle.

In the drier season, the daytime temperatures range between 31°C / 88°F and 39°C / 102°F, and go down to around 23°C / 74°F at night. In the rainy season, the daytime temperatures range between 30°C / 86°F and 35°C / 95°F, and go down to around 24°C / 75°F at night.

The trip dates are scheduled across Cambodia’s dry months as well as some of the wet months, as both seasons are great times to experience the varied locations and activities. However, due to weather and local conditions at the time of travel, some minor changes to the route, order or timing of the activities may be necessary once you’re on the trip. Your host will ensure any necessary changes are kept to a minimum, and your guide will keep you in the loop as the trip progresses to ensure that you have an awesome time.

Tips for the local staff are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. We suggest the below as a guideline per person, per day which will be shared between guides, support team and driver:

£9 (GBP)/$10 (USD)

Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Due to the point to point nature of this trip, your luggage will be transported with you in the vehicle throughout the journey.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

The local host requires a scanned copy of your passport photo page in advance in order to operate your trip. Attachments cannot currently be sent through the Much Better Adventures platform so please look out for an email directly from your host - this is a legitimate request.

No. You'll need to have a larger bag suitable for all your belongings which will be transported for you, and then a small day pack to carry personal items and a water bottle each day.

The kayaks across the itinerary will be Loma 1 fibreglass single or double sit-on-top kayaks. Sit-on-top kayaks are very stable and easy to paddle for everyone, from new paddlers through to experienced paddlers, and can be used on the sea, estuaries, rivers, lakes and canals.

The single kayaks are 2.7m / 8.8’ in length and 74cm / 2’ wide approx. Single kayaks can take a maximum load up to 100kg / 220lbs.

The double kayaks are 3.7m / 12’ in length and 83cm / 2’ wide approx. Double kayaks can take a maximum load up to 190kg / 418lbs.

For the leisurely cycling on Koh Trong island, simple city bikes are used, which are comfortable and easy to ride on the flat terrain.

The bikes used in the Siem Reap region are mountain bikes of a higher specification. The mountain bikes available will be one of the following makes and models, in various sizes: Cannondale Trail 4 2017, Trek Marlin 5 2022 or Giant Rincon 29 2022.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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