Arrival in Phnom Penh
Welcome to Cambodia’s bustling capital
Hello and welcome to the capital city of Cambodia. Upon arrival at the international airport in Phnom Penh you will be met by our representative and taken to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for relaxation. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Hub of the Khmer empire & French colonial rule
Time to kick-start a much-awaited trip. After a sumptuous breakfast we visit the Royal Palace, which is the official residence of the Cambodian royal family, and also the Silver Pagoda, known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. We will also visit the National Museum, before moving on to the Tuol Sleng Museum prison and the Choeung Ek Killing Field, one of the notorious killing fields of the Khmer Rouge regime. Both these places are a harrowing reminder of the recent suffering of the people of Cambodia. They have informative audio tours that will give you a moving account of what happened. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh - Kompong Thom - Sambor Prei Kuk - Siem Reap
Ancient Sambor Prei Kuk
Today, we will travel by road to Kompomg Thom (3 hours), Cambodia’s second largest province. We will visit the site of Sambor Prei Kuk, an archaeological site dating back to the pre-Angkorian kingdom and home to some of the oldest temples in Cambodia. Later, we will proceed to Siem Reap. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Gateway to Angkor
After an energising breakfast, we will sight-see around the city, starting with a visit to the ancient capital, Angkor Thom, which was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer dynasty. The Angkor Thom complex includes the Terrace of the Elephants, the Terrace of the Leper King, the Angkor Thom centre and the famous mountain temple of Bayon. We also visit the huge funerary temple, erected in the twelfth century. Overnight in Siem Reap.
The treasures of Angkor Wat
We have another day to explore this city, so let’s start by visiting the Banteay Srei, a tenth century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and built of red sandstone, lending the carvings here a pristine look. These delicate works remain a jewel of Khmer art. Later, we will pay a visit to a traditional Cambodian wooden house, followed by a visit to the ancient temple of Ta Prohm, where trees grow out of the ruins and nature merges with history. We will then continue to Angkor Wat, as spellbinding as it is iconic, and needing little introduction but plenty of time to savor. We will then visit the Artisans d’Angkor, where one can get an insight into the immense skills and workmanship of the local artisans, and also shop for souvenirs. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Today we will explore Beng Melea, a temple from the Angkor period. It is a temple lost in the jungle, located towards the east of Siem Reap. This temple was built as a Hindu temple but also has Buddhist carvings. Come afternoon, we will head out to the floating fishing village of Kompong Khleang on Tonle Sap lake, where we will get a glimpse of how the locals go about their daily activities. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Siem Reap – Battambang
A watery, wonderful world
After breakfast, we will sail to Battambang by boat, if the water level permits; it generally takes 7-8 hours of sailing. If the water levels are not fit for sailing, we shall travel by road to Battambang. We will cross the vast Tonle Sap lake that provides more than half of the fish consumed in Cambodia. Here, we will be able to see floating villages and traditional fishing techniques used by the locals. Overnight in Battambang.
Bamboo train ride
It will be an exciting day for us as we will take the train called Norry (in Khmer, the local language). It is Cambodia’s famous bamboo train, a popular tourist attraction that runs at a genteel speed of 15 kms per hour, allowing customers to enjoy the Cambodian countryside as it slowly passes by. In the evening we will visit the famous Battambang Circus called Phare Ponleu Selpak. Overnight in Battambang.
Battambang - Kompong Chhnang - Phnom Penh
Through rice fields
After breakfast, we will be driving to Phnom Penh; en-route we will pass the rice storehouse at Kompong Chhnang, crossing through many villages of potters. The traditional forms of Angkorian pottery have been skilfully resurrected by these artisans who use both ancient and modern techniques, sustaining themselves by selling their fine wares. Before arriving in Phnom Penh, we will stop at Udong Mountain to take in the stunning views from the top. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh – Sihanoukville
A beautiful coast
Today, we will carry on to the beautiful coastal town of Sihanoukville (4 hours). This town boasts enticing white sandy beaches and is rightly considered Cambodia’s most famous beach town. Overnight in Sihanoukvile.
Day of relaxation
A day of relaxation around the beaches of Sihanoukville, and a chance – if you can drag yourself away from the beach – to explore the coastal town and its nightlife. Overnight in Sihanoukvile.
Departure Sihanoukville - Phnom Penh
See you soon
The morning is free for you to relax. We will drive to Phnom Penh by afternoon and later head on to the international airport, where you will board your flight back home. We hope you have enjoyed your time with us as much as we have enjoyed ours with you. Have a safe journey ahead! We hope to see you again soon!
THE PRICE INCLUDES
- Accommodation in 3*-4*-5* hotels on twin share basis with breakfast
- Transfer with private A/C vehicles
- Sightseeing with local experienced English speaking guide
- Entrance fees as per programme
- Cold bottled water and face towels on bus on days of tour
- All applicable taxes
THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE
- International Flight & Airport taxes (International)
- Domestic Flights
- Insurance and visa costs
- Expenses of Personal nature
- Camera and Video charges
- Any other Expenses that are not mentioned above
YOUR HOTELS (or similar):
Each destination has a unique character, a story. So we choose the most beautiful destinations, we also choose the most charming hotels for you. In addition, we will offer you options to choose from depending on the style of travel that suits you. You will stay in comfortable, deluxe, luxury or ultra luxury hotels depending on your budget.
- Visa and Travel Formalities
- Accommodation and transportation
- Flights & Land Package
- Our guides
- Insurance and Unforeseen Circumstances
Of the many reasons Cambodia is flocked with thousands of tourists, it’s candid nature would be foremost. With her pristine beaches, offbeat trails and emerald jungles, the country has managed to preserve her raw beauty. Who can walk away from a chance to explore the temples of Angkor, where the ancient and the natural world coexist in an exquisite harmony? Or stay away from tracks that lead to hidden lakes and waterfalls where one can experience a rush of adrenaline with cliff diving?
Whether it is a scenic view or a lust for adventure, Cambodia is one that will satisfy. Not to mention, the country’s mouthwatering cuisine and lovely people who’s politeness and hospitality will never make you want to leave.
The tradition and culture of a nation lies in its festivals that are celebrated throughout the year. Here are a list of festivals you can choose from while planning your travel to Cambodia –
Khmer New Year’s Day: Celebrated in the month of April for 3 days. It marks the end of the harvest during a year. People start by cleaning and decorating their homes, then preparing food, and continue the celebrations by playing traditional games.
Pchum Ben: This is celebrated in the honour of the dead, by lighting candles at the Buddhist temples. Cambodians make traditional offerings and prayers for the souls.
Royal Ploughing Day: It is a very religious ceremony that marks the start of the rice planting season in Cambodia. Celebrated in the month of May, in Phnom Penh, where the King’s representatives plough a field with divine cows.
Water festival: The Water Festival (Bon Om Touk) takes place on the full moon day of the 12th month of the Khmer lunar calendar. It is one of the biggest and most extravagant festival in all of Cambodia, basically celebrated to mark the reverse of flow of the Tonle Sap and Mekong River. People from all across the country come to be a part of this. During this time there are carnivals, food, drinks, music-performances by the local bands, and boat races, with people cheering for their favourite team.
For most trips, your passport will be enough. It must be valid for up to six months after your return trip. Passports can be easily obtained from your municipality, although there may be delays during holiday periods and holidays. Note that the passport is also required for children. For some destinations, it will be mandatory to send us a copy of your passport immediately after booking a trip.
There are a handful countries that do not need visa to enter Cambodia, Australian nationals are required to have visa and can avail Visa-on-Arrival for 30 days in the following airports:
- Phnom Penh International Airport
- Siem Reap International Airport
Visa on arrival will also be available in several border check points. For more information please visit http://www.tourismcambodia.com/tripplanner/essential-information/visa-passport.htm We recommend you to get your visa 4 to 6 weeks before your arrival.
Minors traveling with an adult: Parents
When a minor is traveling with a parent, the officials at the airport might ask for proof of documents to confirm your relationship. Some countries require certificates such as a birth certificate. Check with the embassy or consulate of the country of destination regarding the requirements.
Minors traveling with an adult: Others
When a minor is traveling with someone other than the parents or a family member, some countries require a declaration by the relatives to give permission for this trip. Check with the embassy or consulate of the country of destination regarding the requirements.
Each destination has a unique character, a story. So we chose the most beautiful destinations, we also handpicked the most suitable hotels for your comfort. In addition, we offer options to choose according to your budget and travel style that suits you.
We offer three options in MOST of our programs:
Simple and comfortable – These are clean and comfortable hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 2-3 star categorization.
Deluxe – In this option, we offer a mix of charming and deluxe hotels. Some of them are heritage palaces, which are now famous contemporary hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 4-5 star categorization.
Luxury – For the ultimate luxury holiday, we have a collection of rustic, chic and stylish hotels combined with laid back indulgence and unmatched amenities. These international favorites are the best in the destinations.
The road conditions in the cities of Cambodia are average, however it will deteriorate as you approach the villages. Floods are a common thing during the wet season.
Transport is a very significant part of your trip to Cambodia. We ensure the quality of the vehicles and the drivers are trained to show you the best landscapes, rural life, by the side of highways, and be attentive to all your requirements. The local traffic is chaotic, but you will certainly enjoy the journeys with our expert and hospitable drivers. All our trips are inclusive of transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary contracted and we will not surprise you by asking any additional fees for your small wishes.
The airline and the flight schedules are subject to change. P&M will keep you informed about the latest changes in the schedule, if any.
The price in the website are indicative and may change as per the latest amendment given by the hotels or suppliers. However, P&M will honor the rates once they are offered to you and you have made the payment for the package, even partially. In the case of international or domestic flights, the additional airport taxes that are imposed by local authorities shall be passed to you.
It is also possible to book international flights with P&M. Since we have good connections with several airlines, we will be happy to assist you for your requirements.
These people are our most amazing assets, taking you on beautiful trips with P&M. Who can explain a city or town better than the locals? This is why we always work with the locals carrying a passion for their culture. Their knowledge of destinations is immaculate; eagerly indulging you to experience the journey of the moment. All destinations, most of the cities and towns have English-speaking local guides. These guides are employed by our local agents and get regular training’s pertaining to our requirements. We evaluate their performance after each trip based on your feedback’s.
The services of local guides are included in the program (if opted by you in the package). They not only show you around the city but also purchase the tickets at the monuments. They are available to answer any of your travel related queries.
Although P&M pays them with the standard rates of travel-based companies, they expect a tip at the end of the trip. We recommend a tip of 5 €/ day/ person.
Although our travels are organized with detailed planning, the climate and other factors may change due to some unforeseen events. These however, should not spoil your travel or ruin your fun. In case such circumstances arise, be assured that you have 24/7 P&M support staff ready to offer the most suited solutions to your problems. We do our best to provide the quickest resolutions; nevertheless, we are not responsible for any factor beyond our control.
Cambodia has only two seasons – the dry season (October-April) and the wet season (May-October). You can visit this country all year round due to its simple weather conditions.
It is always advisable to do a few routine checks before traveling to any destination outside the home country. Below mentioned are a few vaccines that is recommended before traveling to Cambodia:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Yellow Fever
It’s a good idea to consult your government’s travel-health website before departure.
Credit cards & ATMs
There are ATMs in all the major cities, and they’re even spreading to places beyond the cities. Cards like Maestro, Cirrus, Plus, and VISA are compatible with these ATMs. Credit cards such as VISA and JCB are accepted widely in all big establishments; American Express and MasterCard are slowly gaining popularity. However, in small restaurants and hotels they only accept cash. Traveller’s cheques are also acceptable, but only in major hotels, restaurants, and shops.
Mobile in Cambodia
Tourists can buy a local sim card from the arrival terminals of all airports or at the border checkpoint. Pre-paid phone cards are available in the towns, with several outlets. There are 5 mobiles services in total – MobiTel, Beeline, Smart Mobile, Cube and MetFone.
Food in Cambodia has a mix of Thai and Vietnamese taste. Their main food is Khmer, which is very filling and cheap. They use a local fish paste called Prahok in their Khmer dishes. Staple food is generally rice and noodles. They love sour taste in their food, and they prefer black pepper to chilli peppers.
Culturally people in Cambodia dress conservatively, both to avoid getting tanned and as a sign of respect. In places like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap wearing shorts is fine, however, it is recommended to wear knee length shorts or trousers outside of these areas and while visiting religious sites. Weather wise it is advisable to wear lightweight, cotton, and loose fitting clothes.
There is no reason for you not to take your electrical items due to electrical outlets; Cambodia markets have adapters you can purchase.
Free Wi-Fi is available at most hotels, restaurants, cafe, malls, and mini marts. Internet cafes can be easily found in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, with cheap rates. However, it is not the same in areas away from the major cities – Battambang and Sihanoukville – as they have limited access, with fairly higher rates. Prepaid internet cards can be bought as well at any shops.
What makes Parallels and Meridians different?
We believe that holidays should be planned thoughtfully. Hence, we spend a good amount of time planning and offering you products considering your requirements. Amazing journeys begin the moment you contact us for a personalized trip. We design programs exactly as you wish; you will always remain a partner in making it a dream holiday.
What can I expect in a holiday with Parallels and Meridians?
Our trips bring you closer to the local community and culture as you will be taken to some of the places where no tourists have gone before. Our travel experts are always in search of something new, inspirational and entertaining. These ideas are intricately designed around your style of travel, creating a perfect trip for you.
How do you create a style of travel?
People are different, and so are their ways of traveling. We speak to several people from different walks of life, locals, travelers, families, and even bloggers, to get a better idea on the ways they prefer to travel. The styles of travel are created through their contributions and the expertise of our travel designers. It is our success formula in making exceptional trips for you.
Why do you make the trips participative?
In our small endeavor to support the local community, we found this as the most encouraging and heartfelt experience for both our guests and ourselves. We don’t indulge into activities with big charitable organizations, but quietly do our bit with the help of our guests. Our projects are humble and mostly recommended by our guests. For example, teaching basic French to the drivers (while traveling with him) actually came from one of our guest.
What are the different hotel combinations you offer?
Each destination has a unique character and history, so do their hotels. We have selected the best hotels as per your style and budget. We offer 3 options in most of our programs:
Simple and comfortable – These are clean and comfortable hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 2-3 star categorization.
– In this option, we offer a mix of charming and deluxe hotels. Some of them are heritage palaces, which are now famous contemporary hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 4-5 star categorization.
– For the ultimate luxury holiday, we have a collection of rustic, chic and stylish hotels combined with laid back indulgence and unmatched amenities. These international favorites are the best in the destinations.
How many beds can we have in a room?
A room will usually have a double bed. Most hotels will be able to add one extra bed.
If we’re traveling as a family, can we have interconnected rooms?
Some hotels offer interconnected rooms. If they don’t have, we ask them to provide two rooms next to each other or on the same floor.
Can I choose my own set of hotels?
Yes, you can. Just send us your wish list and we will do our best to fulfill your requirements.
What is the category of hotels included in the itinerary on the website?
You will have the option to choose the categories of the hotels you want to stay in. There are a few exceptions, however, some places like villages in Rajasthan or hiking tents in Bhutan will not offer you luxury. We will clearly advice you on this.
How does Parallels and Meridians choose the hotels?
We choose hotels based on our personal experiences. We will not recommend a hotel unless we have stayed there ourselves or have it recommended by our contributors.
What kind of vehicle do you provide?
Generally, this depends on the number of people. We provide cars for two people and micro van for three and more people. All our vehicles have air-conditioning.
Can we choose our own type of vehicle?
Yes, you can. Just let us know while sending us the information for your trip.
Are we sharing the car with someone else?
No. The car is for private use and you will share it only the people you are travelling with.
Does the car stay at my disposal every day?
Yes, it does. Our drivers are flexible and will remain at your disposal.
Do we have a guide in every city?
Yes, a guide will be provided to you in each city unless there is no visit scheduled.
How do you select your guides?
We select guides who understand your interests and requirements. They carry a flair for their culture and tradition, offering the best experiences to our clients. All our tour guides are locals, have professional licenses and are known for their passion and knowledge of the destination. We only hire highly rated guides with years of experience.
How do I plan my trip with you?
Once a program is picked from the website and the query form is filled, our travel experts will start working on the program. They will carefully prepare a tailor-made itinerary for you and will present it in details. Your itinerary will be refined and polished until you are satisfied and happy to book with us. As it is very important for us to understand your requirements, please do not hesitate to ask questions and voice your concerns or desires.
I like one of your family programs. Can it be tailor-made for a couple?
Yes, it can. All our programs can be further tailored for your specific requirements. You will be amazed to see the countless possibilities in our programs as per your style.
Can I make my own itinerary?
Yes, you can. Simply fill the form or send us e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
How do you decide your pricing?
The itineraries in the website have indicative pricing which may change as per your personalized travel request. We choose the most important sightseeing, destinations, guides and hotels, which makes a great holiday experience for our guests. As we do not want to surprise you with hidden costs, we always include essential costs in the program. Although we are not necessarily the cheapest, we do aim to offer exceptional overall value for money and rely on our clients for repeat business and recommendations for your future dream holidays.
Can I adjust my budget?
Of course, our experts can share plenty ideas with you, fitting your budget. However, we make sure that quality is never compromised. We immediately inform you with our inability to offer you something that is below standard or of low quality. It is always better to say no than to regret a bad holiday experience.
What is included in the cost of your packages?
Our services start the moment you arrive at your destination, where a representative will be awaiting your arrival. All accommodations, transfers, local flights as well as arranged activities, unless otherwise specified will be included. Our trips are on breakfast-only basis except some special meals like welcome lunch or a special farewell dinner.
Why don’t you offer trips on full board?
We could; however, you will agree with us that everybody has different tastes. Moreover, the local cuisine is also an important aspect of your trip. Why should we charge you extra for some meals in hotels and expensive restaurants, when you can enjoy the spontaneity of discovering restaurants on your own? This is why we intentionally refuse to include all meals in our itineraries. If you are on a safari or a trekking trip, all meals are included as these are remote areas without restaurant alternatives. In lieu of this, you will receive a list of recommended restaurants, where you can have a taste of authentic cuisines.
How do I get the assurance of my travel safety?
Having our headquarter in France, P&M provides all necessary financial and legal guarantees to our travelers. You not only get the best travel programs from us but also experience a memorable and safe travel arranged by our local correspondents with 24/24 assistance. To ensure that all our local agents offer best services, quality travel and assurance, we have an office in India supervising all the activities in Asia. In addition, for your peace of mind, we support you with a range of insurances to meet your needs.
Who will be taking care of my trip when I am on the go?
You will have a dedicated travel expert from the first moment of contact. The travel expert will work with you before and during the trip.
What are the different modes of payment you accept?
The different modes of payment we accept are bank transfer and online payment by credit or debit card. You can pay either 30 or 50% at the time of the booking and the remaining, one month prior to your travel.
How secure is my credit card for online payment?
As your trusted partner P&M guarantees secure payment via secure payment platform enabling you to make transactions by credit card or debit card. The credit or debit card details are never reserved with us for your complete peace of mind.
Where can I see the reviews on P&M?
All reviews given by our travellers are regularly uploaded to our website. Furthermore, many of our guests have shared their experiences with P&M at the sites of Trip Advisor and Trust Pilot. We are proud to share with you that; – 98% of our travelers rated our services excellent or very good – 97% of our travelers recommend our agency to their friends – 98% of our travelers would be willing to repeat the experience with P&M.
Traveling with us is the best way to come closer to the daily life of the locals. Impart your knowledge, skills and art with them. If you are an artist, a photographer, a cook or whichever skills you have that can be shared with the local community, please feel free to tell us about them, and we will organize a special activity for you at a right place to support them. In our very first communication with you, we will ask your interest and if you are willing to participate in an activity for even just one hour.
In 2016, our participants have already taught over 400 hours, the equivalent of 17 days!
Our conscious tourism does not end there; we constantly propose new participatory activities:
There are many young kids who aspire to take the job of ‘guide’. We are helping them to speak better English, or teaching them skills and techniques of travel guiding.
Post the earthquake, life is still struggling in Nepal. We are helping some small shops and businesses to get into the mainstream; not by giving money, but improvising some ideas to run their business more effectively.
“In your route, though you choose to take part in any one of these options, your trip will be the same number of days and the price will not change under any circumstances.”
How much do you donate?
Nothing Actually. We just need little bit of your time and involvement.