Often likened to a phoenix arising from the ashes, Cambodia has recovered from the traumas of the Khmer Rouge era and is again enabling the world to discover its incredible historical legacy that includes possibly the most spectacular archaeological site in South East Asia.
The ancient city of Angkor offers a journey back in time to showcase a lost kingdom that had attained architectural splendour and achieved a cultural pinnacle. Climb the steps of Angkor Wat, gaze at the serene Buddha faces carved from stone or uncover secret passages in temples that have been reclaimed by the jungle in a dramatic show of the force of nature. Floating villages, tranquil backwaters, rural villages and tropical beaches complete the kaleidoscope.
Phnom Penh’s busy streets also tell the stories of Cambodia’s rebirth. Away from the serenity of the riverside cafes, there are not-to-be missed sites that recount not just the horror and suffering, but also the indomitable human spirit and optimism that has made Cambodia such a joy to visit.
Siem Reap, in northwestern Cambodia, is gateway to the ruins of Angkor, the seat of the Khmer kingdom from the 9th-15th centuries. Angkor’s vast complex of intricate stone buildings includes preserved Angkor Wat, the main temple, which is pictured on Cambodia’s flag.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s busy capital, sits at the junction of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers. It was a hub for both the Khmer Empire and French colonialists. On its walkable riverfront, lined with parks, restaurants and bars, is the ornate Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum, displaying artifacts from around the country. At the city’s heart is massive, art deco Central Market.
Literally translated Angkor Thom means Great City. This amazing site covers over 9 square kilometres. The last temple added was built in 1295, with the site being abandoned in 1609. In its heyday the site was believed to have had between 80 and 100 thousand inhabitants.
Most of the great Angkor ruins have vast displays of bas-relief (raised carving) depicting gods, goddesses, and other-worldly beings from the mythological stories and epic poems of ancient Hinduism. In addition there are images of animals; elephants, snakes, fish, and monkeys, in addition to dragon-like creatures found in Chinese art.
The Tonle Sap Lake is an amazing ‘combined’ lake and river system. It is the largest fresh water lake in Southeast Asia and acclaimed as the richest fishing lake in the World, supporting over 3 million people and providing over 75% of Cambodia’s annual inland fish catch and 60% of Cambodians’ protein intake.
In the dry season, the Tonle Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. And when the monsoon rains begin in June, the Tonle Sap grows from approximately of 2,700 square km to 16,000 square km. The local population has also adapted to the unique ecology of the lake with floating villages and stilted houses.
Being just 15km south of Angkor it’s easy to include this ‘Great Lakes’ of Tonle Sap.
Top class design and the finest facilities. Usually located in a spectacular setting it may be an exclusive hotel in a meticulously restored historic building, or recognised as the leading property of an international chain.
Raffles Grand D’Angkor
Siem Reap, Cambodia
A perfect alternative to the big brand hotels:
exclusive and independently-owned properties with a smaller number of rooms and highly personalised services.
Four Rivers Floating Lodge
Tatai River, Cambodia
High quality with an excellent room standard, a full range of facilities and first-rate service; may be a new property or regularly refurbished with attention to ongoing maintenance.
White Mansion Hotel
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
A visa for Cambodia is required by all Australian passport holders. Cambodian visas can be obtained on arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport and at the Siem Reap International Airport. Many of Cambodia’s land border crossings offer an ‘on-arrival’ visa service however these can sometimes be unavailable due to limited operating hours, and closures. Visas can also be obtained from overseas Cambodian embassies, or online.
We recommend that you obtain your visa on-line prior to departure to avoid any uncertainty or delays on arrival at the airport.
Malaria is a risk in rural Cambodia. Preventive medications are not usually required for trips to Phnom Penh and Siem Riep only, where strict care against mosquito bites is preferred. Cambodia is medium risk and vaccinations are advised for common diseases like Hepatitis A and B, typhoid as well as Influenza and Diphtheria. Japanese encephalitis may also be a risk for some travellers. There is no official requirement for vaccinations.
We advise you to consult a Travel Doctor specialist prior to departure to assess these risks in relation to your medical history and travel plans.
Cambodia is warm all year round, though there are several distinct seasons affecting the best time to visit Cambodia. Generally November through to March is considered the best time of the year to travel.
High Season – November to March
There is little rain between November and May, the so-called dry season. The weather is cool and often windy. From November to March the climate is mild enough to explore the temples in comfort but warm enough to sunbathe by the coast.
Shoulder Season – July and August
During this time it is humid and wet in most parts of the country but the landscapes are lush and emerald green.
Low Season – April to June and September and October
April and May are very hot and dry with temperatures edging close to 40 C. September and October are hot and wet with torrential downpours.
Visiting Cambodia during the rainy season from June to October can present certain practical challenges, but it is also a fascinating time to see the country as it transforms into a waterlogged expanse of tropical green under the daily monsoon downpours and there is the advantage of fewer tourists present at popular sites.
We have access to a wide range of airfares and have excellent relationships with our key airline partners. Our two main airline partners in Asia are Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines. With hubs in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore respectively both airlines are well positioned to provide a quality service from Australia to all major destinations in Asia.
Irrespective of whether you book directly with us or with your preferred travel agent, we’ll want to know the details of all of your fights. Flight times regularly change and, if or when they do, we want to make sure your transfers and other arrangements are amended accordingly.