VC42 Irrawaddy Dolphin Search ( 4 days / 3 night )
Phnom Penh - Kratie – Kg. Cham – Kg. Thom – Siem Reap
Day 1 Phnom Penh – Kratie
Drive to Kratie (approximately 315kms/5hrs), a small town that retains its colonial-era charm and is known as the best location to spot the rare freshwater Irrawaddy Dolphins. On the way, stop to see Chhlong, a small town dotted with elegant French buildings before continuing to Kratie. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel. In the afternoon, we will visit the old colonial town of Kratie and proceed with the drive to see the dolphins at Kampi pool (The best time to see dolphins is during the dry season from January to August.).
Overnight in Kratie.
Day 2 Kratie – Koh Trong Community Based Tourism Site
This morning, we walk to explore the old colonial town of Kratie and local market before driving to Wat Rokakandal Centre, originally an ancient pagoda that has since been refurbished and converted to a local museum for displaying Cambodian crafts. In the afternoon, check out from your hotel and board a local ferry heading to the last destination of the day, the Koh Trong Community Based Tourism Site. Koh Trong is an island situated in the middle of the Mekong River directly opposite Kratie Town. There is a 9km circuit road around the island’s perimeter which provides opportunities for visitors to leisurely cycle or to take an ox-cart through traditional Khmer villages, fruit orchards and rice fields while observing the rituals and routines of traditional village life. Afternoon is one of the best times to explore the island. Keep an eye open for traditional rooftop decorations as the numbers on the top of the roof indicate the house’s year of construction. Some houses even date back to the 1960s. The highlight of the tour includes leisurely cycling or ox-carting on shady trail around the island, visiting a reforestation project where you can plant a tree with your name (optional), tasting a nationally renowned Koh Trong pomelos, visiting a floating village and pagodas and of course interacting with the villagers. Stay overnight at a home stay. Dinner in the village. (A traditional Khmer home stay is equipped with only basic facilities such as a pillow, mattress, blanket and mosquito net (no AC) as well as a shared sleeping area and bathroom.
Overnight home stay at Koh Trong [Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner]
Day 3 Kratie – Kompong Cham – Kg. Thom
After breakfast, take a car 250km/4hrs to Kompong Cham, one of Cambodia’s largest towns, located on the banks of the mighty Mekong River. Explore some French colonial houses, nearby Chup rubber plantations and visit the unique Angkorian Temple of Wat Nokor, an 11th century Mahayana Buddhist shrine built from sandstone and laterite. Pay a visit to the hilltop temples of Phnom Pros (Man Hill) and Phnom Srei (Woman Hill). Continue the drive to Kg. Thom and stop en-route to visit the 11th century Wat Kohear Nokor to meet local monks and villagers. Arrive and check in at your hotel. Overnight in Kg. Thom. [Breakfast]
Day 4 Kompong Thom – Sambor Prei Kuk – Siem Reap
In the morning drive 30km to the 7th century Sambor Prei Kuk temple. Along the way observe everyday life of rural Cambodia. Visit the ancient capital of Chenla with its 100 temples dating from the pre-Angkor period. The complex at Ishanapura is composed of four groups of temples that are among the most ancient surviving examples of Khmer architecture. After lunch, drive to Siem Reap. [Breakfast, Lunch]