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Welcome to Cambodia! Upon arrival we will pick the group from the airport and transfer you to the hotel for the evening. This evening you can enjoy a welcome dinner!
After breakfast we visit the Royal Palace to learn about the Cambodian royal family and French colonial influences followed by a walk to the National Museum to see treasures and antiquities from the once mighty Khmer civilization. The museum houses a beautiful collection of sandstone statues, gold jewellery, wood carving and bronze vessels. We cross town to visit one of the oldest slums in the city to see how 5000 residents life in very cramped conditions while trying to etch out a living. This afternoon we visit Tiny Toones. Later this afternoon we will walk enjoy some free time.
Today we will visit Penh's most important places of interest including the infamous Tuol Sleng Prison and the 'Killing Fields' - both stark reminders of Cambodia's tragic recent history during the Khmer Rouge reign from 1975-1979. It was during this relatively brief time a little know teacher named Pol Pot instituted a reign of terror over the country and implemented a plan to turn Cambodia into an agriculture-based society, systematically empty the cities and forcibly moving the people onto collective farms where they performed hard labour. This afternoon we have time to explore the Russian market and refine our bargaining skills. Later in the day as the sun sets, we take a private boat cruise on the Mekong River to enjoy views of the Phnom Penh skyline
After breakfast we will set out for a tuk tuk tour of the city and visit the Central Market. We will then farewell Phnom Penh and take the 6 hour bus trip to Siem Reap. Early evening we take an orientation walking tour to acquaint ourselves with Siem Reap. Overnight Somadevi Angkor Hotel or similar.
We will wake up at 5am and visit the magnificent Angkor temples for sunrise. Among the temples we will visit will be the imposing Bayon Temple with its famous faces representing one of the former kings and the most imposing temple of them all - Angkor Wat. Time permitting will also visit the beautiful Ta Prohm temple famous for its tapestry of trees intertwined within the temple structure and take an elephant ride (subject to availability) through the temple complex.
This morning we will enjoy a day trip (in 2 small coaches up Mount Kulen) to the sacred Cambodian site of Mount Kulen north of Siem Reap. En route we will stop at the pink sandstone Banteay Srei temple and the Land Mine Museum to learn more of the terrible legacy of conflict in Cambodia last century. Upon arrival at Mt Kulen we will enjoy a picnic lunch before exploring the area. Some of the nearby attractions include a reclining Buddha, ancient river bed carvings as well as a magnificent waterfalls. This place being a popular day trip for the locals. We will return to our hotel late this afternoon to freshen up before heading dinner and some time for independent exploration.
Over the coming three days we will undertake a community project (organised through the school) at Phum O Village to assist an impoverished community. Whilst rewarding, the days ahead will be long so it is very important students are in good health for this component of the trip and that they drink plenty of water throughout the day and eat well. NB: Full details of this project to be advised. (A bus and guide will be available each day).
This morning take a bus to the edge of Siem Reap and enjoy a fun Ox-Cart ride through the countryside until you reach the Cambodia’s largest freshwater lake; the Tonle Sap. Board a boat and spend the rest of the morning at one of the largest floating villages on the lake which is called Kompong Phluk. In the village you will witness the fascinating daily lives of the local people who live on the water. The boat service is provided by local people, and the profit goes directly back to the community. Have lunch a a local restaurant then you will be transferred to airport for departure flight.