Many people travel to Cambodia primarily to see the majestic temples of Angkor. While there is an opportunity to do that on this trip, the main focus here is to get beneath the surface of this captivating country; to roam the countryside and lesser-known towns, and to forge a genuine connection with an often-overlooked destination.
After your arrival in Siem Reap, rather than stay amidst the hubbub of the city centre you will travel about 40 minutes north to the beautiful and rural Bongthom Forest Lodge. This is a rare opportunity to escape the crowded city and get a real sense of life in the Cambodian countryside.
OVERNIGHT FLIGHT// 5 NIGHTS AT BONGTHOM FOREST LODGE
There’s no WiFi here, but you’ll find a lot more to appreciate: a walk, cycle or ox-cart ride around the surrounding lush green countryside, the taste of tropical fruits growing around the property, or being involved with the harvest on the nearby rice paddies!
Your stay will include two of our special insider experiences. On the first, you’ll watch the sunrise over the floating villages of Kampong Phluk, before exploring the iconic temples of Angkor with a brilliant guide. For the second, you will be guided through the lesser-visited intricate temples of the Angkor complex, away from Siem Reap, where few tourists venture.
For starters, it’s enchanting: a selection of traditionally Khmer villas hidden in verdant gardens, with a good-sized pool for the location. But more than this, Bongthom’s primary aim is to help support local communities by employing local villagers and reducing the poverty found in this area. This property shows us that the simple things in life are sometimes all that we need, and that nature can be just as entertaining as the modern world.
Next, take a short flight to Phnom Penh before driving south to Kep for six nights at the charming seaside hotel, Knai Bang Chatt. While this property might feel slightly more pampering than the last, its beauty and character still encourage travellers to appreciate the beauty of the world around them. It's ideally located for exploring the charms of the town and the beauty of the sea; from here you might relax on the pretty sliver of beach, rent kayaks or paddle boards, or even boat to nearby Rabbit Island for fantastic snorkelling.
6 NIGHTS AT KNAI BANG CHATT
For lunch or dinner away from the hotel, wander 10 minutes along the seafront and enjoy some of the famous Kep crab at a little local restaurant. Expect plastic chairs, a buzzing atmosphere and excellent cheap beer!
Take the ETG signature tuk-tuk tour of Kep, a fun and immersive way to soak up the sights of the city, from the brilliant seafood market to impressive colonial architecture. From the hotel you can take a cycle around the town and surrounding countryside, where you'll notice the abandoned buildings and ruins from the civil war.
A colonial-style hotel designed by a renowned Khmer architect, Knai Bang Chatt's airy open spaces create an idyllic, mind-freeing environment, which is further complemented by the calmness of the ocean that sits before it. The stylish aesthetic creates an impression that travel is about more than just tourism, it's a form of art; while the investment in the local community promotes the idea that we should be giving more than taking.
The best time to visit Cambodia is generally considered to be between November to April, when it sees hot weather and clear blue skies. October can also be a brilliant month to travel, as the country is lush and fresh from the monsoon season and the Tonle Sap Lake is full to the brim, meaning floating villages look at their most ethereal.
We’re treating you to a complimentary dinner one night at Bongthom Forest Lodge. Plus, to enhance your relaxation at Knai Bang Chatt, we have included a complimentary 60-minute spa treatment of your choosing. Be sure to tell your travel consultant when you’d like to book your treatment in.
Revitalise is a culmination of 16 years’ work, research and client feedback. Our travel team take annual trips to each of our destinations, testing the experiences and inspecting the hotels (someone’s got to do it, right?). We are passionate travellers in our own lives, and we have all visited Asia with our friends, family or backpacks. Basically, we’ve done the legwork: we know travel. And that’s why these trips are nothing short of magical.
We understand that while you may be itching to travel again, committing to a trip right now feels daunting. That’s why we have introduced our COVID-19 promise. We promise that if you book a holiday with us, but for any reason cannot travel due to COVID-19, we will refund you the bulk of your money, up to the day of your departure. We hope that this will give our travellers a little peace of mind and help you enjoy the magic of travel anticipation once again.
An ETG experience cannot begin unless our travellers feel secure in every respect. Financially secure: we are fully ABTA and ATOL bonded. Fully supported: our friendly team is on hand to help 24/7 before, during and after your trip. Free from hassle: we will ensure your trip runs like clockwork. Plus, all our experiences are tried and tested by our discerning team, so you can rest assured every excursion you book with us is both worthwhile and ethically sound.
With ETG, the experience starts the moment you pick up the phone. We are committed to seamless service at every stage of your journey. Before you depart, your dedicated travel consultant will provide all the information and insider tips you need to get you prepared (and excited!). Your in-country experiences will be distinctive, tailored to you, and always reveal the fabric of the destination. And you will come home with memories to share - not just photos to show.