This evening we check-in for our overnight flight to Siem Reap.
Meals: on aircraft.
Thai Airways TG462 01 December Melbourne to Bangkok. Departs 00:30, arrives 05:40 Connect with Bangkok Airways PG 903 01 December Bangkok to Siem Reap. Departs 08:00, arrives 09:00
On arrival at Siem Reap we will be met and transferred to our hotel, and after checking-in, we will have a trip briefing with our Cambodian local leader.
After lunch at we travel by ‘remork’ (similar to the Thai tuk tuk) on an orientation tour of the town. We will explore Siem Reap’s colourful markets and visit Artisans d’Angkor, established to help young people find work in their local villages through traditional arts and crafts, and where we will learn about the skills and significance of wood and stone carvings, lacquering, gilding, and silk paintings. We continue to the edge of town to Siem Reap’s famous “60 Road”. Many Cambodian’s come here for dinner, Cambodian style. It is a long road lined with street food sellers and a small fun fair, locals spend the evening here, enjoying the vast range of Khmer food on offer. They bring rugs or hire picnic mats and sit in groups, enjoying the occasion. We enjoy the atmosphere, and depart for Marum Restaurant, a delightful wooden house with a spacious garden, and featuring a winning mix of creative local cuisine. Your visit is not only a great dining experience, but it also helps to build a new life for the students in training here. Part of the Tree Alliance group of training restaurants, they provide opportunities in the hospitality industry for local street kids and disadvantaged youths.
Overnight at the hotel. Angkor Paradise Hotel
We enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Ankor Wat, and have breakfast before we cycle through the jungles of Angkor Wat, seeing the race route while enjoying the sights. We will have a back-up bus for those who require it, and we will be mindful of tomorrow’s half-marathon.
We begin with a visit to Ta Prohm Temple (a setting in one of the Tomb Raider films). Built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries, Ta Prohm Temple has largely been left as it was found, overgrown by jungle, trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes Ta Prohm, one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples.
From Ta Prohm we cycle through hidden passages to the ruins Angkor Thom. This was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. We enter via the ancient East Gate through an eight metre high wall that forms a perfect square around the ancient city ruins. On each side of the entrance path is a row of fifty-four stone carved gods and demons.
We also visit Bayon Temple with its fifty-four towers representing the fifty-four provinces of the Great Khmer Empire, as well as the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King, both known for their intricate bas-reliefs.
We finish with the famous Angkor Wat, the most significant of all the sites and displayed on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.
Overnight in Siem Reap. Angkor Paradise Hotel.
** Cycling distance is up to 40km, but the back-up bus enables us to vary the riding distance.
After an early breakfast we will drive to the 21Km Marathon Race, arriving about 5:45. The start and finish lines are in the temple complex, in front of the Angkor Wat Temple. Your route will link the sites of Angkor Wat, Sras Srang, Ta Prohm, Takeo, Bayon & Bakheng Hill. After the conclusion of the race, and after the presentations we will have a sports massage to help recovery, and return to our hotel to relax and celebrate. You are free to choose your own restaurant tonight, and enjoy your favourite foods.
Overnight at the hotel. Angkor Paradise Hotel.
We enjoy a recovery day today, with no activities planned until dinner this evening. You can sleep in, swim or relax at the hotel.
After dinner we enjoy an incredible performance of ‘Phare, the Cambodian Circus’ performed by artists of Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS). Established in 1994 by young returnee Cambodians from the refugee camps, PPS has played an influential role in promoting and developing Khmer culture over the years after the Khmer Rouge genocide. The hour long show combines music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion to tell a story about Cambodian lives and society.
Overnight at the hotel in Siem Reap. Angkor Paradise Hotel.
We cycle through the countryside to the traditional village of Wat Tabeng. Set in never-ending rice fields the village is among the most scenic in Cambodia.
Your guide will take you to the local pagoda, and to explore the village and surrounding farms. The activities of the village will be explained by the guide, who will translate your questions and answers with the locals. We continue cycling to the beautifully detailed temple of Banteay Srei and, as earlier, along the way there are opportunities to stop and see how the locals live. We can stop to take photos and to say “hello’, and learn about their daily lives. Rice paper is produced in this region, and we will get the chance to taste palm sugar, a popular local seasonal product. We have lunch at a local restaurant before exploring the temple. Banteay Srei, the “Citadel of the Women” is the best preserved temple in Cambodia, and displays the finest examples of classical Khmer art. It’s pink sandstone construction is unique in Angkor. We will be reminded of Cambodia’s modern history during our visit to the Landmine Museum. Mr. Aki Ra, the museum’s founder, was trained as a child soldier during the Khmer Rouge regime and is now working to decommission land mines. The museum also serves as a home for landmine amputee children from the streets of Phnom Penh who Aki Ra has assisted. We contine cycling to reach our overnight village accommodation at the Bong Thom Homestay, multishare style accommodation in the Cambodian countryside. Tonight we will experience rural hospitality with an excellent meal and the chance to join in traditional dances.
Overnight at Bong Thom Homestay. Multi share room with mattress and mosquito net.
**Cycling distance is potentially up to 55 kms, but activities will slow us down and actual distance ridden will vary according to opportunities along the way. A back-up bus is available for those who want to use it.
We will have an early breakfast this morning before we transfer to the airport for our 50 minute flight to Phnom Penh, departing at 10:15. On arrival we transfer to the Ligar Learning Centre, a school for Cambodian children that works on real world problems in the region with local govt etc and MGGS is forming a partnership with this school. Meet students and tour the facility which is a 21st century school with Liger Learning Center provides high-potential, economically disadvantaged students with a world-class learning experience – empowering them to become leaders of tomorrow. Currently, there is one Liger Learning Center, operated by The Liger Charitable Foundation, a US registered non-profit. Through project-based learning and a focus on entrepreneurship and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) the Liger Learning Center in Phnom Penh prepares students to drive Cambodia’s future social and economic development. The Liger Charitable Foundation is creating a model, informed by global awareness and rooted in local culture, to ensure that promising, economically disadvantaged students have the capacity, drive, and network to lead their country’s future. Tonight we will stay with our hosts at Liger Learning Centre.
Overnight at the Liger Learning Centre
This morning we will be picked up at the Liger Learning Centre by our private vehicle as we start to explore Cambodia's more recent history. This morning is a very sobering one as we visit Cambodia's bloody past. Whilst this is a very confronting visit, it is important if we are to understand the countries recent history and how the people are looking positively towards the future. We visit the Tuol Sleng Museum, or the Museum of Genocide. Originally this building was a high school, until it became the Khmer Rouge’s main torture and interrogation centre. During this period it was known as ‘S-21’. We then stop for de-briefing and lunch at a local restaurant before we proceed to the Killing Fields, a stretch of countryside where over 10,000 people were executed. The remains of some of the people are stored in a memorial to remind people of the atrocities the Khmer Rouge inflicted on other Khmers. Here we will take a tour for students to familiarize themselves with the events that took place here. In the evening we have time to reflect on the day and debrief. These sites are moving and important, but how Cambodia has put this behind them and worked together for the future is the big story. Tonight we will embark on a cruise along the Mekong River on our private boat and visit the night markets.
Overnight at the hotel. Ohana Hotel. Deluxe Room.
This morning we continue our exploration of Phnom Penh. The city is going through a period of rapid development at the moment and we look at the impact this is having on a social and conservation level. We will take a 2 hour Cyclo tour to key cultural and historic landmarks, to explore the rich past of ornate Khmer-style temples and the grand colonial buildings. We visit the National Museum and Royal Palace. (visitors clothing must reach the knees and tops must have sleeves) We have lunch in Phnom Penh at Le Lotus Blanc, a training restaurant for the humanitarian organization Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (for the smile of a child) which provides education and vocational training to former street children. We visit Wat Phnom, a small hill where we get a wonderful view over the city before continuing to the colourful markets of Phnom Penh, and visit the Russian Market, considered the best market for jewellery, clothes and Cambodian silk souvenirs. Late afternoon we will transfer to airport.
Thai Airways TG585 08 December Phnom Penh to Bangkok. Departs 20:55, arrives 22:00
Thai Airways TG465 09 December Bangkok to Melbourne. Departs 00:05, arrives 13:05
Per Person, Twin Share