Cambodia by Private Train
From Phnom Penh To Kep, Sihanoukville, Battambang, Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, - 9 Nights
- Departing from:
- Phnom Penh
- Kep, Sihanoukville, Battambang, Angkor Wat, Siem Reap,
- 9 Nights
- Travel Dates:
- 06/03/24 to 15/03/24
- Offer Expires:
- Tour Operator:
- Railway Adventures
- Reference Code:
Price per person
Welcome to an extraordinary rail tour of the enchanting Kingdom of Cambodia and embark on a captivating exploration of this ancient and vibrant land aboard our private VIP train. During this adventure, we’ll explore palaces, pagodas, and significant historical sites, including the infamous Khmer Rouge Prison and Choeung Ek genocide centre. As we journey the length and breadth of the Cambodian rail network, we’ll marvel at the majestic Mekong River and the captivating Tonle Sap Lake. Discover the eye-opening city of Sihanoukville in the south, immerse yourself in the colonial charm of Battambang, along with the vibrant city of Siem Reap, home to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Angkor Wat temple complex.
Day 1 • Wednesday 6 March:
Welcome to Cambodia! Upon your arrival, you’ll be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel.
Tonight, it’s time to meet your fellow travellers over an authentic local meal at Kravanh Restaurant. Kravanh showcases the best of Cambodian culinary traditions, sourcing the finest sustainable and traditionally made ingredients from passionate small batch producers, fishermen, and growers.
Overnight: Rosewood Hotel, Phnom Penh (D)
Day 2 • Thursday 7 March:
To ease you into things, this morning is at leisure to dip your toes into the vibrant atmosphere of the city. Scott, Bernadette and our local guide will have suggestions and options for things to do if you’d like to get out and about. Phnom Penh is known for its vibrant street food scene and offers a culinary paradise for food enthusiasts, from delicious noodle soups and grilled meats to exotic fruits and sweet treats. We’ll gather together for lunch before an afternoon exploration of Phnom Penh’s cultural landmarks aboard a bicycle rickshaw, known as a cyclo. Visit the magnificent Royal Palace, a complex of buildings that serve as the royal residence of the King of Cambodia. Marvel at the classic Khmer architecture showcased in the beautiful spires and intricate designs and explore the Silver Pagoda, nestled within the Royal Palace grounds. Admire the floor adorned with over 5,300 silver tiles, and discover the pagoda’s exquisite treasures, including the revered Emerald Buddha statue. Our afternoon tour concludes at the National Museum of Cambodia, home to a remarkable collection of historical and archaeological artefacts.
This evening we’ll enjoy a delicious special dinner at the Malis Restaurant, which is owned and run by Khmer Master Chef Luu Meng.
Overnight: Rosewood Hotel, Phnom Penh (B, L, D)
Day 3 • Friday 8 March:
PHNOM PENH – SIHANOUKVILLE
After a hearty breakfast at the hotel, we give our luggage over to travel separately and take the short walk to the old French colonial train station to meet our special train, where our welcoming crew will be standing by to greet you and show you around our unique transport. Our journey south takes us through the suburbs of Phnom Penh and into surprisingly fertile countryside. About halfway along the line, as limestone hills come into view, lunch is served in our dining car, while we travel through various French-era stations that pepper the route toward the coast. There will be stops for photo opportunities along the way. Sit back and relax as the picturesque landscapes unfold outside your window as we travel toward the wild and mind boggling city of Sihanoukville.
Upon arrival, we’ll kick off with a brief tour of the city, acquainting you with both the almost dystopian cityscape and the contrastingly vibrant beach area before making the journey up to the cliff top hotel, situated in its own vast jungle parkland setting. The Independence Hotel, completed in 1964, was designed by French architects Leroy and Mondet as a conscious landmark to demonstrate the country’s optimism following independence from France. A large white edifice perched above the sea, the building was known locally as bprahm-bpel jawn, or “seven storeys”, as it was by far the tallest in the country at the time.
Tonight, unwind with a delectable dinner in the restaurant by the water at the hotel.
Overnight: The Independence Hotel, Sihanoukville (B, L, D)
Day 4 • Saturday 9 March:
SIHANOUKVILLE – KEP
After breakfast, we explore Sihanoukville a bit more, taking a look at the iconic Lion statues, the official landmark of the town, then the scenic Ochheuteal Beach, known for its tranquillity and the many, many abandoned developments, which give this place it’s slightly eerie feel. Just in case you find the boom and bust story of this once idyllic beach side community somewhat overwhelming, we’ll make sure there’s time for recovery coffee before we head to the station to board our train for the next part of our journey. This great journey through southern Cambodia is a chance to view the southern route of this railway line from a different angle and time of day. Lunch will be served as we roll along to the old French colonial beach resort of Kep. Nestled between the sea and the lush hills of Kep National Park, this hidden gem is known for its fresh seafood, salt fields, pepper plantations and limestone caves.
Upon arriving at Kep station, hop on a traditional Tuk Tuk (remorque) and delve into the area’s fascinating history. Explore the remnants of Kep’s former glory, where the ruins of elegant villas from the French colonial era tell stories of a bygone era. These weathered structures evoke a sense of mystery, offering glimpses into the town’s captivating past.
After checking into our resort hotel, there’ll be some time to relax before enjoying dinner together at the renowned Holy Crab restaurant, where you’ll indulge in freshest seafood delicacies, expertly prepared with local flavours and culinary finesse.
Overnight: Vakara Kep Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 5 • Sunday 10 March:
KEP – PHNOM PENH
After a delicious breakfast at the resort we board the train and bid farewell to Kep heading north past the mountains, across the fields and farms back toward Phnom Penh. Morning tea and lunch is served on board as you experience the joy of rolling through this interesting part of Cambodia. Our early afternoon arrival into Phnom Penh will leave plenty of time for a stroll and some shopping before and an evening at leisure – dine in at our beautiful 5-star hotel, or explore the local fare.
Overnight: Rosewood Hotel, Phnom Penh (B, L)
Day 6 • Monday 11 March:
PHNOM PENH – BATTAMBANG
Today is a fully immersive journey on our private train all the way to charming Battambang, Cambodia’s third-largest city. As we travel northwest, the railway route unveils the spectacular scenery between the Cardamom Mountains and the expansive Tonle Sap Lake. The Cardamom Mountains boast Southeast Asia’s largest remaining rainforest, housing endangered wildlife and home to about 25,000 people, many of whom are ethnic minorities. The Tonle Sap Lake is a haven of freshwater biodiversity, and it’s one of the most productive inland fisheries in the world. There’ll be morning and afternoon tea and lunch on the train, as well as plenty of stops along the way to explore some of the local life.
Upon arrival in Battambang around 6pm, we’ll say a fond farewell to this train and its friendly crew. Nestled along a picturesque river, Battambang exudes old-world charm with its plentiful old French era architecture and ancient pagodas. Conclude the day with a delightful dinner at a local restaurant, savouring the flavours of Cambodian cuisine.
Overnight: Classy Hotel, Battambang (B, L, D)
Day 7 • Tuesday 12 March:
BATTAMBANG – SIEM REAP
This morning we embark on a journey of discovery as we delve into the lesser-known treasures of Battambang. Even though it is the third-largest city in the country, it remains untouched by mass tourism, thereby offering a unique experience for anyone who visits. Marvel at the city’s architectural gems, including the splendid Sala Khaet, a former Governor’s Residence that exudes colonial charm and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the local market, where the sights, sounds, and aromas create an incredible sensory experience. For those seeking an extra dose of adventure, there may be the opportunity to board the Bamboo Train and glide through the enchanting landscapes of rice fields, venturing north of the city on this unique mode of transportation.
After lunch, we’ll take a scenic coach journey to Siem Reap, the gateway to the mythical realm of Angkor Wat and our home until the tour ends. As the day transitions into evening, you’ll have the special opportunity to visit Angkor Wat to bear witness to one of the most magical events – the mystical sunset over the ancient temple complex, where the golden hues cast an ethereal glow.
Dinner tonight is at the hotel.
Overnight: Tree Line Urban Resort, Siem Reap (B, L, D)
Day 8 • Wednesday 13 March:
ANGKOR WAT, SIEM REAP
Prepare to be transported to the mystical realm of Angkor, a realm of ancient wonders and timeless beauty. Many say they are changed forever after spending time in this UNESCO World Heritage destination. Your journey begins by venturing into the heart of Angkor Thom, the legendary “Great City.” Encounter the mesmerising stone faces of Avalokiteshvara, gazing down from towering heights, as if whispering secrets of the past. Explore the enigmatic Bayon temple, where colossal stone faces adorned with enigmatic smiles stand as guardians of an ancient civilisation. Then, traverse the magnificent Terrace of Elephants and the enigmatic Terrace of the Leper King, each bearing their own tales.
Continue your exploration with a visit to Ta Prohm, the temple embraced by the jungle, where you’ll see up close the intricate dance between nature and ancient architecture as colossal roots intertwine with weathered stones, creating a hauntingly beautiful tableau. Then, it’s back to explore the architectural splendour of Angkor Wat, the celestial city crafted by King Suryavarman II. Delight in the exquisite carvings, mystical symbolism, and the ethereal ambiance of this revered Hindu-Buddhist sanctuary.
Tonight, we support our friends at the unique culinary experience, the Haven Training Restaurant who will lovingly cook and serve an authentic family-style Khmer feast. The Haven is a training restaurant, a social enterprise operating specifically to empower vulnerable young adults from shelters and poor rural areas, with valuable skills and work opportunities. Many of its graduates are now employed at some of Cambodia’s most exclusive hotels and restaurants, another example of how people can flourish when given the chance.
Overnight: Tree Line Urban Resort, Siem Reap (B, L)
Day 9 • Thursday 14 March:
oday we offer a number of options, the first of which is a local village tour.
Embark on a unique journey through the vibrant daily life of rural Cambodia, immersing yourself in the authentic experiences of the villages surrounding the majestic Bakong temple. Hop aboard a traditional Tuk-Tuk and set off along the red dirt roads, veering away from the beaten path to explore the lesser-known corners of this captivating region. On your return, you’ll check out the lively scene at a local fish market, where the daily fish trade unfolds before your eyes, revealing the pulsating heart of the community. Engage with the friendly vendors, discover local delicacies, and get a glimpse into the lives of the villagers. Continue your cultural immersion with a visit to a pagoda for a traditional Monk Blessing ceremony, where you’ll be an onlooker to the sacred rituals performed by the monks, before receiving their blessings for cleansing and good fortune. Next, we head to the awe-inspiring Bakong temple, a testament to the architectural brilliance of the Angkorian era, an imposing structure with intricate stone carvings surrounded by lush vegetation and a picturesque moat. All with a guide of course!
Another option is to venture onto the water on the Great Tonle Sap Lake if water levels allow.
OPTIONAL: THE GREAT TONLE SAP LAKE.
The final option is to have a free day to do your own thing. Of course our resourceful team will be on hand to facilitate anything you are interested in exploring.
We’ll all then gather in the evening to celebrate the last night of the tour together at a popular local restaurant close to our hotel to farewell Cambodia and regale each other with stories and reflections of our wonderful Railway Adventure through this fascinating country.
Overnight: Tree Line Urban Resort, Siem Reap (B, D)
OPTIONAL: THE GREAT TONLE SAP LAKE.
The great Tonle Sap Lake is renowned as the world’s most abundant freshwater fishing ground. This national treasure offers an ever-changing landscape that captivates the senses.
Venture beyond the touristed village of Chong Kneas to discover the authentic stilted communities of Kampong Khleang or Kampong Phluk (availability based on water levels). Witness the resilience of the locals as they adapt to the lake’s massive seasonal variations by constructing their homes on floating bamboo rafts or towering 30-foot stilts.
Pause at the stilted houses to gain insight into the daily life of a subsistence fishing family, absorbing their unique way of existence. Continue your journey by boat along the tranquil margins of the lake, immersing yourself in the serene beauty and vibrant ecosystem that thrives within these waters.
**AVAILABILITY SUBJECT TO THE WATER LEVEL OF THE LAKE.
Day 10 • Friday 15 March:
SIEM REAP – DEPARTURES
Transfers to the airport will be provided after breakfast for your flights home or onward for other journeys, including those travelling direct to Ho Chi Minh City to join the Vietnam Railway Adventure by private train, which starts this evening.
- 9 nights’ accommodation in centrally located 4- and 5-star hotels
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure
- All listed excursions and entrance fees
- Breakfast daily, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
- Comprehensive sightseeing with expert local guides
- Luxury chartered coach, with luggage transport
- Welcome and farewell dinners with drinks included
- All other personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, laundry services, and camera fees, where applicable
- Excursions listed as extra in the brochure
- International flights
- Meals and services not mentioned in the itinerary