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Experience the Highlights of Thailand and Cambodia. Starting in the riverside capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, long considered the most beautiful French built city of the Orient, explore the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, the haunting Tuol Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Travel to Siem Reap and the fabled city of Angkor, eighth wonder of the world and spectacular ancient capital of the powerful Khmer Dynasty. Discover temples such as Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, Beng Melea and the breathtaking Angkor Wat.
In the bustling capital of Thailand, Bangkok, explore the Grand Palace and the Chao Phraya River and its canals. At Kanchanaburi, appreciate the hardships experienced by Allied prisoners of war at Hell Fire Pass and the Bridge over the River Kwai. Journey to Chiang Mai, the jewel of the north, where temples, night markets, elephants and bamboo rafts await. Venture further north to Chiang Rai to see the Golden Triangle, the famed border area of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (Burma), renowned for centuries as the centre of the opium trade.
Our Highlight itineraries cover the key attractions at a relatively quick pace. Enjoy them as they are or extend them to create your perfect holiday. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.
You will meet your guide on arrival, transfer and check-in to your hotel. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Phnom Penh, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the day.
The riverside capital of Phnom Penh, once known as “The Pearl of Asia” and long considered the most beautiful French-built city of the Orient, is a charming and captivating city. The old French ochre-coloured colonial buildings are now being filled with trendy cafes, boutiques and art galleries and many traditional ornate temples still remain. The bustling squares and frangipani-lined boulevards create an atmosphere that is unlike any other city in South East Asia. Rich in history, Phnom Penh has a number of cultural and historical sites including the National Museum, Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, and offers an insight into its darker past with the haunting Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Museum.
Phnom Penh has many great restaurants and bars including the rooftop bar of the iconic Correspondent’s Club, an ideal spot to sit and watch the sun descending over the Tonle and Mekong rivers. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.
Itinerary Option: If you’re arriving to Phnom Penh in the morning, discuss additional day 1 activities with our staff.
Set out with your guide to visit the National Museum, designed in traditional Khmer style by a French archaeologist and painter in 1917. The museum houses Khmer art and sculptures from different periods of Cambodian history. Next visit the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, built in 1866 by the French for King Norodom, two of the most striking buildings in the capital and amongst the finest examples of Khmer architecture. The Royal Palace stands on the site of the former citadel dating back to 1813 and is home to the current King Sihamoni. The Silver Pagoda owes its name to its floor made up of 5,329 solid silver tiles. The building houses many gold and jewelled Buddha statues including the 17th century Baccarat crystal Emerald Buddha. Other important buildings found within the compound include Wat Preah Keo Morokat where Royal ceremonies are performed, and the King Ang Doung Stupa - the burial site of former King Norodom. The palace has been inhabited by kings at all times with the exception of the period when the radical Khmer Rouge party took control in 1975.
Learn about the turbulent years of the Khmer Rouge on your visit to the infamous Tuol Sleng Museum. Tuol Sleng, a high school prior to 1975, became an interrogation prison known as S-21 during the Khmer Rouge era and today it is a genocide museum. It tells the sad story of the thousands of innocent Cambodian people who were tortured on its grounds. Walk the narrow corridors and former classrooms as you read the stories of the victims and witness the torture devices on display. Photographs were taken of each prisoner passing through the prison and hundreds of the black and white photos are now on display in the museum. Although a haunting experience, the museum is a sobering reminder of the Khmer Rouge’s brutality and a testament to their crimes.
Return to your hotel or to one of the riverside cafes or bars to watch the sunset over the Tonle and Mekong rivers.
Situated 17 kilometres (11 miles) from Phnom Penh town, Cheung Ek was made famous by the movie “The Killing Fields”. The seemingly peaceful stretch of green fields of Cheung Ek does not allude to the horrors that took place here. A large memorial commemorates the 17,000 men, women and children, who died here under the reign of Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot. The skulls and bones inside the memorial stupa and the mass graves that dot the area are a reminder of the terrible suffering that occurred here. This journey into Cambodia’s past will provide you with a background to the cruelty of the Khmer Rouge regime. Besides the tragic past, it will also give you an appreciation of the struggle that Cambodian people have faced and their tremendous courage to move on and rebuild their nation.
Enjoy free time to explore Phnom Penh for the remainder of the day.
In the morning fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and meet your guide on arrival. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Siem Reap and answer any questions you have.
Siem Reap, situated in the north west of the country, is an
enchanting town with Chinese-style shop houses, French colonial architecture and tree lined boulevards. It is the gateway to the World Heritage ancient temple ruins of Angkor, eighth wonder of the world and spectacular ancient capital of the powerful Khmer Dynasty. As well as the myriad of awe-inspiring temples and Khmer relics to explore, Siem Reap and its rural outskirts offers craft villages, silk farms, Khmer cuisine cooking classes, traditional Cambodian “apsara” dance performances and the floating villages on the tranquil waters of Tonle Sap Lake.
Accompanied by your guide start exploring the stunning temples this afternoon by tuk-tuk. Visit Angkor Thom, the ancient fortified royal city and former capital of the Khmer Empire. The city has five monumental gates and consists of several temples including the Bayon, Baphuon, Terrace of the Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King. Enter Angkor Thom through the impressive South Gate and drive towards the centre piece, the Bayon Temple. At first glance the temple may seem like a shapeless mass of stone, but further scrutiny reveals the enigmatic faces of former King Jayavarman VII looking in every direction. There are over 200 huge carved faces that stare down from fifty four gothic towers. Continue your exploration with a visit to the 350 metre (1155 feet) long Terrace of the Elephants, which served as a platform from where the King viewed the victorious return of his army. Then visit the Terrace of the Leper King with detailed carvings winding along a narrow passage that leads to the Baphuon, a pyramidal representation of mythical Mt Meru.
After your afternoon tour you will be driven to your hotel and your guide will assist you with checking in. Before leaving you at your hotel, your guide will make arrangements for the following day and can also provide restaurant recommendations for tonight’s dinner.
Explore temples of the World Heritage Angkor complex with your guide. Start with a visit to the picturesque and atmospheric Ta Prohm, built in 1186. This fascinating jungle-clad temple is one of Angkor’s most impressive and most beautiful structures. Over centuries the fig tree roots have engulfed the temple’s huge stone blocks, crumbling towers and walls. The living jungle is reclaiming this Buddhist temple, shrouding the courtyards and corridors in dappled sunlight, and creating a haunting and exotic atmosphere.
In the afternoon, visit one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites, the iconic temple of Angkor Wat. The largest and most breathtaking of Angkor’s monuments, this vast temple was constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries and is the largest Hindu structure in the world. Angkor Wat is orientated towards the west, symbolically the direction of death. It is home to hundreds of beautiful carvings of Apsara and Hindu mythology and boasts some of the most well preserved carvings in the region. As you stroll the massive hallways you discover small shrines still in use today by the local people. Return to one of the grass terraces in front of the five massive towers of Angkor Wat to watch the sun setting over the temple complex. Afterwards, return to your hotel in Siem Reap.
Depart with your guide and drive through the Cambodian countryside to Beng Mealea, located in the beautiful rural hinterlands of Siem Reap. Beng Mealea is a sprawling jungle temple built by King Suyavarman II in the early 12th century and thought to have served as a prototype for Angkor Wat. The temple is enclosed by a huge moat and largely reclaimed by jungle with its stone walls crumbling, adding to the atmosphere and charm of the site.
Enjoy a simple lunch in a traditional Cambodian wooden house before heading to Banteay Srei temple, the jewel of Khmer art, built in the 10th century and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. This red sandstone temple is one of Angkor’s most significant structures. The temple walls are covered in elaborate and well preserved carvings that provide an insight into the Angkor people and their beliefs. In the late afternoon, return to your hotel in Siem Reap.
This morning fly from Siem Reap to Bangkok. Meet your guide on arrival, transfer and check-in to your hotel. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Bangkok, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the day.
Situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok, also known as the City of Angels, is a vibrant city with many and varied charms. From grand historic buildings to peaceful temples, from exciting markets to ritzy shopping malls and from towering skyscrapers to Chinese shop-houses, Bangkok is cosmopolitan and full of sharp contrasts.
Explore the streets by tuk-tuk, view the city by Skytrain or take to the water and cruise the river and its canals to experience traditional riverside life. Bangkok is never dull. Orange robed monks mingle with shoppers and businessmen, tuk-tuks weave in amongst limousines and fish is unloaded from wooden boats as the river flows through the centre of the city. In the evenings the streets are transformed into bustling markets and outdoor restaurants. The food choices are endless and range from fine dining in stylish contemporary restaurants to snacking with the locals at street hawker stalls.
Bangkok has many great restaurants, night markets and bars. Ask your guide for personal recommendations. It is also possible to unwind from your flight with a traditional Thai massage. Again your guide can advise you of options.
Accompanied by your guide, enjoy a half day tour visiting two of Bangkok’s most notable landmarks, the Grand Palace and Wat Arun. Wander the peaceful grounds of Wat Arun, a Buddhist temple constructed between 1809 and 1851. Once the grand royal temple to King Rama II, Wat Arun, also referred to as the Temple of Dawn, is one of the most striking riverside landmarks of Thailand. The temple is decorated with pieces of porcelain previously used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China.
Continue by boat over the river until you reach Ta Chang Pier and from there stroll to the Grand Palace or Wat Phra Kaeo. One of the most spectacular palaces in Asia, construction was begun in 1782 by King Rama I, after he moved the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok. The palace was the official residence of the Kings of Siam for 150 years and also housed the Royal Court and the administrative seat of government. Within the Grand Palace complex, Wat Phra Kaeo Royal Chapel houses the famous jade Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddha image in Thailand, dating back to the 14th century. Thai people believe that as long as they remain keepers of the Emerald Buddha, their country will be safe.
After the city tour the remainder of the day is free to further explore Bangkok on your own or perhaps relax with a traditional Thai massage.
After breakfast, leave Bangkok and head to Kanchanaburi province. The provincial capital of Kanchanaburi is set in a lush landscape on the banks of the river and framed by limestone hills.
On arrival, visit the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai and the Death Railway, built by Allied Prisoners Of War (POWs) under brutal Japanese occupation. Continue to the Second World War Cemetery, the final resting place of nearly 7,000 Australian, British and Dutch POWs who lost their lives during their incarceration and forced labour. Afterwards visit the Thai-Burma Railway Museum to gain an insight into their daily hardship experienced by the POWs.
After lunch take a historic one hour train ride through the thick jungle on the infamous Death Railway where you will be driven to your riverside hotel with a twist. If there is any sunlight left in your day, consider swimming or depending which hotel you select, hiring a canoe.
Itinerary Option: Your itinerary can be altered to include the Buddhist Monk Tiger Temple and/or the Floating Markets. Discuss options with our staff.
This morning sees us visiting Hellfire Pass, also known as Konyu Cutting, a railway cutting on the former “Death Railway” built by Allied Prisoners of War (POWs) during the Second World War. The Australian built complex consists of a memorial site located within Hellfire Pass, a Memorial Walking Trail and a museum. The museum exhibits artefacts and relates the story of the Thai-Burma Railway and the hardships and suffering endured by those men who were forced to work in such extremely harsh conditions.
Later we head to the airport north of Bangkok for your flight to Chiang Mai where you meet your guide on arrival. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Chiang Mai, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the first day.
Located in the north of the country, Chiang Mai is the ancient walled provincial capital. It has been an important Buddhist centre since the 14th century and is home to over 300 temples. Surrounded by mountains it offers spectacular scenery for trekking on foot and by elephant, with opportunities to raft on jungle rivers and meet the colourful hill tribe minorities that inhabit the area. Many visitors come to Chiang Mai to attend meditation retreats, massage classes or yoga lessons. For those interested in handicrafts there are centres which specialise in silverwork, wood carving, pottery making and weaving. The renowned Night Bazaar comes alive in the evenings, a great place to sample the distinctive northern Thai cuisine.
With an abundance of restaurants and bars as well as the Night Bazaar, Chiang Mai has plenty to see and do. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.
Start today’s trip with a transfer to Wat Suan Dok, just outside the ancient city walls of Chiang Mai. The temple was built in the 14th century by King Keu Na of Lanna to accommodate important priests visiting from Sukhothai, as well as a place for local monks to shelter from the rain. There is a 48 metre (157 feet) high Sri Lankan style bell shaped chedi or pagoda and an open sided prayer hall. Continue to Wat Chedi Luang where the Emerald Buddha was once enshrined. This impressive temple was built between the 14th and 15th centuries and nowadays houses a replica of Thailand’s most important Buddha relic.
Wat Phra Singh, with its impressive prayer hall, is the next stop, perhaps the largest and most interesting of the temples in Chiang Mai. Built over 600 years ago, it was carefully restored in 2006 and now houses a very sacred 1,500 year old Buddha image. The prayer hall has an intricately carved front and there is a small library built on a high stone base with beautiful carvings. End the trip with a visit to Wat Phrathat on Doi Suthep Mountain, which was founded in 1383 AD, and which is probably Chiang Mai’s most well known temple. Built as a Buddhist monastery in 1383, it is still a working monastery today. Funds raised by donations support the monks and the maintenance of the temple buildings. The temple is crowned by an elaborate golden chedi and is reached by climbing the 309 steps of the Naga Serpent Staircase or by taking a cable car for a small surcharge. The climb to the top is rewarded with a superb panoramic view over the city. Return to the car park for the transfer back to Chiang Mai.
The remainder of the day is free to further explore Chiang Mai on your own.
Today the focus is on elephants, Thailand’s most loved animal. Travel north of Chiang Mai to the Chiang Dao Elephant Training Camp, passing through the spectacular mountainous scenery that surrounds Chiang Mai. Arrive at the camp and watch the elephants taking their morning bath in a mountain stream, before seeing a demonstration which shows how elephants work in the jungle nearby and the kinds of tasks they undertake. Next it is time to enjoy a one hour elephant ride through the jungle that surrounds the camp, followed by lunch.
In the afternoon climb aboard the bamboo raft trip and float down the river taking in the tranquillity and beauty of the area. Set foot again on the mainland and transfer back to Chiang Mai.
Itinerary Option: Optionally upgrade to a visit to the Elephant Conservation project for the day where you spend time learning about the elephants, including bathing and feeding them.
Today you travel from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and visit the famous Golden Triangle where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos meet.
Setting off early with your guide, you drive through beautiful scenery stopping at the Hot Springs of Mekajan where you can relax in the healing waters. Later you arrive at the top of a hill with magnificent views across the Golden Triangle, once the heart of the opium trade. At this point, the mighty Mekong River joins with the Ruak River and forms the "triangle" with Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (Burma).
After lunch at a local restaurant continue to Chiang Rai, paying a visit to the border town of Mae Sai and visiting Akha and Yao hill tribe villages along the way. Witness the lifestyles of these ethnic groups that make a living from the land in the same manner they've done for millennia. Mae Sai is the northernmost point of Thailand and the perfect spot to observe the trade between the tribes people and others that occurs on the border. Mae Sai is one of few official land crossings between Thailand and Burma and is therefore an important trade hub. Many Burmese come over daily from Thakhilek to work or do business before returning to Burma at dusk. Burmese lacquer ware, gems, jade and other goods from Laos and Burma are sold in shops along the main street. Arrive in Chiang Rai in the late afternoon and check into your hotel and enjoy some free time.
On your last day enjoy free time until your departure transfer.
Phone now to discuss options to personalise your itinerary.
Ideas to upgrade or extend your itinerary:
All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.
|Standard:||from AU $4,318|
|Superior:||from AU $4,988|
|Deluxe:||from AU $6,990|
All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!
Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.
This trip package includes 2 internal flights (Phnom Penh - Siem Reap, Siem Reap - Bangkok and Bangkok - Chiang Mai) which retail at about 200AUD per flight.
Visas for Cambodia
It is possible to obtain your Cambodian visa on arrival at the Phnom Penh or Siam Reap international airports or any border crossing for approx. US$30 (cost subject to change) - you will need 2 passport photos.
Visas for Thailand
Availability of accommodation and season.