Explore the insider essentials of a region blessed with spectacular temples. Discover the ’lost city’ of Mahendraparvata, Angkor Wat and more, led by an expert local guide.


5 Days, 4 Nights     FROM US$ 689 PER PERSON

This insightful five-day, four-night tour bases you in Siem Reap, from where you will discover some of the ancient relics that comprise Angkor and experience places that few have seen before.

During a voyage of discovery, you’ll also investigate the region of Phnom Kulen, said to be the location of the ’lost city’ of Mahendraparvata and Beng Mealea which remained undiscovered for centuries to play at being Indiana Jones on your own exciting archaeological expedition.

You’ll gain a unique understanding of Angkor Wat from 120-meters high in a tethered helium balloon – the perfect way to comprehend the temple’s complex layout.

On a journey of cultural discovery, you’ll experience insider moments as you learn about the history of Khmer people through a cooking class with a local celebrity chef, relish a private tour of the Golden Silk Pheach Farm, and enjoy a private audience with the Phare Cambodian Circus Show.

Take your time to explore the region by private guided motorbike tour and investigate some of the famous and well-known temples such as Ta Phrom and Angkor Thom temple from unique perspectives. Led by local Backyard Travel guides, you will leave feeling no stone is left uncovered.


Each of our itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and our destination based teams will start planning a unique and personalized trip.

The Backyard Travel Team,


Enjoy a private audience with the Phare Circus troupe as well as a sneak peak as you watch them rehearse
See the newly confirmed location of Phnom Kulen and the so-called ’lost city’ of Mahendraparvata
Discover the secrets of Cambodian cuisine with a cooking class hosted by a famous chef
Explore Ta Phrom Temple and Angkor Thom on a bicycle tour led by an expert local Backyard Travel guide

Daily Itinerary

Daily Itinerary

  • Start
  • Day 1: Siem Reap

    Welcome to Siem Reap! This charming Cambodian city is the perfect gateway to discovering the ancient temples of Angkor, the countries spiritual home and the most significant site of Khmer architecture in the world

    Upon arrival at Siem Reap International Airport this morning you will be met and welcomed by your local guide who will lead you to your hotel for check-in.Your expert Backyard Travel guide will escort you by bicycle to see some of the city’s main highlights. Your first day of guided exploration will start at the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer Empire where you’ll learn the history of the ancient temples.

    The city was established in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. Built in the Bayon style, the city is surrounded by an 8-meter-high wall, which creates a perfectly square barrier around the 9-kilometer-square city.

    You’ll enter the city through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone archway with carvings of elephants and four giant faces sculpted into the surface. After passing through the gate you’ll continue to Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city.

    This 12th century masterpiece is majestic to see up close, and is famous for its 54 towers with enigmatic faces representing the 54 provinces of the Khmer Empire. The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-see structures and are both known for their intricate stone sculptures.

    After exploring the ancient city by foot, you’ll take a guided tour of the former Royal Palace, discovering smaller, hidden temples that are rarely visited, before taking to the saddle once more to visit Ta Phrom which you may recognize from the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was filmed.

    Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was discovered: overgrown and engulfed by trees and vines, with many parts of the temple in a state of disrepair. This character makes the temple one of the most memorable and unique of the Angkor temples.

    In the late afternoon you’ll ride your bicycles (led by your local Backyard Travel guide) to see the majestic and legendary Angkor Wat from a bird’s eye view perspective a 120-meter-high tethered helium balloon.

    This unique way to view the stupendous structure will give you a great understanding of the layout of the magnificent complex.

    In the evening you will visit a local street market where you’ll find a selection of regional delicacies for sale - deep-fried insects! Your Backyard Travel guide will explain the techniques the locals use to catch the deep-fried bees, crickets and water beetles. Adventurous gastronomes are welcome to try anything on offer! If you do partake of any of the insect delicacies, be sure not to over-indulge and spoil your appetite as you’ll have the chance to enjoy a delightful dinner at the family-run Touich Restaurant this evening.

    Open only for dinner, this welcoming venue is run by Sobey and his wife Touich (hence the name!) who prepares BBQ meals and family Khmer recipes passed down through the generations. After dinner your local Backyard Travel guide will escort you back to your hotel.

    Overnight in Siem Reap

    Meals included on thisday: Dinner

    Angkor Thom, Cambodia – A traveler goes by a tuk-tuk, visiting the ancient city of Angkor ThomA Cambodian monk is dwarfed by giant roots from a ficus tree at Ta Phrom Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodiaphanom-penh-royal-palace roof-sunset-cambodia
  • Day 2: Siem Reap

    This morning you’ll have the opportunity to discover the secrets of authentic Khmer cuisine during a half-day cooking class with renowned chef Kathana Dunnet at her beautiful home in a small village 35km from Siem Reap.

    Owner and founder of the Sugar Palm restaurant chain found in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Chef Kathana was born and raised in Cambodia before moving to New Zealand to study where she met her husband Bruce.

    Her time in New Zealand allowed her insight into world cuisine and lessons of how to apply Western production techniques to Cambodian cookery, especially how to replace essential ingredients of Khmer cuisine with easily available alternatives outside Southeast Asia.

    You’ll spend the morning discovering the techniques and recipes to produce a variety of Khmer dishes that will impress your friends and family back home and give you the opportunity to recreate moments of your trip whenever you miss Cambodia.

    After lunch, your expert Backyard Travel guide will escort you to Golden Silk Pheach Farm, a private silk manufacturer run by Oum Sophea Pheach. An NGO, the farm (which allows tours by appointment with select groups only) employs more than 100 local staff and produce high quality products made from the indigenous yellow silkworm.

    From the Golden Silk Pheach Farm you’ll move to discover the delicate and unique red sandstone temple of Banteay Srei, a 10th century structure dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. The temple is one of the best preserved temples in Cambodia and is renowned for its elaborate and decorative wall carvings and is a fine example of classical Khmer art.

    You’ll then return to Kethana’s house to round off your day with a glass of champagne as the sun dips down over the horizon, to toast a day of learning and experience before heading back to your hotel.

    Overnight in Siem Reap

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and Lunch

    Kethana Cooking Class2, Cambodia1000x600Banteay Srei, Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Day 3: Siem Reap

    An early start this morning at 7am to depart your hotel in Siem Reap for the drive to Phnom Kulen, an impressive sandstone plateau in an otherwise flat area which plays host to the hidden temples of Angkor.

    You’ll arrive at the Kulen Mountain near the Preah Ang Thom pagoda where you’ll meet your motorbike driver who will take you around the mountain. You’ll ride as a passenger on the back of his cross-country bike along bumpy tracks, over volcanic rocks and occasionally through shallow streams.

    Your first stop is at Poeng Tbal where a riverbed reveals a well preserved stone with details of Shiva and Vishnu and the rocks carvings feature the image of Ganesh and other wise men and deities.

    A short ride further and you’ll discover one of the most significant sites in all of Cambodia: a small pedestal set on top of a three-tiered pyramid called Prasat Rong Chen.

    Whilst there is little to see here today - the linga was been stolen from the pedestal long ago - the significance of the site is immeasurable in known Cambodian history.

    It is here that Jayavarman II declared independence from Java and claimed himself the absolute monarch of the Cambodian Kingdom. Simply put, the Khmer Empire began at this very spot.

    Whilst the mountain’s terrain has never been a mystery to the Khmer people and those who inhabit the local area, it was only recently confirmed beyond doubt that Phnom Kulen was the location of Mahendraparvata. In 2013, the precise destination was revealed by a team of archaeologists using laser mapping equipment.

    It is believed that Mahendraparvata was established as a huge service city for Angkor, a completely unrivalled urban landscape in the pre-industrial world.

    Once you’ve soaked up the atmosphere at Mahendraparvata you’ll next move to a more modern temple which features colorful statues and a scenic view of the surrounding area.

    You’ll then have time to enjoy a simple packed lunch at the temple’s dining room before continuing on to a nearby bat cave. Armed with torches, you’ll venture into the cave for several hundred meters where you’ll find a modern shrine.

    Next you’ll make a stop at Srah Damrei (otherwise known as Elephant Pond). The enormous stone elephant once served as a guardian for the mountain, its age reflected by centuries of natural wear and sprigs of green plant life that now cover it.

    Your motorbike driver will then return you to the point your ride began where you’ll discover more stone carvings at Damrei Khrap (Kneeling Elephant) before finishing the excursion at Preah Ang Thom.

    To round off your day of exploration, you’ll make two more stops. Firstly you’ll make a short visit to see the ‘River of a Thousand Lingas’ where hundreds of the linga carvings can be seen in one fascinating stretch of the river.

    Finally you’ll visit the majestic 5-meter-high Kulen Waterfall where (depending on the season) you can take a refreshing dip to clean and re-energize before you enjoy the drive back to Siem Reap.Please Note: There is still a possibility of landmines in the area. The trails your Backyard Travel guide will take you on have been made safe however, but it is important to keep onto the main paths and not stray from these areas.For the motorbike experience it is necessary to sign a waiver form. Also, we recommend wearing long trousers and using insect repellant for this innovative but rewarding experience.

    Overnight in Siem Reap

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and Lunch

    Carvings-linggas-potent-symbols- power-into the riverbed in Cambodia thought to, Phnom Kulen, Siemreap, CambodiaIMG_3853 1000×600SONY DSC
  • Day 4: Siem Reap

    After breakfast this morning you’ll pay a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat, arriving by remork, a vehicle similar to the Thai tuk tuk.

    Built in the 12th century during the reign of King Suryavarman II, the temple was constructed to symbolize Mount Meru, a sacred mountain in Buddhism considered to be the center of all physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes.

    The temple itself is covered with stone carvings and has more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Angkor Wat is so revered by the nation that Cambodia is the only flag in the world with a building on it - and that building is Angkor Wat.

    After visiting the legendary temple you’ll be escorted back to your hotel by remork to take a short break to spend as you wish.

    In the mid-afternoon venture out once more to experience the Phare Cambodian Circus Show. If you arrive in time, you’ll have the exclusive chance to enjoy a behind-the-scenes sneak preview as the artists warm-up accompanied by a member of the circus who will answer questions and share tidbits of information about the performers.

    The circus was originally established by the Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS Association) which itself is a non-profit NGO founded by eight ex-refugees from Anchanh Village in Battambang. The PPS has played a major role in using art to help promote Khmer culture over the last 20 years and enabled a large number of young people to develop skills.

    After meeting the troupe you’ll enjoy dinner at the Phare Restaurant before the cast of the circus put on an inspirational hour-long show which will surely delight people of all ages. The performance mixes traditional and modern theatre with music, dance, contortion and acrobatics in a projection of modern day life in Cambodia.

    Once the show is over and the performers have welcomed your applause you’ll have the opportunity to mingle with the stars and enjoy unique photo opportunities before your local Backyard Travel guide escorts you back to your hotel.

    Overnight in Siem Reap

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and Dinner

    monk-angkor -wat-siam-reap- cambodia1000x600siemreap-angkor-wat-moss-covered-wall-cambodiasiemreap-Angkor Wat Temple in Siam Reap CambodiaEclipse@JF Mousseau_01-13(1)
  • Day 5: Siem Reap

    On your last day you can enjoy breakfast at your hotel before checkout, and then (depending on your individual departure or onward travel plans) you can spend the rest of your time in Siem Reap at your own leisure, shopping for last minute souvenirs, or just soaking up the last drops of Cambodian culture.

    If you would like to extend your time in Cambodia, please consult our Cambodia Travel Specialist who will be able to advise you of complementary Backyard Travel tours around this fabulous nation to enhance your experience even further.Please note: Certain aspects of this tour are subject to change without notice. In the event a product or service cannot be offered, your Backyard Travel tour specialist will offer an appropriate alternative.

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Street Vendor drives Drinks Stand, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

All of our Tours can be Tailored, Just Ask!

Tour Details

All of our itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and we’ll start planning your unique personalized trip!

Tour prices are a guideline only, and are based on two persons travelling together, sharing a double or twin room in luxury accommodation. Each tour price and can be adjusted depending on budget, activities included and standard of accommodation desired.

Tour and airfare prices include all applicable taxes and are subject to change without prior notice until services are booked.

You, your holiday and booking direct: Backyard Travel are on the ground year-round in Asia, which means you are booking direct with a local travel company, allowing you to save on the cost of your holiday. Our tailor-made tours are designed by local Travel Specialists who investigate every aspect of the trip themselves, giving you a unique view of each destination.

 Included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary
Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicles
Service of English speaking guides in every location
Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

 Not included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Domestic and international flights
Departure taxes if applicable
Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
Early check-in and late check-out at hotels
Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
Tips for guides and drivers
Personal travel insurance
Visa fees (contact us for further information)

Why Backyard Travel?

Our experienced travel specialists possess years of local insider knowledge, because they live here.
We have offices in all of our destinations in asia, fully staffed and open all year-round.
With backyard travel you are booking direct, allowing you to save and benefit local residents.

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Our advantage lies in having local expertise to create unique, bespoke tours. Whether you’re looking to cruise down Asia’s tranquil rivers, bike the peaceful rural roads, or eat at bustling night markets, Backyard Travel’s in-country Travel Specialists can plan your ideal trip. Send us a message about your ideas, and we'll send you our best suggestions.




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