Fri Day 1: USA / Hong Kong.
Today take your flight from USA to Hong Kong.
Overnight: En route.
Sat Day 2: Hong Kong/ Phnom Penh. (Flight to be advised)
This afternoon we meet at the airport and proceed to check in. Clear security and we board our flight to Phnom Penh. Later this afternoon we will arrive and proceed to the immigration. (Visa required) Afterwards, we will collect our luggage and proceed through Cambodian customs and to the arrival hall where we all meet and transfer
to the hotel.
Here we will get situated after check in, freshen up and our guide and driver will escort everyone to a welcome dinner at a typical restaurant in the capital city.
Dinner included this evening at a typical restaurant.
Overnight: The Asia Tune Hotel (D)
Sun Day 3: Phnom Penh / Sen Monorom. (Coach drive 6 hours)
This morning we have a hearty breakfast and depart early around 8:00am this morning for Mondulkiri Province in rural central Cambodia. We will arrive at the small town of Sen Monorom where our hotel is located.
This drive we will make multiple stops for washroom and drinks / snacks on your own. The stops will also give you an opportunity to see what life is like in rural South East Asia.
Also along the way we will also stop for lunch at a typical restaurant or we may have packed picnic lunches from Phnom Penh.
The afternoon is set aside for everyone to relax at our hotel poolside after our long drive and to get ready for our full day Elephant project tomorrow.
Overnight: The Diamond Mondulkiri Resort. Breakfast at Phnom Penh, picnic boxed lunches and dinner this evening at our hotel.
Mon Day 4: Sen Monorum / Elephant Jungle Adventure. (Day 1)
This morning have breakfast by 7:00am and after breakfast at6 8:00am we will depart on a full day excursion through the jungle. The short drive of less than 30 minutes from our hotel brings us to the Mondulkiri Elephant project inside what is now the Mondulkiri Elephant Sanctuary. We will spend two days and one night.
About The Non Profit Mondulkiri Project. The original vision was one man who is aptly named Mr. Tree who wanted to take care of the forest for future generations as well as for the Elephants he knew were in danger from loss of Habitat. How to do this when both villages, man and elephants depend on the forest to survive.
The Mondulkiri Project is managed by the Cambodia Elephant Rescue Organization, a registered Cambodian NGO. In October 2013 the Mondulkiri Project signed an agreement with the Bunong indigenous elders from the Putang Village and the Orang Village which are all close to this jungle and forest. This agreement stops logging in a large area of beautiful Mondulkiri forest near Sen Monorom.
The Mondulkiri Project borders the Keov Sema Protected Area so there is a lot of wildlife, from birds, to deer, wild pigs and buffalo. There are many beautiful waterfalls, swimming holes, valleys…..it is a very special place.
Mr Tree, the Cambodian founder of the Mondulkiri Project, explains why the Mondulkiri Project is very important to him:
The local indigenous community needs to have an income to survive, they cannot live on rice alone. To make money, they were cutting down the forest to sell the timber to Vietnam or to clear the forest to make small rive farms. As the population is growing, they need more land to plant rice and this cycle keeps growing. So more and more forest is being cut down. I am really worried that soon all the forest in Mondulkiri Province will have been cleared. The thought of losing this special jungle area made me very sad. So we started this new project 10 years ago to offer to the tourists our little bit of paradise in this jungle and bordering the villages. We convinced the locals to stop logging in large areas of this sanctuary and stop removing the timber. We will have small earnings from the tourist industry and we will engage with the world to help us. We have 6 elephants in our sanctuary and they can now roam freely, eat and forage the greenery. We make sure the elephants do not destroy the forests as we also feed them daily. We will start tree planting in the near future as well as letting our elephants grow in numbers by breeding.
We have many student groups, families and adults coming to the sanctuary now and admiring the work and pitching in with their valuable time to also join us and feed and bathe the elephants, There is lots of work to do each day and their contributions are wonderful to watch the interactions with our Elephants.
Everyone will work from 8:30am to 5:30pm as we have a lot of activities planned for your visit.
9.00am – 12.00pm – As we meet our guides first thing in the morning, everyone will be with their backpack with change of clothes for one night and toiletries.
This 3 hour hike is easy walking through the jungle. We will stop along the half way mark for a longer break and then continue to Mondulkiri Project’s Jungle Lodge.
Here you will listen to your guide talk about the Mondulkiri Project. Next it is time to meet the 5 elephants and their Mahouts. All aroung our lodge, just a short walk brings us to the resident Elephants that call this area their home. Take lots of photos, get close to the elephants and have fun feeding the elephants bananas. Watch as the elephants walk around eating bamboo and enjoying being elephants.
12.00pm – 2.00pm – After walking back to the Jungle Lodge it is time for lunch and relaxing in hammocks.
The Lodge has great views over the jungle and is a good place to view wildlife and many species of birds. It also has a western toilet.
2.00pm – 4.30pm – In the afternoon we walk a short distance to the bottom of the valley and walk to the waterfall to have a swim. It is also time for the elephants to have their bath to keep its skin clean and healthy and free from infection. Elephants really enjoy having a bath! We will help bathe them and watch them playfully throw water at everyone through their trunks.
We then walk to another deeper waterhole where we watch some other elephants playing in the mud and having a swim to wash themselves.
4.30pm – 5.30pm – Walk back to the jungle lodge to get our assigned hammocks to sleep in. They are very relaxing and comfy to sleep in.
After saying goodbye to the elephants we walk back through the jungle to enjoy the sunset over the Mondulkiri Project. You might be lucky and see wildlife such as monkeys, deer and many birds.
5.30pm onwards – After returning to the Jungle Lodge it is time to relax by the fire. Your Bunong guide will prepare a traditional Bunong vegetable soup cooked inside bamboo.
Afterwards it is time for dinner and a meal of traditional Bunong meal of BBQ pork, rice and vegetables. More time around the campfire and then time to sleep in hammocks.
Waking up in the morning is an amazing experience. If rains, the lodge will be moving the hammocks inside the lodge rooms.
Ovenright: Mondulkii Jungle Lodge – Hammocks. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Tue Day 5: Mondulkiri trek – Mondulkiri Project’s Jungle Hike – (Day 2).
Mondulkiri Project – Sen Monorom (return to our hotel)
7.30am – 8.30am – Wake up, warm up around the campfire and enjoy breakfast at the Jungle Lodge with its lovely views over the Otey River.
8.30am – 12.00pm – We start today’s Mondulkiri trek from the Jungle Lodge deeper into the jungle, by carrying our backpacks out of the jungle today. First crossing our new log bridge across the Otey River, we will enjoy wonderful trails, waterfalls and scenes today. Our Bunong guide leads us through some beautiful jungle with many different types of trees, flowers, vines and beautiful stands of bamboo. Along the way, our guide will give you information about the various flora and fauna species. You will pass by many Bunong farms within the jungle.
Visit the impressive Leng Kun waterfall which is over 50 metres high.
12.00pm – 1.00pm Lunch break at the jungle campsite alongside the beautiful Leng Ong waterfall. This is a lovely place for a swim. Swim and lunch break.
1.00pm – 4.30pm – After lunch you will continue walking and then stop at a Bunong farm clearing and see cassava, chili peppers, lemon grass, wild rice, pineapples and cashew nut trees.
Next we continue on passing by the large Leng Ret cave and Leng Ret waterfall. See some bats sleeping inside the cave. After more trekking through the jungle it is time to get your feet wet crossing the river. Now we will leave the river for one last climb out of the jungle before arriving at the Putang Village. Here see traditional Bunong long houses, children playing and pigs and chickens running around.
Memories of your swim with the elephants at Mondulkiri Project
From the village you will be picked up by our waiting coaches and drive the short drive back to Sen Monorom and back to our resort. The views of village life are amazing. Take a look at a typical basket salesman who goes from village to village on his motorcycle selling bamboo weaved baskets and lids.
Back at our hotel you will reunite with your stowed luggage, have hot showers, and prepare for dinner. Amazing stories of your two day life in the jungle with the highlight of everyone’s visit – Enjoy swimming with the elephants.
Overnight: The Diamond Mondulkiri Resort. Breakfast at Jungle lodge, Lunch in Jungle and dinner this evening at our hotel or typical restaurant.
Wed Day 6: Sen Monorom – Phnom Penh. (Return drive 6 hours)
After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, we will return back to Phnom Penh, departing at 10:00am and reaching around 4:00pm, depending on the number of stops.
The road between Mondulkiri to Phnom Penh offers another glimpse of Cambodian country life, as it barrels past rice paddies, traditional wooden houses, and water buffalo and cows lazily grazing on the side of the road. We will stop for photos and lunch. The views are best appreciated from a full-size bus, as the mini-buses are more crowded and have smaller windows. Our group has a large coach.
Dinner included this evening at a typical restaurant.
Overnight: The Asia Tune Hotel (Breakfast at hotel, Lunch on the way and Dinner at typical restaurant)
Thu Day 7: Phnom Penh – (Morning veggie market and cooking Class)
Phnom Penh. (Afternoon visit Phnom Penh)
Phnom Penh. (Late afternoon cruise on the Mekong river)
This morning enjoy breakfast and then we all board our coach and head to a local market with our guide.
Today we are going to learn about traditional Cambodian cuisine. To enjoy Cambodia’s traditional fine cuisine and to cook the famous Khmer dishes in a relaxed and friendly environment, we set out at 8:30am by coach with our guide and chef. Cooking classes start every day at 9am (duration: 3h30 including our. visit to the local vegetable and spices market. The Cambodian’s gastronomy is rich and varied, with tastes and flavors which differs from the neighboring countries.
To fully understand and appreciate Khmer cuisine, it’s important to become familiar with the various raw ingredients in their natural state, and to study and to practice traditional Khmer methods of food preparation. This experience starts as the chef will show us the ingredients to buy at the local Phnom Penh market.
La table khmère cooking class wants to offer you the possibility to discover this in a clean and comfortable setting, taught in a fun way.
Everyone will be taught to ground up the spices before we start cooking.
Sit down to a sumptuous lunch prepared by our students. Enjoy !
Around 1:00pm we are finished and set out to explore Phnom Penh. After lunch, you will visit the impressive colorful Khmer-style Royal Palace complex build in 1866 by the Predecessors of King Norodom.
Nearby is Silver pagoda (the emerald Buddha temple), where contain plenty of Buddha Statues decorated and made by gold, diamond, gemstone and silver.
We will stop at Independence monument and explore the National museum; a beautiful Khmer architecture building contains more than 5000 art antiques made by bronze, wood, gold, silver, copper, sandstone and others.
We pass through the river-front park where 4 rivers meet at a junction including mystical Mekong River that winds through many countries.
Finally board the Mekong River Cruise we have planned for our group.
Southeast Asia is a rich and vibrant land full of beautiful landscapes, lively people, excellent food, deep culture and poignant history. With exclusive charters onboard the Mekong River, these unique French Colonial style vessels fuse modern comforts and traditional furnishings to exhibit a timeless elegance and guarantee an authentic cruising experience. Experience the highlights of this incredible destination but also meet the people and uncover some of the hidden wonders that make this place so special as we cruise along the most famous SE Asian River – The Mekong.
Typical scenes along the Mekong River, a boy and his cow having a bath.
Dinner included this evening at a typical restaurant.
Overnight: The Asia Tune Hotel (D)
Fri Day 8: Phnom Penh. (Morning Genocide Human rights studies)
Phnom Penh. (Afternoon Children’s rights studies)
This morning we have breakfast at our hotel. We will board our coach around 8:30am and set out with a special guide and driver to visit the Choeung Ek Museum, where between 1975 and 1978 about 17,000 men, women, children and infants detained and tortured at S-21 were transported for the extermination.
This museum is on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, about 17 kilometers from the city.
Killing Fields of Cheung Ek is situated 15 kilometers south-west of Phnom Penh and made famous by the film of the same name “Killing Field”. it was a place where more than 17,000 civilians were killed and buried in mass graves; many of them transported here after detention and torture in Toul Sleng. This place is a chilling reminder of the brutalities of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. In the center of the area is a 17 story glass stupa which houses 8000 skulls exhumed from mass graves. Open daily.Note: Both Tuol Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields exhibits may be disturbing for some and aren’t suitable for younger children and adults who are easily shocked.
We continue to Tuol Sleng prison now is Genocide Museum, the most secret part of the Khmer Rouge regime. It’s also called S-21 (abbreviated for Security Office 21), a Khmer Rouge’s premier security camp, specifically designed for the interrogation and extermination of anti-Angkor elements.
We board our coach and leave the relics of the bad history of Cambodia behind as we will have lunch at local restaurant before our visit and our afternoon of community service to the PSE Organization.
Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE), is a Charity regulated by French Law of Associations (1901), it was created in April 1993, and all of its members are volunteers. It is managed by a Board of Directors with between 6 and 18 appointees elected for a term of three years at the Annual General Meeting by the members of the organization.
There are only four staff members in France who work at the PSE headquarters, located in Versailles. A branch network has built up over the years. 300 passionate volunteers work in teams across 26 local branches, 18 of which are in France.
In 2000 the charity received the Award of Human Rights from the French Republic.
Overnight: The Asia Tune Hotel / Phnom Penh – Hong Kong (B)
Sat Day 9: Phnom Penh / Hong Kong. (Flight to be advised)
This morning we will enjoy breakfast and check out of our rooms. We will board our coach and transfer to the airport in time for checkin, security and then board our short flight (2.40hrs) to Hong Kong. Once in Hong Kong wait for your flight to USA.