Five tours offering complete and authentic Cambodian experiences

With so many provinces and towns to discover, keeping your exploration on track can be tricky. Let the experts take care of everything by joining some of our favourite tours that stretch to every corner of the Kingdom

Photo: Peter Harris / Wildlife Alliance

Chi Phat

This self-described “community-based eco-tourism project” welcomes guests to a village in the wild Cardamom mountains in the country’s southwest. From there, trips range from half a day to multiple nights in the forest, taking in activities from a relaxed morning of birdwatching to joining a patrol with a team of forest rangers on the hunt for illegal loggers and snare traps. From the elementary to the extreme, there’s something for everyone in Chi Phat.

Photo: Lucas Veuve

The Wehh Project

Way out among the hills and waterfalls of Mondulkiri province, many of the indigenous Bunong people live traditional and fascinating lives. Numerous tour companies offer trips to Bunong villages, but many lack the authenticity and propriety of the Wehh Project, which is a community-owned and -run ecotourism project. Meet families in their homes, get involved in handicrafts and lean on your experienced Bunong guide to discover much more about this intriguing way of life.

Photo: Sam Jam

Rats, Trash and Booze

Arguably Cambodia’s most unique bicycle tour, Rats, Trash and Booze is brought to you by Grasshopper Adventures, who have been whisking visitors around Cambodia since 2004. Through visits to the country’s famed de-mining rats – who genuinely have been trained to sniff out deadly landmines – as well as a trash-recycling initiative and the purveyors of uniquely infused rice wines, this tour brings you into contact with three of Temple Town’s most exciting social enterprises and nonprofits.

Photo: Sam Jam

Four Religions of Phnom Penh

Run by the hugely knowledgeable folks at Khmer Architecture Tours, this relatively new excursion has been added to a stable that helps visitors and expats alike get acquainted with buildings erected after Cambodia’s independence in 1953. Four Religions of Phnom Penh intertwines history, culture and architecture by visiting a Buddhist wat, a Chinese temple, a Cham Muslim mosque and a Carmelite chapel, explaning how each faith arrived in Cambodia then evolved and assimilated in the context of Phnom Penh.

Photo: Sam Jam

Day in a Life

For a truly hands-on introduction to Cambodian village life, the Day in a Life experience from Beyond Unique Escapes is difficult to beat. After being whisked to Kompheim village just outside of Siem Reap, expect to spend time helping the locals in their daily pursuits, from weaving banana leaves into fencing panels to plunging into paddies to harvest rice. Host families receive a small payment, while most of your dollars go into a village fund that is spent on vital projects in consultation with the community itself.

This article was published in the 2018 edition of Discover magazine. For more content, click here.

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