Family tour to Cambodia and Thailand

“An inspiring, fun fortnight for families, exploring Cambodia before relaxing on a Thai island, with biking and river boats, swimming and snorkelling.”

Highlights

Phnom Penh | site of Killing Fields | Khmer Rouge Genocide Museum | spider village of Skuon | Siem Reap | Angkor Wat | walking tour Angkor Tom | Banteay Kdei ruins | Phnom Bahkeng Temple | Preah Khan | Beng Mealea | Battambang bamboo train | Kymer and Thai food | Koh Mak island, Thailand | Koh Chang National Marine Park | swimming and snorkelling | Bangkok

Travel Team

If you would like some help or advice, or just want to discuss your ideas for your next trip, do give us a call.

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Small group vacation

This is a 'small group adventure' - you will be sharing your experiences with like minded people. Group sizes are limited to a maximum of 12 persons, a genuinely small group. Experience has taught us that smaller groups are less intrusive to local cultures and environments whilst allowing more interaction with local people. Furthermore it means greater flexibility on a day to day basis and on a social level it proves to be fun. Whether you are traveling alone or with friends/family its good value, and a great way to meet new people! The intention is to travel as a group of friends rather than a typical tour group, so don't expect stick-on name badges or any following the umbrella.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Family tour to Cambodia and Thailand

Environment

Overview of responsible tourism on this tour

The intention of our Ruined Cities, Tropical Islands tour is to combine the well-known tourist sites with off-the-beaten-track ones thus spreading income and interaction into areas not usually benefiting from the positive aspects of tourism. We will of course ensure to the best of our abilities that that said interaction is as genuinely beneficial as possible, while also providing a more authentic view of the region visited to our clients.

Consequently, in addition to the popular tourist destinations this 2-week Cambodia and Thailand tour also includes rarely visited destinations such as Kok Rocha village and ancient temple in Kompong Thom Province, Prek Toal and Bac Preah floating villages, Ek Phnom in Battambang and Pailin District.

Group Sizes

We find that restricting group sizes to a maximum of 12 persons enables us to limit impact on sites and communities as much as possible while also allowing us to use local cafes, street and market stalls for drinks, meals and shopping.

Hotels are small and independently owned with proven responsible travel credentials and all - fully-licensed - guides and drivers are locally employed and fully trained.

Restoration/conservation and local economic development

Portions of entrance fees to the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Tuol Sleng Museum, Prasart Kuhanokor, the Angkor Archeological Park, Prasart Ek Phnom (Battambang) and Beng Melea Temple are used for both restoration and conservation purposes as well as for salaries for the numerous local people employed at such sites. All sites are important sources of income and employment for the local communities.

We also hope that visits to ‘off the radar’, unregulated temple and historical sites such as Cambodia’s Kok Rocha and Wat Banteay Srei in Dom Dek will increase residents’ awareness and encourage conservation.

Visiting local restaurants/shops/markets/transport etc

We avoid any chain or international hotels and all accommodation used on this tour is independently owned by local residents with the exception of the 252 Hotel in Phnom Penh which is owned by long-term European residents of Cambodia. A portion of their profits goes towards funding educational projects for local, underprivileged children.

Meals are provided in either locally-run restaurants or local-style cafes, market and street stalls. All products are locally sourced and all staff are local residents. The emphasis is also very much on traditional Khmer and Thai food which we hope increases an interest and pride in the region’s cuisine.

Additional food products - for takeaway lunches, picnics etc – are deliberately purchased from local bakeries and /or fresh produce markets rather than chain supermarkets.

All transport is locally owned – whether minibuses or boats and tuk-tuks for shorter journeys.

With regards souvenirs our clients are also encouraged to buy directly from fabricants’ houses in the case of our Battambang cottage industries tour and Saray community tourism project or either markets or outlets attached to aid and educational organizations such as Artisans Angkor for example rather than the large, purpose-built souvenir stores.

Our Phnom Penh Hotel funds educational projects for local children and orphanages, providing corresponding information for guests as well as suggesting appropriate donations. All staff members are local residents.
Our Siem Reap Hotel has a policy of employing all of its staff members from underprivileged families. The aim is to educate, train and reintegrate young people and orphans from poor backgrounds whose opportunities are otherwise limited by a lack formal education.

Community

We received the Tourism Authority of Thailand Green Award in 2008 for Best Niche Tour Operator, in 2010 for Best tour operator for Local Communities and in 2012 in the Maritime, Nature and Heritage category.

Support for local projects

Both our Phnom Penh and Siem Reap hotels participate in educational and training projects for underprivileged youths.

Our tours visit the Saray Community Eco-tourism scheme in Prek Toal Village as well as participating in a tour with Butterfly Tours in Battambang. These handicraft and cottage industries tours are organized by local students who, as well as helping to finance their studies and practice their language skills, also provides training for underprivileged rural youths.

In addition, during free periods, guests are encouraged to visit projects such as Artisans Angkor which is involved with the education and welfare of people from poor rural communities, the organisation Phare Ponleu Selpak which supports children, young adults and their families with educational programs and social support and the Apopo mine clearing project in Siem Reap.

Support for local charities and projects

As a small company our support projects are localised and targeted and we currently assist aid schemes in both northern Thailand and Myanmar’s Shan State.

On a micro-level we support and assist the the Saray Community Eco-tourism scheme in Prek Toal Village.

Tour leaders and guides

All guides and most leaders are local, while any foreign leaders employed have lived in the local communities for long periods and are experienced in customs, culture and as much as possible, language.

Leaders and guides provide suitable, relevant information for our customers; to help them to gain a wider understanding of our style of tourism that focuses on learning; genuine interaction with the local communities, reciprocity and cultural exchange processes. To be aware of the potential impact of tourism on the local society, culture and environment, and to behave and dress appropriately with a respect and appreciation for local customs, mores and traditions and a respect for the ecology of areas visited. Our guides and leaders thus facilitate communication of our values to both travelers and local communities, educating them in sustainable tourism practices
By explaining our methods and the reasons behind them local agents, guides and hotels are encouraged by us to adopt further responsible tourism practices themselves and guides and drivers are provided with additional training in this respect.

Group sizes and their impact on the community and environment

By limiting groups to a maximum of 12 persons we aim to reduce the impact on both local communities and the environment whilst allowing for greater genuine interaction with said communities. It also results in a higher guide/customer ratio thus offering a greater facility for supervision and individual assistance and allowing us to use smaller hotels and restaurants and employ the services of more genuinely ‘local’ operators on a personal and friendly basis rather than dealing with establishments primarily equipped for larger groups.

11 Reviews of Family tour to Cambodia and Thailand

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 02 May 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Learning to blend with the traffic in Phnom Penh & realising that pavements are not for walking on; sleeping overnight in Preah Kral Monastery; experiencing sunrise at Sra Srang, followed by a visit to the delightful Banteay Srei temple; taking a boat across the Tonle Sap Lake and along the Sangker River from Siem Reap to Battambang; hiking along paths through the jungle of Kep National Park (without a guide); being guided around Sambor Prei Kok by two charming local girls. All-in-all, far too many to mention!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for an assault on your senses! And get there quick, before the authorities stop visitors walking around Angkor Wat.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, being in a small group enabled us to interact with local people directly and to avoid staged mass meetings.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent. This was our first time in Cambodia. We found it a fascinating country and thoroughly enjoyed our vacation. There was an awful lot to take in and see and we were pleased to have visited parts of the country that are not on most tour itineraries. Towards the end of our two weeks we felt that we had acclimatised and, having come to the end of our ‘taster’ were ready to begin the tour proper; such a pity we then had to come home! It has given us a desire to return at some time, both to revisit some of the locations from this trip and to explore new ones.

Reviewed on 10 Feb 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Angor Wat temple is beautiful. It was amazing to see that almost one thousand year building in such a good shape.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for dress code in temples. Thin long pants and T-shirt are must.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


It did benefit local people for sure. With so many tourists around you can imagine that country in few years. People are friendly and hard working for the money.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


This was amazing and very educational trip. I am so glad I have seen Cambodia and specially Angor Wat.

Reviewed on 08 Dec 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Everything, the whole trip was brilliantly planned as we traversed through Cambodia, to a Thai Island, then to Bangkok without any hiccups anywhere. From the sadness felt at the Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields, to the mysteries of the Angkor Temples, to the cheerful greetings by all Cambodian people, riding elephants in rivers, solitude of the remote islands, finalising in the Kings Birthday celebrations in Bangkok. How can you pick a "most memorable" moment. Oh, nearly forgot, the food in Cambodia was the best I have tasted anywhere.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Make sure you visit the Elephants on Koh Chang, but stay on Koh Mak island. The operator has so much local knowledge in each place we visited, we saw places others would not venture to.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes. We ate locally, we used local transport, we were always made aware on environmental issues and hopefully we left the places we visited with no impact other than good ones.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I have travelled to a lot of countries, with a lot of tour companies. Both myself and my partner agree that this is our best vacation ever. It exceeded all expectation by a long way. Each day was FULL. Each night we would flop in to bed exhausted. That is how a vacation should be. I would find it hard to recommend changes that would make it any better!!

Reviewed on 04 May 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Difficult to single out any one thing. A few memorable moments are the temples at Angkor which revealed something new each day, the somewhat sobering experience of Tuol Sleng. Trying tarantula (tastes like chicken). The Tonal Sap lake a river boat ride to Battambang. The food and local people. The local guide Fin is the best, he is very knowledgeable, friendly, enthusiastic and flexible. The list goes on

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Travel light, it's easy & cheap to get laundry done. You can buy T shirts for one or two dollars. Take plenty of $1 dollar notes. Have a stop over in Bangkok on the way in so you don't start your vacation tired. The walking is easy, no need to bother with hiking boots.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I feel the vacation will have had some small benefit for local people as we had a local guide and driver. Eating at local restaurants and staying in hotels that are not a part of an international chain.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I would call it more of an experience than a vacation, it’s worth every penny.

Reviewed on 28 Jul 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The first night at Angkor, seeing Angkor Wat and traveling down the Mekong by boat.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Make sure that you ask any questions before you go, and get up to date information on the Visa requirements and airport taxes.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, it did benefit the local people as we used local guides and transport and guest houses and ate in local, small restaurants. The air travel had the greatest negative impact on the environment.

Reviewed on 02 Dec 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


It's between Angkor Wat and washing an elephant in a river on Koh Chang.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Investigate the trip fully, talk to the travel agent and look up the places you would be going to, it not always easy to know what you are getting from the itinerary.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


To a degree.

Reviewed on 12 Aug 2005 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Just one part? I can’t give you one place or experience because it was all so great. Each time I thought ‘well it can’t get better than this’ it did! The whole experience was far better than any expectations I had, from the temples of Angkor to the markets, the local cuisine, the activities, this trip was just one memorable experience after another.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take plenty of one dollar bills – almost everything seems to cost one dollar in Cambodia! Also, pack light – it’s easy to get laundry done and you will need all the extra space in your bags for all the great things you can buy in the Russian market!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, it was one of the best things about the trip, meeting the local people and feeling that any money spent helped to support the local economy. Could I also take this opportunity to say how excellent the tour guide was and particularly the local guides, who were extremely friendly and knowledgeable and made the history and culture of the countries we visited, come alive.

4. Any other comments?


I don’t know about reborn, but it was certainly one of the best trips of this sort that I have been on and I would not hesitate to recommend it. I would also recommend this trip to anyone who has concerns about diet. As a vegetarian I have had great difficulty with other tours because the tour leaders have not been able to understand or accommodate my dietary needs. This is the first time on an organised tour that being a veggie has been a total non-issue and I would like to thank everyone involved for making it such a hassle free experience and for introducing me to the joys of Thai and Cambodian cuisine. Thanks Lesley and Mark, I can’t wait to book my next trip!

Reviewed on 12 Aug 2005 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


I can definitely say that I enjoyed every minute of my vacation starting with the harrowing experience of the Cambodian 'killing field' and then continuing with the uplifting visit to the temples of Angkor and the final icing on the cake of the Thai tropical experience of Koh Chang island with its jungle hiking, water falls bathing and elephant riding coupled with relaxing on the beach and the local food.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


My tip to anyone booking this vacation is that if you do not love nature, spicy food, rice or fish don't bother to book. But if you do then you will love it.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I feel that this vacation did benefit the local people because it provided employment and brought in obviously needed financial rewards.

4. Any other comments?


Finally my rating for this vacation has to be a five stars and it was certainly the best vacation I have ever had. I felt culturally and physically enhanced to the point where had it not been for my family and social commitments I could have remained there for much longer. Thank you.

Reviewed on 12 Sep 2005 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The temples of Angkor Wat and the Thai island of Koh Chang. The local people - warm and welcoming. Touching, feeding and riding elephants. Learning about Cambodia's recent history.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take plenty of mosquito repellent. Although this was the rainy season rains usually came in short and heavy bursts; the pluses are that it's cooler (relatively speaking) and that there are less people. Be prepared for upset stomachs - there is virtually no healthcare in Cambodia but good services in Thailand. Try to see the Angkor temples at times other than those recommended for 'best light' to avoid crowds.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes and no - Cambodia desperately needs the money but as always it only reaches a lucky few. No travel really is environmentally friendly, especially long haul and using private transport locally and using hotels in areas where water is scarce, so that side does not bear thinking about! Protective measures though can include creating as little waste as possible (and not leaving it behind in the countryside!), using water and electricity wisely etc., e.g. not using the air con/using it only occasionally.

4. Any other comments?


Overall rating: **** for vacation, ***** for Tour Operator

Reviewed on 21 Jan 2005 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Best part of the vacation was in Cambodia temples and the killing fields.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


I would emphasis to other travelers the length of the bus journeys - some journeys do not look too long or arduous on paper but given the condition of some the roads time spent traveling is considerable

3. Any areas for improvement?


Because the groups are very small in my case 5 passengers the composition of each group and how they integrate into a workable group is of considerable importance. In my case this did not happen and maybe the group leader should take more cognisance of this - This was my first experience of group travel and I should hesitate to travel as a group again after this experience.

4. Any other comments?


Overall the experience was memorable as to places seen - the administrative arrangements were very efficient and the tour guide very informative

Reviewed on 20 Jan 2005 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


  • Cambodia: all of it! The two days in Phnom Penh were well spent. Angkor was also magnificent. And the Cambodian people were wonderful.
  • The little touches - like the stops we made traveling from Eng Dao hill resort to the island of Koh Chang (a Thai Tescos, a Buddhist theme park and a rubber plantation).
  • The local guides.
  • Great food.


  • 2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


  • Don't bring large hiking boots (contrary to some advice).
  • Do read up a bit on Cambodia/Angkor before you go.


  • 3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


  • I would recommend making a full day in Bangkok at the end of the journey standard (and so one less day on Koh Chang). It's a nice balance, having started in Phnom Penh - especially for those, like us, who had not previously visited the region. And if we hadn't done it, I think the last day would have been long and stressful.
  • I would also recommend looking for a less developed resort than Koh Chang (or our part of it).


  • 4. Any other comments?


  • Our tour leader - Mike - was excellent: professional, level-headed, good company, flexible and knowledgeable about the region.
  • We really appreciated the flexibility shown in allowing us to go to Bangkok early as the skies in Koh Chang were unseasonably overcast.
  • The use of local guides, local accommodation and - most of all - small, local eateries was really appreciated; it was all very good quality and much more interesting than the standardised international alternatives.

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