We don’t only take you to some of the least explored countries of the world, but we also take you well off the beaten track in some more popular destinations. And so, in 2021 we are heading to Cambodia for our Dark Tourism Cambodia tour. We make use of our extensive knowledge of the country after having spent months there during covid-19!
The trip has you starting in the world famous city of Siem Reap. Here we check out a number of museums and ancient relics related to the contemporary/Khmer Rouge history of Cambodia, but of course without missing the wonder of the world that is Angkor Wat.
Coincidently located on the outskirts of Angkor Wat is a Khmer history museum and art gallery built and operated by North Korea, with our local contacts we can receive a VIP tour of the premise. You then head directly north towards Thailand to the Cambodian border town city of Anlong Veng, not only the last hideout of the Khmer Rouge, but the capital of the last Khmer Rouge state.
Unique highlights of Anlong Veng include abandoned checkpoints, homemade museums and unmarked graves related to the former leaders of the Khmer Rouge. No trip to Cambodia is complete without a true jungle trek into the wilderness as we take you to where very few foreigners have visited before, the last home and bunker of Pol Pot – the leader of the Khmer Rouge.
You’ll then head to the southwest of the country to Battambang, the second largest city in Cambodia and home to some of the most important and forgotten sites related to the Killing Fields. You’ll also ride on a makeshift bamboo train locals created to make use of the old abandoned French railway lines and visit the Phnom Sampeau bat cave which houses the natural pest control for Cambodia’s rice fields.
The final stop for the tour is in Cambodia’s capital – Phnom Penh. Here you’ll visit a former high school converted to a torture prison against the innocent and the actual Killing Fields located just outside the city. Tourism doesn’t get more dark than here.
Our Cambodia tour is all based on single room accommodation, with half board – all breakfasts and lunches included!
Arrival in Siem Reap and meet the YPT guide at our centrally located hotel at 2:00pm – location details will be confirmed nearer the time.
Explore the old French town and visit the night market before dinner in one of the many great restaurants on Pub Street – there will be Angkor beers and, for anyone daring enough to try, fried tarantula.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Friday 6th August
Wake up nice and early at 5:00am to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat for incredible photos.
We grab breakfast and then begin exploring the remaining areas of Angkor archaeological park. Make sure to bring plenty of sun cream and water for the trip to this unique UNESCO heritage site.
Drop by the Siem Reap War Museum which houses a vast outdoor collection of Soviet helicopters, tanks and small weapons, all of which can be handled, so it makes for a pretty good photo op!
The Landmine Museum and Relief Centre houses abandoned children who attend the school next to the museum, it gives an interesting insight to the still present effects of the Vietnam War.
A visit to the Angkor Panorama Museum built and funded by North Korea. This museum boasts a 360° mural made by the North Korean painters of Mansudae Art Studio depicting the history of the Angkor era.
Dinner in Siem Reap’s very own North Korean run and staffed restaurant.
Drinks on Pub Street.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Saturday 7th August
Breakfast and then head to the Angkor National Museum to have a better understanding on local art, culture and the architecture of the Khmer Kingdom.
Begin our journey north towards the Thai border to Anlong Veng – the last hideout and retirement home of the Khmer Rouge (2 hour drive) – it doesn’t get much more dark tourism than the history of the Khmer Rouge!
On arrival we grab a local lunch of noodle soup and check into our hotel.
Driving tour of Anlong Veng, specifically visiting the former house of Ta Mok – a close comrade of Pol Pot.
Drive up the mountains right along the border and visit the graves of Son Sen and Ta Mok before heading to the unkept grave of Pol Pot.
Dinner and drinks in Anlong Veng.
Overnight in Heng Hotel, built along the same road as Pol Pot’s grave.
Sunday 8th August
Breakfast and drive to Anlong Veng Peace Observatory for a spectacular view of the Cambodian plateau and the former mountain home of Ta Mok.
You are then paired with a motorbike driver and drive completely off-road to the former home and bunker of Pol Pot buried deep in the Cambodian jungle. This is an amazing journey where you will see some incredible scenery.
Head back into town for local seafood lunch.
Begin the 4 hour car journey to Battambang city.
Ride the famous bamboo train! This is literally a train built of bamboo sitting on wheels; it’s still used by the locals to transport rice on abandoned train tracks. We’ll ride a couple of stops and then visit a brick factory at the end of the line.
Visit Phnom Sampeau cave, this was one of the killing caves of the Khmer Rouge. We climb to the top and watch as hundreds of thousands of bats exit the cave every evening at dusk.
Dinner and check out the Battambang nightlife.
Overnight at Sanctuary Villa.
Monday 9th August
Breakfast and drive to Kampong Chhnang (3 hours).
On arrival we check into hotel and go for lunch.
Visit the bustling market and floating village – Kampong Chhnang is one of the main rice production and fishing areas of Cambodia.
Head out to the Khmer Rouge forced labour airport and mass grave.
In the late afternoon we visit the 18th Century Khmer fortress of Udong, where we can climb to the top for stunning 360 degree views or enjoy a Khmer BBQ and some cold beers at the bottom!
Overnight in Kampong Chhnang
Tuesday 10th August
Breakfast and drive 3 hours to Phnom Penh – the capital city.
Check into hotel and lunch.
Stop by the Royal Palace, home to Cambodia’s kings since the 1860s. You’ll also be able to see the Silver Pagoda, made with over 5,000 silver tiles.
Visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek – the largest mass grave in the country and a cruel reminder of the atrocities inflicted upon people during the Khmer Rouge period. This is one of the most haunting places in the world and the history is still recent.
Tuol Sleng (S21) genocide museum where there is an opportunity to meet one of the last survivors of the prison. Prisoners tortured here were mostly transferred to Choeung Ek.
Wander around the Boeung kak region of Phnom Penh. This used to be a bustling region of the central city, however the residents were all evicted to make way for property developments. Now the area is left barren, as the ground is too soft to build anything on. 4000 residents were evicted from this area and protests sometimes still occur.
Make a stop to see the outside of the house of the prime minister, which is located right next to the independence monument in the very centre of Phnom Penh.
We recover from the long day with dinner and a pub crawl in Phnom Penh to party Cambodia style.