Cambodia Express (2 nights)

HCM 301-201
  • Visit historic sites in Phnom Penh & Siem Reap
  • Visit Palm Tree Orphanage & interaction with students at Leadership School for Young Woman
Program Overview
Country: Vietnam
Depart: 02/11/2017 0600
Return: 02/13/2017 2030
Duration: Overnight
Difficulty: Moderate
Capacity: Min. 25/ Max. 30
Program Fee
$1258 (early booking: $1187)

Field Work Conflicts
  • Art 492A: Seminar: Art History
  • GR 330: Urban Geography

Attention: 1 passport-size photo and $40USD cash is required for a Cambodian Visa. You may also need additional blank pages in your passport. 

Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, was once considered the loveliest of the French-built cities of Indochina. The Khmer Rouge took over the city in April 1975 and immediately ushered in one of the darkest periods of time in their history. Learn more about this period by visiting the Toul Sleng Museum. During the Pol Pot regime Toul Sleng, formerly a high school, was converted to a detention centre known as S21. After interrogation and often torture, prisoners were transferred to the ‘Killing Fields’ where they were often tortured again and brutally killed. Continue on to visit Cheung Ek, a Chinese Cemetery before it became the Khmer Rouge’s best known Killing Field. The remains of almost 9,000 bodies have been excavated from mass graves in this area. Today, Cheung Ek is a Memorial site for Cambodians and visitors from all over the world to pay their respects for those lost. A memorial stupa has been erected and displays over 5,000 human skulls, bones and clothes of the victims. During the Khmer Rouge years, thousands of Cambodians were tortured and imprisoned in detention centers around the country; the visit is a profoundly moving but also depressing experience.

Then leaving the painful scenes of the war behind, enjoy a sunset boat run up Tonle Sap River along the central riverfront areas, providing a picturesque view of the Royal Palace, National Museum, Park and Phnom Penh. Have dinner at a local restaurant before ending the night with Plae Pakaa show, a series of must-see performances put on by Cambodian Living Arts. There are three rotating shows, each lasting about an hour. Children of Bassac showcases traditional dance styles. Passage of Life depicts the various celebrations and rituals that Khmers go through in their lifetimes – weddings, funerals, etc. Mak Therng is like a traditional opera. On the next day, you will visit the beautiful Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and National Museum before heading to Siem Reap. The Royal Palace was built in 1866 by King Norodom; the Palace is made up from a number of structures within a pagoda-style compound, one of which is The Silver Pagoda. The Silver Pagoda takes its name from the 5,000+ silver tiles. The building itself holds a number of national treasures, most notably are a life-sized gold Maitreya Buddha decorated with 9584 diamonds (weighing in a at 90 kg) and a small 17th century Emerald Buddha made from baccarat crystal. National Museum, a Khmer temple inspired building that houses the world’s largest collection of Khmer art sculptures, ceramics and bronzes from different periods of Cambodian history. Over 5000 objects are on display including Angkorian era statues, lingas and other artifacts, most notable is the legendary statue of the ‘Leper King.’ Though the emphasis is on Angkorian artifacts, there is also a good collection of pieces from later periods, including a special exhibition of post-Angkorian Buddha figures.

Siem Reap is a story about the lost civilization. Angkor is an incomparable temple complex built between seven and 11 centuries ago at the height of the Khmer civilization. The ruins represent successive capitals constructed by a dozen Khmer kings, which included massive stone temples, majestic causeways and imposing towers. You will visit the most famous temple complex, Angkor Wat, which is considered to be one of the most inspired and spectacular monuments ever conceived by the human mind. The Bayon Temple of the complex is an edifice of 54 towers, each carved with the four enigmatic faces of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara and bas-relief events.


Day 1

*All times are approximate and subject to change. Please be flexible. 

  • 6:00 Depart SGN port for the drive to SGN airport for flight to Phnom Penh
  • 10:00 – 10:30 Meet your guide then transfer to Palm Tree Orphanage
  • 10:30 – 12:30 Visit Palm Tree Orphanage
  • 12:30 – 13:30 Have lunch at local restaurant
  • 13:30 – 17:00 Visit Toul Sleng Museum and Cheung Ek – the Killing Field.
  • 17:00 – 18:00 Sunset boat cruise on Mekong River up to Tonle Sap river.
  • 18:00 – 19:00 Dinner at local restaurant
  • 19:00 – 20:00 Enjoy traditional show – Plae Pakaa

Day 2

  • Breakfast at hotel – Check out
  • 08:00 – 08:15 Transfer from hotel to Royal Palace & Silver pagoda
  • 08:15 – 09:45 Visit Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda.
  • 09:45 – 10:45 Visit the National Museum
  • 10:45 – 11:15 Drive to Phnom Penh airport
  • 11:15 – 12:00 Early lunch at local restaurant in front of airport
  • 12:00 – 12:15 Enter airport for flight to Siem Reap
  • 15:00 – 15:30 Upon arrival meet and transfer directly to visit Leadership School for Young Woman
  • 15:30 – 17:30 Activities at Leadership School for Young Woman – To Be Confirmed (possible activities could be wall painting, tree planting and soil filling with the local students)
  • Then transfer to hotel for check in and freshen up
  • Your free leisure time, dinner tonight is on your own expense

Day 3

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • 07:30 – 08:00 Transfer to Angkor Wat
  • 08:00 – 11:00 Visit Angkor Wat (3hr visit)
  • 11:00 – 11:30 Transfer back to hotel
  • 11:30 – 12:00 Check out
  • 12:00 – 13:30 Have lunch at a local restaurant  
  • 13:30 – 16:00 Transfer to visit South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Baphuon, Elephant Terrace and Leper King Terrace (2hr visit)
  • 16:00 – 16:30 transfer to airport for flight to Saigon
  • Upon arrival in Saigon, transfer to Nha Rong port

Meals Included

2 breakfasts
3 lunches
1 dinner

Special Note

– Casual wear should cover shoulder and knees for temples visiting
– Hat, sunscreen, bug spray is recommended
– The two sites Toul sleng Museum & Cheung Ek killing Field, are grim reminders of the extermination policies carried out by the Khmer Rouge. If you choose to participate in these visits, be prepared for some gruesome and depressing sights.