Curry and chilli pastes at Phsar Boeung Choeuk market in Battamb

Cambodia Creative Retreats and Culinary Tours 2017 Dates

Come eat, cook, get creative, and explore Angkor Wat on our deliciously enriching 9-night and 10-night Cambodia trips. Our 2017 Cambodia creative retreats and culinary tours are almost full but we’re extending our offer of discounts on some tours so we can lock bookings in. 2018 dates coming soon!

If you’d like to come eat and cook with us, discover Cambodia‘s rich culture and delicious cuisine, and scramble some temples, book now! Just a few spots left on each of our small group Cambodia Culinary Tours and Travel and Food Writing and Photography Retreats. Book now and you’ll also receive a 60-minute massage at one of Siem Reap’s finest spas and a Cambodia culinary gift pack to the value of US$50.

Scroll down for details, dates and prices, and to read Testimonials to see what participants had to say about our trips.

Cambodia Creative Retreats and Culinary Tours 2017 Dates

Our 2017 Cambodia creative retreats and culinary tours will take the same form as our May and October 2016 small-group trips: itineraries concentrating on enriching culinary and cultural experiences in and around Siem Reap and Battambang, with excursions through rice fields to palm-shaded villages and breathtaking temples, including spectacular UNESCO World Heritage listed Angkor Wat and the Angkor Archaeological Park.

The Retreat will be bookended and punctuated with writing and photography workshops and ongoing coaching, while both the Tour and Retreats will be peppered with mouthwatering experiences: market walks, street food tours, cooking classes, restaurant meals.

In partnership with our Cambodian chefs, guides and drivers, we’ll immerse you in the rich culture and everyday life of this special country and its welcoming people to give you a taste of the highly underrated and much misunderstood Cambodian cuisine, about which countless myths exist. We’ll introduce you to the enthusiastic locals who cook the food, sell it, and make the ingredients that go into producing it, and in the process show you the Cambodia with which we’ve become smitten.

Highlights include stays in beautiful boutique hotels (you’ll have your own room and no single supplements, unless you really want to share with someone, of course), delicious meals at authentic local eateries and the best Cambodian restaurants, walks through lively local markets, tantalising street food tours, hands-on cooking classes, a 3-day culinary adventure to Cambodia’s ‘rice bowl’ of Battambang, and fun tuk tuk trundles into the bucolic countryside surrounding both cities.

The main difference between our Cambodia creative retreats and culinary tours is that the Retreat focuses on honing your storytelling skills through bite-sized writing and photography workshops; small achievable assignments; coaching and support; and one-on-one consultations. If committed and you take advantage of all the opportunities to gather material, you should leave with enough content to produce a compelling story or series of blog posts, and a strong set of images. We’re also happy to provide guidance if you have a project in mind.

If that sounds like too much hard work for a holiday, all you really want to do is eat and cook and gawk at the temples and rice fields, then the Cambodia Culinary Tour would be better for you. If you’re unsure, email us for a chat, detailed itineraries, practical advice (flights, visas, immunisations, etc) and payment info at Note: a US$500 non-refundable deposit is required to make a booking.

2017 Cambodia Creative Retreats and Culinary Tour Highlights

These are some of the enriching experiences that we have planned for you in 2017:

  • excursions to the enchanting temples of Angkor Archaeological Park, including sunrise at majestic Angkor Wat; Bayon temple with its towers of serene smiling faces, where the wall carvings provide an introduction to Cambodian cuisine and everyday life; sprawling Preah Khan and pyramid-shaped Pre Rup; and trips to lesser visited temples, such as Banteay Srei, atmospheric Beng Mealea, and serene Bakong, surrounded by a moat;
  • memorable dinners at Cambodia’s finest restaurants, including Cuisine Wat Damnak, Malis, Sugar Palm, Mie Cafe and more;
  • authentic meals at our favourite local family-owned eateries and food stalls including local breakfasts at spots within Angkor Archaeological Park where only locals eat;
  • hands-on cooking classes with Siem Reap’s best chefs, including classes on an organic farm and in a cooking studio;
  • morning market tours with a Cambodian chef in Siem Reap and food enthusiast in Battambang, to introduce you to local ingredients and produce, including tastings of tropical fruits, herbs, snacks and drinks;
  • street food tours in Siem Reap and Battambang led by Cambodians to lively neighbourhood markets and a locals-only ‘eat street’;
  • tuk tuk excursions to Siem Reap villages to observe traditional rice noodle-making and palm sugar harvesting and production, and to sample local specialties, such as kralan, a sticky rice and coconut snack barbecued in bamboo over a smoky fire;
  • excursions into Battambang’s bucolic countryside to observe cottage industries where artisanal producer families make rice paper, rice noodles, rice spirits, and prahok (fermented fish), as they have always done; these journeys will be punctuated by stops at farms, pagodas, temples, and a fishing village;
  • exclusive experience: a visit to one of the last traditional dessert-makers in a village once famous for producing this treat, observing her painstaking preparation of this delicate sweet that begins before dawn each day;
  • introductions to Cambodian breakfast soups, noodles and desserts with local experts;
  • the chance to dine at and learn about various NGO-operated social enterprises that train disadvantaged young Cambodians, including Friends’ International’s Marum, EGBOK’s Spoons restaurant, Bayon Pastry School and Cafe, Bloom Cafe in Siem Reap, and Cambodia Childrens Trust’s Jaan Bai in Battambang, launched with the support of Thai cuisine expert and one of Asia’s best chefs, David Thompson, and Australian restaurateur John Fink, owner of Quay restaurant, among others;
  • a fun Khmer language lesson on basic greetings and food-focused vocabulary;
  • a tour of delightful Battambang and its sleepy streets lined with colonial shophouses, art galleries, and a Chinese temple, where you can have your fortune read if you wish;
  • a coffee stop at the Feel Good Coffee company’s award-winning Kinyei cafe in Battambang;
  • a fun rice-spirit tasting and Khmer cocktail making lesson; and
  • a very memorable night’s entertaining at Siem Reap’s quirky Phare Cambodian Circus.

Optional experiences and add-ons for 2017

  • yoga, massages and spa treatments
  • pre-retreat ‘Made in Cambodia’ (shopping) tour focused on artisanal crafts, art, fashion, and design
  • pre-retreat dinner and Apsara performance
  • post-retreat food-focused shopping excursion to additional markets and supermarkets to shop for edible souvenirs and local specialties
  • additional pre- and post-retreat photography workshops/tours
  • special rates through our partners for post-retreat temple tours, excursions and accommodation for those who wish to arrive early and/or stay on later 

Just let us know if any of these interest you at the time of booking.

Need More Inspiration?

Click through to salivate over these mouthwatering images from previous culinary travel writing and photography tours. Check out our Instagram feed for images from the experiences, and visit our dedicated Siem Reap Retreats and Tours website.

Participant Testimonials

“Thank you for introducing Estelle and I to parts of Cambodia I had not yet seen. I thought I knew Battambang until you took us into the villages. SO BEAUTIFUL – and all Cambodians are such warm, kind and friendly people. Really awesome! Thank you, Grantourismo.” John Fink, restaurateur and creative director at Fink Group (Quay, Bennelong, Otto, The Bridge Room, Firedoor), Australia.

“I couldn’t have been happier with my food travel/culinary travel experience in Cambodia with the the capable and passionate Lara. Lara is completely (and ethically) tuned in to her local/experiential travel niche and very generous in sharing her finds. Our trip had the right mix of free time, local life and joyous group fun with our food. Just say yes to it all.” Therese, food tourist and omnivorous ambivert, Australia. 

“Cambodia – and Cambodian food – is severely under-represented in the global culinary scene, and when I signed up for the Cambodia Culinary Tour, I really had no idea what to expect. Exploring the local markets, street food stalls, cooking classes, and rural countryside with Lara and our lovely local guides was the best way to understand the food, people and culture of Cambodia. The tuk tuk trundles, gorgeous noodle curries, street-style kroeung bbq pork, local rice wine, circus, and the lovely company I was in, truly made this one of the best adventures of my life. Never have I felt more at home in a foreign country than I did on this tour, and would highly recommend you sign up for it immediately! Thank you Lara & Terence!” Divya Desa, restaurant consultant & food blogger, India.

“Making the decision to go to Cambodia was a tricky one for me. First time to a third world country, first time to South East Asia and first time traveling in a group. In the past I would only travel alone, and liked it that way. However, the trip to Cambodia was the best decision I have made in a long time. I could have never had the experiences I had if I had tried to travel alone. Lara’s local knowledge and insights made the trip so unique and memorable. Getting to see and experience all aspects of the Cambodian way of life will have a life long effect on me. Learning how everything revolved around food and family certainly makes you reflect on Western life and how materialistic it all is.  My trip was a once in a lifetime experience thanks to Lara. Being able to meet the people we met, seeing how the Khmer people live, participating in cooking classes, temple tours, and eating some of the best (and unique) food I have ever eaten. Not only will I never forget this trip, I would certainly love to work with Lara and Terence again in my future travels.” Teagan, marketer and designer, Australia.  

“With her co-host and husband, fellow writer and photographer Terence Carter, Lara introduced us to the flavors of the country that they call home… A Cambodian food market is a keen blitz on the senses. We walked through noisy, crowded markets in Battambang and Siem Reap with local chefs, tripping over plastic colanders filled with still twitching skinned frogs, waving off flies hovering above stacks of raw chicken, and stepping carefully beside bowls of crispy insects and plastic bags pulsing with live eels and snakes. We sought out redolent lemongrass and kaffir limes among baskets full of leafy and fragrant produce. We marveled at the spectrum of ripening bananas, colorful dragon fruit and regional green-skinned oranges. And we sampled sweet-looking treats, discovering the surprising sourness that both young and old Cambodians love. The Cambodian markets were the liveliest possible expression of the “farm to table” practices that we now treasure in our own home countries.” An excerpt from a post about our October Travel and Food Writing and Photography Retreat by Catherine Fancher, former attorney turned blogger at, USA. Read more on the Culinary Travel Guide

“The best way to get to know a culture is through its food. The food and travel writing and photography retreat allowed me to have an insight and understanding of Cambodian culture and cuisine. We met people who made special foods for sale, we met chefs, and we learned about their spices when we participated in a cooking class. I have never been introduced to so many different tastes, colours and textures. The retreat was a great way to spend a short vacation on a solo trip while being part of a group. I made some good friends and enjoyed the company of people from different countries. I loved going out of town, riding on the dirt roads on the tuk tuks. I saw and met beautiful people. I left with awesome memories, great photos and a happy belly (good food!). This was a wonderful trip. Very adventurous! Thank you for a wonderful time.” Marguerite Beaty, photographer, photography teacher, blogger, Brazil/USA.

“We’ve finally had a chance to settle in and marinate over the ten days we spent with you both in Cambodia. I can’t believe how much we accomplished! You both were the reason we signed up for the experience, and we are so grateful that we did. There was many an occasion through our time together where mum, Farida and I realised that these were things that we simply could not have done on our own. I’m realising that my notes and photos are falling severely short of piecing together the extensive story you had woven for us in Cambodia, we did so much! From meeting chefs to getting special seats at the circus or getting a tour of the local market by Mr Kim Nou (my favourite!) or Mr Ol’s countryside tour (another favourite!), these were all possibly only because of the relationships you both have nurtured over time. Thank you for being so generous by sharing the people and knowledge that were critical for us to get a deeper understanding of the country. But most importantly, for being the most caring and concerned guides we’ve ever had! On behalf of Farida and mum, thank you for giving us such a memorable experience and for sharing all your insights. A big biryani thank you dinner awaits you at our table. Big hugs and many thank you’s for all the chneng! (delicious) food experiences we had.” Arva and Farida, founders of Frying Pan Adventures, and mum Nafeesa, UAE. 

“On the Cambodia Culinary Tour I really enjoyed photographing the markets and temples, and especially the people. Riding the bamboo train was a real kick, and the G&T’s we had afterwards were sublime. And I loved having cocktails at Ms Wong’s! Really, the best part of traveling with Lara and Terence was that it was like having friends that live locally, and can show you around, taking you to all the cool places.” Debbie, designer, USA. 

“I felt that the trip really let me experience a full spectrum of life in Cambodia. I think about our trip oftenAnd in a very positive way. Today I stumbled upon a Thai festival which generated a lot of memories. Thanks to you and Terry for an incredible experience.” Kimberley, events manager, USA.

“Thanks so much for a wonderful tour. This has been an extraordinary experience.” Gale, USA.

About Us

If you’re new to Grantourismo, we’re prolific travel and food writers and Terence is also a photographer concentrating on people, places and plates. We’ve been writing professionally since the late ’80s and our work has been published in The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Delicious, Feast, National Geographic Traveller, Wanderlust, CNN Travel, and a long list of other publications.

We’ve written widely on Cambodia and Cambodian food and are currently developing a Khmer cookbook, which partly explains why Terence can often be found in our Siem Reap kitchen pounding kroeung pastes in the mortar and pestle. I also craft bespoke ‘Savour Siem Reap’ food-focused itineraries and my clients have included some of the world’s best chefs and restaurateurs. Click through to read more about us, peruse some of our published work and view Terence’s photography portfolio and article clippings.

The Essential Details

Here’s what you need to know about our Cambodia creative retreats and culinary tours:

  • group – these are all small group trips with a maximum of 12 people so they’re intimate and everyone gets attention when it comes to one-on-one consultations and workshopping.
  • booking – a non-refundable deposit of US$500 is required to make a booking.
  • inclusions – VIP airport arrival including transfers and visa; all accommodation (one person per room unless you wish to share; no single supplement) with daily breakfasts; 7 lunches, 9 dinners, and lots of snacks; all tuition, writing and photography workshops, and one-on-one consultation time on the retreats; Angkor Archaeological Park temple passes (US$62 for three days); Beng Mealea temple pass (US$5); all tours, excursions, activities, experiences, and classes; transport, guides, and some entry fees, as specified in the itinerary.
  • exclusions – the price does not include flights; travel insurance (compulsory); hotel incidentals such as laundry, mini-bar, calls, room service, etc; drinks and alcoholic drinks, except the welcome dinner; and personal expenses.
  • accommodation – we select beautiful, intimate boutique hotels, which we’ve personally selected because we’ve stayed in them and love them. In 2016 we checked our guests into Maison Polanka, Templation, Maisons Wat Kor, and Bambu Resort, which you can read about on the links above.
  • food & drink – breakfast is included at all properties, along with 7 lunches and 9 dinners, and lots of snacks and tastings on excursions, market walks and street food tours. Water will be provided in your room and on tours. Aside from the welcome dinner, alcohol and other drinks are not included and will be billed to you or your room.
  • transport – we’ll use breezy tuk tuks for short distances, air-conditioned vehicles for long distances.
  • transfers – if you arrive earlier than 48 hours before or after a trip, airport transfers are only included if you stay at one of our partner hotels. Otherwise, they are US$7 (tuk tuk) or $10 (vehicle) each way and are super-easy for you to organise upon arrival. We can assist you with booking drivers for your departure.
  • guides & tours – as advocates of responsible travel, we only use Cambodian guides for all our temple, village and food tours. Full details in the itinerary.
  • travel insurance – you will be required to take out travel insurance with emergency medical evacuation cover. We recommend World Nomads travel insurance. Because we like them so much we joined their affiliate partnership and earn a small commission from your purchase of insurance through our site; you do not pay any more than you would if you purchased directly from their site.

For information on immunisations, visas, travel insurance, money matters, weather, packing list, reading list, and more, see our Siem Reap and Angkor Wat FAQs post. We encourage you to read our Our Guide to Responsible Travel in Cambodia.

2017 Cambodia Creative Retreats and Culinary Tours – Dates, Prices and Special Offers

May and June 2017

SPECIAL OFFERS EXTENDED: book a spot on our May and June trips by 30 April and 31 May 2017 respectively and you’ll get a 5% discount. Pay in full by that date and you’ll get an additional 5% discount, so a total of 10% off the prices below. Hurry, as we must fill the last few spots and close our mid 2017 trips soon.

26 May-3 June 2017 (check out 4 June)
9-Night Cambodia Culinary Tour
US$2,755 per person US$2,340 LAST MINUTE DISCOUNT* 15% off to fill the last spots on this trip if you book now (US$500 deposit) as we must close this trip on 30 April. Book now with a US$500 deposit.

9-18 June 2017 (check out 19 June)

10-Night Cambodia Travel and Food Writing and Photography Retreat
US$2,555 per person*

September and October 2017

23 September-2 October 2017 (check out 3 October)
10-Night Cambodia Culinary Tour
US$2,655 per person*

7-16 October 2017 (check out 17 October)
10-Night Cambodia Travel and Food Writing and Photography Retreat
US$2,755 per person*

21-30 October 2017 (check out 31 October)
10-Night Cambodia Culinary Tour
US$2,855 per person*

The 2017 package prices are higher than 2016 due to local price increases, including the Angkor Pass, which nearly doubled in price.
Price variations are also due to seasonal rate changes: November to February is high season when the weather is cool, clear and dry, so accommodation prices are high; April and May are the shoulder season when the sky is still clear and weather dry but it’s hot; June is the start of the low season and most affordable time to visit Cambodia, however, it is also the start of monsoon, which means there can be a chance of rain. By October it’s nearing the end of monsoon, and it’s gorgeous, lush and green.
The price advertised at the time you booked will be locked in when a deposit is paid.
These prices are for scheduled small group tours – we can run these trips as private tours and run them as group tours on dates of your choosing, however, please be aware that private tours are more expensive as we get lower rates for groups and group tours. The peak high season periods of December and January will also be more expensive.

More 2017 Dates TBC

Long Weekend Retreats

Some of you have asked for shorter, more intensive travel and food writing/blogging and photography retreats over long weekends. We are still exploring options for 2017 and will let you know ASAP if we can make something work. If these interest you, please do let us know.

2017 Dates for Culinary Tours to Vietnam

Participants who did our Cambodia retreats and tours asked us to host Vietnam and Laos culinary tours and retreats. If these interest, do let us know ASAP. We have scheduled the Vietnam trip and you’ll find details here.

Making an Enquiry or Booking

To make a booking or learn more about our Cambodia creative retreats and culinary tours please email us on and we’ll send you an itinerary and payment information. To book your place, a US$500 deposit is required. Bookings close 60 days before each trip for all trips.

Media and Blogger Affiliate Programme

If you are a food/travel blogger and would like to be part of our affiliate programme or if you’re a journalist or blogger who would like to write about our Cambodia creative retreats and culinary tours and need a media release and images, please email us on the address above.

Sponsors and Candidates

We are offering one sponsored spot to young Cambodians on each of our Cambodia creative retreats and culinary tours. If you’d like to nominate a Cambodian candidate for these, or you’re a business or individual who’d like to sponsor a place, please email us on the same address above.

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