Come eat, cook, get creative, and scramble Angkor Wat on our deliciously enriching Cambodia and Vietnam trips in 2019 and 2020. We’re offering last minute discounts on some of our 2019 Cambodia creative retreats and culinary tours as we must close bookings and fill final spots very soon, and some early bird discounts on 2020 for a limited number of places only. Hurry, so you don’t miss out!
UPDATE 1/10/19: We are offering VIP pick-ups, massages, gift baskets of culinary goodies, and 15% discounts on the full price of the November 2019 and April 2020 trips for Grantourismo subscribers for a limited time only as we must fill the last spots quickly. Email us at email@example.com but do hurry! We must close these trips ASAP as we have our own travelling to do!
Hungry for more meaningful and memorable experiences that provide a more immersive and deeper experience of a place? Eager to savour surprising new flavours that take you out of your comfort zone and delight you? Relish the chance to meet hospitable locals responsible for creating food as their ancestors have for centuries? Or perhaps keen to learn to document your travels better in more evocative words and images?
Then come eat, cook, and/or get creative with us as you discover Cambodia’s rich cuisine and culture; explore enchanting temples, sleepy villages and bucolic countryside; and engage with locals to gain a deeper insight into their lives.
Join us on one of our fully-escorted, small-group cuisine and culture tours or our writing and photography retreats – or let me craft a bespoke itinerary for you or plan the private trip of your dreams (all year; on request). We promise you a transformative travel adventure.
Need another incentive? Asia’s top travel magazine, DestinAsian, named our Cambodia Culinary Tour as one of 100 Essential Asia Pacific Experiences to put on your 2019 travel bucket list.
Discounts Extended But Do Hurry
We’re offering last minute discounts on some spots that we need to fill on our 2019 trips so we can lock off bookings ASAP as we need to do some travelling in Cambodia ourselves.
In addition, early-bird discounts are available on a few spots for a limited time only on some 2020 trips to take advantage of early-bird discounts our travel partners are offering us. They’re only available for a short time. We’re also offering discounts for couples or friends sharing a double/twin room on some trips; price on request.
Pay in full when you book and you’ll receive VIP immigration fast-track, a 60-minute massage, and a Cambodia culinary gift pack crammed with local ingredients, snacks and specialty drinks to sample during the trip or take home. If you’re a Grantourismo subscriber, you can get 15% off!
Scroll down for all essential details, dates and prices. See the highlights to find out what you’ll be doing. And for the best indication as to what to expect, we encourage you to read the testimonials from participants who have done our trips, below.
Email Lara for more details on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also see images from previous trips and follow our journeys on @instagram.com/grantourismo @twitter.com/gran_tourismo @facebook.com/grantourismo and @facebook.com/laradunston
Cambodia Creative Retreats and Culinary Tours for 2019 and 2020
Our Cambodia creative retreats and culinary tours in 2019 and 2020 are fully-escorted, small-group trips with compelling itineraries packed with enriching and immersive experiences in and around Siem Reap and Battambang – from engaging interactions with locals in their villages, rustic homes and workshops to breezy tuk tuk excursions through rice fields to palm-shaded villages and breathtaking temples, including spectacular UNESCO World Heritage listed Angkor Wat and other temples in Angkor Archaeological Park.
In partnership with our Cambodian travel partners and local guides, chefs, cooking instructors, artisanal producers, and drivers, we’ll immerse you in the rich culture and everyday life of this very special country and its warm and welcoming people.
We’ll give you a taste of Cambodia’s highly underrated and much misunderstood cuisine about which countless myths exist and we’ll introduce you to the friendly, laidback locals who cook the food, sell it, and make the ingredients that go into producing it. And in the process we’ll show you the Cambodia with which we’ve become smitten – and which we guarantee you will be too.
Highlights include tours to Cambodia’s jaw-dropping temples, stays in beautiful boutique hotels with swimming pools, delicious meals at authentic local eateries and the finest Cambodian restaurants, walks through lively markets, mouthwatering street food tours, hands-on cooking classes, culinary and cultural adventure to Cambodia’s ‘rice bowl’ of Battambang, and relaxing tuk tuk trundles into the lush countryside and sleepy villages surrounding both cities.
Cambodia Creative Retreats and Culinary Tours for 2019 and 2020 – Dates, Prices, Discounts
We are currently offering discounts on all 2019 and 2020 trips but for a limited time only.
9–16 November 2019 (check out 17 November)
8-Night CAMBODIA CUISINE AND CULTURE TOUR (CAMBODIA CULINARY TOUR)
Full Price: US$2,955 per person single occupancy in a 1-bedroom suite/double room $500 deposit to book. Balance due by 19 October 2019
Last Minute Discount: US$2,660 per person single occupancy in a 1-bedroom suite/double room $1,000 deposit to book. Balance due by 10 October 2019
Full Price: US$2,755 for second person sharing a 1-bedroom suite/double room with double/twin beds
$500 deposit to book. Balance due by 19 October 2019
Last Minute Discount: US$2,580 for second person sharing a 1-bedroom suite/double room with double/twin $1,000 deposit to book. Balance due by 10 October 2019
Full Price: US$2,555 per person triple occupancy for three people sharing a 2-bedroom suite in Siem Reap (one double bedroom and one twin bedroom), one homestay house (with two/three bedrooms) in Banteay Chhmar, and one room (with three beds) in Battambang. $500 deposit to book. Balance due by 19 October 2019
Last Minute Discount: US$2,455 per person triple occupancy for three people sharing a 2-bedroom suite in Siem Reap (one double bedroom and one twin bedroom), one homestay house (with two/three bedrooms) in Banteay Chhmar, and one room (with three beds) in Battambang. $1,000 deposit to book. Balance due by 10 October 2019
2020 Cambodia Tours
13–20 April 2020 (check out 21 April)
8-Night CAMBODIA CUISINE AND CULTURE TOUR (CAMBODIA CULINARY TOUR)
Full Price US$2,955 per person $500 deposit to book; pay in full by 19 October 2019
10% EARLYBIRD DISCOUNT (limited discounted spots available): US$2,660 per person $1,000 deposit to book; pay in full by 10 October 2019. Note: Prices are based on a single person in a double room; prices for two people in a double/twin share on request. For double/twin share, see 2019 pricing.
15-27 June 2019 (tentative dates)
Vietnam Cuisine and Culture Tour (full itinerary here)
Full Price US$3,828 per person $500 deposit to book; pay in full by 10 December 2019
Note: Prices are based on a single person in a double room; prices for two people in a double/twin share on request. This tour price is based on 4-star hotels; if you wish to stay in 5-star accommodation, please get in touch for prices.
6–13 July 2020 (check out 14 July)
8-Night CAMBODIA CULINARY TRAVEL WRITING & PHOTOGRAPHY RETREAT
Full Price US$2,955 per person $500 deposit to book; pay in full by 10 December 2019
10% LAST MINUTE DISCOUNT: US$2,660 per person $1,000 deposit to book; pay in full by 28 August 2019.
Note: Prices are based on a single person in a double room; prices for two people in a double/twin share on request. For double/twin share, see 2019 pricing.
23-31 October 2020 (check out 30 October)
NEW 9-Night Eat, Learn, Love Cambodia – All-Inclusive Luxury Tour
Full price US$6,625 per person $1,000 deposit by December 2019; pay in full by end of June 2020
$1,000 of which will be donated to NGOs/charities of the group’s choice while you’re here
*EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT $500 – you’ll pay US$6,125
Groups on our new all-inclusive, fully-escorted cuisine and culture tour will stay in luxury accommodation and enjoy cocktails and wine with multi-course gourmet meals in the finest Cambodian restaurants, an arts/crafts shopping excursion, and exclusive experiences, including a private performance by the Sacred Dancers of Angkor and dinner in the atmospheric home of the troupe’s patroness, a champagne cruise on a temple moat, and a helicopter ride over the spectacular Angkor temples. This tour has a focus on ‘giving back’ with a donation of US$1,000 of each person’s fee going to registered NGOs/charities with initiatives aimed at breaking the poverty cycle. These include donations to purchase books for schools, buy water filters and wells, provide scholarships for underprivileged young people, support performing arts organisations, and we’ll even pay for a new home to be built for a poor family. Hurry and book now – just 9 spots available!
NOTE: This can also be ran as a private tour on request at any time of the year.
LATE 2020 (dates TBC)
Thailand and Laos Cuisine and Culture Tour
Full itinerary and details to come.
Expressions of interest being taken.
INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS
Hotel transfers (if arrival/departure is within 24 hours of the tour and early check-in is at our tour accommodation)
All accommodation on a one person per double room basis with no single supplement; double/twin sharing prices on request
All daily breakfasts
Most lunches and dinners as indicated on each itinerary
Lots of snacks and tastings
All transport, tours, excursions, activities, experiences, classes, and entry fees
All transport and guides
On the creative retreats only: ongoing tuition/coaching, writing and/or photography classes/workshops, one-on-one consultations
Travel insurance (compulsory)
Angkor Archaeological Park temple pass (US$62 for three days)
Hotel incidentals such as laundry, mini-bar, calls, room service, etc
All drinks, non-alcoholic and alcoholic, except water on tours and excursions
Tips for guides and drivers
*Important Pricing/Payment Notes
1. These prices are for scheduled, small group, escorted tours that we mostly host during the low season to take advantage of the low tourist numbers and low prices, but we can run these as private, escorted, semi-escorted or self-guided tours throughout the year; email to enquire.
2. Price variations are due to different itineraries (higher price means more activities) and seasonal rate changes: November to February is high season when the weather is cool, clear and dry, but accommodation prices are high; March and April are the shoulder season months when the sky is clear and weather dry but it’s hot; May-June is the start of the low season and most affordable time to visit Cambodia; it is also the start of monsoon, which means there can be a chance of rain, but it’s already starting to get lush and green. By October it’s nearing the end of monsoon, and it’s still gorgeous and green.
3. The price advertised at the time you booked can only be locked in when a deposit is paid. This amount is non-refundable; we strongly encourage you to take out travel insurance to cover you in case you need to postpone/cancel your trip in the event of an emergency.
Make an Enquiry or Booking
To make a booking or learn more about our Cambodia creative retreats and culinary tours please email us on email@example.com. To book your place, a US$500 deposit is required; part of this may be non-refundable if you cancel, so do take out travel insurance to cover you in case of an emergency and you have to cancel or postpone your trip.
Cambodia Creative Retreats versus the Culinary Tours – Which is Right for You?
Both our Cambodia creative retreats and culinary tours are peppered with mouthwatering experiences, including market walks, street food tours, cooking classes, and restaurant meals, along with temple scrambles, excursions into the countryside and villages, and cultural activities, from a night at the circus in Siem Reap (no animals, just super talented performers) and an architecture walk in Battambang.
Our Cambodia Creative Retreats provide a stimulating environment to hone your storytelling skills. The Retreat is punctuated with bite-sized writing and/or photography classes, small achievable tasks and workshops (the writing/photography focus differs depending on the group); ongoing guidance and support; and one-on-one consultations. If committed and you take advantage of all the opportunities we provide to get inspired and gather material, and use your downtime to hole away in your room or find a shady spot by the pool for writing and editing, you should leave with enough content to craft a compelling story, series of blog posts and/or a strong set of images. The Retreat is a great way to find out if you really want to be a travel/food writer.
If that sounds like too much hard work for a holiday, all you really want to do is eat and cook, engage with hospitable locals, and gawk at the temples and rice fields, then the Cambodia Culinary Tour would be better for you. The itinerary is the same, but instead of using your downtime to get creative, you can use the time for spas, massages, swims, walks, or a spot of shopping.
If you’re unsure which trip is right for you, email us for a chat firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cambodia Creative Retreats and Culinary Tour Highlights
Each trip itinerary is a little different, but all are crafted from these enriching experiences:
- 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 compact Banteay Srei for the exquisite carvings, tranquil Banteay Samre, atmospheric Beng Mealea, and serene pyramid shaped Bakong, surrounded by a moat;
- memorable dinners at Cambodia’s finest restaurants, such as Sugar Palm, Malis, Lum Orng Farm to Table restaurant, Mie Cafe, Embassy, and Cuisine Wat Damnak (restaurants differ from itinerary to itinerary);
- authentic street food meals and snacks at our favourite local family-owned eateries, markets and food stalls including breakfasts at spots within Angkor Archaeological Park where locals eat;
- hands-on cooking classes with Siem Reap’s best chefs and cooking instructors, from a market walk and cooking class at one of Siem Reap’s finest restaurants to a cooking class on an organic farm, where you’ll tour the garden before the lesson;
- mouthwatering morning market tour and street food tour with local foodies in to introduce you to Cambodian specialties, ingredients and produce, including tastings of tropical fruits, herbs, snacks, desserts, and drinks;
- breezy tuk tuk excursions through the bucolic countryside and lively villages around Siem Reap and Battambang to observe cottage industries where artisanal producer families make things as they have always done, such as fermented rice noodles, prahok (fermented fish), palm sugar harvesting and production, traditional dessert making, and local specialties, such as mango and banana ‘parchment’ and kralan, a sticky rice and coconut snack barbecued in hollow bamboo cases over a smoky fire. These journeys are punctuated by stops at pagodas, temples, farms, and fishing villages;
- in-depth introductions during meals by your host on elements of Cambodian culinary culture, history and cuisine, from breakfast soups and fermented rice noodles to Cambodian street food and traditional desserts;
- the chance to give back by dining, drinking and shopping at NGO-operated social enterprises that train disadvantaged young Cambodians for the restaurant and hospitality industry, such as Friends’ International’s Marum, EGBOK’s Spoons restaurant, Bayon Pastry School and Cafe, and Bloom Cafe in Siem Reap, and in Battambang the Feel Good Coffee company’s award-winning Kinyei cafe and Cambodia Childrens Trust’s Jaan Bai, 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;
- an architecture tour of charming Battambang and its lively streets lined with Chinese shophouses, French colonial villas and New Khmer Architecture’s examples of mid-century modernism, and dotted with cafes, galleries and boutiques, and a Chinese temple, where you can have your fortune read if you wish;
- a very memorable night’s entertainment at Siem Reap’s quirky Phare Cambodian Circus;
- a visit to Sombai infused rice spirit producers to see their infusion rooms and enjoy a rice wine tasting; followed by a Khmer cocktail making lesson in a delightful bar located in the last traditional wooden house in the old town of Siem Reap;
- a fun Khmer language lesson on basic greetings and food-focused vocabulary (scheduled only for groups of 6 or more).
Optional experiences and add-ons at additional cost
- yoga, massages and spa treatments (in your downtime)
- pre-retreat ‘Made in Cambodia’ shopping tour focused on crafts, art, silk/textiles, fashion, jewellery, design
- pre- or post-retreat 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, more cooking classes, and accommodation for those who wish to arrive early and/or stay on later
Please 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 tour, check out our Instagram feed for images from the trips, visit our dedicated Siem Reap Retreats and Tours website, and read the testimonials of participants who have done our trips:
“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 restaurants), Australia.
“I had the pleasure of joining Lara and Terence on a travel and culinary tour in December 2016. It was my first time to Cambodia and I am sure it won’t be my last. The entire trip, from the hotels, restaurants, food, tours, friendly staff, and tuk tuk drivers, was brilliant. I fell totally in love with Cambodia and the people. Being with Lara and Terence really gave me the opportunity to learn so much more about this country and its beautiful people. Visiting the local villages outside of Battambang and Siem Reap and watching rice noodles and local Cambodian pastries being made, and eating delicious food at local restaurants by the side of the road, just to mention a few highlights, are experiences I will cherish forever. Lara’s knowledge of Cambodia is exceptional and her local knowledge made it such a unique and memorable trip. I can’t recommend this tour enough. As well as a great organised experience you also get to share it with these two and it’s like sharing your experience with newly made friends. Thanks so much Lara and Terence. Can’t wait to come back.” Kylie Ball, Hospitality Consultant, Sydney, Australia.
“It had been several years since I had traveled to Asia, so I was so pleased to have had our wonderful host Lara guide us gently through our first day or so of culture shock in Siem Reap! She was welcoming and friendly and made us feel right at home. The following 10 days in Cambodia were amazing- we climbed temples, cooked and ate TOO much delicious food, shopped in markets like locals, trundled on tuk tuks through the countryside, gained an insight into village life and rode the bamboo train in Battambang… possibly for the last time! I was so pleased that we were able to do all of this ethically and had the opportunity to support local people, social enterprises and NGOs as we traveled around this beautiful country. Lara and her local guides and drivers were extremely knowledgeable and nothing was too much trouble. We had many an enlightening conversation! I came away with a wealth of knowledge that I wasn’t expecting. The care, planning and research that Lara puts into her tours is second to none. She even helped us plan our onward journey after our culinary tour was over. Much appreciated!! I would recommend this tour or any that Lara and Terence run in a heartbeat.” Bianca Elliott, Physiotherapist, Brisbane, Australia.
“It’s taken me time to let the experiences of my trip to Cambodia percolate downwards, to gather my thoughts and then to put them into some semblance of meaning. I wanted to do justice to the most thoughtful and diligent way that Lara put together the food writing and photography Cambodia tour. The hard work and planning that she did coupled with her enthusiasm for the country and its food, and her own infectiously happy personality made it a trip to cherish in my memory.
Since I had children, my life changed and for the last twenty-five years, long holidays have been spent with my husband and family. The trip was a chance for me to travel independently again, to engage in a different way and experience a new culture. I let go of the ‘wife’ me, the ‘mother’ me, the ‘work’ me, and all my different responsibilities. I could just be me.
I well remember the exhilaration I felt as I landed at Siem Reap Airport at dawn and then rode in a tuk tuk to my first hotel, wondering what the next two weeks would bring. I have precious memories of watching the sun rise over Angkor Wat, travelling on the Bamboo Train at Battambang, and sharing many meals, full of fun and laughter, eating foods that were totally new to me.
I learnt that it was possible for me to be on my own again overseas, to manage locks, keys, safes, lights, air-con, which are all tasks that I have casually left to my husband in the recent past. Trivial they may seem but I think they were all part of the experience that I had to puzzle and sort out these things myself.
I took photos that I am proud of, learned about the Cambodian way of life and I stretched myself in ways I couldn’t imagine.
Now I am home, I am congratulating myself on what a good idea of mine it was to request this holiday rather than a ring or a pair of earrings for my ‘ big birthday’. I realise even more how much I have to be grateful for in my life. I treasure my new friendships and the opportunity to get to know a beguiling country such as Cambodia more intimately through your knowledge and direction.” Kate Roxburgh, cook, caterer, food writer, London, UK.
“This was my first experience with a group tour, and I’m so glad I booked it. Lara crafted a nine-day experience I’ll never forget: from visiting NGOs doing fantastic work for the community, to going to local farms and restaurants highlighting the beautiful Cambodian cuisine. From clambering in and out of breathtaking temples, to meeting Cambodians doing a range of activities, like growing mushrooms, making local sweets and so much more. What I liked about the trip was that it felt as though nothing was impossible. Want to do a Khmer cocktail making class? It can be organised! Want to see your nth temple? Sure, no problem! How about sunrise on top of a hill overlooking Tonle Sap? Yep, done. It was also great to see Grantourismo supporting local initiatives 100%, with all our guides being Cambodians who knew exactly what they were talking about. As an editor who deals with the tourism and hospitality industry, I’ve been hearing a lot about ‘experiential travel’ lately and now I can definitely say I’ve had a taste of what that really means.” Devina Divecha, managing group editor, restaurant and hospitality magazines, Dubai.
“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 marvelled 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.” 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.
“When I read the beautifully detailed itinerary for our retreat I felt it had been written for me. So keeping that in mind I decided this was going to be my 50th birthday celebration. With my sister by my side we took off on our first adult holiday together. Why hadn’t we done this before? What a hoot. Cambodia captured my heart, thank you Lara and Terence. To be introduced to Cambodia through the eyes of people who truly love where they live, and adore and respect these sweet, gentle people of this country, is something very special. The retreat we were part of in May 2016 has put me on a very exciting new path professionally, and I’ll always be so grateful for the inspiration. The food, from eating at the markets to a 5-course meal prepared by a wonderful French chef putting a modern twist on the local cuisine in a traditional Khmer house, was outstanding. Our time in Cambodia was made even more special by having a young Cambodian foodie along for the ride –we all adored Soon and felt so lucky to have that extra insight. When I can I’d love to travel with Lara and Terence again.” Jane Sidell, foodie, designer, traveller, keen photographer.
“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 food tour operators and mum Nafeesa, UAE.
“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.
“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 Miss 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 just wanted to take a moment to thank you for a lovely week. It has been truly special to be introduced to Cambodia and Cambodian culture via your expertise and guidance. I find myself absolutely smitten with Cambodia and especially its people. I hope our paths cross again one day.” Brad Crownover, academic, writer and actor, New York, USA.
“I felt that the trip really let me experience a full spectrum of life in Cambodia. I think about our trip often. And 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.
If you’re new to Grantourismo, we’re prolific travel and food writers and guidebook authors and Terence is 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/Traveler, Conde Nast Traveller China, Wanderlust, CNN Travel, The Telegraph, The Independent, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, International Traveller, Get Lost, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, and a long list of over a hundred other publications, including in-flight and hotel magazines.
We have some 60-odd guidebook commissions under our belts for the likes of Lonely Planet, Dorling Kindersley, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, and Thomas Cook, which includes authoring 25 first edition guidebooks, and updating and contributing chapters. Add to that hundreds of hotel reviews for the Lonely Planet site, i-escape and Mr & Mrs Smith among other hotel booking sites, and online destination guides and stories for everything from AFAR to the award-winning Marriott Traveller site.
We’ve written widely on Cambodia and its cuisine, are currently working on a Cambodia cookbook, which partly explains why Terence can often be found in our Siem Reap kitchen pounding kroeung pastes in the mortar and pestle, and one of my favourite places to be in the world is in a rustic Cambodian kitchen interviewing little old ladies, as much for their recipes as their life stories. We will soon be publishing a Siem Reap guidebook and Lara is also writing a first edition Cambodia guidebook for Bradt guides. Lara also crafts bespoke ‘Savour Siem Reap’ and Cambodia food-focused itineraries and 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.
More Important Details – Essential Reading
This is essential reading if you are considering or have signed up for our Cambodia creative retreats and culinary tours:
- trip itineraries – your best guide as to what to expect of our trips is the list of Highlights above. Your trip itinerary simply organises these highlights into a logical manner and will not be finalised until one week before your trip starts. This is because we are constantly enhancing our trips with small tweaks and sometimes major structural changes based on the experience of each trip, and this is something that sets us apart from the big travel companies. Factors that affect itineraries include participant feedback, weather, seasons, road conditions, public or religious holidays, changes to opening hours or performance times, special events, group numbers, guide/accommodation availability, and quality of experience, eg. if a restaurant or tour is no longer as good as it was we swap it for another. Itineraries are subject to change until the trip ends.
- inclusions & exclusions – see above.
- booking – a non-refundable deposit of US$500 is required to make a booking. We cannot hold your place until we receive your deposit.
- group size – these are fully-escorted small group trips with a maximum of 12 people, but groups tend to average 6-8 people. This means they’re nice and intimate, we’re not intrusive when we visit locals, everyone gets attention when it comes to one-on-one consultations and workshopping on the Retreats, and people always leave as friends. (We also offer private escorted trips for 1+ participant(s) and independent itineraries based on these tours, but these are more expensive; please email us for details).
- immunisations/vaccinations – ensure routine vaccines are up to date, eg. MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), diphtheria, and tetanus. Other vaccines recommended are Hepatitis A and Typhoid, which you can get from contaminated water and food. If you attract stray dogs, a Rabies shot is a good idea. You might need vaccinations for Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and Malaria, depending on where you’re travelling and what you plan to get up to before/after our trip. You won’t need malarials if staying in cities and exploring the temples and countryside around Siem Reap, Battambang and Phnom Penh. For more detailed professional advice, see the Australian Government’s Smart Traveller site, the UK’s NHS site, and the American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention site. See our Siem Reap and Angkor Wat FAQs post for more details.
- airport info – as the trips begin and end in Siem Reap, Siem Reap International Airport is where you need to arrive, however, if you are intending to see more of Cambodia after our trip, then there is an airport in Sihanoukville if you’re heading to the beach, islands, Kampot, and Kep, while Phnom Penh International Airport will be your arrival/departure point if you are planning on spending time in the capital.
- visas – everyone needs a visa for Cambodia, easily obtained at the airport for US$30 (complete the immigration and customs forms on the plane, bring 2 passport photos, ensure your passport has 6 months validity, and your US$ notes are crisp). E-Visas, obtained online, will save some time in the queue during high season (December to March) but aren’t necessary the rest of the year. We offer a VIP fast-track immigration service to expedite your visa process at the airport, but we can obviously not provide this if you buy your visa online.
- airport transfers – transfers from Siem Reap International Airport are included for all trips unless you arrive earlier than 24 hours before a trip commences or depart 24 hours or more after a trip ends. In those cases you can organise a transfer easily upon arrival at Siem Reap International Airport for US$10. You will see the glassed-in office when you are at the luggage carrousel waiting for you bags. If you extend your stay in Cambodia beyond 24 hours we can assist you with booking a driver for your departure or any onward travel.
- transport – we’ll use breezy tuk tuks for short distances and air-conditioned vehicles for long distances. All journeys in the itineraries are included. Drivers are available to take you wherever you wish to go during your downtime for an additional fee.
- accommodation – our trip participants stay in beautiful, small boutique hotels, which we’ve personally selected because we’ve stayed in them and love them. Over the years, we have checked our guests into the following boutique and luxury Siem Reap hotels: Sala Lodges, Maison Polanka, Templation, Lynnaya, Hillocks Hotel and Spa, and Pages; and Battambang hotels: Maisons Wat Kor and Bambu. Let us know if you need to book additional nights at these hotels before or after the trip. You’ll find more of our recommended hotels on the links.
- food & drink – breakfast is included at all properties, along with most lunches and almost all dinners, and lots of snacks and tastings on excursions, market walks, and street food tours. Water will be provided in your room and on tours. Alcohol and other non-alcoholic drinks are not included and will be billed to your room at the hotels or at restaurants the bill will be passed around and guests expected to contribute their share at the end of meals. Please ensure you have US$ on you throughout the trip. There are ATMs everywhere in Siem Reap and Battambang and our tuk tuk drivers can take you to a bank or currency exchange. We cannot run a tab for you.
- guides & tours – as advocates of responsible travel, we only use Cambodian guides for all our temple, village and food tours, and only partner with local Cambodia travel companies. Full details in the itinerary. We encourage you to read our post on Travelling Responsibly in Cambodia and Why It Matters and Our Guide to Responsible Travel in Cambodia.
- travel insurance – it is essential that you buy comprehensive travel insurance before you leave your home country that includes emergency medical evacuation cover and cover for trip cancellation and travel disruption. The emergency medical evacuation cover is essential in case you are ill or have an accident and you need to be transported to Bangkok for treatment. Coverage for trip cancellation and travel disruption is advisable in case you need to cancel or postpone your trip to Cambodia for some reason and/or if your flight is cancelled/delayed, you miss a connection, or there are strikes, which are frequent in Europe over summer.
- our travel insurance partner – we have tried many travel insurers over our decades of travelling and 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, money matters, weather, what to wear, packing list, reading lists, and more, see our Siem Reap and Angkor Wat FAQs post. This is where we respond to questions that you ask about our Cambodia creative retreats and culinary tours.
More 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 and looking for dates for late 2019 and early 2020 and will let you know ASAP if we can make something work. If these interest, please do let us know.
Dates for Culinary Tours to Vietnam
Participants who did our Cambodia retreats and tours asked us to host Vietnam, Laos and Thailand culinary tours and retreats. We held our first Vietnam Culinary Tour in 2017 and another Vietnam Cuisine and Culture Tour in July 2019.
Media and Blogger Affiliate Programme
If you are a food/travel blogger or web publisher and would like to be part of our affiliate programme to earn money to help us promote our Cambodia creative retreats and culinary tours, or you’re a journalist or blogger who would like to write about our trips 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.