Cambodia, officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is 181,035 square kilometres (69,898 sq mi) in area, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.
Cambodia has had a pretty bad run of luck for the last half-millennium or so. Ever since the fall of Angkor in 1431, the once mighty Khmer Empire has been plundered by its neighbors. It was colonized by the French in the 19th century, and during the 1970s suffered heavy carpet bombing by the USA. After a false dawn of independence in 1953, Cambodia promptly plunged back into the horrors of civil war in 1970 to suffer the Khmer Rouge’s incredibly brutal reign of terror, and only after UN-sponsored elections in 1993 did the country begin to totter back onto its feet.
Much of the population still subsists on less than the equivalent of US$1 a day, the provision of even basic services remains spotty, and political intrigue remains as complex and opaque as ever; but the security situation has improved immeasurably, and increasing numbers of visitors are rediscovering Cambodia’s temples and beaches. Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor, now sports luxury hotels, chic nightspots, ATMs, and an airport fielding flights from all over the region, while Sihanoukville is getting good press as an up-and-coming beach destination.
Treat yourself to a tour of Mahé’s wild side, the untamed south of the island, with its rolling countryside, quaint hamlets and spectacular beaches. Your day starts in charming Victoria, on a visit to the bustling market, ‘Little Ben’, its famous, landmark clock tower and the other fascinating nooks and crannies of one of world’s smallest capitals. A scenic drive into the cool of the mountains follows, offering unforgettable vistas of the ocean below en route to the enchanted setting of ‘Mission Lodge’, site of an ancient school for slave children and now home to the songs of rare, endemic birds. Seemingly suspended in the mountain mists is the tea plantation which you will pass on your descent to the surreally beautiful west coast and the photo opportunity of your stay as the road meanders through picturesque villages on its way to Pineapple Studios – an Alladin’s Cave of local arts & crafts. This particular rainbow trail ends at spectacular Cap Lazare amid the scented blossoms of Frangipani trees and the manicured gardens of a private estate where you will feast on a mouthwatering Creole buffet served right on the beachfront. The afternoon is yours to enjoy in the beautiful grounds of this exceptional domain, famous for its large population of Giant Land Tortoises and for the wonders of its underwater world.
Enjoy the very best of both worlds: those of the ocean and one of Seychelles’ twin, UNESCO World Heritage Sites - the mysterious, primeval valley known as the Vallée de Mai. We will introduce you to the experience of a lifetime on a guided tour of this world-famous site where the legendary Coco-de-Mer, the double-lobed coconut in the form of a woman’s pelvis, grows in twilight beneath a towering canopy of palms. Fantastic legends and tales about this extraordinary site as our guide will explain how it is believed to be the original biblical Garden Of Eden before escorting you to the ocean - destination Anse Lazio, reputedly the world’s most beautiful beach. Swimming and snorkelling in the crystal waters off this divine beach is a once in a lifetime experience. We will provide you with ample time to engrave it on your memory before we take you home at day’s end.
This voyage to the timeless island of La Digue where age-old traditions await your discovery. We invite you to travel the traditional way, by schooner, from Praslin’s Baie Ste Anne jetty to nearby La Digue Island where our attentive staff will greet you with freshly picked coconuts before escorting you by traditional transport to L’Union Estate. Here, in landscaped gardens bordering imposing granite boulders and the equally magnificent ‘Emmanuelle’ House where the famous film of the same name was made, we will reveal to you how ‘coprah’, the succulent flesh of the coconut is dried and its perfumed oil extracted. Your next visit will be to Anse Source d’Argent, the world’s most photographed beach that has already played host to scenes from such films as ‘Pirates’ and ‘Castaway’ as well as to adverts for Bacardi, Carling and Bounty and where the combination of turquoise shallows fringed by exquisite granite rocks promises to take your breath away. Luncheon will be at today’s choice of traditional restaurant followed by the scenic journey to the beaches of Grand Anse or Anse Severe where you will while away the afternoon at leisure. Alternatively, from the moment of your arrival on La Digue you may decide to set out on your own individual voyage of discovery and explore the island by bicycle at your leisure, taking in as many places of interest as your heart desires.
This is a great adventure for those young hearts with the first stop being at St. Pierre Island, a favourite with swimmers and snorkelers. You will then visit Curieuse island reserve, where you can admire the giant land tortoises and enjoy a one hour tour of the island, walking through the mountains and mangroves swamp to Anse Josee. The day continues with a mouth-watering BBQ lunch, served aboard the elegant Oplezir catamaran, before cruising to the stunning Anse Georgette beach for a photo stop and a refreshing swim. The trip will end with a scenic cruise along the North East coast of Praslin Island. Leave the world behind and enter with us the mysterious realm of the Vallée de Mai, the legendary valley where General Gordon of Khartoum became convinced was the original site of the biblical Garden of Eden. Stroll along the winding footpaths of a place so special it has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site, beneath the shade of ancient, towering palms bearing the most extraordinary fruit of all: the famous Coco-de-Mer, a double-lobed coconut and the world’s heaviest seed in the perfect shape of a woman’s pelvis. Listen for the call of one of the world’s rarest birds, the Seychelles Black Parrot as you wander the valley and your guide introduces you to its spectacular treasures which includes one of the planet’s tiniest frogs, stick insects, chameleons and six species of endemic palm. Leaving the spellbinding wonders of the valley behind, we will take you to one of the most famous beaches on Earth, where ancient granite boulders stand jealous guard over a beach of bewitching beauty, lapped by crystal turquoise waters…a fitting close to an unforgettable experience of Seychelles’ twin masterpieces.
A Tale of three Islands invites you to experience this unique combination of Seychelles’ most famous island highlights. As first port of call, we have planned a one-hour guided tour of Cousin Island, a picturesque reserve for a wide range of fauna, including doves and giant tortoises and also a conservation success story that has rescued important endemic wildlife from extinction. After savouring the rich diversity of this pristine sanctuary set like a gemstone in a pure turquoise sea, you will visit Curieuse Island off Praslin’s northern coast, the only place apart from the Vallée de Mai where the legendary Coco de Mer grows wild. Here you will enjoy exceptional swimming in limpid waters and relaxation on white sands before being served a tasty barbecue lunch on the beach. After lunch, you can enjoy a one-hour guided tour through this fascinating nature reserve, taking in the ruins of its ancient leper colony and the newly refurbished ‘Doctor’s House’, now a charming museum. The island trail meanders through a mangrove forest teeming with wildlife towards the impressive lagoon of Baie Laraie where small sharks and turtles abound and where you will also find the pen for rearing giant land tortoises in an exciting conservation project. Leaving Curieuse behind, we will eventually make our way to the third in our trio of island jewels, St Pierre, for the snorkelling experience of a lifetime, amid crystalline waters that abound with a myriad of fish and colourful coral formations. On the return journey you will be left the arduous task of deciding which of our three islands is the most magnificent!
Become one with nature as only Seychelles can offer it, on this day of discovery and adventure commencing with a visit to the Ste Anne Marine Park, with its spectacular views of the surrounding islands. Our Reef Safari will introduce you to the myriad wonders of Seychelles’ underwater world by glass-bottom boat, your ‘eye in crystal waters’ and to the thrill of fish feeding before transporting you to one of the park’s island jewels: Cerf. Cerf is the largest island of the Ste. Anne Group, named after the vessel of one of Seychelles’ early explorers and has a long tradition of settlement, first as a coconut plantation and now as a habitation for people escaping the ‘hustle and bustle’ of neighboring Mahé. Here, we will tempt your palate with a traditional Creole lunch, allowing you time to explore the rare beauty of the island, swim in its crystal waters and relax on its silver-sanded beaches. This is a place where stunning, natural beauty and time-honored island ways will conspire to provide you with the time of your life…and the memories to match.