Day 2 - Siem Reap (B,D)
After breakfast, head out to the early-Angkor era temples of the Roluos Group, about 15km outside of Siem Reap. Roluos is the site of the first town built by the Angkorian kings in the 8th and 9th century and consists of three main temples: Bakong, Lolei and Preah Ko. The beautiful surrounding countryside with its paddy fields and sugar palm trees is very typical for Cambodia – enjoy the beauty on an ox cart ride to Roluos Pagoda, a great and fun way to get in touch with rural Cambodia and its friendly people.
Here, in a small contemporary pagoda, Buddhist monks will celebrate a private blessing ceremony for you, wishing your health and a safe journey – a very special experience! Return to the hotel for a break during the midday heat.
Return to Siem Reap where you have some time at leisure for lunch (own expense) before this afternoon, explore the highlights of the Small Circuit. Start your tour with a visit to Ta Prohm temple, built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes Ta Prohm one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. Your visit will also include Banteay Kdei, a Buddhist monastery from the late 12th Century, and Srah Srang, also known as the “pool of ablutions”.
Continue to the ancient city of Angkor Thom. Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall, drawing a perfect square. Enter the city through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant faces.
From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its 54 towers with enigmatic faces representing the 54 provinces of the Great Khmer Empire. The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate bas-reliefs.
And finish the day at the stunning Madame Butterfly. Set in a traditional Khmer wooden house with exotic gardens, Madame Butterfly servies up some of Siem Reaps best Khmer cuisine.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Distances and journey time:
Siem Reap – Temples (06 km): 10 mins