Step back in time to the grandeur of the prosperous Khmer kingdoms of yore. Take an in-depth tour of the temples of Angkor, marvelling at the grandeur of historic thousand-year old temples. Encounter towering monuments of Hindu and Buddhist origins and explore a traditional culture unlike any other.
Visit Angkor Wat in the early evening, when the crowds have dispersed and the evening light enhances its intricate carvings.
Take a traditional ox cart ride through the Rolous Group, a set of impressive monuments built before Angkor Wat.
Taste the exquisite flavours of Cambodian cuisine and explore colourful local villages to get in touch with Khmer culture.
Angkor Discovery - 4 Days / 3 Nights
Upon your arrival in Siem Reap, you will be welcomed by a local English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel for check in. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire.
After a short relaxing break, you will visit the famous Angkor Wat by car. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, it is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing the Mount Meru, home of the gods. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Moreover, Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.
During sunset time, Angkor Wat is less visited, and the Apsaras will shine in the most beautiful light. Return to your hotel, where you can enjoy the evening at leisure.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
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.
You will have dinner at Marum restaurant set in a delightful wooden house with a spacious garden, and featuring a winning mix of creative local cuisine, Marum is named after the Moringa, or 'Tree of life'. Your visit not only gives you an incredible dining experience, but also helps build a new life for the students in training there! Part of the Tree Alliance group of training restaurants, they provide vocations into the hospitality industry for local street kids and disadvantaged youths.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Early today, travel to the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srei, which is best viewed in the warm morning light. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” remains the best preserved temple in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs. Banteay Srei is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.
On the way back, you will have the possibility to stop at local communities along the way and your guide will help you to interact with the local community to learn about the way of life here. Seize the opportunity to taste Palm Wine and Palm Sugar (seasonal) and other popular local produce.
Lunch will be at the iconic Viroths restaurant, before embarking on an interesting boat trip on Tonlé Sap Lake, where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. Tonlé Sap is South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake with its size varying greatly depending on the season, as it is swelling to about 4 times its size in during the wet season. Board a local boat and visit Kampong Phluck, a village where you will see houses on stilts that are submerged when Tonlé Sap Lake extends. On the way, you will pass floating houses and impressive flooded forests, portraying life on the water. (Note: Due to low water levels during the dry season, the boat trip is only possible from June to March. However an alternative floating village at Chong Kneas can be arranged instead).
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Depending on your departure flight you may have time to explore Siem Reap’s colorful markets. Visit Artisans d’Angkor, established in 1992 in order to support Cambodian arts and crafts, and to help young people find work in their local villages by continuing the practice of traditional arts. Discover how wood and stone carvings, lacquering, gilding, and silk paintings are created.
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
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