Expert, English-speaking guides will show you the way around the temples of Angkor Wat, and other magnificent ancient buildings. You’ll be able to find your way through the complex, mysterious and beautiful world of Cambodia’s most famed temple site.
All our guide are trained in an extensive knowledge of the history and architecture of the temples.
Welcome to Siem Reap, the gateway to Cambodia’s ancient Khmer empire.
Upon arrival, we will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your Siem Reap hotel.
The following days, we will pick you up from your hotel for a full day of sightseeing. You’ll be taken to Cambodia’s most famous sites: the iconic temples of Angkor Wat and Bayon, as well as the beautiful ‘floating villages’ of Tonle Sap Lake and Phnom Kulen.
After exploring Siem Reap you’ll be dropped off at your hotel once again, and have free time for dinner in town before an overnight stay in Siem Reap.
Itinerary in Details
Upon arrival at Siem Reap International Airport, you will be welcomed by your driver and transferred to your hotel for check-in. At the hotel, you will be greeted by one of our management team and it is the opportunity to go through your itinerary again before it gets started.
We depart the town as we venture towards an unspoiled floating community called Kampong Phluk, known for its stilted-house villages and flooded forest.
Along the way, we will stop to have a look around the Rolous Market. This is a great chance to glimpse the local daily life selling indigenously grown vegetables, different fish species, and other local produce.
We will also see one of the bridges on the Rolous River, built during the period of French dominance in Cambodia. We then board a boat and begin sailing down the river, eventually arriving at the floating community of Kampong Phluk, where we will experience a truly unique way of life.
Within the community, there are fish farms, an island pagoda, schools, and houses built on 8 to 10m high stilts.
As we venture beyond the villages, we will head into the flooded forest; home to some of Cambodia’s water-bird species. The boat will then set off for the largest freshwater lake in SE Asia, Tonle Sap, where we will explore before heading back to the mainland and returning you back to your hotel for your lunch and the rest of the afternoon free.
After breakfast 8am, we venture off the beaten track as we drive to the place where it all began. Rich in history, Phnom Kulen is where the “Age of Angkor” began, and is one of only two places in Cambodia where Buddha is reputed to have set his foot. First we visit a scenic waterfall and the giant reclining Buddha. We push on further, exploring kilometres of complex back trails, deep jungle tracks, and hidden temples including the stunning and sought-after stone elephant and lion statues.
Lunch at the local restaurant near the waterfall (clients own account).
After Kulen mountain tour, we will transfer you to Banteay Srey Temple, which arguably has some of the finest preserved and most intricate carvings of all the Angkorian Temples. Banteay Srey has also been known as the ‘citadel of women’. This is one of the smaller temples but also one of the most delicate and beautifully carved. Constructed out of sandstone and ornately designed, you may notice a fairyland like ambience as you walk around.
This red sand-stone temple is one of Angkor’s most significant structures as its walls are decorated with elaborate carvings in an amazing state of preservation. Much of the Angkor civilisation can be learned here by studying the remarkable carvings. Your guide will spend time depicting Hindu tales from the various carvings as you explore your beautiful surroundings. After the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel where you will have the rest of the day at leisure.
Rising early, at 5am you journey to the great Sunrise experience at Angkor Wat. Our guide will escort you to the best place where you could take a fantastic shot of the sun when it shines behind the temple.
Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat, believed to be the world’s largest religious building. This temple is the perfect fusion of symbolism and symmetry and stands as an enormous source of pride to all Khmers. We begin by unraveling the mysteries of the bas-reliefs that tell tales from Hindu mythology and the glories of the Khmer empire. Stretching for almost one kilometre, these intricate carvings are a candidate for the world’s longest unbroken piece of art. Following in the footsteps of the devout and the destructive before us, we then continue to the upper levels of the inner sanctuary.
The final steps to the upper terrace of Angkor are the steepest of all, as pilgrims of old were to stoop on their pilgrimage to encounter the Gods. We finally reach the pinnacle and sacred heart of Angkor Wat; a blend of spirituality and symmetry so perfect that few moments will measure up.
Next, you will continue to visit the enigmatic and enchanting temple of Bayon. By beginning our tour here we can avoid the crowds and see the temple at its quietest. Located at the exact centre of Angkor Thom, this temple is an eccentric expression of the creative genius and inflated ego of Cambodia’s most celebrated king. Its 54 towers are each topped off with the four faces of Avalokiteshvara (Buddha of Compassion), which bears more than a passing resemblance to the king himself. These colossal heads stare down from every side, exuding power and control with a hint of compassion, just the mix required to keep a hold on such a vast empire.
You continue your exploration amongst the walled city of Angkor Thom; the masterpiece of King Jayavarman VII. Following the occupation of Angkor by the Chams from 1177 to 1181, the new king decided to build an impregnable fortress at the heart of his empire. The causeway is lined by an intricate bridge depicting the churning of the ocean of milk from Hindu mythology in which devas (gods) and asuras (devils) play tug of war with a naga (seven-headed serpent) to obtain the elixir of immortality.
Within Angkor Thom, our next stop is the Terrace of the Leper King. This intricately carved platform was the royal crematorium and the statue that was originally thought to be the leper king is now believed to be Yama, the god of death. We continue along the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances and traditional sports. At the southern end lies the Baphuon, one of the most beautiful temples at Angkor, built during the reign of Uditayavarman in the 11th century. It has undergone a massive renovation and is now once again open for viewing.
We then continue on to the Ta Prohm temple, a structure which has been abandoned to the elements. The temple serves as a powerful reminder that while empires rise and fall, the riotous power of nature marches on, oblivious to the dramas of human history. Left as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhot in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones that man first conquered nature to create.
We will then pause for a late lunch at a local restaurant (Lunch is on clients own account) before continuing to our final temple – Banteay Kdei. The name translates to `Citadel of Chambers’ and as the temple exists on one level; it is easy to thoroughly explore the towers and corridors as well as their beautiful carvings. The construction of the temple had changed many times since its original plans causing a slight lack of consistency in its design. That being said, the final outcome of the temple is superb. As it is far less visited than its neighbouring main sites, Banteay Kdei offers a serene and peaceful end to our exploration. After the tour, we will then transfer you back to your hotel.
Today you are free until we pick you up from the hotel to the airport with plenty of time before your departing flight back home.
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