Day 01 Siem Reap Arrival
Day 02 Angkor Complex
Day 03 Phnom Kulen and Angkor
Day 04 Phnom Krom and Siem Reap Departure
DAY 01 SIEM REAP ARRIVAL
Upon arrival at Siem Reap International airport, our guide will greet and transfer to our hotel for check-in. On the way, we make a stop at The House of Peace Association where we explore the creation of leather Sbei Tuoi (Shadow Puppets), a traditional Khmer art form, and buy the figures as a memorable souvenir.
Lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we head to Les Chantier Ecoles, a school specializing in teaching wood- and stone-carving techniques to impoverished youngsters. On this premises there is a beautiful shop called Artisans d’Angkor which sells everything from stone and wood reproductions of Angkorian-era statues to household furnishings. Continue to Psar Chas (Old Market) where a range of artifacts and tourist junk are sold and then walk along the Pub Street till Night Market. Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Siem Reap.(L, D)
DAY 02 ANGKOR COMPLEX
After breakfast, we visit magnificent Angkor Wat to view its architecture and bas reliefs. This temple is the largest religious buildings ever constructed and is truly one of the wonders of the world. Believed to have been undertaken as a temple and mausoleum for King Suryavarman II at the peak of the Khmer empire in the first half of the 12th century, Angkor Wat is the best-preserved of the Angkorian temples. Lunch at a local restaurant. We visit the sites of Angkor Thom. This Royal city was first built under the reign of Udayadityavarman II in the 11th Century. It was destroyed when the Chams from Vietnam rose up against the Khmers and invaded, sacking the city, and was subsequently renovated by King Jayavarman VII at the end of the 12th Century. Its vast walls, some 6m wide, 8m high and 13km in length contain many monuments. We begin by visiting the South Gate, flanked by demons and gods engaged in a tug of war to obtain the elixir of immortality. We continue to the Bayon, a temple mountain built by Jayavarman VII. It is situated in the center of the city of Angkor Thom. It is a three-tiered pyramid with its entrance facing east. The central shrine is surrounded by 54 towers all crowned by gigantic faces, representing Avalokiteshvara but with the features of Jayavarman VII. We also visit other important sites in this immense walled city, including the pyramid of Baphuon, Phimean Akas, and the royal viewing stands known as the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King. Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Siem Reap.(B, L, D)
DAY 03 PHNOM KULEN-ANGKOR
After breakfast, we visit Phnom Kulen, a huge plateau around 50km from Siem Reap and the most sacred mountain in Cambodia. It played a significant role in the history of the Khmer empire since AD 802. At the summit of the mountain, Wat Preah Ang Thom houses a large reclining Buddha carved into the sandstone boulder below. We also visit a nearby large waterfall before heading to the elegant temple of Banteay Srei built by a Brahman in the 10th century and dedicated to Shiva. The famous pink sandstone structure bears a series of the beautiful sculptures, lintels, pediments and friezes. Lunch at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, we continue to a jungle-clad Ta Prohm. This temple was a monastery built by Jayavarman VII as a residence for his mother. Ta Prohm has been controversially left to the destructive power of the jungle by French archaeologists to demonstrate the awesome power of nature. It has been largely consumed by the jungle and as you climb through the dilapidated stone structures you see many giant trees growing out of the top of the temple itself. We continue to visit Banteay Kdei, a massive Buddhist monastery from the latter part of the 12th centaury surrounded by four concentric walls. Each of its four entrances is decorated with garudas and east of it is an earlier basin, Sra Srang (Pool of Ablutions) measuring 800m by 400m. Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Siem Reap.(B, L, D)
DAY 04 PHNOM KROM-SIEM REAP DEPARTURE
After having an early breakfast, we head to Phnom Krom (a small mountain) located 12km south of Siem Reap and visit the temple of Phnom Krom. Then enjoy the magnificent scenery overlooking Tonle Sap Lake, the largest lake in Southeast Asia. After that, transfer to the international airport for our departure flight.(B)
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