Discover the heart and soul of Cambodia, Angkor Temples! Angkor was the biggest city in the world from XI to XIII centuries, as it was inhabited by more than one million population at that time when it was the capital of the powerful Khmer kingdom. There is no doubt that the sensation of majesty will surround you as soon as you enter in the archeological site. Originally an Hindu city that became Buddhist later, nowadays is the largest religious complex in the world and the Cambodian national pride, with its uncountables temples and its impressive level of detail in each of them. Angkor Wat, considered as the iconic example of Khmer architecture, Phnom Bakheng and its breathtaking sunset, Ta Phrom and its beautiful atmospheric sensation, Angkor Thom with its five monumental gates that allows you to enter to the fortified city and last capital of the Khmer empire… This incredible place is the once-in-a-lifetime sensation that you were looking for.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Siem Reap|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Please arrive by 7:15 AM for a prompt departure at 7:30 AM.|
|RETURN TIME||Approximately 6:30 PM.|
|WEAR||Comfortable athletic clothing, hiking boots, hat, jacket and sunscreen.|
Day 1: Arrive in Siem Reap
This afternoon, drive to the biggest religious temple in the world, magnificent Angkor Wat. It was built by Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, to honor Vishnu, a god-king. The temple complex covers 80 hectares; comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing, Angkor Wat is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Its soaring five towers, with their distinctive extraordinary bas-reliefs, are seen emblazoned on the Cambodian flag.
End the day at Phnom Bakheng, to watch the sunset over the Cambodian countryside. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 2: Siem Reap (B)
Begin your temple exploration at Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer Empire. It was a fortified city enclosing residences of priest, palace officials, and the military. The city is notable for its five monumental gates. The 20 meters tall gates are decorated with stone elephant heads, and crowned by four gargantuan faces of the Bodhisattva Avalokitessvara. In front of each gate, there stand 54 gods (to the left of the causeway) and 54 demons (to the right of the causeway). The complex comprises a variety of important temples with the prominent Bayon Temple at the center. The Bayon Temple is unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avalokitessvara. See the Royal Enclosure, the Phimeanakas, the Elephants Terrace, and the Terrace of the Leper King – former spaces for public ceremonies, both adorned with dramatic bas-reliefs.
In the afternoon, take a drive outside Siem Reap to the enchanting temple of Banteay Srei. Built in 967 by Jayavarman V’s guru, it showcases the most exquisite, deep and complex carvings in all Khmer architecture. An added feature of the exquisite decoration is the use of a hard pink sandstone (quartz arenite) giving the temple a beautiful red color. Continue on the Grand Circuit to the Preah Khan or “Holy Sword” Temple. This large temple Buddhist complex covers 56 hectares, and was built in the late 12th century by King Jaya-varman VII, and dedicated to his father Dharanindravarman. The main shrine and its adjoining buildings are richly decorated with Buddhist motifs and scenes from Hindu epics.
Back to the hotel. Overnight in Siem Reap.