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 people when it was the capital of the powerful Khmer kingdom. As soon as you enter the archeological site, a sensation of majesty will surround you. Originally a Hindu city before became Buddhist lately, today it is the largest religious complex in the world and the Cambodian national pride, with its uncountables temples having an 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… All of them contribute to this incredible place to make it the once-in-a-lifetime sensation that you were looking for.
Day 1: Arrive in Siem Reap
This afternoon, we 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 god-king Vishnu. The temple complex covers 80 hectares, which is a size comparable to that of the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Angkor Wat is considered by art historians to be the most typical example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Its soaring five towers, with their distinctive extraordinary bas-reliefs, has been emblazoned on the Cambodian flag.
You will 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 priests, palace officials, and the military. The city is notable for its five monumental gates. These 20-meter high gates are decorated with stone elephant heads and crowned by four gargantuan faces of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. In front of each gate, there stand 54 gods (to the left and 54 demons to the right of the causeway. The complex comprises a variety of major 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 Avalokitesvara. See the Royal Enclosure, the Phimeanakas, the Elephants Terrace, and the Terrace of the Leper King – former spaces for public ceremonies, all adorned with dramatic bas-reliefs.
In the afternoon, take a drive outside Siem Reap to the enchanting temple of Banteay Srei. Constructed 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. Built in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII, this large temple Buddhist complex covers 56 hectares 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.
DAY 3: Siem Reap (B)
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