Angkor was built by the Angkorian god kings who ruled the region for more than 500 years, from 802AD to the mid-1300s. Spanning 81 hectares, the vast complex incorporated more than 60 temples and had five main towers.
Day 1: Arrival - Phnom Penh. Arrive Phnom Penh, transfer to hotel. Free at leisure (No tours & no guide). Phnom city tour: Visit the Victory Monument, and the National Museum, also called Musee des Beaux-Arts. A French archaeologist and painter, Georges Groslier, designed it in Khmer style in 1917. The museum contains a collection of Khmer art - notably sculptures - throughout the ages. Visit the Royal Palace, built by the French in 1866 on the site of the old town, and the Silver Pagoda. Located within the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda is so named because of its floor, which is made up of 5000 silver tiles. The treasures include a solid gold Buddha encrusted and weighing 90kilos and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha. End your afternoon with the visit of the Wat Phnom Temple, Phnom Penh's namesake, from where you can enjoy views over the tree-lined avenues of Phnom Penh during sunset. Note: The Silver Pagoda and Royal Palace may be closed while H.M. The King is in residence. Overnight in Phnom Penh. Includes: (B)
Day 2: Phnom Penh - Siem Reap. Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Phnom Penh's Pochentong airport and departure by Siem Reap Airways International or similar to Siem Reap. Arrive in Siem Reap airport, welcome by your local guide and transfer to the hotel. Visit Roluos Group (Hariharalaya): The monuments of Roluos, which served as the capital of Indravarman I (reigned 877-89), are among the earliest large, permanent temples built by the Khmers and mark the beginning of Khmer classical art. Visit Preah Ko, erected by Indravarman I in the late 9th century dedicated by the King to his ancestors in 880 - Bakong, the largest and most interesting of the Roluos group temples, with his active Buddhist monastery just to the north of the east entrance - Lolei, the four brick towers, a replica of the towers of Preah Kho, built on an islet in the center of a large reservoir - now rice fields, by Yasovarman I, the founder to the first city at Angkor.
In the afternoon, you will continue your temple visit, including Prasat Kravan with unique brick sculptures, Srah Srang, "The Pool of Ablutions" which was doubtless used for ritual bathing, Banteay Kdei, surrounded by 4 concentric walls, Eastern Mebon, guarded at its corner by stone figures of harnessed elephants, some of which are still in a reasonable state of preservation, and Pre Rup, the mountain-temple until sunset. Overnight in Siem Reap. Includes: (B)
Day 3: Siem Reap. Breakfast at hotel. Visit the South Gate with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, the antique capital of Angkor Thom (12th century), the Bayon Temple, unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara, the Royal Enclosure, the Phimeanakas, the Elephants Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King. In the afternoon, visit the most famous of all the temples on the plain of Angkor: Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. It's distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Angkor Wat's five towers symbolize Meru's five peaks - the enclosing wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat, the ocean beyond. Enjoy the sunset on Angkor Wat. Overnight in Siem Reap. Includes: (B)
Day 4: Siem Reap. Breakfast at hotel. Morning, transfer to Banteay Srei temple (10th c), regarded as the jewel in the crown of Classical Khmer Art. Visit Banteay Srei then continuation to Banteay Samre, built in the third quarter of the 12th century. It consists of a central temple with four wings preceded by a hall and accompanied by two libraries, the southern example remarkably well preserved. Two concentric walls enclose the ensemble. In the afternoon, you will continue your temple visits to Neak Pean, a fountain built in the middle of a pool and representing the paradisaical Himalayan mountain-lake, and Preah Khan, built by the King Jayavarman VII and, like Ta Prohm, a place of towered enclosures and shoulder hugging corridors. Unlike Ta Prohm, however, the temple of Prea Khan is in a reasonable state of preservation and ongoing restoration efforts should maintain and even improve this situation. Then, visit Ta Prohm until the sunset, one of the most beautiful temples in the area, as it has been relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery. Its appeal lies in the fact that, unlike the other monuments of Angkor, it has been left to be swallowed by the jungle, and looks very much the ways most of the monuments of Angkor appeared when European explorer first stumbled upon them. Overnight in Siem Reap. Includes: (B)
Day 5: Siem Reap - Departure. An early bird special: Transfer to the archaeological site for the sunrise from the Phnom Bakheng, one of two hills dominating the plain of Angkor, from where you will have a spectacular view of the Western Baray and Angkor Wat. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Visit the floating village of Chong Khneas, located 10 kilometers south of Siem Reap. Visit the village and take a boat trip in a traditional wooden boat on the Tonle Sap Lake, the great Lake of Cambodia, one of the wonders of Asia. After lunch, visit to "Les Artisans d'Angkor - Chantiers Ecoles" and time at leisure at a local market (if time permits). Transfer to Siem Reap airport for departure flight to the next destination. Includes: (B)
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Cambodia History Whiz Archeology/History Cultural Journey