One of the greatest kings of Cambodia of yore, Jayavarman VII - an authoritarian and conquering monarch who was nonetheless an unshakable and compassionate Buddhist as well - played a major role with respect to sculptural developments during the second half of the 12th century. This is one of the most famous temples and you will be explored while 4 days tour in Cambodia.
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. Important note: The Silver Pagoda and Royal Palace will be closed while H.M. The King is in residence. Overnight in Phnom Penh
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. Arrival in Siem Reap airport and direct transfer to the Angkor temples complex. Visit the antique capital of Angkor Thom (12th century): the South Gate with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, the Bayon Temple, unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara, the Elephants Terrace, 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. Its 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. Sunset from Phnom Bakheng, one of the two hills dominating the plain of Angkor, from where you will have a spectacular view of the Western Baray and Angkor Wat. Overnight in Siem Reap. Includes: (B)
Day 3: Siem Reap - Exploration. Breakfast at hotel. In the morning, you will continue your temple visits, including Prasat Kravan with unique brick sculptures, Pre Rup, the Mountain Temple, Eastern Mebon, Ta Som, 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 Preah Khan is in a reasonable state of preservation and ongoing restoration efforts should maintain and even improve this situation. In the afternoon, transfer to the archaeological site and continue the temples tour with Srah Srang, "The Pool of Ablutions" which was doubtless used for ritual bathing, Takeo, Thommanon, Chau Say Tevoda and Ta Prohm. One of the area's most beautiful temples, Ta Prohm has been left 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 same way most of the monuments of Angkor must have appeared when European explorer first stumbled upon them. Overnight in Siem Reap. Includes: (B)
Day 4: Siem Reap - Departure. 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. Return to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon, 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. Continue your visit to "Les Artisans d'Angkor - Chantiers Ecoles" of Siem Reap (if time permits). Transfer to Siem Reap airport and departure to the next destination. Includes: (B)
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Cambodia History Whiz Archeology/History Cultural Journey