8 days/7 nights Angkor tour
You will enjoy overview of Angkor temples, World Heritage sites.
- 8 Days
- 1 Stars
- Cultural Tours
You will enjoy overview of Angkor temples, World Heritage sites.
Pick up from Siem Reap international airport, and then transfer to hotel for check in.
We travel back in time to one of the earliest capitals in the Angkor area, Hariharilaya, now known as Roluos. We begin with a visit to the brick temple of Lolei, originally set on an island in the centre of the Indratataka baray (reservoir). This temple has some well preserved sandstone carvings and the vast stone doors are carved from a single piece of stone. We continue to Preah Ko (sacred cow), named in honour of Shiva’s mount, Nandin. This temple owes more to the pre-Angkorian brick sanctuaries of Cambodia’s earlier Chenla empire than the sandstone behemoths that came later. Originally coated in stucco and painted, there is still some of the ancient plaster visible on the rear towers. Finally, we encounter Bakong, the earliest of the temple mountains, which later became the signature of Khmer kings. It is a giant pyramid, its cardinal points marked by giant elephants. We climb to the summit for views over the surrounding countryside. For those that are interested, we can offer a short diversion to the small country town of Roluos, a world away from the circus of Siem Reap. Only 10 minutes from Angkor, we help you discover the real Cambodia. This afternoon, we continue to the large stone temple of Eastern Mebon, originally located on an island in the centre of the now dry Eastern Baray (reservoir). A low pyramid, this temple has large guardian elephants on each corner. This is one of the few temples where we can understand the construction techniques of the ancient Khmers, as there are still large soil ramps on each side of the temple, showing us how they moved these heavy stones into place. We visit the royal bathing pond of Sra Srang. No bath will ever be quite the same again when you have set eyes on this vast pool, once for the exclusive use of the king and his concubines. Originally lined with sandstone steps, we climb up on to the western terrace and meet friendly local children jumping in the water. We walk to the first great Buddhist monastery in Cambodia, Banteay Kdei, built in 1186 by Jayavarman VII who was a Mahayana Buddhist. We explore its extensive corridors and elegant sculptures. Although it is in a ruinous state, it often receives far fewer visitors than nearby Ta Prohm, giving it a serene atmosphere. We then return to Siem Reap via the temple of Kravanh. Built entirely from brick and dating from 921, this temple was extensively restored in the 1960s. Inside the small towers are some of the best brick carving found anywhere in the Khmer empire, including a giant Vishnu. We journey to the mountain temple of Phnom Bakheng to see the sunset cast its soft light over Angkor Wat. A winding path cuts through the jungle or there is the option of an elephant ride to the summit. This temple is the signature spot for sunset, so it can get very crowded. Please advise the guide if you want to experience sunset at a quieter location. Read more
We journey north to the Kbal Spean. The original ‘River of a Thousand Lingas’, Kbal Spean is an intricately carved riverbed deep in the foothills of the Cambodian jungle. The river flows down to the Tonlé Sap lake, and in ancient times its holy waters breathed life into the rice fields of the empire via the most complex irrigation system the world had ever seen. The Khmers venerated its limestone bed with a riot of carvings, including the delicate deities Vishnu and Shiva with their consorts. Lingams are phallic representations sacred to Hindus as fertility symbols and hundreds, perhaps thousands, are carved into the bedrock here. The carvings were only rediscovered in 1969 when French researcher Jean Boulbet was shown the river by a local hermit. A trip to Kbal Spean is one of the easiest ways to experience a short jungle trek in the Angkor area, as it is a steady but scenic climb to reach the river carvings. The path winds its way through knotted vines and big boulder formations and occasionally offers big views over the surrounding jungle. And there is a small waterfall below the carved riverbed, perfect for cooling off after the hot climb. We head south to Banteay Srei, Angkor’s ultimate art gallery. This petite pink temple is the jewel in the crown of Angkor-era sculpture. The elaborate carvings here are the finest found in Cambodia and the name translates as ‘Fortress of the Women’, thanks to the intricate detail here, considered too fine for the hands of a man. Originally believed to date from the latter part of the Angkor period, inscriptions at the site suggest it was built by a Brahman in 967. However, some architectural historians have suggested that the inscriptions may date from an earlier structure on this site and the temple is in fact later, marking a high-water mark in Khmer sculpture. Later we visit the 12th century temple of Banteay Samre. Built by King Suryavarman II, the genius behind Angkor Wat, this temple has been extensively restored. The temple is unique in that over-quarrying of sandstone led to the use of laterite for the roofed corridors. The pediments above the inner doors here include some of the most accomplished carving from the Angkor period. Read more
We visit Ta Prohm has been abandoned to the elements, a reminder that while empires rise and fall, the riotous power of nature marches on, oblivious to the dramas of human history. Left as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhout in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones, man first conquering nature to create, nature later conquering man to destroy. After soaking up the unique atmosphere of Ta Prohm, we continue to the giant pyramid of Takeo, one of the highest temples in the Angkor area. Built at the end of the 10th century, it was never completed. Some scholars contend this was due to an inauspicious lightning strike during construction. Others have suggested the high quality sandstone was simply too hard to carve in detail. This morning we also visit the remains of an old Angkorian bridge which once spanned the Siem Reap river. Like the Romans before them, the Khmer kings built long, straight roads connecting the outposts of their empire and these included many magnificent bridges. There is also the option to visit the smaller temples of Chau Sey Devada and Thommanon for avid temple enthusiasts. This afternoon, we travel to the mighty temple of Preah Khan or 'Sacred Sword', built by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. Sister temple to Ta Prohm, the cruciform corridors here are impressive and there are some wonderful carvings adorning the walls, including the spectacular hall of dancers. Look out for the curious two-storey structure that is almost Grecian in inspiration. This is one of the few temples originally dedicated to Buddhism and Hinduism. The original eastern entrance was for Mahayana Buddhists, while the other cardinal points represented the Hindu trinity of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. We then continue on to the elegant curves of Neak Poan. This petite temple is the ultimate ornamental fountain, its series of elaborate spouts including the heads of lions and elephants. Originally Neak Poan was on an island at the centre of vast baray (reservoir), known as Jayatataka or reservoir of Jaya. We finish by experiencing sunset over the rice fields from the royal crematorium of Pre Rup, a classic view of the Cambodian countryside. Read more
This morning we travel to Phnom Kulen, the sacred mountain that was the birthplace of the Khmer empire. It was here that Jayavarman II proclaimed independence from Java in 802, setting the stage for the glories of the Angkor-era that was to follow. This mountain plateau was the capital of the Khmer empire before it relocated south to Hariharalaya, known today as Roluos. Wat Pre Ang Thom is a focus of pilgrimage for Khmers during religious festivals and the large reclining Buddha carved into a huge sandstone boulder here offers spectacular views across the lush jungle. Nearby are impressive riverbed rock carvings, including innumerable lingas and representations of Shiva and Vishnu. There is a classic waterfall further downstream which is the perfect place to cool off after exploring and nearby is a small, jungle-clad temple called Prasat Krau Romeas. We enjoy a picnic lunch before descending from the plateau. Read more
Rising at the crack of dawn, we journey out to the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat. Believed to be the world's largest religious building, this temple is the perfect fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers. Built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, this is most famous temple at Angkor. We stay at Angkor Wat to enjoy a picnic breakfast. As the crowds return to their hotels, we venture into Angkor Wat to enjoy its magnificence in peace and quiet. We begin by unraveling the mysteries of the bas-reliefs that tell of tales from Hindu mythology and of the glories of the Khmer empire. Stretching for almost one kilometre, these intricate carvings are a candidate for the world’s longest unbroken piece of art. Following in the footsteps of the devout and the destructive before us, we then continue to the upper levels of the inner sanctuary. The final steps to the upper terrace of Angkor are the steepest of all, as pilgrims of old were to stoop on their pilgrimage to encounter the Gods. Finally the pinnacle, the sacred heart of Angkor Wat, a blend of spirituality and symmetry so perfect that few moments will measure up. We travel to the Western Baray, the largest reservoir constructed during the Khmer Empire. Stretching an incredible 8km in length and 2km in width, this was a key element of the advanced hydraulic system that ensured the ancient Khmers mastered the seasonal cycle of water. It provided irrigation for the surrounding land, providing multiple rice harvests to feed a burgeoning population. We travel by boat to a small island at the centre of the baray where we visit the ruin of Western Mebon temple from the 11th century. This was the location where the giant reclining bronze Vishnu in the National Museum in Phnom Penh was found. We return to Siem Reap to visit the Artisans D'Angkor workshop. Set up to revitalize the handicraft industry of Siem Reap, artisans are chosen from poor, disadvantaged, rural communities. Stone carving, wood carving, silverwork, silk weaving, laquerware, the standard of work produced here is among the best in the South-East Asia. We tour the workshops seeing the artisans at work and then take the opportunity to visit their famous gallery. Read more
We travel to the lost temple of Beng Mealea, the titanic of temples, a slumbering giant lost for centuries in the forests of Cambodia. It is the most accessible of Angkor’s lost temples, a mirror image of Angkor Wat, but utterly consumed by the voracious appetite of nature. Constructed by Suryavarman II (1113-1150), the builder of Angkor Wat, the forest has run riot here and it is hard to get a sense of the monument’s shape amid the daunting ruins. Here it is possible to enjoy an Indiana Jones experience clambering about the vast ruin. For those who want a more gentle adventure, there is also a sturdy wooden walkway running right into the heart of the temple. It is also possible to visit a nearby Angkor-era quarry from where stone was cut to build these massive monuments. We then head into the bush to the remote Angkor capital of Koh Ker. The history of Cambodia is riven with dynastic spats and political intrigue and one of the most memorable came in the 10th century when Jayavarman IV (928-942) fell out with his family, stormed off to the northwest and established the rival capital of Koh Ker. Although the capital for just 15 years, Jayavarman IV was determined to legitimise his rule through a prolific building programme that left a legacy of 30 major temples and some gargantuan sculpture that is on display in the National Museum in Phnom Penh. We climb to the summit of Prasat Thom, a seven-storey step pyramid, more Mayan than Khmer, with commanding views over the surrounding forest. Nearby is Prasat Krahom or Red Temple, named after the pinkish Banteay Srei-style stone from which it is built. There are many more temples in the area, including the five towers of Prasat Ling, each enclosing a giant linga or fertility symbol, the biggest and best found in situ anywhere in Cambodia. Read more
We travel out to the mighty Tonle Sap Lake to visit the floating village of Chong Kneas. Nestled under the hill of Phnom Krom, this floating community moves location with the waters of the lake. During the wet season when the lake swells to five times its size, the village is near Phnom Krom, but during the dry season, it moves as much as 4km from the hill. Everything floats on water in this living fishing community. There are floating schools, floating shops, floating petrol stations, even floating karaoke bars. Many of the houses are floating fish farms with large pens of fish underneath. For those that are interested, we can also make a stop at the Gecko Environment Centre to learn more about lake, which is like the heartbeat of Cambodia, providing sustenance to millions of Khmers. In the afternoon, we visit the immense walled city Angkor Thom that was the masterpiece of King Jayavarman VII. Following the occupation of Angkor by the Chams from 1177 to 1181, the new king decided to build an impregnable fortress at the heart of his empire. The scale is simply staggering and we are immediately overwhelmed by the audacity of Jayavarman on arrival at the city’s gates. The causeway is lined by an intricate bridge depicting the Churning of the Ocean of Milk from Hindu mythology in which the devas (gods) and asuras (devils) play tug of war with a naga (seven-headed serpent) to obtain the elixir of immortality. We begin our visit at the Terrace of the Leper King. This intricately carved platform was the royal crematorium and the statue that was originally thought to be the leper king is now believed to be Yama, the god of death. We continue along the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances and traditional sports. At the southern end lies the Baphuon, once of the most beautiful temples at Angkor, dating from the reign of Uditayavarman in the 11th century. It has undergone a massive renovation by the French and is now once again open for viewing. Our climax is the enigmatic and enchanting temple of the Bayon. At the exact centre of Angkor Thom, this is an eccentric expression of the creative genius and inflated ego of Cambodia’s most celebrated king. Its 54 towers are each topped off with the four faces of Avalokiteshvara (Buddha of Compassion), which bear more than a passing resemblance to the king himself. These colossal heads stare down from every side, exuding power and control with a hint of compassion, just the mix required to keep a hold on such a vast empire. Before clambering upwards, we unravel the mysteries of the bas-reliefs, with their intricate scenes of ancient battles against the Chams and their snapshot of daily life during the Angkor period. Read more
The tour in Siem Reap was overall very good. The guide and driver was punctual. The guide and driver maintained friendly disposition and were family.
Very good. We learned a lot and have much fun. Guide has deep knowledge, very good attitude and energy.
Very good quality of service. Guide was friendly and knowledgeable. He was willing and able to answer all our questions. Great driver. We felt very safe while he brought us to our locations. Great Tour :)
Quality services with a reasonable price. Provide a clear information on time and reliable.
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