Breakfast at your hotel, in the morning, we travel through the traditional village of Preah Dark to 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. We continue further north 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.
Afternoon visit ROLUOS GROUP, these monuments mark the beginning of classical art, as some of the earliest great temples built by the Khmer. They served as the capital of Indravarman (who reigned from 877 to 889). LOLEI TEMPLE built on an islet by Yasovarman I (who ruled from 889 to 910), the founder of the first city of Angkor. The sandstone carvings in the niches of the temples are notable as are the Sanskrit inscriptions on the doorposts. PREAH KO TEMPLE erected by Indravarman I in the late 9th century in dedication to his defied ancestors in 880. There are inscriptions in Sanskrit on the doorsteps of each temple. BAKONG TEMPLE built and dedicated to Shiva by Indravarman I, this is the largest and most interesting of the Roluos Group of temples and still has an active Buddhist monastery.
Overnight in Siem Reap