Angkor – a mythical place in the middle of the Cambodian jungle. Huge stone temples craning over the tree crowns. A population of 1 million people which was thriving in between the 8th and 13th century, way more advanced than most cultures during these times. Built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, his aim was to go bigger and better than his predecessors. In the high classical style of Khmer architecture, it was first a Hindu temple, then Buddhist and now it has become an icon, appearing on the Cambodian flag since 1863, and attracting over half of the international visitors annually to Cambodia.
The Lost of Angkor
Arrive at Siem Reap International Airport and transfer to the hotel (early check in is subject to its availability).
In the morning, visit Prasat Kravan with its unique brick sculptures and Ta Prohm. One of the area's most beautiful temples, Ta Prohm 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 was abandoned and swallowed by the jungle, looking very much the ways most of the Angkor temples appeared when European explorers first stumbled upon them. Visit as well Takeo, Chau Say Tevoda and Thommanon.
Lunch at local restaurant. After lunch, visit Preah Khan temple. Built by the King Jayavarman VII, Preah Khan is, like Ta Prohm, a place of towered enclosures and shoulders-hanging corridors. Unlike Ta Prohm, however, Preah Khan is in a reasonable state of preservation and ongoing restoration efforts should maintain and even improve this situation. Continue your visits to Neak Pean, a fountain built in the middle of a pool and representing the paradisiacal Himalayan mountain-lake and visit the temple of Ta Som and Sunset at Pre Rup.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Breakfast at hotel. 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 enclosed wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat, the ocean beyond. Lunch at local restaurant.
Visit the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century). See the South Gate with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephants Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King and Bayon Temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara).
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Breakfast at hotel. Visit Banteay Srei temple (10th c), regarded as the jewel in the crown of Classical Khmer Art. Continue to visit Banteay Samre, one of the most complete complexes at Angkor due to restoration using the method of "anastylosis". The name Samre refers to an ethnic group of mountain people, who inhabited the region at the base of Phnom Kulen and were probably related to the Khmers. No inscriptions have been found for this temple, but the style of most of the architecture is of the classic art of the middle period similar to Angkor Wat. The proportions of Banteay Samre are splendid. A unique feature is an interior moat with laterite paving, which when filled with water must have given an ethereal atmosphere to the temple. Lunch at local restaurant. After lunch, continue to visit the floating village of Chong Khneas, located 10 kilometers south of Siem Reap. Take a traditional wooden boat for a ride on the Tonle Sap Lake, the "Great Lake" of Cambodia, one of the largest in Asia. Transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for departure flight to the next destination.
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