This guided tour will introduce you to the cultural highlights and most famous temples in the Ancient city of Angkor. From must see attractions like the Angkor Wat to off the beaten path discoveries further afield, you’ll get the full experience of this stunning ancient marvel.
Join us a for a tour of the highlights of Angkor and discover the magnificence of this ancient kingdom.
At a glance
- Explore all of Angkor’s must visit temples with a local guide
- Get off the beaten path and visit lesser known monuments further afield
- Phnom Kulen Safari Tent and sunset Quad Bike
Itinerary in Brief
- DAY 1: Arrival Siem Reap
- DAY 2: Siem Reap
- DAY 3: Siem Reap
- DAY 4: Siem Reap
- DAY 5: Siem Reap
- DAY 6: Siem Reap – Departure
Arrival in Phnom Penh: they will take the flight by TBA [own arrangement]
Private Transfer: you will be met by your guide and driver transfer from airport to hotel for check-in
Afternoon Preah Khan, Neak Poan and Sunset at Pre Rup: 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.
Evening Visit Phare Modern Circus Shows: In the evening we head out to the home of the innovative circus performers from Phare Ponleu Selpak. Their regular modern circus show under the Big Top is proving very popular in Siem Reap and in each show they display a variety of disciplines including acrobatics, choreography, juggling, clowning, live music and much more. A pre-show dinner can also be arranged.
Accommodation: own arrangement
Full Day Kbal Spean, Angkor Conservation Center of Biodiversity (ACCB) and Banteay Srei, Banteay Samre: We journey north to Kbal Spean. The original ‘River of a Thousand Lingas’, Kbal Spean is an intricately carved riverbed deep in the foothills of the Cambodian jungle only discovered in 1969. The Khmers venerated its limestone bed with a riot of carvings, including thousands of lingams. 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.
After lunch we visit the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), a rescue center for wildlife, which includes a range of monkey species, pangolin, civets, leopard cats and a boar. The tour lasts 1 hour 30 minutes. Regular guided center tour operates from Monday to Saturday, starting at 9:00 and at 13:00 sharp, from the ACCB entrance gate next to the car park at Kbal Spean. The tour lasts approx 1 hour 30 mins. We then head 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. We also take the opportunity to visit the Cambodia Landmine Museum to learn more about the scourge of landmines and the shadow they cast over rural communities in Cambodia with a visit to this flagship museum promoting mine awareness and education. 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.
Landmind museum: On the way back to Siem Reap, we visit the Cambodia Landmine Museum to learn more about the scourge of landmines and the shadow they cast over rural communities in Cambodia with a visit to this flagship museum promoting mine awareness and education. The Land Mine Museum displays a large collection of weapons of war, including guns, rifles, rocket launchers, mortars, bombs and landmines. The site includes a mocked up minefield and visitors can attempt to locate the deactivated mines. The museum is a rich resource of information about landmines and UXO with many educational displays detailing how certain mines are used and in what situations. There is also a DVD available telling the story of landmines and UXO in Cambodia and the disastrous impact they have had on the population. Not only a weapon of war, they are a weapon against peace. The Landmine Museum promotes land mine accident prevention awareness and public education; and provides educational facilities, programming and rehabilitation facilities for survivors of land mine injuries. It also provides education and support for dozens of at-risk, land mine-affected children who have suffered overwhelming hardships. The Cambodia Landmine Museum was created so that it might serve as a place of healing for bodies, hearts and minds.
Apsara dance show and dinner at Raffles Grand d’Angkor: The Apsara Terrace at the iconic Raffles Grand d’Angkor remains Siem Reaps leading venue to take in an Apsara performance, Cambodia’s elegant, intricate and enchanting traditional dance. The stage is situated in serene gardens, surrounded by traditional Cambodian boundary stones with impressive wooden gates at the entrance, close to the hotels large swimming pool. Enjoy a majestic performance with Cambodian dances and Khmer martial arts demonstrations accompanied by a delightful selection of pan-Asian barbeque cuisine.
Accommodation: own arrangement
Meal: None, Dinner with show
Full day Angkor Wat sunrise and Exploration: 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.
Lunch at Sala Kdei Khmer House: Enjoy a traditional Khmer lunch menu at Sala Kdei, an intimate location to eat and rest in the middle of the day while exploring the temples. Breakfast, sunset cocktails or a Khmer cooking class are also available at this gorgeous traditional wooden home on the banks of the Royal bathing pool at Sra Srang.
Afternoon Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm: In the afternoon, we visit the immense walled city of 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. The Royal Palace complex, which was once home to the God-kings of Angkor; Preah Palilay, a Buddhist temple overshadowed by huge capok trees; Phimean Akas, a petite pyramid temple; 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 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. We continue to the jungle temple Ta Prohm where Tomb Raider was filmed. 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 Mouhot 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.
Accommodation: own arrangement
Meal: Lunch at Sala Kdei
Phnom Kulen Safari Tent – Day 1: This adventurous safari starts with a beautiful drive up the mountain road, winding through dense jungle past strange boulder formations. Once at the summit, we visit the giant reclining Buddha of Preah Ang Thom, an important place of pilgrimage for Cambodians with great views across the surrounding jungle. After lunch, we continue to our camp location with panoramic views of lowland Siem Reap province below. We trek for 4km to the giant stone animals of Sra Damrei, including a life-size elephant standing guard on the cliffside. We then continue our trek back to camp via a different 5km route. After a catered dinner under the stars, we retire for the night in our safari style tent.
Accommodation: Over night at Phnom Kulen Safari Tent – Tent In Style
Meal: None, Lunch at local, Dinner
Phnom Kulen Safari Tent – Day 2: The next morning we offer the option of another trek to an old temple site before visiting the River of a Thousand Lingas, where small phalluses are carved into the riverbed itself. Later we continue to the attractive waterfall where it is possible to bathe in the splashpool. There is a small Angkorian temple at the top of the falls and a popular picnic area for Cambodians where we enjoy a local lunch before returning to Siem Reap.
Afternoon sunset Quad Bike: For those that have never experienced it, all-terrain biking is a lot of fun and all trips include a short introductory lesson to bring riders up to speed. Rides around Siem Reap include a sunset option through the ricefields, whilst others include some quiet pagodas, an ancient temple and a series of backroads through the pretty countryside and rural villages around Siem Reap. The late afternoon sunset ride will take you into the ‘real’ Cambodia and will include a look across the ricefields to Phnom Krom as the sun sets on this beautiful rural scene. The route is 12kms in length. Helmets must be worn and ‘minders’ will be with you at all times to ensure your safety.
Accommodation: own arrangement
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch
Morning tour Floating Villages of the Tonle Sap: Taking a break from the temples, 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. We continue our boat journey across the Great lake to the village of Kompong Pluk. Cruising down a narrow waterway, we enter this medieval floating village, where the houses stand atop stilts as much as seven metres above the water. Everything lives on the water, pigs, dogs, crocodiles and people, all jockeying for space in this incredible floating town. We explore the local wat here, before enjoying the flooded forest and returning across the Tonle Sap Lake to Chong Kneas and the holy mountain of Phnom Krom. We climb Phnom Krom for a glorious sunset over the Tonle Sap before heading back to Siem Reap by road.
Lunch at Sala Roluos Khmer House: Sala Roluos is a beautiful traditional wooden house close to the 9th century capital of Hariharalaya and the rustic Cambodian town of Roluos. In a serene setting amid the rural atmosphere of its regal surroundings, Sala Roluos offers exclusive lunch and dinner encounters, which can be easily combined with visits to the Roluos temple monuments as well as the nearby stilted village of Kompong Pluk and its flooded forest. Our traditional Khmer lunch menu made using locally-sourced organic ingredients where available. Lunch is served between midday and 2pm.
Departure flight: your guide and driver will escort to Siem Reap airport for departure home, flight is TBA [own arrangement]
Modern city hotel in Yangon with excellent location. Jasmine Palace Hotel presents good value and high standards is the perfect base for exploring the city’s highlights.
- Private tours and transfers with air-conditioned vehicles as specified in our itinerary
- 2 bottles of water & 2 refreshing towels per passenger per day
- Lodging with breakfast as specified in the itinerary
- Luggage handling fees at airports
- Entrance fees or zone fees
- English speaking guide(other languages guide can be provide with additional charges)
What's Not Included
- Visa to Cambodia (note that pre-arranged visa is required for tourists)
- All entrance fees or zone fees
- Domestic Airfares (always quoted and mentioned separately from tour package price)
- International air fares
- Meals or any other item not described in the itinerary
- Peak season surcharges & Compulsory dinners during Xmas & New Year’s
- Early check-in, late check-out. Normal check out time from hotels in Cambodia is 11am or 12 o’clock noon
- Drinks during meals, hotel extras and expenses of personal nature
- Camera & video fees. Some of the sites visited may ask small fees for photographing and video recording.
Tips & gratuities
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