Day 1 – The Grand Circuit
We will take you at your hotel and drive 5 km to the main Angkor site - Angkor day trip, pass Angkor Wat to the east and continue on the road of the grand circuit. We will first stop at the temple of Prasat Kravan. This temple consists of five brick towers in a row on one platform and contains some remarkable brick bas-reliefs on its interior walls depicting the Hindu god Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi. Then, we will visit Banteay Kdei and the opposite Srah Srang Royal Bath. Srah Srang is a large lake (700 by 300 meters) originally excavated during the mid-10th century and remodeled in the 12th century as part of Jayavarman VII’s massive building campaign. Srah Srang, which was used for ritual bathing, has an elegant terrace flanked with lions and nagas and a small island near its centre with sparse remains of a temple. Banteay Kdei was originally constructed over the site of an earlier temple and functionned probably as an important Buddhist monastery under Jayavarman VII in regard of its plan and of the hundreds of buried Buddha statues excavated from the site. However, as no marker stones or steles have ever been found, its function still remains unclear. The temple area is enclosed by a large laterite wall (700 m by 500 m) and contains three main enclosures with laterite towers, connecting galleries and beautifully frontons and lintels that escaped the desecration (the 13th century vandalism of Buddha images). We will have lunch near Banteay Kdei and the afternoon, we will visit Pre Rup, East Mebon, Ta Som, Neak Pean and Preah Khan.
Pre Rup is a temple-mountain symbolising the Mount Meru, close in style to the East Mebon but higher and artistically superior than its predecessor. The East Mebon and Pre Rup were the last monuments in plaster and brick and so mark the end of a Khmer architectural epoch. The upper levels of the pyramid of Pre Rup offer a brilliant panoramic view of the surrounding countryside and is a popular spot to enjoy the sunset.We will still visit the East Mebon, a temple with five towers representing the five peaks of the Mount Meru from the Hindu mythology. Standing on small island in the middle of the artificial lake of the Easter Baray (7 km by 1.8 km), the East Mebon was formerly only accessible by boat. Today, the Baray, once a source of water for irrigation fed by the Siem Reap River, is dry and the temple stands now in a plain of rice fields. East Mebon is historically important in that it was the first temple built after the capital was returned to Angkor after a period of political upheaval when the capital had been moved to Koh Ker.
Ta Som is a small temple of Bayon’s style dedicated to Jayavarman VII’s father. It is a single shrine on one level surrounded by three laterite enclosure walls with entrances (gopuras) to the east and west, each crowned with four faces. A huge ficus tree grows from the top of the east gopura providing a dramatic example of nature and art entwined.
Our next stop will be Prasat Neak Pean. It is a small temple with a collection of five ponds representing the paradisiacal Himalayan mountain-lake Anaavatapta from Hindu mythology. The small temple of Krol Ko, with a single central tower surrounded by two laterite walls stands nearby and can be visited if it remains enough time. Then we will continue to Ta Som.
We will also visit Preah Khan, a labyrinth of pavilions, halls and chapels in a vast area encloses by four walls.
Day 2 – Beautifull Angkor Wat & Ta Prohm Day Tour
Today enjoy beautifull trip to Ta Phrom. This temple was a monastery built by Jayavarman VII as a residence for his mother. Ta Phrom has been controversially left to the destructive power of the jungle by French archaeologists to demonstrate the awesome power of nature. It has been largely consumed by the jungle and as you will climb through the dilapidated stone structures you will see many giant trees growing out of the top of the temple itself. At every turn you will expect to see Indiana Jones or Lara Croft step out from behind a fallen pillar. As such, it is one of the most regularly visited temples, with visitors often arriving during the middle of the day to take advantage of the protective canopy the forest has spread above the temple. Ta Phrom looks as many of the monuments did when European explorers first laid eyes on them.
We will continue to Ta Keo, one of the great temple-mountains of Angkor, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Ta Keo was never completed for an unknown reason; if it had been finished, it would have been one of the finest temple in Angkor. This is an impressive structure rising to a height of 22 meters to the sky. Its five towers shrines are supported on a five-tiered pyramid. Ta Keo was the first temple built entirely in sandstone. Then, we will visit the nearby Chapel of the hospital, Spean Thma, Chau Say Tevoda, Thommanon and Ta Nei.
Then, we will have lunch near Angkor Wat which we will visit in the afternoon.
The Chapel of the Hospital is one of the chapel of the 102 hospitals built by the king Jayavarman VII. Spean Thma is a bridge constructed of reused blocks of sandstone supported on massive pillars. Carvings on many stone pieces were found near the bridge, evidence that the builders used stones from temples in various periods. Chau Say Tevoda and Thommanon are two small monuments framed by the jungle of similarities in plan and form which belong to the finest period of classic Khmer art and have beautiful carvings. They represent two separates incarnations of the same architectural theme. Chau Say Tevoda is in a poorer state that Thommanon. Ta Nei is an overgrown temple of Bayon’s style with lichen-covered bas-reliefs in a peaceful spot.
Angkor Wat is the largest and most impressive of all the temples. Angkor Wat was built between 1113 and 1150 by king Suryavarman II and dedicated to Vishnu, the Hindu god of preservation, although some people believe it is actually dedicated to the king himself, as his mausoleum, because it faces to the west, which represents death. It is the best preserved of all the temples. Its layout and its scale are simply breathtaking, the wall surrounding the enclosure measures 1,000 by 800 meters and the moat, said to represent the oceans of the world is 200 meters wide. Angkor Wat is an architectural allegory of the mythical Mount Meru. In Hindu mythology, Mount Meru is the centre of the universe, where the Gods lived, represented by the central tower of Angkor Wat. This amazing temple homes the longest continuous bas relief in the world, which runs along the outer gallery walls. If we have time, we will also see the small temples of Prasat Bei and Baksei Chamkrong
As the end of the day will approach, we will proceed to the hilltop temple of Phnom Bakheng, climb the imposing remains and meet the crowd for a truly memorable sunset. An optional elephant trekking to the top of the hill is also available.
Day 3 – Angkor Thom Temple Day Tour
Today we will visit Angkor Thom. This Royal city was first built under the reign of Udayadityavarman II in the 11th century. About one century later, it was destroyed when the Chams from Vietnam rose up against the Khmers invaders, sacking the city. It was subsequently rebuilt by the king Jayavarman VII at the end of the 12th century. Its vast walls, some 6m wide, 8m high and 13km in length contain many monuments. The area within the walls was more spacious than any city in Europe at the time and must have supported a considerable population, estimated at about one million. Inside the walls the king, his relatives and officials, military officers and priests took residence, the rest of the people lived outside of the great enclosure, between the two artificial lakes. Our visit will begin with theSouth Gate, a beautiful introduction to Angkor Thom with well-restored statues of asuras (demons) and gods lining the bridge. Inside the complex, we will first visit the Bayon Temple. This temple mountain, built by Jayavarman VII, is situated in the centre of the city of Angkor Thom. It is a three-tiered pyramid with a 45 meter high tower, topped by four gigantic carved heads representing Avalokiteshvara but with the features of Jayavarman VII. They gaze out to the North, South, East, and West, and wherever you stand in the temple, you will be surrounded by 54 towers all crowned by gigantic faces, with their unnerving smiles. Unlike his predecessors who had worshipped the Hindu deities of Shiva and Vishnu, Jayavarman VII adopted Mahayana Buddhism as royal religion. This sets the Bayon apart from many other Angkorean monuments. We will continue to the Phimeanakas which represents a genuine architectural revolution as it is not square but rectangular and the Baphuon, a vast temple-mountain built by King Udayadiyavarman II.
After lunch, we will see the Elephant Terrace, which owes its name to its outstanding depiction of these animals and the Terrace of Leper King, which presents a magnificient sculpture of King Yasovarman, popularly known as the leper king. The original of this statue is in security in the National Museum in Phnom. The Kleangs are rectangular sandstone buildings, opposite the Terrace of the Elepants, behind the Prasat Suor Prat, twelve nearly identical towers. Both structures of unknown function, are unremarkable upon close inspection but picturesque from a distance. We will finish our exploration with Preah Palilay, Tep Pranam and the Preah Pithu group which includes five small temples with interesting carved lintels set in a quiet area surrounding by the jungle. End temple scientific excursion day tour
Price of Tour Includes:
Entrance fees and sightseeing tours by tuktuk or private aircon vehicles
An experienced English-speaking local guide
3-days Angkor pass
1 liter of drinking water per person per day
NOT Included in Tour Price:
Personal travel insurance (compulsory!)
Expenditure of a personal nature
Drinks & tips