This tour contains all the elements you need to discover the region of Angkor, including the Angkor Thom complex, the giant smiling faces of the Bayon, and the legendary Angkor Wat, plus the opportunity to visit some ancient Khmer temple ruins outside the main archaeological park- including the beautiful pink sandstone carvings at Banteay Srei, and the incredible tree overgrown temple of Ta Prohm. You will never be short of photos opportunities!
Upon arrival at Siem Reap Airport, meet and transfer to hotel for check-in.
After breakfast at hotel, visit The South Gate of Angkor Thom is where most visitors enter the ancient city. The Bayon is located exactly in the middle of the former Khmer capital. There are more than 200 enigmatic smiling faces on the 54 towers of the temple. The faces are said to represent the Buddha of Compassion but are assumed to have striking resemblance to the god-king. Other important sights within the city of Angkor Thom are the pyramidal Baphuon, currently being restored, the Terrace of the Leper Kings, where some exceptionally well conserved early carvings can be seen and the Terrace of Elephants, supported by sculpted stone elephants, it served as the giant viewing platform for royal ceremonies. Lunch at local restaurant.
In the afternoon, drive to visit Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, its famous silhouette never fails to impress. It covers a huge area of 1.6 sq. km (one sq. mile) and is surrounded by a wide moat. The god-king Suryavarman II ordered the construction in the 12th century and dedicated the temple to Vishnu, the Hindu deity he identified with. The five enormous towers have the same symbolic function as other temple mountains of Angkor: they represent Mount Meru, the mythical dwelling place of Hindu gods. In the outer galleries are some of the finest and best-preserved bas-reliefs of the Khmer Art. Then you will end the day with a view at Phnom Bakheng, the best spot over Angkor Wat and the outlying complex before returning to hotel. Return to hotel for re-fresh then transfer to have dinner at a restaurant.
After breakfast at hotel, depart from the hotel to visit the Artisan d’Angkor; to see wood and stone carvers at work. Banteay Srei, located about 25 km from the central Angkor area is exceptional in many ways, it is a small complex built in the 10th century by the spiritual mentor of King Jayavarman V and dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva. Unique to Banteay Srei is the rare pink sandstone on which are exquisite ornamental carvings of gods, demons, coiling serpents and floral garlands. Most of the bas-reliefs found on the walls depict scenes of Hindu episodes - the Ramayana. Last stop will be Ta Prohm where the jungle has reclaimed the monuments and giant tree trunks reach through the ancient stone. Here you can get a feeling of how the first European Explorers would have found the ruins. This temple is dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII, constructed as a Buddhist monastery and enormously wealthy in its time. Well worth an extended exploration of its dark corridors and open plazas. Massive trees growing from stone towers are photo classics. Lunch at local restaurant.
In the afternoon, continue your visit to Prasat Kravan; unique brick towers contain large wall sculptures of Vishnu and Laksmi. East Mebon; it is located on an islet in the centre of the Eastern Baray. The base of the temple is guarded at its corners by stone figures of harnessed elephants. Pre Rup; architecturally and artistically superior temple-mountain. Neak Pean; this small temple was located in the middle of a reservoir, reachable only by boat. The temple may have served an absolution function. It is encircled by two nagas and surrounded by pools laid out in a lotus pattern. If the water is low enough, check out the animal and human headwater spouts at the outside centre of each pool. Most photogenic in the wet season when the pools are full. Preah Khan; it means “sacred sword”. Preah Khan is a huge, complex full of carvings, passages and photo opportunities. Dinner and Show. Transfer back to your hotel.
Breakfast at hotel, depart hotel to visit Roluos Group consists of three important temple ruins in the area - Lolei, Preah Ko and Bakong. Lolei: Four brick towers in poor condition next to an active pagoda and some carvings are in good condition. Preah Ko: The name means “sacred bull” and perhaps it is the most artistically interesting temple in the Rolous group. Bakong: It is the most impressive member of the Rolous group and very early use of stone rather than brick. Lunch at local restaurant. Return to hotel for at leisure. Transfer to Siem Reap Airport for flight to the next destination.