Continue to Ta Prohm, many travelers’ favorite temple. Vines and trees have been allowed to grow over the temple complex, and the combination of wild jungle and beautiful stone temples creates a dreamlike effect that will leave a lasting impression. In the evening, attend a traditional Cambodian dance performance. The next morning, tour Banteay Srei, considered by many to be the jewel in Angkor’s crown, and Artisans d’Angkor before transferring to the airport for your departure flight.
DAY 01: ARRIVE PHNOM PENH
Fly to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s dynamic capital, currently undergoing a cultural and economic renaissance after years of civil war. After settling in to your hotel, set out to explore the city’s many unique highlights. Visit the elegant Royal Palace, a Khmer-styled structure erected in 1915, which stands on the site of the former citadel, Banteay Kev.
Continue to the Silver Pagoda, so called because its dazzling floor is made of 5,000 silver tiles weighing one kilogram each. The Silver Pagoda houses a broad, eclectic selection of statuary and Buddhist relics, many from the Royal collection. Also visit the National Museum, where the world’s finest array of Khmer sculpture is on display, and Reyum, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Cambodian arts and culture.
Reyum provides a place to showcase work by traditional and contemporary artists, and its exhibitions usually highlight work that explores issues of culture, history, and society.
Nearby is the Ecole de Beaux Arts, where young students are currently being trained in the artistic traditions of their country. Finish the day at Wat Phnom, the city’s most beloved pagoda and a popular meeting spot for young people, and always bustling with devotees coming to make offerings in the hope of good fortune.
Please note that we can also arrange visits to the genocide memorials (Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields) but some people find the experience disturbing.
DAY 02: PHNOM PENH - SIEM REAP (Breakfast)
Today arrive in Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, once the cradle of a highly complex civilization that controlled the greater part of Southeast Asia for four centuries. Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel for a two night stay Begin at the South Gate of Angkor Thom, an ancient royal city that covers four square miles and is the pinnacle of the Khmer obsession with vast public works. Walk through looming gates, guarded by statues of gods and demons.
At the center of Angkor Thom is the Temple of Bayon, a tremendous multi-towered temple with bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology. The central tower is covered with four gargantuan heads, depicting the king as a Bodhisattva, or Buddhist deity of compassion. This image is repeated throughout the Bayon, making it one of the most striking sites at Angkor.
Later that afternoon, depart with your guide for Angkor Wat, unquestionably one of the wonders of the ancient world. Erected before 1150 AD, this temple-complex represents one of the most intricate and dramatic religious structures ever conceived by the human mind. Its bas-reliefs and friezes are an illustrated guide to Hindu mythology. There is still an active Buddhist monastery within the temple domain. Explore the stone galleries, terraces, and grounds until dusk.
DAY 03: SIEM REAP (Breakfast)
This morning continue your touring of the ruins. Continue by car past the Elephant and Leper King Terraces to Preah Khan, a remarkably preserved temple, and Ta Prohm, a temple that remains completely engulfed in vines and tree roots -- this is arguably the most evocative of all Angkor’s many temples. Spend the afternoon cruising Lake Tonle Sap, inhabited by dozens of floating villages. This leisurely cruise provides a perfect opportunity to take in the local lifestyle, as well as to observe the many species of birds that thrive around the lake. If time permits, continue touring the ruins, or relax at your hotel.
DAY 04: DEPART SIEM REAP (Breakfast)
Begin the day with a drive through rural villages to the intricately carved, and well preserved, 10th century Temple of Banteay Srei, also known as the ’Citadel of the Women’. Banteay Srei is considered by many to be the ’jewel’ in Angkor’s crown. Return to Siem Reap mid-day and visit Artisans D’Angkor, where young Cambodians are being trained in the traditional arts of their country. Transfer to the airport.
NOTE: During your stay in Siem Reap, you will have the opportunity to visit and explore many temples and complexes in the surrounding area. We have worked with your guides to ensure that your touring experiences here are unique and suited to your interests. The local expertise of the guides and drivers is vital to providing you with the best possible experience at Angkor and beyond.
Toward this end, please feel free to discuss the touring options directly with your guide. Because they do this daily, they are aware of the optimal times to visit certain temples based on the crowds of tourists and heat of the sun, both of which play a large role in determining the best time and sequence of touring arrangements. While we will recommend some of the following highlights, please note that depending on time constraints and crowd patterns, your touring schedule is best decided upon flexibly with your guide. In this manner, we strive to provide you with the chance to see and do everything you wish during your stay in Siem Reap.
Our tour is included:
ü All accommodations
ü Regional flights
ü Admission fees
ü Airport transfers
ü Hotel tax and service charges
ü Meals as specified in day-by-day itinerary
ü Surface transportation in air conditioned vehicles
ü Government fees and local handling charges
ü Visa provision services and travel permits where required
ü Customized itinerary planning and in-depth destination research by our travel specialists
ü Personalized sightseeing as indicated in day-by-day itinerary. (Touring is typically private, with your own driver and guide, unless otherwise indicated.)
ü Luggage handling based on a maximum of two large pieces of luggage per person
ü Detailed contact information for each hotel and our associate offices in each country
ü The full services of Luxury Private Tour and our associate offices overseas before, during, and after your trip
ü Tips and gratuities
ü Laundry & Alcohol
ü Excess baggage charges
ü Fuel surcharges
ü International airport departure taxes
ü International (trans-Pacific or trans-Atlantic) airfare