Day 1: Arrival Siem Reap (D)
Fly to Siem Reap, CAMBODIA
Welcome to Cambodia. Upon arrival at Siem Reap Airport, obtain your Cambodia visa (please refer to your Special Program Note), and then clear Immigration and Customs. After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.
From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire.
After settling in and enjoying a bit of free time, you’ll head out with your guide and spend the afternoon 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. Sunset at Angkor Wat.
Accommodation: Stay 03 nights at Empress Angkor Hotel
Day 2: Siem Reap (B/D)
These temples were built from the 9th to 12th centuries by a Khmer empire that controlled not only Cambodia but large parts of what are now Laos, Thailand and Vietnam as well. With their grandeur of scale and extraordinary delicacy in detail, the temples rank among humankind’s most supreme artistic expressions. Spend the early morning 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, visit Bayon temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara), Baphuon (recently re-opened after years of restoration), the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephants Terrace, and the Terrace of the Leper King.
Later this afternoon, journey north to visit Banteay Srei. 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. Originally believed to date from the latter part of the Angkor period, inscriptions at the site suggest it was built by a Brahman in 967. However, some architectural historians have suggested that the inscriptions may date from an earlier structure on this site and the temple is in fact later, marking a high-water mark in Khmer sculpture. Stop at a local village to visit families who are producing palm sugar. Make a short stop at the Land Mine Museum, a rather humble look at the land mine problem, past and present, in Cambodia. Finish your tour with 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.
Day 3: Siem Reap (B/D)
Today, meet your personal guide and driver travel to Ta Phrom. Built in 1186, Ta Phrom was dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII. Its atmospheric dark gray sandstone towers and courtyards exude an aura of reverence and mystery. Unlike most of the other inner temples of Angkor, Ta Phrom has been left to the elements and looks very much as it must have when “discovered” by Henri Mouhot in the 1860s. Navigating through its narrow passages, immense kapok trees and jungle-covered ruins is an unparalleled experience and one of the highlights of Angkor. Next, you’ll visit 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. Next, to Banteay Kdei This temple was the first great Buddhist monastery in Cambodia, constructed by Jayavarman VII during the 12th and 13th centuries. Its system of galleries and vestibules that were added after the construction of the main towers makes it look like a cloister. It was built in sandstone, which has deteriorated quite badly. However, there remain some very beautiful lintels and pediments. Although it is in a ruinous state. You’ll then visit Ta Keo King Suryavarman I commissioned this temple in the 10th Century, but it was never completed so has no elaborate decoration like its contemporaries. It is a pyramid on 5 levels and is dedicated to Shiva. Some scholars contend this was due to an inauspicious lightning strike during construction. Others have suggested the high-quality sandstone was simply too hard to carve in detail.
Afternoon, for a further glimpse into local life, this morning, depart Siem Reap for a tour of the surrounding countryside and take an ox-cart ride through the villages and the rice fields. At the end of your ride, have a fresh coconut drink with the family and do not hesitate to talk with the local people to get to know more about their lives. Then driver to boat pier and board a wooden boat for a ride on Tonle Sap often called the “Great Lake”. We will float by schools, markets and police stations all built within the lake and observe the typical local activities. We’ll visit a floating house to interact with a local family before returning to town. Also explore Wat Bo Krum village, located near the river. Meander around this exotic hamlet, enjoy the peaceful scenery, chat with the villagers and laugh with the children at their school.
Day 4: Siem Reap – Phnom Penh (B/D)
Morning fly from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.
Welcome to Phnom Penh. Upon arrival at Phnom Penh Airport. After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.
After settling in and enjoying a bit of free time, you’ll head out with your guide and spend the afternoon visit Royal Palace built in 1866 by King Norodom. See the different structures of this pagoda-style compound and stroll in its beautiful garden. Visit the Silver Pagoda so named because of its floor that is comprised of 5,000 silver tiles. A gold Buddha encrusted with 9,584 diamonds and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha are also housed here. Next, visit the National Museum. Built in 1917 it is an exceptional example of traditional architecture and is exclusively devoted to preserving and displaying Khmer art and sculptures. Hundreds of pieces are housed here including both pre-and post-Angkorian pieces. You’ll also visit the city’s namesake, Wat Phnom. Founded in 1373, the pagoda was built to house Buddhist relics washed ashore by the river.
Accommodation: Stay 02 nights at SUN & MOON Urban Hotel
Day 5: Phnom Penh (B/D)
Today, meet your personal guide and driver and drive to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek (16 km south of Phnom Penh). Between 1975 and 1978 about 17,000 men, women, children and infants (including nine westerners) detained and tortured at S-21 prison were transported to the extermination camp of Choeung Ek. They were often bludgeoned to death to avoid wasting precious bullets. Fragments of human bone and bits of cloth are scattered around the disinterred pits. Over 8,000 skulls, arranged by sex and age, are visible behind the clear glass panels of the Memorial Stupa, which was erected in 1988. You’ll then continue to visit the notorious Tuol Sleng Museum. In 1975 Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot’s security forces and turned into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). It soon became the largest such center of detention and torture in the country. More than 17,000 people held at S-21 were taken to the extermination camp at Choeung Ek to be executed; detainees who died during torture were buried in mass graves in the prison ground. Room after room the museum displays photographs of men, women and children covering the walls from floor to ceiling; virtually all the people pictured were later killed. Next, continue to visit the Russian Market (Psah Tuol Thom Pong), a lively outdoor market where you will find antiquities, silver and gold jewelry, gems, silk, kramas, stone and wood carvings, as well as T-Shirts, CDs and other souvenirs.
Later this afternoon enjoy one-hour sunset cruise on the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers. The boat will pass past floating villages, providing great views of the city’s rapidly changing skyline.
This evening enjoy the Cambodian cultural performance of Plae Pakaa at National Museum.
Day 6: Depart Phnom Penh (B)
Today free at leisure until transfer to Phnom Penh International Airport in time for your departure flight to the next destination. We wish you a safe and pleasant journey
- Accommodation as specified above (best 4starsnice boutique hotels)
- Private transportation by modern air-conditioned vehicle
- Sightseeing as specified in the itinerary including entrance fees
- Boat cruise as specified above
- Meals as specified in itinerary B: Breakfast, D: Dinner (Kosher meal arrange by Mr Daniel)
- Professional Licensed English Speaking guide
- Domestic flight tickets: Siem Reap – Phnom Penhon Economy Class
- 02 bottles of mineral water per person
- VAT and all taxes and service charge
- Drinks, meals and any other incidental expenses not mention above
- Personal, travel and health insurance
- Early check in and late check out
- Tips for guides and drivers