Cambodia

6-day Siem Reap: From famouse temples to the Great Lake of Tonle Sap

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Tour type

Tour Level: Relaxed / Easy

Tour Comfort: Standard

Tour Period: 6 Days

tour highlights

Visit some of the earliest and largest temples built by the Khmers
  • Explore the ancient capital of Angkor Thom
  • See the magnificent Angkor Wat at sunset
  • Wander through a local market
  • Discover the remote Beng Mealea temple and Koh Ker

tour details

Your tour begins with a visit to the Roluos monuments – the earliest permanent temples built by the Khmers. You’ll then visit the Srah Srang (“Pool of Ablutions”), Banteay Kdei, Eastern Mebon and the Pre Rup mountain-temple. The following day you’ll explore Banteay Srei, Banteay Samre, the Angkor National Museum, Preah Khan and Ta Som. Over the following days you’ll continue with visits to the South Gate, the ancient capital of Angkor Thom, Bayon temple (unique for its 200 smiling faces) and the Terrace of the Leper King. You’ll also see Angkor Wat at sunset. Next you’ll visit the remote Beng Mealea temple and Koh Ker, situated in northeast Siem Reap.
Conclude with visits to Ta Prohm, Takeo, Thommanon, Chau Say Tevoda, Wat Bo Pagoda, a local market, Tonle Sap Lake and a floating village.

Arrive at Siem Reap International airport and transfer to the hotel (rooms may not be ready until the afternoon).
Visit the Roluos Group. The monuments of Roluos, which served as the capital of Indravarman I (reigned 877-89), are among the earliest large, permanent temples built by the Khmers and mark the beginning of Khmer classical art. Preah Ko erected by Indravarman I in the late 9th century dedicated by the King to his ancestors in 880. Bakong the largest and most interesting of the Roluos group temples, with his active Buddhist monastery just to the north of the east entrance. Lolei built on an islet in the center of a large reservoir (now rice fields) by Yasovarman I, the founder to the first city at Angkor.
Lunch not included.
In the afternoon, you will continue your temple visit, including Prasat Kravan with unique brick sculptures, Srah Srang ("The Pool of Ablutions"), undoubtedly used in the past for ritual bathing, Banteay Kdei, surrounded by four concentric walls, Eastern Mebon, guarded at its corner by stone figures of harnessed elephants, some of which are still in a reasonable state of preservation, and Pre Rup, the mountain-temple until sunset.
Dinner at local restaurant.
Accommodation not included.
Breakfast not included.
In the morning, drive to the typical Khmer countryside and visit Banteay Srei temple (10th century), regarded as the jewel in the crown of classical Khmer art. Stop at a local village to visit families who are producing palm sugar. Continue to 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.
Lunch not included.
In the afternoon, visit the Angkor National Museum, the first museum in Siem Reap presenting a unique collection of invaluable art objects from the ancient Khmer Kingdom, to have a deeper understanding of customs, traditions and different beliefs
of the ancient empire.
Continue your temple visits to Preah Khan. Built by the King Jayavarman VII, Preah Khan is, like Ta Prohm, a place of towered enclosures and shoulder-hugging corridors. Unlike Ta Prohm, however, the temple of Preah Khan is in a reasonable state of preservation and ongoing restoration efforts should maintain and even improve this situation. Continue to Neak Pean, a fountain built in the middle of a pool (representing the paradisiacal Himalayan mountain-lake), and Ta Som.
Dinner at local restaurant.
Accommodation not included.
Breakfast not included.
Morning, visit the South Gate (with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk), the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century), 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.
Lunch not included.
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 enclosing wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat, the ocean beyond. Sunset at Angkor Wat.
Dinner at local restaurant.
Accommodation not included.
Breakfast not included.
Morning, drive to the remote Beng Mealea temple through the typical Khmer countryside (60 km from Siem Reap). Explore the long abandoned temple (11th century), strangled by the jungle.
Lunch box will be provided at the site.
A further 1-hour drive brings you to Koh Ker, situated in the northeast of Siem Reap. Discover the long abandoned temples in the forests of northern Cambodia. Also known as Chok Gargyar, it served as the capital of Jayavarman IV (reigned 928-42).
His son and successor Harshavarman I moved the capital back to Angkor in 944.
There are a remarkable number of religious buildings in the Koh Ker region, considering the short space of time that it was the capital of the empire.
There are more than 30 major structures and experts believe there may have been as many as 100 minor sacred buildings in the region. It was also a prolific period for gigantic sculpture and several of the most impressive pieces in the National Museum in Phnom Penh come from Koh Ker, including a huge garuda (half-man, half-bird creature). Return to Siem Reap.
Dinner not included.
Accommodation not included.
Breakfast not included.
Drive to the village of Kompong Khleang near Siem Reap. This permanent community is one of the largest on the Tonle Sap Lake, home to over 20,000 people living in gigantic stilt houses with an economy based on fishing. Enjoy the spectacular site and board a private boat to visit a small island at the centre of the village to see its market, school and brightly painted pagodas. Continue by boat to see the life on the waters of the great Tonle Sap Lake.

Note: During the high water season from August to January the water level rises to within one or two meters of the buildings. During this time of year the village becomes a lively place with floating houses scattering in the vicinity of Kompong Khleang on the lake. The dry season reveals a spectacular site as the stilt houses rise up to ten meters into the sky. The floating houses are now on the open lake and can be visited with a scenic boat ride.We suggest to conduct this tour in the morning as there are more activities to be observed compared to the rather quiet afternoon.

Lunch not included.

Afternoon, visit Senteurs D'Angkor and experience the authentic scents and tastes of Cambodia through a range of traditional handmade products that help create jobs and incomes for impoverished rural communities. Delicatessen delights include spices, traditional teas, highland coffees and local rice liquors. There are also medical balms and natural massage oils as well as perfumed candles and incense. Continue the temples tour: Takeo, Thommanon, Chau Say Tevoda and Ta Prohm, one of the most beautiful temples in the area, as it has been relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery.
Its appeal lies in the fact that, unlike the other monuments of Angkor, it was abandoned and swallowed by the jungle, looking very much the ways most of the Angkor temples appeared when European explorers first stumbled upon them.
Dinner with Apsara Dance Show at local restaurant.
Accommodation not included.
Breakfast not included.
In the morning, visit "Les Artisans d'Angkor - Chantiers Ecoles", this centre is working with young artisans; the team creates, produce and market a unique collection of ornamental sculpture, lacquer ware, silk weaving and silk painting. The company promotes fair, sustainable development in order to provide benefits to the rural communities.
Continue to Wat Bo pagoda to view its well-preserved paintings. You will also observe monks making the various moldings, which adorn the pagodas. Spend time at leisure at a local market
Lunch not included.
Afternoon at leisure before transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for departure to the next destination.

includes

  • Meals as stated in the programme L= lunch box, D= dinner at local restaurant
  • Transfers and tours with local English guides (guides in other languages are on request and may be subject to supplements) in private air-conditioned vehicles
  • All entrance fees, boat fees and / or cyclo fees as mentioned in the programme
  • Bottled water and cold towels available on the vehicles

excludes

  • Accommodation and meals at the hotel
  • Domestic airfare (quoted separately, if requested)
  • International airfare to / from Cambodia (quoted separately, if requested)
  • Optional tours
  • Surcharges for other language guides
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking
  • Visa fees
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme

notes

Ideally a tour to the Tonle Sap Lake is only done during the high-water-level months of July to possibly mid of February. When the water is low boats may get stuck and also the distances to the floating villages increase.
    Tour code: REPDSBS6

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