Upon our afternoon arrival, we’ll proceed directly to the National Museum, where we’ll view its collection of Khmer art, featuring more than 5,000 objects, including statuary and other artifacts from Angkor Wat. Afterwards, we’ll check into our hotel and set out on an orientation walk to familiarize ourselves with the area.
Following breakfast at our hotel, we set out for a visit to the Royal Palace, current residence of King Norodom Sihamoni and former King Norodom Sihanouk. The Palace was opened in 1870 under King Norodom, and now contains the Royal Residence, the Throne Hall, the Silver Pagoda, and several other historic buildings. The Silver Pagoda (Wat Preah Keo Morokat) is home to numerous Buddhist artifacts and draws its name from the more than 5,000 silver tiles that cover a floor in the temple. The building serves less as a functioning shrine—no monks currently reside here - than a repository of cultural treasures such as the famous Emerald Buddha and many other priceless objects. Then we visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek - a grim reminder of Cambodia’s bloody past under Pol Pot. It is almost inconceivable to confront the nature of true evil here in this gentle land, but the Buddhist memorial at Choeung Ek commemorates the estimated 1.7 million victims of the 1975-79 Pol Pot genocide - and this execution site is just one of many throughout Cambodia. After lunch, we visit Toul Sleng Genocide Museum. This former high school was utilized by the Khmer Rouge as a place to torture prisoners throughout the years from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979. Then, we enjoy a more uplifting experience during a visit to the Russian Market. Named for its popularity among Russian expats during the 1980s, this bustling local market is teeming with vendors selling traditional handcrafts, antiques, and everyday goods. Afterwards, we visit Wat Phnom, a 14th-century Buddhist temple that also represents the tallest religious structure in Phnom Penh. Dinner is on our own this evening in Phnom Penh.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
After breakfast this morning, we’ll board a coach for our trip to Siem Reap, a town within the boundaries of the ancient city of Angkor. We travel through Cambodia’s Kampong Thom Province, stopping en route to visit a local market and stonecarvers’ village. After lunch, we’ll continue to Siem Reap, arriving in the early afternoon. After checking in to our hotel, we’ll embark on a brief orientation walk before heading out to a restaurant in Siem Reap for an included dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Today represents the highlight of our trip, as we journey into the heart of ancient Angkor, a holy city that took centuries to build and whose scale is still breathtaking today - it sprawls across an area of roughly six by 16 miles. The Khmer aristocrats who built the temples and monuments here - between AD 800 and 1200 - were motivated by their Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. We begin at the South Gate of Angkor Thom, the capital city of Khmer rulers. We’ll see the Bayon, pass four other temples, and make brief stops at Baphoun and the Elephants Terrace, where amazing bas-reliefs depict the huge beasts almost life-size. At the nearby Terrace of the Leper King, equally intricate wall carvings depict rank after rank of court attendants to mystical rulers. We conclude our explorations of Angkor’s most notable features with a tour to the Ta Prohm. After our exploration of Angkor, we'll journey to a nearby village to enjoy a taste of genuine Cambodian hospitality during a Home-Hosted Lunch.
Then we return to Angkor Wat (whose name means simply “Angkor’s main temple”) where we wait for the sunset, the most opportune moment for seeing this masterpiece of Khmer architecture. Angkor Wat is a large pyramid temple, built between 1113 and 1150, surrounded by a great moat 570 feet wide. Note the bas-relief carving throughout the temple. Who knows what you might feel as you stand in the courtyard of this temple whose towers represent Mount Meru, the center of the universe.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
This morning, we enjoy a boat ride on Tonle Sap Lake, where we can glimpse a bit of life and the daily rituals of Cambodia’s river people. Floating fishing villages sprawl across the lakefront and everything is gliding by on the water - thatched-roof houses on hollow bamboo poles, small markets, jewelry shops, even a beauty parlor floats by. Commerce goes on all across the water - women selling fruits and vegetables from sampans, skiffs full of firewood, and fishermen selling their catch. The people who live on the water have tied their lives to the lake’s cycles, and are constantly on the move as the water level rises or recedes throughout the year.
Tonle Sap means “Great Freshwater Lake,” and indeed this is one of the world’s geographical wonders, as well as the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. When the rains begin here in June and July, the Mekong River begins to rise, but instead of flooding its own banks, it begins to push the waters of the Tonle Sap at Phnom Penh northward, reversing the river’s flow. The waters of the Tonle Sap River then flood the lake, increasing its size tenfold and flooding the surrounding forests and fields, leaving behind fertile silt for rice cultivation. In October, after the monsoon season has passed, the lake drains and the river returns to its southern flow. If you are a birder, this is a world-renowned habitat for shorebirds. We conclude our tour with a visit to one of the floating villages and then return to our hotel for an included lunch. Afternoon visit the ancient temple of Banteay Srei, one of the oldest and most beautifully preserved temple sites in Cambodia. Built in AD 967, Banteay Srei means “Citadel of Women,” and is recognized as a tribute to the beauty of women. The structures here have been carved in painstaking detail out of sandstone. Amazingly, the detail is as intricate as a woven tapestry, a testament to the craft of the original artisans and to the devoted conservation of generations of Cambodians to this site.
After breakfast this morning, we check out of our hotel and transfer to visit the Khmer Handicraft Center call Artisan D’Angkor where you also can fine some souvenirs to bring back home for memory. Then we transfer to the airport for our flight back.
|Group size & Cost in USD/PP||2-3 pax||4-6 pax||7-9 pax||10-14 pax||15pax+1||Single Supp|
|Almond Hotel & Angkor Home Hotel 3*||459||357||303||275||272||116|
|Sunway Hotel and Prince D’angkor 4*||617||515||453||432||430||273|
|Sofitel Phnom Penh & Sokha Angkor Resort 5*||859||758||703||674||672||516|
Mr Khan Travel Agency
House No. 90, Ward No. 04, Near Kariappa Park, Behind Bus Stand, Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh, India - 461881
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