- Cycling on the back road from Ta Prohm to Bayon and surrounding then to Angkor Wat.
- Cycling to explore the hidden temples.
- Watch sunset and buffet dinner at a great local restaurant with traditional dances show.
Day 1: Siem Reap
(Meals included: -/-/D.Show | Overnight at your own)
Today we immerse ourselves in one of the most astounding archaeological sites in the world. The magnificent Angkor complex of temples is scattered over an area of 200 square kilometers, with only Egypt's Nile Valley providing any kind of comparison in terms of such a vast array of monuments. The Khmer kings ruled from this ancient seat, reigning over the largest, most prosperous and sophisticated kingdoms in the history of South East Asia. At the height of their power, the kings of Angkor controlled territories that extended from the tip of the Indochina peninsula, northward to Yunnan and from Vietnam, westward to the Bay of Bengal.
We begin our exploration this morning by bicycle. Making an early start to avoid the crowds and enjoy the relative cool of the morning, we use a support vehicle to take us into the temple complex avoiding the busy roads that service the temples. Today’s cycle focuses on Angkor Thom, the walled city built by Jayaverman VII in the 12th Century. It has the greatest concentration of temples in the Angkor complex and is heavily forested providing shade and atmosphere. This tour focuses more on the excitement of discovery and exploration.
We start early at Ta Prohm when the birds and parrots out number the tourists. Ta Prohm is one of the highlights of any visit to Angkor, giant trees spread their roots across the temples giving the impression that nature is very much in control. Shrouded in dense jungle the temple of Ta Prohm is ethereal in aspect and conjures up a romantic aura. It was built about mid-12th century to early 13th century (1186) by the King Jayavarman VII, dedicated to the mother of the king (Buddhist). It made famous by the movie Tomb Raider. We then use quiet roads, small tracks and alternative approaches visit other temples and really feel the magic of Angkor. En-route we take an in depth look at the Terraces of the Elephants and the Leper King, the Royal Palace, and Baphoun until we reach Bayon, is perhaps Angkor’s most moving temple. The base reliefs are among the most interesting in Angkor and offer an insight into the past. They show re-enactments of the war against the Chams and also scenes of daily life depicting childbirth, pig fights, drinking and farming. There are also 54 standing towers each bearing four faces of a figure believed to represent both Loksvara (the Bodhisittva of compassion) and the great King himself. These faces literally come to life with the changing light of the rising sun. We time our visit when most other visitors have departed to encourage a truly magical experience! We then move on to the best preserved South Gate before we break for lunch (under own account).
In the afternoon we visit some of the most well preserved carvings in the region at Angkor Wat, one of the world’s most impressive temples constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries and the largest Hindu structure in the world. The temple is home to hundreds of fine carvings of Apsara and Hindu mythology. Stroll around the massive hallways to discover small shrines still in use today by the local people. Return to one of the grass terraces in front of the five massive towers of Angkor Wat to watch the sunset before transferring back to town to enjoy a wonderful dinner performance of traditional Apsara and Folk dances. Although not as famous as Thai dance, Khmer Apsara dance is actually where Thai dance originated from. Tonight we are entertained by dances originally saved for Royal audiences in Siem Reap’s most beautiful. Transfer to your hotel after dinner.
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- Meals code: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, D. Show = Dinner with performance dance show, - = No meal.
- Tour starts and ends will be discussed and recommended by our expert team upon request depending on the season, weather and the current updated.
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