Cambodia has been gaining a lot of popularity recently among travel enthusiasts. However, many people still think that there is not much to visit in Cambodia; they seem to think that the only place worth visiting in Cambodia is the Angkor Wat. So, they take a quick detour from their trips to Thailand or Vietnam. Yes, Angkor Wat is magnificent. However, there are also many other beautiful temples in the country. You can spend months just for a temple tour in this country.
Our six-day temple tour begins from the renowned complex of Angkor, followed by the trip to Banteay Srei, Beng Mealea, and many more. The trip ends with the visit to Roluos Group.
Angkor Wat is the largest monument of the Angkor group and is also the largest in the world. This preserved architecture is a masterpiece with perfection in composition, balance, proportions, relief's and sculpture, making it one of the most beautiful monuments in the world. Wat means temple in Khmer, where Angkor was added when it became a Theravada Buddhist monument around the 16th century. When the capital transferred to Phnom Penh after 1431, the Buddhist monks cared Angkor Wat. This is also famous as a funerary temple for King Suryavarman II, and orients to the west to follow to the symbolism between the sunset and death. The bas-relief supports this function, which was designed for viewing from left to right in the order of the Hindu funereal ritual.
Due to the vastness of the monument, it is very tough to grasp the accurate plan of Angkor Wat'sWat's architecture. The beauty and complexity both attracts and distracts its visitors. From far, the complex appears as a huge mass of stone on one level with a long walkway that leads to the core, but when going close, it is a sequence of tall towers, covered galleries, chambers, porches, and courtyards on different levels connected by staircases. The height of Angkor Wat is quite bigger than it might appear. The height from the ground to the top of the central tower is 299meters that combines three rectangular or square levels. Every one of them is gradually smaller and higher than the one beneath starting from the external limits of the temple.
The overall looks emulate a lotus bud; many architectural lines stick out in the profile of the monument. You can see all five towers of Angkor Wat only from particular angles. For example, they are not visible from the entrance. Many of the structures and courtyards are in the shape of a cross. Angkor Wat is a small model of the universe in stone that represents an earthly model of the celestial world. The central tower elevates from the center of the monument and symbolizes the mythical mountain, Meru, that lies at the center of the universe. Its five towers resemble the crests of Meru. The outer wall matches the mountains at the edge of the world, and the surrounding channel the oceans beyond.
Although Angkor Wat is the most pictured Khmer monument, nothing beats the actual view of temples through your eyes. The general outlook of this marvelous temple is beautiful and romantic, as well as imposing and outstanding that you can only understand and appreciate it through your eyes. One can never be uninspired by looking at this site that seems as though it touches heaven. Angkor Wat spreads for around 500 acres in a rectangle area, bounded by a laetrile wall.
Banteay Srei, the temples go with a lot of names like "The lady temple," "the tiny temple," "the pink temple," which indicates the distinctiveness of this little gem of a temple. This temple feels so different from the impressive majesty of the main Angkor complex. Originally Tribhuvanamahesvara, the name Banteay Srei is a modern one that means "citadel of the women" or "citadel of beauty." People think that this is due to its minuscule scale, the pink color of the limestone, and the intricate decorative figures of many devatas (minor female deities) that grace its walls.
Banteay Srei is just about 20km far from the main Angkor complex, and about 30km from Siem Reap center. It is a scenic drive through villages and rice fields that takes about half an hour from the temples of Angkor in a tuk-tuk. It will be best to visit Banteay Srei in the early morning or late afternoon as the site has very little shade from the heat of the day. The temple doesn't have the mazes of corridors like Bayon, and it's not possible to sit in the shade of its walls like at Angkor Wat as they are too small to block the sun rays. So, the cooler time is ideal for the visit of this temple; you will also get great photo opportunity of the pink-colored temple in the changing light. It is the only major temple not built by a king. Even after the place was rediscovered in 1914, it was not initially clear. After a few years, when a French politician stole some ruins from the site, the attention renewed to the region, and people began showing interest in the restoration of the site.
The temple faces the east, and its entry lies at the start of a walkway, which leads to three enclosures. Many parts of the enclosure have collapsed or are removed for the museums. The reddish colored sandstone, the origin of the nickname of the pink temple, is soft to touch. You can use the sandstone to carve like wood, as the masses of ornamental decoration all over the building. Nearly every surface has intricately depicted stories and themes. The most elaborate carvings are in the inner enclosure that houses two libraries and the sanctuary. This temple dedicated to Shiva has many carvings centered around his statue, although there are many Vishnu'sVishnu's figures in the southern sides of the building. This temple is very different than those of the Angkor temples. Here the demonstration of wealth, power, and the worship of the gods are apparent in detail and intricacy rather than in the sense of enormity and gravitas of Angkor Wat or Bayon.
King Surayavarman II built the Prasat Beng Mealea in the early 12th century, dedicated to Vishnu with the architecture of Angkor Wat. The temple lies 40 kilometers east from the main bunch of Angkor temples, and about 77km from Siem Reap by road. Beng Mealea means lotus pond. This temple was originally built as a Hindu temple, but some carvings depict Buddhist motifs. The temple is mostly made up of sandstone and is mostly in ruins, with trees and thick brush blooming within its towers and courtyards and many of its stones lying in great masses. For years, the temple was difficult to reach; however, the recently built road to the temple complex of Koh Ker passes Beng Mealea, and this temple is gaining a lot of popularity. The temple is smaller than Angkor Wat, but it is one of the largest temples of the Khmer empire. The gallery, which forms the outer enclosure of the temple, is 181 m by 152 m. Bang Mealea faces towards the east, but the entrances are on the other three cardinal directions. The temple's layout is three enclosing galleries around a central sanctuary, collapsed at present. Like Angkor wat, cruciform cloisters tie the enclosures.
You can visit this temple at any time of the day, but it is most crowded between 9 am, and 11 am, particularly between November and February. So, those looking to explore the temples peacefully avoid these times.
Explore the magnificent Angkor Wat
Visit the beautiful Banteay Srei
Cruise on a boat through a largest freshwater lake of Southeast Asia
Discover one of the largest monuments of Khmer Kingdom, Beng Mealea
- Airport pickup and drop off
- All transportation including boat
- Twin-sharing accommodation
- An experienced, supportive, friendly, English speaking guide
- International airfare
- Travel insurance
Arrival Siem Reap
Upon arrival, our representative will pick you up and transfer you to the hotel. On the way, he will give you a brief explanation on your further trip. After checking into the hotel, you can relax or head out to explore the magnificent Angkor Wat. This largest human-made monument with perfection in composition, balance, proportions, relief's and sculpture makes it one of the finest monuments in the world.
This morning, we head towards the impressive Angkor Wat. We will also visit the Royal City of Preah Khan with incredible architecture, Neak Pean built on a small circular island, Ta Som, East Mebon, Preah Rup. In the afternoon, we head towards Thommanon Temple, Ta Keo, one of Angkor'sAngkor's great temple mountains Ta Prohm with a part of the jungle, Banteay Kdei, Srah Srang a Royal bathing place, Prasat Kravan with unique brick sculptures. Besides, we will tour the Les Chantiers Ecole, handicraft center that lies in the core of Siem Reap. Founded in 1992, Les Chantiers Ecole aims to revive the ancient Khmer art. The organization teaches young people the techniques of carving with stone and wood, and silk weaving.
Visit Banteay Srei
In the morning, we travel to the stunning Banteay Srei. The temple has no place unadorned, and you will also notice unique pink sandstone's fine carving. Afterwards, we continue on car towards a little chain of hills. After an hour, we will reach a place near Kbal Spien and continue the rest of the journey on foot. After walking for around 40 minutes, we will reach a river called thousand Lingas Rivers," where you will notice riverbed and rocks covered with carvings of gods of the Brahma religion dating back as far as the 11th century. The water flows over the figures of Vishnu, Lakshmi, Hanuman, Rama, and many Lingas, carved in stone to sanctify the water and show gratitude to the gods. The sound of a small waterfall follows the river through the small valley. Then, we climb bamboo stairs, after which we see a beautiful waterfall. Later, we head towards Banteay Samre, where you will see some intricately carved architecture and gorgeous sculptures. We will also visit some Baray Oriental Sites.
Boat Ride on Tonle Sap Lake
We board on a boat and cruise through the Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in southeast Asia. Along the way, we will see several floating villages where the inhabitants mostly engage in fishing. This afternoon, we visit the Siem Reap central market and the Silk Farm in Puok, which a NGO operates to revive the silk production of Cambodia.
Beng Mealea and Phnom Khulan
Today, we head towards Beng Melea Temple, the temple lost in the jungle. Driving through a relatively bumpy road for a couple of hours, we reach the Beng Melea. Beng Melea small than Angkor Wat but is one of the largest monuments of the Khmer empire. You will see lots of temples intact and in ruins, with the vegetation all around the temple giving it the heavenly feel. During our trip, we will walk over the temple relics and climb trees while exploring the site. The decoration of Beng Malea is simple and animated only in certain areas, but you can find several bas-reliefs'' showing scenes from the Khmer Mythology. In the afternoon, we drive along the highway along Phnom Koulen towards Siem Reap.
Roluos Group of Temples
This morning, we head towards the old Khmer civilization site of Hariharalaya, which flourished in the late 9th and early 10th Centuries. These are the earliest temples in the Angkor area and are famous as the Ruluos group. The three Roluos temples are Bakong Temple Mountain with wonderful carvings on the false doors and lintels, the funerary temple of Preah Ko, Lolei Temple with the Roluos group's most exquisite carvings and inscriptions. In the afternoon, we will transfer you to the airport approximately 3hours on your scheduled flight.