Immerse yourself in the history of the Khmer Empire on a full-day tour from Siem Reap to the sacred mountain of Phnom Kulen.
Located just north of Siem Reap, the isolated Phnom Kulen mountain range is formed of sandstone, and widely regarded as the birthplace of the ancient Khmer Empire. Upon arrival, you will go to the hilltop site to see the largest reclining Buddha in Cambodia, dedicated to the proclamation of independence by King Jayavarman II in 802 AD.
Phnom Kulen has now returned to government hands after the fall of the Khmer Rouge and is still fairly inaccessible because of the poor road conditions, especially in the rainy season. Navigate the rugged roads to see the intricate fertility carvings that are a legacy of the God-Kings who ruled Cambodia in the 9th century.
After lunch by the waterfall, continue to Bantaey Srey. Located 16 miles (25 kilometers) north-east of the main group of temples that once belonged to the medieval capitals of Yasodharapura and Angkor Thom, the unique temple is small in stature but stunning in detail. Considered by many to have the finest carvings of all the Angkor temples, you will explore the main sights of the “Citadel of Women,” before your transfer back to Siem Reap.
Time permitting, stop en route at a local village to learn and see how sugar is produced from the palm sugar trees. Then, end the day at a local restaurant, where you can watch a traditional Apsara Dance Show as you enjoy a buffet dinner.