Take a fascinating full-day tour of some of the mysterious temples of the Khmer Empire, including the women’s temple of Banteay Srey, and the former medical temple of Neak Pean.
You will be picked up from your hotel in Siem Reap at approximately 08:00 for the drive to the temple of Preah Khan, built outside of the former city of Angkor Thom. Built on the site of Jayavarman VII’s victory over the invading Chams in 1191, the temple remains largely unrestricted and has been left to the mercy of the jungle’s ancient trees, creating a quintessential Angkor experience.
Continue to the island temple of Neak Pean (The Entwined Serpents) to see the snake sculptures around its base, and learn about its role as one of Angkor’s hospitals. Visit the small temple of Ta Som, and admire the eastern outer gopura (entrance), covered by a sacred fig tree.
Your next stop is the guardian elephant sculpture of the 10th-century East Mebon, built on an artificial island at the center of the now dry East Baray reservoir. End the morning at the temple mountain of Pre Rup, believed to have been used for funerals.
After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to the temple of Bantaey Srey, built when the Khmer Empire was gaining power. A jewel of Khmer art, marvel at the carvings of myths in the temple’s red sandstone walls, and see ornate pediments that depict Khmer legends.
Return to Siem Reap for a buffet dinner. En route, and time permitting, you will stop at a local village to learn how sugar is produced from the sugar palm plants. Back in the city, watch a traditional Apsara dance show, and be dazzled by the costumed dancers presenting a graceful display of Cambodian folk stories.