Itinerary Day 1
On your first day, you will take a tour of Angkor Thom, starting at the South Gate entrance. Visit the main temple of Bayon (4-Faced Temple) to see the last great temple to be built at the Angkor complex. Experience up-close where the Khmer rulers watched their returning armies from the Terrace of the Elephants, and see the stunning 3-tiered temple of Baphoun, where a 51-year restoration project has finally been completed. Experience the steamy environment of the jungle where the blockbuster movie “Tomb Raider” was shot.
After lunch, continue your temple tour at Angkor Wat, the most legendary of the temples of the Khmer kingdom, and its former capital. Admire exquisite carvings and bas reliefs dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, and see scenes depicting Hindu mythology. Back in Siem Reap, enjoy a buffet dinner at a local restaurant, and watch a traditional Apsara dance, evoking classical myths.
Itinerary Day 2
This morning, visit the small temple of Bantaey Srey, said to have the finest carvings of all the Angkor temples. En route back to Siem Reap, pass local villages where, time permitting, you can stop to watch and learn how sugar is produced from the sugar palms.
After lunch, explore the temples of the Roluos group from the early Angkor period (802-1431). You will go to Preah Ko, the first temple to be built in the ancient and now defunct city of Hariharalaya. Preah Ko (Sacred Bull) derives its name from the 3 sandstone statues facing the temple’s central towers, representing Nandi, the white bull that served as the mount of Shiva.
Continue to the temple mountain of Bakong, which served as the official state temple of King Indravarman I in Hariharalaya, and see fragments of the original bas reliefs. The last temple on your Roluos tour is Lolei, the last of the 3 temples of Hariharalaya, best known for its beautiful carved lintels and false doors.