Little do some people know, “Angkor” is more than just the temple of Angkor Wat. Set off on a full day in the Angkor Archaeological Park with an expert guide and discover the incredible wonders of ancient Cambodia. by 500 years of history while visiting temples including lesser-known hidden gems and the world renowned Bayon, Ta Prohm, and Angkor Wat
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While Angkor Wat is the crown jewel of the Angkor Park, visiting at sunrise often means sharing the view with thousands of other visitors. Consider visiting nearby Phnom Bakheng instead. This hilltop temple is most popular at sunset and, as the main temple of King Yasovarman, founder and namesake of Yasodharapura, it is a logical starting point for an exploration of the ancient city. From atop Phnom Bakheng, which requires walking up a wide, winding dirt road around the exterior of the 79m-high hill, you will be able to witness the sunrise over Angkor Wat. Note: Your sunrise options from 05:00 until 07:30 are limited to Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng, Pre Rup, and Srah Srang.
Beginning from 07:30, the entire Angkor Park is open to visitors but many are still strolling around Angkor Wat. Consequently, this is the best time to experience the temple you most wish to see with the fewest number of other visitors. Consider Ta Prohm, the temple made famous by the Angelina Jolie film Tomb Raider, which is otherwise best known for the trees and vines growing atop the temple walls. The temple is a perfect example of how nature has crept in and reclaimed its land after the fall of the Angkorian empire. Enter from the east, just as the temple opens, to avoid the crowds.
After leaving Ta Prohm, the next temple you’ll wish to visit is Bayon, the temple at the center of Angkor Thom city, built by the last great king: Jayavarman VII. A tour of the city can begin at The Terrace of The Elephants and the Royal Palace enclosure. The forested grounds are beautiful in the morning. Visit the Phimeanakas and Baphuon before making your way to Bayon.
Take a stroll around the lower galleries of carvings of Bayon, which depict fascinating scenes of life from the late 11th century, then find a quiet spot on the exterior of the temple to appreciate the 52 towers featuring faces of the Buddha looking out into the jungle around you.
|Optional: Preah Khan - For some, the above is enough to enjoy before lunch, returning to the hotel for a dip in the pool before eating in town. Others may wish to stay in the park for lunch in order to visit another temple, Preah Khan. Some restaurants in the park have air-conditioning and tour groups (near Angkor Wat and Srah Srang) and some have fans and hammocks with lower prices (Preah Khan and Angkor Thom). |
Journey north of Angkor Thom to Preah Khan, originally known as “the city of victorious royal fortune,” and now named after The Sacred Sword that some believe may have once been housed here. Built in the late-12th century in honor of the great King Jayavarman VII’s father, this massive temple complex originally had a population of 97,840 in its service. Less frequently visited than its counterpart Ta Prohm (which was built for the king’s mother), Preah Khan is similar in design but is larger and more complex, and features numerous unique structures and carvings. Enter from the east with the morning light to your back and enjoy the sounds of exotic wildlife that now make the forested compound their home. Venture into the crumbling corridors of the labyrinthian complex in search of hidden features: while Ta Prohm was once the setting of the Angelina Jolie film, Preah Khan offers more of a “Tomb Raider” experience for those willing to explore.
One nice feature of Angkor Wat is that the eight galleries of carvings (where you will spend much of your time) is within a covered, open-air enclosure, making this one of the few times that you will be protected from the sun. Furthermore, as the only west-facing temple, Angkor Wat is best to visit (and photograph) in the late afternoon, arriving around 2:30 - 3pm, enjoying the uppermost platform around 5:00pm, and walking out as the guards begin corralling visitors out of the complex at 5:30pm. Exiting the temple with the setting sun shining on the Vishnu image discovered beneath the temple’s central sanctuary is a magical sight to behold and a fitting end of your exploration of the temple built by King Suryavarman, whose name translates to “protected by the sun”.
For sunset, the options are officially limited to Bakheng and Pre Rup. If you visited Bakheng for sunrise, you may wish to skip it as the temple can be overcrowded at last light. Pre Rup, a pyramid temple that looks beautiful in the sunlight is the popular default. Consider finding a quiet place away from the crowds, such as atop the city wall beside the West or South gate of Angkor Thom.
With a treasure trove of photos and memories, return to town for the evening.
Children aged between 2 and 12 years at the time of travel will receive a 15% discount off the Adult Price.
Our services include:
– Local English speaking guide
– Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air
-day Angkor Pass
– Bottled water and cold towels
Our services do not include:
– Any surcharge/extra fees for visit of the Angkor Historical site imposed by the Apsara Authorities in Siem Reap which are subject to
– change without prior notice
– Personal travel insurance
– Tips for guide & driver
– Lunch (at own expense)
– Any other items not mentioned
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