Venture beyond the tourist trail and uncover the true wonders of Angkor. Discover the iconic sites of the archaeological park and then step in to the countryside where hidden gems beckon to be explored. Between temple visits, explore local villages and experience Cambodia’s incredible culture.
Discover hidden temples
See the Rolous group, Beng Melea and Banteay Srei, three of Siem Reap’s lesser-known but equally impressive monuments
Appreciate Cambodia’s history
Browse the remarkable display of artefacts at the Angkor National Museum and learn about Khmer history while exploring the temples
Get to know Cambodian culture
Feast on Khmer cuisine, be blessed by monks and travel by ox cart through a village to experience local culture
Arrive Siem Reap
Siem Reap Airport Siem Reap (8 km): 15 mins
Upon your arrival in Siem Reap, you will be welcomed by your local English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel for check in. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire.
Discover some secrets of the Angkor period on a guided tour of the Angkor National Museum. The interactive museum showcases artifacts from the Golden Era of the Khmer Empire by use of multimedia technology to picture this interesting historical period.
Later in the afternoon enjoy a spectacular view from above and get an idea of the sheer size of the temple area as you ride in a tethered helium balloon that takes you 120m up in the air! See Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng, West Baray and other ruins amongst the surrounding jungle and rice paddies glimmering in the best evening light. (Note: Balloon operations are subject to weather conditions and may be stopped without prior notice.)
Dinner tonight is at the beautiful Mahob restaurant. “Mahob”, the Cambodian word for ‘food’, is a culinary hotspot that takes traditional Khmer cuisine to a new level. Using only locally produced ingredients, this beautiful restaurant serves up some of the best local delicacies that Siem Reap has to offer. Located in a traditional Khmer wooden house in a peaceful cosy garden setting, and away from the bustling Pub Street area, Mahob provides you with a truly genuine Khmer welcome experience.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Siem Reap – Temples (06 km): 10 mins
This morning after breakfast, get your first close glimpse of Angkor today at the early temples of the Roluos Group. Roluos is the site of an ancient center of Khmer civilization known as Hariharalaya. It was the first town built by the Angkorian kings in the 8th and 9th century and consists of three main temples: Bakong, Lolei and Preah Ko. The surrounding countryside with its paddy fields and sugar palm trees is very typical for Cambodia – enjoy the natural beauty on an ox cart ride, a fun way to get in touch with rural Cambodia and its friendly people. In the contemporary Roluos Pagoda in the vicinity of the monuments, Buddhist monks will celebrate a private blessing ceremony for you, wishing you health and a safe journey – a very special experience!
After a break for some rest at midday return to explore the temples of the Small Circuit. The most illustrious of these is Ta Prohm, built in the mid 12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes the ‘Tomb Raider Temple’ one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. Your visit to Ta Prohm will also include Banteay Kdei, a Buddhist monastery from the late 12th Century, and Srah Srang, also known as the “pool of ablutions”.
As an alternative to Ta Prohm and Banteay Kdei you may wish to visit Preah Khan, a larger temple built by the same king in honour of his father (Ta Prohm was built for his mother). Less well known and therefore less frequently visited, Preah Khan is more grand in scale and yet provides a more intimate—more “Tomb Raider” if you will—experience because of fewer visitors and it’s many collapsing and crumbling corridors. Note: Speak to your guide on the day of your visit. Depending on the season you may wish to visit a different temple to avoid the crowds as Ta Prohm is very crowded during peak months.
You will be right in time to catch the beautiful evening light from Pre Rup, a pyramidal temple surrounded by a sea of rice fields.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Siem Reap – Beng Mealea (58 km): 01h & 30 mins Siem Reap – Tonle Sap (20 km): 30 mins
After breakfast, you will head out to the beautiful Cambodian countryside, as you will drive to the quiet Beng Mealea, around 65 km from Siem Reap. If you arrive early enough to be the first at the temple (7:30am), you will feel like an explorer when you discover this completely overgrown and collapsed temple. Undiscovered for centuries, Beng Mealea is now accessible to all visitors, and while it remains unrestored, it is increasingly popular with tour groups, particularly in the later morning hours.
Take a break for a packed lunch and eat at a local house close to Beng Mealea temple (lunch box).
After depart on an interesting boat trip on the Tonlé Sap Lake, where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. Tonlé Sap is South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake with its size varying greatly depending on the season, as it is swelling to about four times its size during the wet season. Board a local boat and visit the village of Kampong Kleang, where only few tourists venture. Embark on a boat ride through the village where the fisherman and their families live in stilted houses among the petrified mangrove forests and waterways. Enjoy the fascinating scenery of Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Siem Reap – Temples (06 km): 10 mins
Visit the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall, drawing a perfect square. Enter the city through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with three-headed elephants and capped with four giant faces.
From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the center of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its 52 towers with the faces of the Buddha looking out over the vast provinces of the Great Khmer Empire. The nearby Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate relief carvings.
Lunch will be at the iconic Viroth’s restaurant, famously known as one of the best upscale restaurants in town. Boasting an extensive menu of Khmer and other Asian favourites, and set in a chic, contemporary, intimate and mostly outdoor setting, this restaurant is definitely one to try whilst visiting the temples.
In the afternoon, visit the biggest religious temple in the world by ‘remork’ (similar to the Thai ‘tuk tuk’; the magnificent Angkor Wat Temple. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing Mount Meru, the home of the gods. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Departure Siem Reap
Siem Reap – Banteay Srei (37 km): 45 mins Siem Reap - Siem Reap Airport (8 km): 15 mins
This morning travel to the countryside to see the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srei. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” remains the best preserved temple in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs. Banteay Srei is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.
On the way back, you will have the possibility to stop at local communities along the way and your guide will help you to interact with the local community to learn about the way of life here. Seize the opportunity to see how rice paper is produced and to taste Palm Wine and Palm Sugar, which are a popular local produce (seasonal).
Return to Siem Reap where depending on your departure time there will time for some shopping at local markets and Artisans d’Angkor, established in 1992 in order to support Cambodian arts and crafts, and to help young people find work in their local villages by continuing the practice of traditional arts. Discover how wood and stone carvings, lacquering, gilding, and silk paintings are created.
Transfer to the airport for your individual departure flight.
Our services include:
- Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room in selected hotel
- Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
- English speaking guide (for other languages a supplement applies)
- Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle unless stated otherwise
- Entrance fees for mentioned visits
- Boat trip as indicated in itinerary
- Daily drinking water during the tour
Our services do not include:
- Visa for Cambodia (Visa issued on arrival for most nationalities, USD30/pax, please bring 1 passport photo)
- 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
- Other meals than mentioned
- International and Domestic Flights (quoted separately)
- Camera/video entrance fees
- Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, telephone, tips etc)
- Travel insurance including recommended helicopter evacuation for Cambodia
- Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above
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