This morning we will head out very early to experience an unforgetable spectacle - the sunrise over the temple of Angkor Wat.
Angkor Thom is the largest religious site in the world and Angkor Wat is perhaps its most famous temple. Instead of returning to the hotel after we have witnessed the sunrise, we will have our packed breakfast in a local restaurant, before we continue.
After breakfast, we set out to visit the legendary Angkor Wat. 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.
Our next stop will be Ta Prohm, where the jungle has tried to reclaim the monuments. Although the site has been restored, giant tree trunks still reach through the ancient stone. Here you can get a feeling of how the first European explorers would have found the ruins of Angkor Thom. This temple, dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII, was constructed as a Buddhist monastery and was enormously wealthy in its heyday.
At lunchtime, there will be the opportuntiy to return to the hotel after our very early start. Alternatively, you may wish to continue the tour and visit Banteay Srei, a 10th century temple located outside the main Angkor Thom city. Unique to Banteay Srei is the rare pink sandstone and its exquisite ornamental carvings of gods, demons, coiling serpents and floral garlands. Most of the bas-reliefs found on the walls depict scenes of Hindu episodes of the Ramayana.
Dinner this evening will be together at a local restaurant.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodation: Siem Reap