Day 10: Preak Kdame / Siem Reap
Following breakfast disembark the Mekong Princess. Transfer to Phnom Penh for a morning domestic flight to Siem Reap. On arrival in Siem Reap transfer to the Belmond La Residence D’Angkor Hotel where three nights are spent. An intimate luxury hotel near Angkor Wat, set within a leafy walled garden. From here you are ideally placed to explore Siem Reap and visit the temples of Angkor Wat, one of the man-made wonders of the world.
Lunch at the hotel on arrival. This afternoon start exploring Asia’s most magnificent archaeological ruins, the Khmer Temples of Angkor. Built between the 7th and 11th centuries, some 70 ruins cover an area of 200 sq. km, starting with the magnificent Banteay Srei. This small complex was built in the 10th century by the spiritual mentor of King Jayavarman V and is dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva. It was the birthplace of Khmer classical style architecture and the bas-relief work is the best remaining example of Khmer classical art. Uniquely Banteay Srei is built of rare pink sandstone with a series of striking and beautiful sculptures, lintels, pediments and friezes featuring exquisite ornamental carvings of gods, demons, coiling serpents and floral garlands. Continue to the Landmine Museum. Return to the hotel for the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 11: Siem Reap
This morning visit Ta Prohm at sunrise, built by King Jayavarman VII in 1186 as a shrine for his Queen Mother. The temple complex is overgrown with gigantic fig trees and is considered the best example of how Angkor may have looked when it was discovered by the modern world. Continue to Sala kdei for a Vietnamese breakfast. Visit Banteay Kdei, or ‘citadel of the cells’, which was used as a Buddhist monastic complex until the mid-20th century.
Return to the hotel for lunch under own arrangements. Afternoon at leisure. Early buffet dinner at the hotel before a performance at the Phare Circus.
Day 12: Siem Reap
This morning leave the hotel to watch sunrise at Angkor Wat. Continue to the fortified Royal city of Angkor Thom. The city has five monumental decorated gates, with the Bayon located in the middle of the former Khmer capital. Other important sights within the complex are the pyramidal Baphuon, the Terrace of the Leper Kings and the Terrace of Elephants. Supported by sculpted stone elephants, the terrace served as a giant viewing platform for royal ceremonies. Return to the hotel for breakfast, the rest of the morning at leisure.
This afternoon return to Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. The god-king Suryavarman II ordered the construction in the 12th century and dedicated the temple to the Hindu deity with which he identified – Vishnu. In the outer galleries are some of the finest and best-preserved bas-reliefs of the Khmer Art.
Dinner at a local restaurant.