ITINERARY: Day 1: Angkor temples
Upon arrivals at Siem Reap international Airport, Angkor Grand Adventure Tours team meet and greet then transfer to hotel. Beginning of the Khmer Empire we know today is traced to the establishment of the Kingdom of Kambuja by King Jayavarman II (AD800-850) who seized control of Cambodia from the Indonesian empire, his capitol city was Hariharalaya, established at present day Rolous, about 25 kilometers south-east of Angkor. Preah Ko Temple, the funerary temple of King Jayavarman II and his predecessors, was the first temple commissioned by Indravarman I (AD877-889). Known throughout the region as a great king, Indravarman was responsible for building the first irrigation system of barays (giant water resevoirs) and canals so important to the expansion and stability of the Khmers.
In AD881 Indravarman began building Bakong Temple, his own state temple. Bakong was dedicated to the Hindu god Indra, the personal god of Indravarman, whose name means “Protected by Indra”. Lolei Temple, Yasovarman I (AD889-900), Indravarman?s son, continued his fathers work and built the Lolei Temple in AD893. The temple was built on an island in the middle of his father?s baray (the baray has long since dried up), and exhibits the areas most exquisite carvings and inscriptions.
Note: Yasovarman later moved his capitol to Angkor (see afternoon itinerary).
In AD968, King Jayavarman V rules Kambuja. His reign (until AD1001) is marked by peace, prosperity and cultural development. His court is filled with scholars, poets, ministers, ecclesiastics and philosophers who discuss the mysteries of the world, paint its beauties, write music and songs, dance for the delight of the king and his courtiers and build wonderful temples, among them the exquisite temple of Banteay Srei. The name Banteay Srei means `citadel of the women,? and it typified the peaceful, tolerant spirit of the age which encouraged the creation of beautiful buildings. The temple was founded by a brahmin, Yajnavaraha, who was tutor to Rajendravarman and his son.
In the afternoon, following the migration of the Khmer capitals, travel back into the Angkor area. Yasovarman I was the first Khmer monarch to move his capitol to Angkor where he founded the city of Yasodharapura, the 1st Angkor capitol. Yasodharapura was centered around Phnom Bakheng Temple, and grew to cover nearly 10 square miles. Bakheng was cut from the rock that formed a natural hill and was faced with sandstone.
Prasat Kravan was built during the reign of Harshavarman I (915-923). It contains some remarkable brick sculptures on its interior walls which stand alone as unique examples in Khmer art. The interiors of two of the five towers have sculptures depicting Vishnu and his consort, Lakshmi; the scene in the central tower is the most impressive one, but both are exceptional in stature and quality of workmanship. East Mebon temple was built by King Rajendravarman II (AD944-968) in AD921, it is today sits on an island in the middle of a plain of ricefields that was once the Eastern Baray, a 2 by 7 km resevoir built by Angkor?s original founder. In its time, it was only accessible by boat. Pre Rup Temple was Rajendravarman?s state temple, but was built 9 years later. The boldness of the architectural design is superb and gives the temple fine balance, scale and proportion. It is a temple mountain symbolizing Mount Meru. Takeo, the impressive state temple of Jayavarman V (AD968-1001), rise 21.35m above the ground on a 122m x 106m platform. It is the first of the Angkor temples to be built completely of sandstone.
Overnight : Siem Reap
Meal : –
DAY 2: ANGKOR WAT
In the morning, visit Angkor Thom ‘The Great City or the second Largest city in the world, after Rome’, the capital of the Khmer empire,
Phimeanakas the original nucleus of Angkor Thom was the 40 meter Phimeanakas, King Suryavarman I?s (1006 – 1050) state temple, which he built at the center of his royal palace complex. Suryavarman I is responsible for the planning and foundations of much of the city that can be seen at Angkor today.
NOTE: Over a century later, Jayavarman VII (1181-1220) built his state temple in the same location, and so Angkor Thom has, uniquely, two focal centers rather than one: its geometric center is the Bayon, a warren of galleries and towers so magnificent that it was re-used by many kings for years to come.
The Northern and Southern Khleangs, a series of twelve towers or ?libraries? is still pondered among the experts. Some contend they were used to welcome foreign envoys. Others suggest they were used to stock lingas and other icons. Peaceful and unvisited, explore the site and draw your own conclusions.
The pyramid-mountain of King Udayadityavarman II (1050-1066), Baphuon, was erected around 1060 and was the largest temple of its time – only Angkor Wat, built in the following century, would surpass it. It was surmounted by what was described as a “bronze tower” by the Chinese diplomat Zhou Daguan, who visited Angkor at the end of the 13th century. Terrace of Elephants the Terrace of Elephants and the “Leper King” Terrace, were additions of King Jayavarman VII (1181-1219) in the 12th Century. The “Leper King” Terrace, named after a seated statue that once occupied the platform, is now considered a testament to Yama, the Lord of the Dead; the terrace itself might have functioned as a cremation platform. The Terrace of Elephants, measuring 350 meters and decorated with elaborate carvings, was used as a viewing platform from which kings and their courts watched military displays of pomp and pageantry.
Overnight : Siem Reap
Meal : Breakfast
DAY 3: ANGKOR TEMPLES
After breakfast spend the day exploring the monuments of the last great king, King Jayavarman VII (1181-1219), who aggressively expanded the Khmer empire by annexing most of the Malay peninsula, parts of Burma, Laos and Vietnam. When he was satisfied with his expansion, Jayavarman converted to Buddhism, and began a massive building program that spanned the empire.
The Bayon was the principal temple built by Jayavarman, situated within the walls of the City of Angkor Thom. Despite his conversion to Buddhism, the Bayon contains elements of both Buddhism and Hinduism, and was so grand that subsequent kings continued using it for years to come.
The south entrance to Jayavarman?s royal city is marked by the usual causeway and naga bridge, with devas and asuras pulling the snake. The causeway leads across a moat to the South Gate. This gate marks the outer enclosure of the city, an enormous square which measures 3km (1.8 miles) on each side, giving a total length (moat and wall) of 12km, or 7.2 miles.
Ta Prohm Ta Prohm is located some 2 kilometers east of Angkor Thom. Dedicated to Jayavarman?s mother, this most romantic of Angkor temples was a double-moated royal monastery that once housed more than 12,000 people. Ta Prohm has been “left as it was found” and today the slow encroachment of the jungle continues to take place; it is one of the few places at Angkor where the visitor can experience the site somewhat as it appeared in the 19th century, when it was first discovered by European explorers.
Preah Khan is located north of Angkor Thom at the site of Jayavarman?s victory over the Cham invaders in AD1181. It functioned not only as a temple but also as a monastery and university, including elements of Buddhist, Vaishnava, and Shaiva worship. Most of the Buddha images were destroyed by a later king who reverted the temple to exclusively Hindu use. Neak Pean During the construction of Preah Khan, Jayavarman ordered the construction of a baray to provide water to the hundred-thousand workers. Stretching a half kilometer by 900 meters, the artificial lake stored millions of cubic meters of water to irrigate the rice fields during the dry season. Neak Pean sits at the center of the baray. It once consisted of a square pond, measuring 70 meters to a side, surrounded by four smaller ponds, which were in turn surrounded by eight other ponds. At the very center of the complex was a tiny island with a single tower made of sandstone.
Overnight : –
Meal : Breakfast
DAY 4: DEPART SIEM REAP
Free time until your private vehicle transfer to the Siem Reap Airport.
– Price: USD 306 per person, based on 2 pax or more
Hotel accommodation standard 3-star hotel including daily breakfast
English speaking tour guide
Transportation with A/C
Meals (Lunches, buffet dinner with Apsara dance)
Cold bottle of water
Temple entrance fee
Gratuities for driver and guide…etc.