The Khmer Empire, officially the Angkor Empire was a Hindu-Buddhist empire in Southeast Asia. Its greatest legacy is Angkor, in present-day Cambodia, which was the site of the capital city during the empire’s zenith.

Its most-imposing monuments are Angkor Wat, a temple complex built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II (reigned 1113–c. 1150), and Angkor Thom, a temple complex built about 1200 by King Jayavarman VII.

These majestic monuments of Angkor, bear testimony to the Khmer Empire’s immense power and wealth, impressive art and culture, architectural technique, aesthetics achievements, and the variety of belief systems that it patronized over time.

Satellite imaging has revealed that Angkor, during its peak in the 11th to 13th centuries, was the largest pre-industrial urban centre in the world.

Cambodia (Angkor Wat) Empire Tour – Itinerary 2020

Day 1 – Arrive at Siem Reap  by Morning Flight

  • Arrive at Siem Reap International airport and transfer to the hotel. Have light snacks or brunch.
  • Visit the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century). See the South Gate with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, Bayong Temple, (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara), the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King.
  • Lunch at a local restaurant.
  • In the afternoon, visit the most famous of all the temples on the Angkor plain: Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing.
  • Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th-century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture.
  • Angkor Wat’s five towers symbolize Meru’s five peaks, the enclosed wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat symbolizes the ocean beyond.
  • Sunset from Phnom Bakheng. one of two hills dominating the plain of Angkor, from where you will have a spectacular view of the Western Barray (ancient reservoir) and Angkor Wat.
  • Dinner Show at Kanell restaurant and accommodation at Sokharoth hotel.

Day 2  – Siem Reap

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • In the morning, you will continue your temple visits, including the unique brick sculptures of Prasat Kravan, the mountain-temple of Pre Rup, Mebon Oriental, Ta Som, Neak Pean (a fountain built in the middle of a pool and representing the paradisiacal Himalayan mountain-lake).
  • Visit Preah Khan temple built by King Jayavarman VII, Preah Khan is, like Ta Prohm, a place of towered enclosures and shoulder-hugging corridors. Unlike Ta Prohm, however, the temple of Preah Khan is in a reasonable state of preservation and ongoing restoration efforts should maintain and improve this situation.
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • In the afternoon, visit Srah Srang, “The Royal Baths” which was once used for ritual bathing.  Continue temple tour with stops at Takeo, Thommanon, Chau Say Tevoda and Ta Prohm. one of the area’s most beautiful temples, Ta Prohm has been left relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery.
  • Its appeal lies in the fact that, unlike the other monuments of Angkor, it was swallowed by the jungle and looks very much the same way most of the monuments of Angkor must have appeared when European explorers first stumbled upon them.
  • Dinner at local restaurant and accommodation at Sokharoth hotel.

Day 3 – Siem Reap

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Visit the floating village of Chong Kneas, located 10 km south of Siem Reap. Take a traditional wooden boat for a ride on the Tonle Sap, the “Great Lake” of Cambodia and the largest in Asia.
  • Lunch at a local restaurant.
  • Depart from Siem Reap International airport by evening.

Angkor Wat Empire Tour – Important Information

  • Toul Sleng Genocide Museum: Open every day from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm. Visitors are not admitted after 4.45
  • National Museum (Phnom Penh):  Open every day from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm. Visitors are not admitted after 4.45 pm.
  • Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda: Open every day from 8.00 am to 11.00 am (closed to new visitors at 10.45 am) and from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm (closed to new visitors at 4.45 pm), except when His Royal Highness King Preah Borom Moneath Norodom Sihamoni conducts religious ceremonies at the Silver Pagoda or Royal rituals at the Royal Palace, then one of the two or both compounds will be closed.
  • During the Water Festival, open only in the mornings on the first two days and closed for a full day on the third day.
  • For sightseeing tours, you should wear cool, comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Sunscreen lotion and a hat are strongly recommended. Although many tourists do wear shorts and sleeveless shirts, please do respect the culture and traditions of Cambodia.
  • Pagodas and the temples are sacred, religious places where knees and shoulders have to be covered. This is also the case for the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh. Visitors who do not abide by these rules of conduct may not be allowed access. Shoes (as well as hats) have to be removed before entering pagodas.
  • Jewellery is generally not up to international standards for design and workmanship and buyers should use caution when purchasing gold and gems, many gems are fake and we recommend not to follow anybody’s recommendations.
  • We strongly advise leaving valuable items (money, passport, credit cards, jewellery, sensitive documents, laptop computer, etc.) in the hotel safe. During excursions and round-trips, personal belongings, especially money and valuables should NEVER be left on vehicles, even during short breaks, and carried around at all times.
  • Cambodia being a developing country is in a full process of upgrading its infrastructure. Therefore, driving overland can be cumbersome due to on-going road constructions.

FAQ’s – Angkor Wat Empire Tour

Q. How to get around the Angkor Empire(Angkor Wat)

A. There are two ways for you to and from Angkor Wat (and around the complex):

Bicycle Rental – Bicycles are a great way to explore the complex, and you can find rentals for about $2 USD per day.

Tuks-Tuks and Hired Drivers – These can be found all over the place and hotel should be able to help you find one if you can’t.

Q. When it is best to visit the Angkor Empire?

A. Angkor Wat is open round the year. Considering the weather, November to February are the most suitable months to visit, but also the busiest.

Q. Angkor Empire Travel Costs

A. For most of your expenses, you can use USD in Cambodia, unless paying small vendors on the street. The budget hotel will cost from $15 USD to $25 USD depending upon amenities for twin sharing room. Meals can range from $2 USD to $7 USD.

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By Abhishek Saraswat

Abhishek (@himalayan_gypsy) is a travel photographer and blogger known as Himalayan Gypsy over the internet. Academically from an engineering background and born the Himalayan valley of Dehradun, he found himself in love with nature and ever since he has been on a journey to travel India and showcase the beauty of the country through his pictures, motivating and encouraging people on the go to feel the same and also take responsibilities to conserve our rich heritage, culture and environment. He is a Certified Digital Marketer and a Travel Influencer who is efficient to create visually appealing content for Travel Brands, Property Owners, Cafes and other Product Shoots. He also specializes in running Facebook & Instagram Ad Campaigns for Brand Awareness, Brand Promotion and Online Reputation Management.

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