From Siem Reap, you can access Angkor Wat. We recommend that you dedicate at least two whole days, better three, to visit the main ruins of the Angkor complex and the surrounding area. You can easily spend more time in Siem Reap to relax in the many cafes, play a round of golf or relax by the edge of the resort's pool. The old French Quarter of Siem Reap, as well as the surroundings of the Old Market offer a colonial architecture of Chinese style. You can also visit craft shops, silk factories, the rice fields of the neighboring countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake.
Angkor Wat is the largest temple in the world, with a volume of stone equaling that of the Cheops pyramid in Egypt. It is unlike all other Khmer temples in that it faces west, and it is inspired by 12th century Hinduism. Conceived by Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat took several decades to build. Intricate base relief surround Angkor Wat on four sides. Each tells a sty. The way the light glows on the ancient stones makes sunrise and sunset the best time to wander through Angkor Wat's 2 square kilometers, climb its tower.
The ancient walled city of Angkor Thom, literally "Great City, "built in the 12th century by Jayavarman VII, contains the famous Bayon temple with its me than 200 enormous mysterious smiling faces. It also contains the 300 meter-long Elephant terrace with its large sculptured royal elephants and Garudas, the mythical guard half-man, half-bird. Also within the walled area is the terrace of the Leper King. A sandstone replica of the Leper King is here.
This is the fabled pink temple of women, so called because it is made of pink sandstone & considered a tribute to the beauty of women. Its small size, delicate carving and remarkable state of preservation make Banteay Srei one of travelers' favorite temples. Its Apsara and male and female divinities represent the most skilled craftsman ship of sandstone carvings. It was dedicated in 987, making it one of the oldest temples in the region, though it was not rediscovered until the 1900s.
Prasat Neak Pean (Intertwined Naga) was built by Jayavarman VII, consists of a square pool with four smaller square pools arranged on each axis. In the center of the large central pool is a circular "island" encircled by the two Naga who intertwined tails give the temple its name. Water once flowed from the central pool into the four peripheral pools via ornamental spouts, which can still be seen in the pavilions at each axis of the pool.
At just about 42 km nth of Siem Reap Town, many visits combine a visit to Phnom Kulen with a trip to the pink sandstone temple of Banteay Srei. On either side of the mountain, tall waterfalls crash down the mountain; clean, clear and cool water provide a wonderful place of tourists. Carvings of Brahmin Yonis and lingas can be seen etched into the riverbed. A mountain peak temple houses a huge reclining Buddha, gazing serenely out from his peaceful mountain home.
Boeung Mealea is the most accessible of Angkor’s lost temples, a mirror image of the mighty Angkor Wat, but totally and utterly consumed by the jungle. Constructed by Suryavarman II (ruled 1113-1150), the builder of Angkor Wat, nature has triumphed here, and it’s hard to get a sense of the monument’s shape a mid the daunting ruins. Boeung Mealea lies about 70Km from Siem Reap at the foot of Phnom Kulen’s eastern extreme. It takes 2-3 hours to get there via either Banteay Srei of Dam Dek on National Highway 6
The original “ River of a Thousand Lingas ”, Kbal Spean is and intricately carved riverbed deep in the foothills the Cambodian jungle. Lingas are phallic representations sacred to Hinduism as symbols of fertility, and hundreds of them are carved into the rock here, as are several carvings of Gods and animals above the small waterfall. The area was only rediscovered in 1969 when French researcher Jean Boulbet was shown the carvings by a local hermit. Kbal Spean lies 50Km northeast of Siem Reap 18Km from Banteay Srei on a dirt road. It takes from 1-2 hours to get there from Siem Reap.
Dominating the flat landscape, this 10th Century mountain temple is the most popular spot in the area to watch a classic sunset over Angkor Wat and the surrounding fest.
LES ARTISANS D'ANGKOR CHANTIERS-ECOLES
A complete visit of Arts and school will take you through the various training and production workshops of the Chantiers-Ecoles. Discover the traditional techniques used for wood sculpting, stone carving, lacquer work, polychromy and stone patina work, with the explanations of our experienced guides.
Angkor Silk Farm presents the grand tour of an 8-hectare site, to discover silk farming with specialized guides. Discover the various stages involved in silk production, from mulberry tree chards, to silkworm breeding, the spinning mill and the weaving process.
TONLE SAP LAKE
Tonlé Sap, literally large river (tonle); fresh, not salty (sap), commonly translated to 'great lake') refers to a seasonally inundated freshwater lake, the Tonlé Sap Lake and an attached river, the 120 km long Tonlé Sap River, that connects the lake to the Mekong River. They form the central part of a complex hydrological system, in the 12,876 km2 (4,971 sq mi) Cambodian floodplain covered with a mosaic of natural and agricultural habitats that the Mekong replenishes with water and sediments annually. The central plain formation is the result of millions of years of Mekong alluvial deposition and discharge. From a geological perspective, the Tonlé Sap Lake and Tonlé Sap River are a current freeze-frame representation of the slowly, but ever shifting lower Mekong basin. Annual fluctuation of the Mekong's water volume, supplemented by the Asian monsoon regime causes a unique flow reversal of the Tonle Sap River.