3 Ways to Conquer the Temples of Angkor in One Day

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Overview

Let's recognize it. The idea of visiting such a huge architectural ensemble in a sole day is quite daring. That is why we have done our best to provide you with three different alternatives so that you can choose by yourself the one that suits you better. In every instance you will have the chance to get immersed in the magnificent and enigmatic aura of Angkor Wat, exploring the rich cultural and architectural heritage of an ancient powerful Empire whose decline and disappearance is still a mystery nowadays. 

A daring adventure. Get ready for a very intense day and a memorable experience!

Highlights

  • The Temples of Angkor, one of the most awe-inspiring man-made wonders ever built and the chance to explore them as we prefer:
    • Conventional tour (transfers + on foot).
    • By mountain bike.
    • By Vespa.
Conquering The Temples of Angkor in a day

Day 1 Conquering The Temples of Angkor in a day

[OPTION 1] Classic visit (transfers + on foot)

Meals: not included | Accommodation: not included

Rising at the crack of dawn, we will journey out to the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat. Believed to be the world's largest religious building, this temple is the perfect fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers. Built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, this is most famous temple at Angkor. We will stay at Angkor Wat to enjoy a picnic breakfast. As the crowds return to their hotels, we will venture inside to enjoy all its magnificence. We will begin by unraveling the mysteries of the bas-reliefs that tell of tales from Hindu mythology and of the glories of the Khmer empire. Stretching for almost one kilometre, these intricate carvings are a candidate for the world’s longest unbroken piece of art. We then will continue to the upper levels of the inner sanctuary. The final steps to the upper terrace of Angkor are the steepest of all, as pilgrims of old were to stoop on their pilgrimage to encounter the Gods. Finally we will find ourselves by the pinnacle, the sacred heart of Angkor Wat and a blend of spirituality and symmetry so perfect, that only few moments will measure up.

We will head after to the 'Indiana Jones' temple of Ta Prohm. This temple has been abandoned to the elements, as a reminder that while empires rise and fall, the riotous power of nature marches on, oblivious to the dramas of human history. Left as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhout in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones.

Our next destination will be Angkor Thom, an immense walled city that was the masterpiece of King Jayavarman VII. Following the occupation of Angkor by the Chams from 1177 to 1181, the new king decided to build an impregnable fortress at the heart of his empire. Its scale is simply staggering and we will feel immediately overwhelmed by the audacity of Jayavarman as soon as we get at the city’s gates. The causeway is lined by an intricate bridge depicting the Churning of the Ocean of Milk from Hindu mythology in which devas (gods) and asuras (devils) play tug of war with a naga (seven-headed serpent) to obtain the elixir of immortality. 

We will begin our visit at the intricately carved platform Terrace of the Leper King and continue along the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances and traditional sports. At the southern end lies the Baphuon, one of the most beautiful temples at Angkor, dating from the reign of Uditayavarman I in the 11th century. It has undergone a massive renovation by the French and is now once again open for viewing.

Our climax will be the enigmatic and enchanting temple of the Bayon. At the exact centre of Angkor Thom, this is an eccentric expression of the creative genius and inflated ego of Cambodia’s most celebrated king. Its 54 towers are each topped off with the four faces of Avalokiteshvara (Buddha of Compassion), which bear more than a passing resemblance to the king himself. These colossal heads stare down from every side, exuding power and control with a hint of compassion, just the mix required to keep a hold on such a vast empire. 

Our journey thoughout this magnificent ensemble is about to finish, so ask as many questions as you wish to you guide so that you can manage to picture the whole puzzle of the Angkor Era! 

 


[OPTION 2] A day exploring the Temples by mountain bike
 

Meals: lunch | Accommodation: not included

In the morning, we cycle to the mother of all temples, Angkor Wat. We will feel awe-inspired as we walk the long stone pathway leading towards the main temple.  Built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, this is most famous temple in the Angkor complex.  After unraveling the mysteries of the lower levels, we will go upstairs to enjoy the view of the vast complex and the lush surrounding jungle.  

We will continue onto Angkor Thom, particularly, to  Bayon and the Terraces in the late morning before sharing a picnic lunch at the stalls in the temples near Bayon.

After lunch, we will hop on our bike again and ride firstly to the Gate of the Dead (East gate), and then along to the Victory gate.  Afterwards, we will take a gentle road to Ta Prohm. This temple has been abandoned to the elements, as a reminder that while empires rise and fall, the riotous power of nature marches on, oblivious to the dramas of human history.  You can’t help but feel the march of time as the sunlight slants through the leafy trees and crumbling blocks. Optional: If time allows and we feel like, we can also visit Banteay Kdei or finish with a sunset drink at Srah Srang.
 

 

[OPTION 3] Our Angkor... by vespa!
 

Meals: lunch | Accommodation: not included

Our local drivers will pick us up from our hotel on their Vespas at 8:00. Time to get on the back of the scooter! We will be heading out of Siem Reap for a short ride to the spectacular main complex of Angkor Wat, where we will learn about this fascinating ancient civilization and admire its incredible architecture. We will start with a quick visit to the sacred Linga monument, and then ride through smaller countryside paths to see a unique pyramid shaped Hindu temple, before riding out to the stunning Angkor Thom area. We will have a short break here at one of the imposing outer gates, enjoying some local snacks and fruit and then we will keep on visiting some quieter but still wonderful temples. 

Our adventure will continue with a visit to the famous four faced Bayon temple, riding through the huge complex walls, forest tracks and rarely visited rural areas. We will have lunch at a local restaurant on the banks of a peaceful lake, where we will taste some traditional Khmer dishes and a few cold drinks.

Back on our Vespas, we will ride though some dusty roads along the lake and  the seemingly never-ending walls of the magical Ta Prohm, a stunning 12th century former Buddhist University, which became pretty famous due to the ’Tomb Raider’ movie. This ancient structure is intertwined with trees that have actually been growing through the stones over the years! It is a must see for any budding explorer and a great way to end our adventure in the Kingdom Of Wonder. Our trip will end around 15:00.

Price per person based on a group tour

One-Day Choices Angkor 2 pax 3 - 5 pax 6 - 8 pax
Option 1. Classic  102 USD 88 USD 74 USD
Option 2. By Mountain Bike 145 USD 134 USD 118 USD
Option 3. By vespa 121 USD


* Prices valid until 1st October 2019.

* Would you like to adapt the itinerary, accommodation or any activity as per your needs and preferences? Then just get in touch with us with your comments at info@handspan.com.

* Special prices for larger groups and for children and the possibility to connect the trip with other stages of your trip around Indochina, by contacting us. 

* A private trip for a solo traveller is also available with a surcharge.

Included

  • Meals only if specified on the program.
  • Transfers with experienced driver for option 1.
  • Mountain bikes for option 2.
  • Vespa and experienced driver for option 3.
  • Activities and the admission fee to indicated sights as stated.
  • The services of an experienced English-speaking guide.
  • VAT and other taxes.

Not included

  • Accommodation
  • Flights and visas.
  • Personal travel Insurance.
  • Beverages, gratuities and personal expenses.
  • Supplements on peak season.

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