Overview

Our 10-day Cambodian Temple Trail takes you on a journey to explore some of the best known as well as remote temples of the country. Our tour begins in the ancient city of Siem Reap and we trace the trajectory of the Angkor kingdom and its architectural marvels in the old capital of Angkor Thom. The 12th century site is home to several Hindu and Buddhist temples some of which have stood the test of time, while others are now dilapidated relics of their former structures. Discover the fascinating legends behind these ancient edifices once used by kings. Visit the most iconic temple of Cambodia, Angkor Wat and be awed by the magnificence of Khmer architecture and craftsmanship. Our journey takes us through a jungle canopy to the hidden temple of Banteay Chhmar that remained abandoned for 800 years. History and legend lurk around every corner of Cambodia and we seek out some of these enigmas on our temple trail across the country. For those who have an affinity for Southeast Asian history, this tour is particularly interesting as it traces different periods of Khmer history and shows the fusion of Hinduism and Buddhism in local culture of the time. 

9 Nights 10 Days 16 Oct, 17 Oct, 18 Oct, and more
Inclusions/Exclusions
What we'll give. What we won't

What is included in the tour

  • Hotel accommodation (as specified in itinerary)
  • All meals (as specified in itinerary)
  • Airport transfers and all local transport in luxury sedan/SUV
  • All local permits

What is NOT included in the tour

  • Any meal not specified in itinerary
  • Air travel
  • Any additional services (eg. hotel services like massage/spa)
  • Any personal purchases including alcohol, medicines etc. 
Highlights
What makes this tour special
  • Visit 12th century temple relics of Angkor Thom city
  • Visit the iconic Angkor Wat Temple
  • Visit the jungle temple of Ta Prohm
  • Take a special master class in Khmer grilling techniques
  • Ride the famous Bamboo Train of Battambang
  • Enjoy dinner at Banteay Chhmar temple lit by wooden torches
Itinerary
Day 1 (Arrival in Siem Reap) (-, -, D)
  • Arrive at Siem Reap International Airport where a luxury sedan/SUV will pick you up and drive you to the Damrei Angkor Hotel. Please be advised that while we try our best to accommodate early check-ins, this is subject to room availability and cannot be guaranteed beforehand. Enjoy a complimentary drink on arrival.
  • The first day can be spent at leisure. Enjoy the amenities at the hotel or take a stroll around town. Return to the hotel for dinner and then retire to your rooms for the night.
Day 2 (Siem Reap city sightseeing) (B, L, D)
  • Have breakfast at the hotel and then set out for a full day’s tour of the city visiting some of its best known landmarks.
  • Our first stop is the South Gate of the walled city of Angkor Thom. The ancient capital city of Angkor Thom was built in the 12th century and is a treasure trove of religious architecture. The South Gate houses rows of massive statues of Gods and demons churning the sacred Ocean of Milk. This is a famous episode from Hindu mythology and a curious addition to a Buddhist city. The statues wear different expressions ranging from calm, joyous, angry and sinister. The South gate tower which can be entered on elephant-back (for an additional fee) is carved with four giant faces turned towards the four cardinal directions.
  • Next, we visit the iconic Bayon Temple, the official state temple built by King Jayavarman VII in the heart of Angkor Thom. Bayon Temple also known as the Face Tower is distinguished by 54 towers that are adorned with 200 smiling faces of Avelokiteswara, the God of compassion.
  • Our tour now takes us to the three-tiered Shiva temple of Baphuon, opened to public after years of restoration work. This mid-11th century temple has seen multiple modifications to its architecture over the ages. In the 15th century Baphuon was converted to a Buddhist temple.
  • Visit the Hindu temple of Phimeanakas made from laterite situated at the centre of the Royal Palace. This is a three-tiered pyramid and one of the smallest temples in Angkor Thom. According to legend Phimeanakas Temple was home to a nine-headed serpent-spirit called Naga. Every night the serpent would turn into a woman and the king would come to the temple to lie with her. Inside the temples premises there are two pools, built for bathing of men and female visitors. The Terrace of Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King are next on the itinerary. The former gets its name from the high relief sculptures of elephants and their mahouts along the stretch of the terrace. The Elephant terrace was said to be an audience hall for the King to hear the complaints of his subjects. The Terrace of the Leper King was another prominent structure of the Royal Palace so called for a statue of a leper king found here.
  • Our final stop for the day is the Royal Enclosure where jungle vines cover its outer walls. We return to your hotel in the evening.
Day 3 (Khmer Grilling Class- Les Artisans d’Angkor- Chantiers Ecoles- Angkor Wat) (B, L, D)  
  • The kitchen truly is the heart of the home and today we will visit the heart and soul of Cambodia by exploring its unique culinary traditions.
  • Our first stop today is a treat for epicureans. We visit the home of a local chef and pick up the special techniques and recipes of the popular Khmer grill. The business of food and cooking is taken very seriously in Cambodia and locals take great pride in their unique grilled foods that make up a large number of mouth-watering treats. This is a 3-hour master class where we take you to the home of a local grill master where you cook, learn and then eat the fruits of your labour. This is a fun activity that can be enjoyed as a family or on your own.
  • After a hearty lunch we make our way to Les Artisans d’Angkor- Chantiers Ecoles, a special centre for showcasing the works of local artisans.  The company produces and curates an eclectic mix of oriental sculpture, silk weaves and paintings and lacquer work.
  • For our final stop of the day we head to the most iconic landmark of Cambodia, the Angkor Wat temple. This 12th century temple is considered one of the finest examples of Khmer architecture and craftsmanship. Spread over a massive 81 hectares, the temple premises match the proportions of the Imperial Palace in Beijing. The distinctive five towers of Angkor Wat represent the five peaks of Meru, the sacred mount of Hindu and Buddhist cosmology. The temple’s walls represent the mountains that stand at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat symbolises the ocean. Watch the captivating sunset from Angkor Wat before returning to your hotel in the evening.
Day 4 (Srah Srang reservoir- Ta Prohm- Preah Khan) (B, L, D)
  • Wake up early to watch a beautiful sunrise at the Srah Sang Reservoir. This 12th century lake was built during the reign of King Jayavarman II and was used for ritual baths. A lush canopy of green surrounds the lake that overlooks the Angkor Archaeological Park. Two lion sculptures stand at the entrance to the lake built of sandstone and laterite. This is a popular tourist spot in Siem Reap and after sunrise we return to the hotel for breakfast. Today our temple trail brings us to Prasat Kravan. Located close to Angkor Wat, this 10th century Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Interestingly, this is the only temple that was commissioned by a high-ranking priest and not a king. The interiors feature a number of sculptures carved into the existing brickwork that resemble the architecture of the Cham temples in Vietnam.
  • Next, we visit the near-dilapidated Buddhist temple of Banteay Kdai. Built between the 12th and 13th centuries, much of this structure has crumbled due to the poor quality of sandstone used in its construction. Banteay Kdai is also known as the Citadel of Chambers and was occupied by monks until 1965. From here we make our way to one of the most striking temples of Angkor. Ta Prohm remains almost entirely cloistered by a veil of dense jungle and reminds you of the first images of Angkor temples when they were discovered by European explorers. Ta Prohm was built from 1186 and dedicated to the mother of King Jayavarman II. This is one of the most atmospheric ruins of Angkor with crumbling walls, impassable corridors and decrepit bas-reliefs.
  • The Eastern Mebon is another Hindu temple of Angkor that we will visit. The temple was built by King Rajendravarman II but was never quite completed, evident from earthen ramps that flank the temple.
  • Located just 1 km from Eastern Mebon is the temple mountain of Pre Rup. The structure consists of a three-tiered pyramid with five lotus towers on the uppermost tier. Pre Rup is believed to have been used as a cremation spot for the royal family.
  • After the morning excursion, we stop at a local café for lunch. In the afternoon, it’s back on the trail; this time to Preah Khan. The temple was built by King Jayavarman VII and was likely used as his temporary residence during the construction of Angkor Thom. It consists of a labyrinth of corridors, stone carvings and towered enclosures and is one of the earliest examples of religious fusion with Hindu and Buddhist carvings.
  • Visit some of the most prominent structures of Preah Khan including Neak Pean, a fountain built inside a pool, Ta Som and Banteay Samre consisting of libraries and a central temple. We return to the hotel in the evening where after an early dinner you can retire to your rooms for a well-deserved rest.
Day 5 (Siem Reap- Beng Mealea Temple- Koh Ker- Sro Em) (B, L, D)
  • Have breakfast at the hotel and depart for the secluded Beng Mealea Temple. The hour-long drive takes us across the Khmer countryside to one of the most enigmatic temple ruins of Angkor. This massive 12th century temple designed to the same plans as the Angkor Wat was built by King Suryavarman II. The temple, almost in its entirety has been swallowed by jungle and manoeuvring your way through the dense foliage to the sandstone structure of the temple is an experience straight out of an Indiana Jones adventure! We drive for a further hour to Koh Ker, one of the remotest temple complexes and former capital of the Angkorian Empire between 928 and 944 AD.
  • Our first stop here is the Prasat Bram. This is one of the smaller temples in the complex and features an assembly of brick towers that have been entirely covered by strangler figs.
  • Next, trek of drive 2.5 kilometres to Prasat Thom where we stop for lunch. Prasat Thom is the piece de resistance of Koh Ker and offers stunning views from the top. A steep staircase leads to up and is accessible to a limited number of visitors. Over 40 inscriptions dating back to 932 and 1010 AD have been found here.
  • Visit a few more temples including Prasat Linga and Prasat Kachap before driving to Sro Em. The drive takes about 1-and-a-half hours and we reach your hotel by late afternoon. You can visit the local museum or enjoy the amenities at your hotel.
Day 6 (Sro Em- Preah Vihear- Banteay Chhmar) (B, L, D)
  • Today we travel further north to the small provincial town of Preah Vihear, located about 25 kilometres from Sro Em. At Preah Vihear, we transfer to a pickup truck which takes us to the mountain top temple of Prasat Preah Vihear. A UNESCO-conferred World Heritage Site, Prasat Preah Vihear is one of the most iconic temples of Cambodia built over the reigns of 7 different Khmer kings during the Angkorian period. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva and sits on top of an escarpment with breathtaking views of the Cambodian landscape, 550 metres below.
  • Next, we make our way to the old Banteay Chhmar temple, situated about 240 kilometres away. The drive takes 4 hours and we stop at the small town of Anglong Veng for lunch. Reach Banteay Chhmar in the afternoon and check into your home stay. Enjoy a traditional dinner at the temple site lit by old wooden torches.
Day 7 (Banteay Chhmar- Battambang) (B, L, D)
  • Have breakfast at your home stay and then head out to Banteay Chhmar temple. This 12th century temple also known as the ‘Citadel of Cats’ was built by Jayavarman VII and was left abandoned for 800 years. The temple lies hidden behind a thick canopy of trees and is in a considerable state of ruin. Still, this is an awe-inspiring site with some spectacular bas-reliefs portraying scenes from the Angkorian era.
  • From here, we take an ox-cart to the village silk centre to learn about the traditional methods of silk weaving. Ride a traditional tractor known as Koyun, to Banteay Top Temple and take a tour of the countryside across emerald rice fields and see villagers at their daily chores.
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch at Banteay Top temple before continuing to Battambang. This is the second largest city in Cambodia and home to crumbling colonial-era architecture, quaint cafés and the famous Bamboo Train.
  • Check into your hotel and then head out for a train ride across the Cambodian countryside passing bucolic villages and small hilltop temples in the distance. Return to your hotel in the evening.
Day 8 (Battambang sightseeing) (B, L, D)
  • Have breakfast at the hotel and then set off for a drive along the scenic Sangker River to Wat Saket pagoda. This is the official residence of the Buddhist head of the province.
  • Next we visit an old Khmer house to see how rice paper for use in making spring rolls. We continue to Wat Ek Phnom, an 11th century temple concealed behind a modern pagoda and a gigantic Buddha statue. The temple features several bas-reliefs and a lintel over its eastern entrance portraying the Churning of the Ocean of Milk.
  • Our final stop before lunch is a local market where Cambodia’s signature fish paste Prahoc is made. Have lunch at a local restaurant and then visit Phare Ponleu Selpak, a centre that provides support for orphaned children and victims of trafficking by giving them shelter and education opportunities. There are 1200 pupils enrolled at the centre’s school of whom 400 are pursuing performing arts.
  • Next, we drive to Phnom Benon. A steep climb of 358 steps brings you to the hilltop temple with spectacular views of the countryside. Five sandstone towers dominate the temple façade and we spend some time here watching the sunset. Have dinner at a local restaurant before returning to your hotel for the night.
Day 9 (Battambang- Siem Reap) (B, L, D)
  • Today we make our way back to Siem Reap. Have breakfast at the hotel and then set off for Siem Reap via Sisophon. En route we will make a stop at a village in Preah Net Preah known for stone carving.
  • Next, we make our way to Puok to visit a silk farm. This is also where we stop for lunch. In the afternoon, explore the countryside by ox-cart and visit a floating village on the way.
  • Finally, enjoy a boat ride on the Great Tonle Sap Lake in a traditional wooden boat before returning to Siem Reap. Check into your hotel where you are free to spend the last evening of your tour at leisure.
Day 10 (Siem Reap departure) (B, -, -)
  • Have a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before being driven to Siem Reap Airport. Take a last look at the city and its ancient architecture that tell a thousand stories, hiding still more. The tour ends at the airport where you can continue your onward journey.