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International Destinations » Asia » Cambodia
CAMBODIA
Tonlé Sap LakeCambodia is a small, unique kingdom with a land area of 181.035 square. kilometers, making it about the same size as the State of Washington or as England and Wales. The Mekong River is the lifeline of Cambodia and it cuts a path for about 500 kilometers dividing the country into the north and the south.

The Tonlé Sap Lake is the largest fresh water lake in SouthEast Asia. During the monsoon season between June and October the Tonlé Sap River reverses its flow and runs in the opposite direction, filling the Tonlé Sap Lake. The Tonlé Sap River is the only river in the world that flows in both directions.

The central plains account for two-thirds of the country and are mainly agricultural areas that become flooded in the monsoon season. Most of the population lives on the fertile flood plains, which are very important for the country’s agricultural production, especially of rice. The plains are sparsely forested, whereas all other parts of the landscape are composed of densely forested hills.

The majesty of Angkor Wat. Fishermen casting nets along the Tonle Sap. The bustling riverfront promenade at Sisowath Quay. Tragedy at the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng. A flash of colorful silk. Tribesmen in remote Rattanakiri.

DAY 1: PHNOM PENH
Arrival in Phnom Penh Transfer Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Emerald BuddhaDAY 2: PHNOM PENH
Breakfast: Hotel

Sightseeing in Phnom Penh
Explore PHNOM PENH, a chaotic, energetic and always fascinating city. Graceful tree-lined boulevards and riverfront promenades are reminders of bygone eras; today they teem with life and activity, as motorcycles weave in and out of traffic, vendor hawk their wares, and pedestrians go about their business. Start your tour with an insight into Cambodia's cultural heritage with a visit to the ROYAL PALACE, still the official residence of King Norodom Sihamoi and the adjacent SILVER PAGODA, also known as the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha. Continue to the elegant NATIONAL MUSEUM, which contains a comprehensive collection of Khmer Art. Finally, explore the modern-day city, visiting one of Phnom Penh's two great markets, the CENTRAL MARKET, located in a distinctive domed Art Deco building (Central Market is currently underconstruction but can be visited as usual), OR the sprawling RUSSIAN MARKET, a labyrinth of stalls selling everything from CDs and DVDs to silks, crafts, jewelry and more.

Bayon AngkorVisit Tuol Sleng (S-21)
Learn about a chapter from Cambodia's more recent, tragic, past at the TUOL SLENG MUSEUM (Museum of Genocide). Formerly the Tuol Svay Prey High School, in 1975, this became the interrogation and torture facility for the Khmer Rouge regime at that time known as Security Prison 21, or simply S-21. Kept largely unchanged, this prison now showcases photographs and exhibits about the thousands of victims that passed through these doors only seven of whom came out alive.

Excursion to the Killing Fields
Just outside Phnom Penh, in a peaceful rural setting, the KILLING FIELDS OF CHOEUNG EK provide a stark reminder of the atrocities under the Pol Pot regime. Thousands of people were killed here between the years of 1975 and 1978 and buried in mass graves.

Overnight in Phnom Penh

DAY 3: SIEM REAP
Breakfast: Hotel

Transfer

Flight from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Transfer

Sightseeing in Angkor

Angkor ThomVisit Angkor Thom
The fortified city of ANGKOR THOM covers an area of 10 square km. Enclosed by a wall and wide moats, the city includes many of Angkor's most popular sights. Enter by the monumental SOUTH GATE over a causeway lined on either side by statues of demons and gods, each carrying a giant naga. Continue to the TERRACE OF THE ELEPHANTS and the TERRACE OF THE LEPER KINGS, former spaces for public cermonies, both adorned with dramatic bas reliefs. Visit the ruined BAPHUON, ROYAL ENCLOSURE and PHIMEANAKAS before continuing to the mysterious BAYON TEMPLE. In this temple, one of the most popular and compelling in Angkor, explore the galleries of beautifully preserved bas reliefs and ascend narrow stairs to reach the central sanctuary, where you will find giant stone faces smiling enigmatically down at you from every angle.

Visit Preah Khan
PREAH KHAN: a temple built by King Jayavarman VII with towered enclosures and shoulder-hugging corridors in a jungle setting. Preah Khan covers a very large area but the temple itself is enclosed within a rectangular wall of around 700 by 800 meters.

Visit a temple for sunset
Watch the sun set over the Cambodian countryside from the upper terraces of an ancient Angkorian temple.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

DAY 4: SIEM REAP
Breakfast: Hotel

Sightseeing in Angkor

Angkor WatVisit Angkor Wat
The crowning jewel of Khmer architecture, ANGKOR WAT is the national symbol and the highlight of any visit to Cambodia. The largest, best preserved, and most religiously significant of the Angkor temples, Angkor impresses visitors both by its sheer scale and beautifully proportioned layout, as well as the delicate artistry of its carvings. To approach the temple, first cross the vast moat, continuing along a broad causeway lined with naga balustrades. As you enter the main building, ascend through a series of galleries and courtyard before reaching the central sanctuary, which offers beautiful views back over the causeway and across the surrounding countryside. On the way, stop to enjoy the intricate stonecarvings that adorn nearly every surface, with some 1,700 Apsaras, or celestial dancers, sculpted into the walls. Along the outer gallery walls run the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which narrates stories from Hindu mythology, including the famous Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Angkor Wat is stunning at any time of the day, but sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful times to watch the play of light on the stones.

Angkor templesVisit Banteay Samre
BANTEAY SAMRE is a mid-12th century temple dedicated to the god Vishnu.

Visit Banteay Srei Temple
Seemingly miniature in comparison to the other Angkor temples, BANTEAY SREI is considered to be the jewel of classical Khmer art. Built in pink sandstone, the walls are covered in exquisitely preserved carvings of unusual delicacy. Because of its small size, fairy-like atmosphere and extraordinary examples of Khmer sculpture, this temple is often a favorite with visitors.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Prasat Kravan GarudaDAY 5: SIEM REAP
Breakfast: Hotel

Sightseeing in Angkor

Visit Prasat Kravan
PRASAT KRAVAN: the five brick towers were built for Hindu worship in 921 and are notable for the bas-reliefs cut into the bricks on the interior walls.

Visit Banteay Kdei Temple
A massive Buddhist temple dating from the second half of the 12th century, BANTEAY KDEI is surrounded by four concentric walls, the outer walls measuring 500 by 700 meters.

BanteayVisit Sras Srang
SRAS SRANG: a basin opposite of Banteay Kdei measuring 800 by 400 metres with a tiny island in the middle where only the stone base remains of what was once a wooden temple.

Visit Ta Prohm
TA PROHM: one of the most popular attractions of Angkor as much of the jungle has not been cleared and it looks very much as most of the Angkor monuments would have appeared when European explorers first stumbled across them.

Thommanon templeVisit Ta Keo
TA KEO: built by Jayavarman V who ruled from 968 to 1001), it was the first Angkorian monument built entirely of sandstone and was dedicated to Shiva. The summit of the central tower is 50 meters high and is surrounded by four lower towers.

Visit Thommanon
THOMMANON: temple which mirrors Chau Say Tevoda (just to the north), as it was built around the same time and has a similar plan. It is also dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu.

Chau Say TevodaVisit Chau Say Tevoda
CHAU SAY TEVODA: built during the second quarter of the 12th century opposite of Thommanon, it was dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu.

Excursion to the Kampong Kleang with boat trip
Kampong Kleang is located about 50 km from Siem Reap town. The place is situated northeast shore on the edge of Tonle Sap Lake. The road to the site is good but rather narrow. This boat trip will explore the floating fishing villages that live at the edges of the lake, passing submerged forests and fishing farms.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

DAY 6: SIEM REAP
Breakfast: Hotel

Transfer
 
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