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On the Root’s Of The Khmer Empire


LA4A-A / 4 days – 3 nights / Angkor only

This journey brings you back to the roots of the Khmer empire. Explore the historical and architectural development, the influence of religions and the adoption of their own believes. Encounter the Khmers of today and enjoy the beauty of this green country.

Short tour description:

Day 1: Arrival in Siem Reap. Transfer to hotel

Day 2: Sightseeing Angkor.

Day 3: Sightseeing Angkor.

Day 4: Sightseeing Angkor. Afternoon transfer to

Day 1: Bangkok - SIEM REAP (ANGKOR)

Arrival in Siem Reap. Transfer to hotel and at leisure. If time permits take a cyclo drive with your guide to the temples of Angkor for sunset. Enjoy an Apsara Dinner and Dance Show.



Our tours are designed to visit the temples in the historical order. This gives you a good view of the architectural development. Begin by visiting some of the earliest temples in the area.

Hariharalaya (last Kingdom before Angkor 9th century):

Preah Ko, 879 AD: King Indravarman I. The funerary temple of king Jayavarman II and his predecessors, enclosed within a moat of 400 by 500 meters. The foundation stele (an inscribed monolith) tells of the genealogy of Indravarman I, with reference to the cult of the king, and the foundation date of three statues of Shiva and Devi in 879 AD. The other face of inscription dates from 893 AD under the reign of Yasovarman I and describes certain dedications. The temple still has a large area of moulded stucco remaining intact.

Bakong, 881 AD: King Indravarman I. A temple mountain enclosed by a laterit wall and two moats, the outer of which measures about 900 by 700 meters. This was the third temple after Ak Yum and Rong Cheng and the first to make extensive use of sandstone. The stele tells of the foundation of the linga (a stone phallus, representative of Shiva) in 881 AD. The brick towers have finely detailed sandstone elements and some remnants of stucco moulding. The central sanctuary in the Angkor Wat style, which was probably built two centuries after the main temple, was resurrected from a pile of rubble between 1936 and 1943.

Lolei, 893 AD: King Yasovarman I. Lolei is worth a visit just for its exquisite carvings and inscriptions which some consider to be the finest of the Roluos Group. To appreciate the setting of this temple you must imagine that the temple was originally located in the centre of a great Baray (water reservoir). According to an inscription found at the temple, the water in this pond was for use at the capital of Hariharalaya and for irrigating the plains in the area.

Visit one of the jewels in the Angkor area, the Banteay Srei, 967 AD. The enchanting temple of Banteay Srei is nearly everyone's favourite site. The special charm of this temple lies in its remarkable state of preservation, small size and excellence of decoration. It was build by a Brahmin of royal descent who was a spiritual teacher to Jayavarman V. A special feature of the exquisite decoration is the hard pink sandstone used. Have lunch at the temple.


Second Angkor capital (early classical period, 10 century):

Prasat Kravan, 921 AD: Temple of the Koh Ker time, 921-944. Although this temple looks small and somewhat undistinguished from the outside, it contains some remarkable brick sculptures on its interior walls which stand alone as unique examples in Khmer art. The interiors of two of the five towers have sculptures depicting Vishnu and his consort, Lakshmi; the scene in the central tower is the most impressive one, but both are exceptional in stature and quality of workmanship. This temple was reconstructed by the French and given a new foundation, interior walls and drains. Much of the external brickwork was replaced with carefully made reproductions which are marked with the letters CA (Conservation D'Angkor).

East Mebon, 952 AD: King Rajendravarman II. The East Mebon and its neighbour Pre Rup were built by the same king, just nine years apart, and are similar in plan, construction and decoration. A major difference, however, is that the East Mebon once stood on a small island in the middle of the Eastern Baray, which was a large body of water (2 by 7 km) fed by the Siem Reap river. The only access was by boat to one of the four landing platforms, situated at the midpoints on each of the four sides of the temple. Today, the baray, once a source of water irrigation, is a plain of rice fields and the visitor is left to imagine the original majesty of this temple in the middle of a large lake.

Pre Rup, 961 AD: King Rajendravarman II. Pre Rup was called the "City of the East" by Philippe Stern, the Assistant Curator of the Musee Guimet in Paris. The boldness of the architectural design is superb and gives the temple fine balance, scale and proportion. The temple is close in style to the East Mebon, although it was build several years later. It is a temple mountain symbolising Mount Meru. The Cambodians have always regarded this temple as having funerary associations, but its true function is uncertain. Nevertheless, the name Pre Rup recalls one of the rituals of cremation, in which the silhouette of the body of the deceased, outlined with its ashes, is successively represented according to different orientations. Some archaeologists believe that the large vat located at the base of the east stairway to the central area was used at cremations.

Takeo, beginning of 11th century: Takeo is one of the great temple-mountains at Angkor. It was never completed and the reason is unknown, although the death of the king may well have had something to do with it. One theory also suggests that work was halted because the temple was struck by lightning. Had it been finished, Takeo, undoubtedly, would have been one of the finest temples at Angkor. A gallery was situated on a second base and had a roof of brick (now destroyed), also for the first time. Enormous blocks of greenish - grey sandstone were cut to a regular size and placed in position. The absence of decoration at Takeo gives it simplicity of design that separates it from the other monuments.

First Angkor capital (King Yasovarman, 889-900):

Phnom Bakheng, end of 9th century: Soon after Yasovarman I became king in 889 AD, he decided to move the capital northwest from Roluos, where his predecessor reigned, to the area today known as Angkor. He named his new capital Yasodharapura, and build Bakheng as his state temple. The temple was cut from the rock that formed the natural hill and faced with sandstone. Traces of this method are visible in the northeast and southeast corners. It reflects improved techniques of construction and the use of more durable materials. The symbolism of the temple Bakheng, was a replica of Mount Meru and the number of towers suggests a cosmic symbolism: the seven heavens of Indra in Hindu mythology. The temple must have been a spectacular site in its entirety because originally 108 towers were evenly spaced around the tiers with yet another one, the central sanctuary, at the apex of them all. Today, however, most of these towers have collapsed. Besides the central sanctuary, there were 4 towers around on the upper terrace, 12 on each of the 5 levels of the platform, and another 44 towers around the base. The brick towers on the different levels represent the 12-year cycle of the animal zodiac. It is also possible that the numerology of the 108 towers symbolise the 4 lunar phases with 27 days in each phase. The arrangement allows for only 33 of the towers to be seen from each side, a figure that corresponds with the number of Hindu deities. Enjoy the sunset with a great view over the surrounding landscape. Have dinner at local restaurants (not incl.).



Morning: Breakfast

Visit the nearby floating fishing village of Chong Kneas, complete with schools, restaurants, shops and even a hospital, all moored in the middle of this massive lake.

Third Angkor capital (11th century):

Baphuon, middle of 11th century: The massive size and grandeur of the Baphuon is unrecognisable today because much of the temple has either collapsed or been dismantled. The EFEO was restoring this temple when it was forced to abandon work and leave Angkor in 1972 because of war; they have now resumed their work. With a total cost estimated of US$ 10 million, the restoration is expected to be completed in 2004. Even though the Baphuon is situated inside the royal city of Angkor Thom it dates from the 11th century. A highlight of the temple is the bas-reliefs, which differ from most others as they are vignettes carved in small stone squares set one above the other on the temple walls, similar to tiling. Unfortunately few of these are visible because of the poor state of the temple.

Phimeanakas, early 11th century: King Rajendravarman II. The temple, located inside the Royal Palace compound, was the temple where the king worshipped. It must originally have been crowned with a golden pinnacle, as the Chinese traveller, Zhou Daguan, described it as the "Tower of Gold". This temple is associated with a legend that tells of a gold tower inside the Royal Palace of Angkor the Great, where a serpent-spirit with nine heads lived. The spirit appeared to the king disguised as a woman and the king had to sleep with her every night in the tower before he joined his wives and concubines in another part of the palace. If the king missed even one night it was believed he would die.

Northern & Southern Khleang, beginning 11th century: It is mainly believed that the two buildings have been storehouses. But other sources are saying that these buildings have been reception halls for receiving foreign dignitaries.

Kingdom of Jayavarman VII (1181-1219):

Terrace of the Elephants, end of 12th century: The terrace shows evidence of having been rebuild and added to; and it is believed that alterations took place during the reign of Jayavarman VII at the end of the 12th or beginning of the 13th century. The 300 meters long terrace has three main platforms and two subsidiary ones. The south stairway is framed with three-head elephants gathering lotus flowers with their trunks. The central stairway is decorated by lions and garudas in bas-reliefs in a stance of support for the stairways. One of the main attractions of this terrace is the facade decorated with elephants and their riders depicted in profile.

Terrace of Leper King, end of 12th century: The curious name of this terrace refers to a statue of the Leper King that is on the platform of the terrace. The one you see today is a copy. The original is in the courtyard of the National Museum in Phnom Penh. The figure is depicted in a seated position with his right knee raised, a position some art historians consider to be Javanese-Style. Mystery and uncertainty is surrounding the origin of the name. The long-held theory that Jayavarman VII was a leper and that is why he built so many hospitals throughout the empire has no historical support whatsoever. Some historians think the figure represents Kubera, god of wealth, or Yasovarman I, both of whom were allegedly lepers. Another idea is based on an inscription that appears on the statue in characters of the 14th or 15th century which may be translated as the equivalent of the assessor of Yama, god of dead or of judgement.


Kingdom of Suryavarman II (1113-1150)

Angkor Wat, first half of 12th century: King Suryavarman II. The largest of the Angkor group and one of the most intact, is an architectural masterpiece. Its perfection in composition, balance, proportions, relief's and sculpture make it one of the finest monuments in the world. This temple is an expression of Khmer art at its highest point of development. Some believe Angkor Wat was designed by Divakarapandita, the chief adviser and minister of the king, who was a Brahmin with divine honours. The Khmers attribute the building of Angkor Wat to the divine architect Visvakarman. Construction probably began early in the reign of Suryavarman II and because his name appears posthumously in the bas reliefs and inscriptions it is believed that Angkor Wat was completed after his death. The estimated time for construction of the temple is about 30 years.



Morning: Breakfast

After breakfast you will explore the temples of the last great king.

Kingdom of Jayavarman VII (1181-1219):

Angkor Thom, the last capital, was indeed a “Great City” as its name implies, and it served as the religious and administrative centre of the vast and powerful Khmer Empire. It was grander than any city in Europe at the time and must have supported a considerable population – which may have been as high as one million. Within the city walls were the residence of the king, his family and officials, military officers and priests while the rest of the people lived outside of the enclosure. The Royal structures were build of wood and have all perished, but remains of stone monuments let us glimpse at the past grandeur of this once great capital.

Southern Gate of Angkor Thom: The stone causeway across the broad moat surrounding the city of Angkor Thom with their unique gopuras, are one of the great sights at Angkor, never ceasing to fill visitors with wonder. The Southern Gate is flanked by a row of 54 stone figures on each side - gods to the left and demons to the right - to make a total of 108 mythical beings guarding the gate to the city. The demons have a grimacing expression and wear a military headdress, whereas the gods look serene with their almond-shaped eyes and conical headdresses. The gods and demons hold the scaly body of a naga on their knees. This composition defines the full length of the causeway. At the beginning of the causeway, the naga spreads its nine heads in the shape of a fan.

Bayon, late 12th century: The Bayon is, with Angkor Wat, one of the favourite monument among visitors. The temple was build nearly 100 year after Angkor Wat. While its basic structure and earliest part of the temple are unknown, it is clear that the Bayon was built on top of an earlier monument, that the temple was not built at one time, and that it underwent a series of changes. The Bayon of today with his huge central tower dates to the 13th century and belongs to the third phase of the art style. Jayavarman VII's goal was to rebuild the capital and to bring the kingdom a new vibrancy, signifying a bright future for the Khmers. To accomplish this, he erected the Bayon and created a structure somewhat like a temple-mountain in its grandiose plan and scale. The iconography of the four faces on each tower, has been widely debated by scholars and, although some think they represent the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, in keeping with the Buddhist character of the temple, it is generally accepted that the four faces on each towers are images of King Jayavarman VII and signify the omnipresence of the king. Beside the architecture and the smiling faces, the highlight of the Bayon is undoubtedly the bas-reliefs, presented in both the inner and outer galleries. The scenes in the outer gallery are unique as they depict many scenes from daily live.

Ta Prohm, early 13th century: This temple was left untouched by archaeologists, except for the clearing of a path for visitors. Because of its natural state, it is possible to experience some of the wonder of the early explorers, when they came upon these monuments in the middle of the 19th century. The monastic complex of Ta Prohm is one of the largest sites at Angkor. A Sanskrit inscription on stone, tells us that it took 79'365 people to maintain the temple, including 18 high priests, 2'740 officials, 2'202 assistance and 615 dancers.  Afternoon:

This afternoon, visit the Artisans D’angkor, Wat Bo and markets with your guide or continue visiting the temples of Preah Khan built by Jayavarman VII in memory of his father. It is a royal city forming a rectangle of 700 by 800 meters surrounded by a moat and similar to Ta Prohm, but with only four enclosures. Opening to the east to a baray (at the centre of which is Neak Pean) via terrace originally used as a boat landing. The large stele, discovered in 1939, tells us that the temple was dedicated to kings father. It also refers to the small stone building within the fourth enclosure to the east as “a house of fire” – perhaps for visiting pilgrims. The many holes in the central tower could perhaps have been used to fix a bronze panelling.

Neak Pean, end of 12th century, “The Entwined Naga”. Build as an island, 350 meter square, at the centre of the baray of Preah Khan, at the centre which a large square basin has its centre a circular basin at each side are connected by gargoyles which disgarge into small sanctuaries in a form which replicates the sacred lake of Anavatapta in Himalayas, venerated for his power of healing. Check out of your hotel and late flight to Bangkok.


·          Hotel accommodation in twin room with breakfast.

·          All excursions and transfers by private vehicle.

·          Private English speaking local guide.

·          All entrance tickets on site.

·          Lunch at Bantreay Srei

·          Apsara Dinner and Dance Show

·          Cyclo drive

·          Cold bottled drinking water and refreshing towels.

Not included:

·          Visa fee (will be issued up on arrival at the airport, $US 20, 1 passport picture).

·          Video/camera fee.

·          Drinks and personal expenses, insurance's.

·          International flight & all airport taxes.

NOTE: Do not go for any fancy souvenir shops. Mostly owned by ethnic Chinese, selling stones and gold, which are fake, and price is too high (if you buy there, we do not guarantee for any fraud). If you like shopping and do something good, ask your guide for a place were disabled Cambodians are producing local handicrafts and buying from this shops you are helping the people directly.




Passaggio Boutique Hotel


Sofitel Royal Angkor or Le Meridian Angkor

 Price:  in US$ per person


2 pax

3-5 pax

6-9 pax

Suppl Sgl


$ 373.00

$ 346.00

$ 293.00

$ 65.00


$ 581.00

$ 562.00

$ 507.00

$ 234.00


-          These rates are valid for 01 April 2005 to 30 September 2005

-          Once booked, package is non-refundable

-          Day 1 and Day 4 are interchangeable.


Included: Private escorted tour as per program (subject to arrival/departure flight schedule), accommodation in sharing twin room with bath or shower, multiple day entrance pass to archaeological sites mentioned in the program, meals as indicated.

Excluded: Airfare Bangkok - Siem Reap - Bangkok (USD 370.-), visa fee on arrival (USD20.- p.p. + 1 photo per person),

Siem Reap Airport Tax (USD 8.- p.p.), meals and services not mentioned, tips and personal expenditures.

Compulsory Peak Season Surcharge may apply during relevant periods and local festivals.


This tour can be customized according client's interests.


Inquire about prices. Please advice your name, number of people, dates (first and second choice if possible)

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