Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and is the largest religious monument in the world, on a site measuring 162.6 hectares.Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, the complex was home to the largest pre-industrial city in the world. Stretching some 150 square miles, the park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire. You could spend weeks exploring the ruins, but today seize the opportunity to see the top highlights. With a local archaeologist and private English-speaking guide, visit the South Gate of Angkor Thom where you may take an optional walk along the wall to a hidden temple. Next visit the temples of Bayon, Baphoun and Terrace of Elephants, The Leper King and Preah Khan. Bayon is a favorite with photographers, with a multitude of smiling, serene faces carved out of the rock, each one unique. Centuries of Hindu and Buddhist influence have left their imprint on the temples of Baphoun, Terrace of Elephants and The Leper King, each with their own unique design and relief carvings depicting tales from both religions. Visit the famous jungle temple of Ta Phrom. The temple is slowly being reclaimed by the jungle, with strangler fig trees growing over the remains of the complex, giving Ta Phrom a surreal atmosphere. Next, explore Preah Khan. The temple has been left largely unrestored and untamed vegetation grows among the ruins. Adorned with garudas, an eagle-like divine being, the temple has significant Hindu and Buddhist religious symbols.
Take a break for lunch at Malis restaurant and afterwards, visit the Angkor Conservation Center, constructed in 1920 to house original Khmer sculptures. The Ministry of Culture now runs the center and strictly controls access, which is not open to the public. This is a special access visit to a compound that houses more than 5,000 statues protected from wanton looting that has blighted hundreds of sites around Angkor. The finest are saved and hidden away inside Angkor Conservation’s warehouses, meticulously numbered and cataloged.
End the day by visiting the ultimate Cambodian temple. Angkor Wat is one of mankind’s greatest achievements, and the intricate carvings at the temple of Angkor Wat demonstrate the skill of the Khmer builders. It was constructed in the early 12th century, then - two centuries later - was mysteriously abandoned by the Khmer civilization. Now Angkor Wat is the main reason tourists visit Cambodia. Finish the tour with an unforgettable sunset on the quiet east side of Angkor Wat or at Pre Rup Temple
Overnight in Siem Reap