We are about packed and ready for our next adventure – tomorrow we are off to Cambodia (Phnom Penh and Siem Reap). Our itinerary, edited from the original document:
Saturday, March 14 – We arrive in Phnom Penh at 8:30 AM where we have an English-speaking guide. After checking in at the hotel, we’ll start a tour of the city by Cyclo, an original Phnom Penh means of transportation “and a fun way to explore this lively city”.
After return to the hotel for a break during the midday heat, we visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in the former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture center named ‘S-21’. We’ll also visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. (Pat may not do this part and will find something else to do.)
Sunday, March 15 – We have an early morning flight to Siem Reap, the gateway to the temples and other building of Angkor. We first visit Roluos, the site of an ancient center of Khmer civilization known as Hariharalaya. It was the first town built by the Angkorian kings in the 8th and 9th century and consists of three main temples: Bakong, Lolei and PreahKo.
Monday, March 16 – First, we visit Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall drawing a perfect square. You will enter the city from the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant faces. On each side of the entrance path, a row of 54 gods or demons is holding the sacred Naga snake.
From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its 54 towers with enigmatic faces representing the 54 provinces of the Great Khmer Empire.
During the afternoon, we’ll explore the highlights of the Small Circuit, starting with Ta Prohm Temple, built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground.
Finally, we begin exploring the famous Angkor Wat. Built during the reign of King
Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing Mount Meru, the home of the gods. Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia’s national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.
Tuesday, March 17 – This morning, we’ll drive to the quiet Beng Mealea, around 65 km from Siem Reap. Feel like an explorer when you discover the completely overgrown temple. Undiscovered for centuries, Beng Mealea has only recently been made accessible and remains unrestored. It is one of the very few temples that actually give the opportunity to climb through it.
Then, it’s off to the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srei, which is best viewed in the warm morning light. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” remains the best preserved temple in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs. Banteay Srei is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.
Wednesday, March 18 – Embark on an interesting boat trip on the Tonle Sap Lake, where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. We’ll also see a village built on stilts over the lake. This is also Pat’s Birthday!
Thursday, March 19 – Fly back to Singapore.
Photos and details will be posted daily, if we aren’t too tired at the end of each day.