VC09 Khmer Heritage ( 3 days / 2 nights )

Siem Reap – Beng Mealea – Koh Ker – Preah Vihear – Preah Khan “Bakan temple” – Siem Reap (4 wheel drive)

Day 1   Siem Reap – Beng Mealea – Koh Ker – Tbeng Meanchey

Depart early for Tbeng Meanchey, the provincial capital of Preah Vihear. Enjoy the Khmer countryside before you reach the remote Beng Mealea Temple (60km away), which has been long left in oblivion and partially reclaimed by the jungle. Proceed to the capital of King Jayavarman IV at Koh Ker Temple. Here, the statues and reliefs were built on a large scale 30 metre-high pyramid, thus conveying a sense of power and grandeur which is rarely found in Khmer art. The “temple-mountain” rises to considerable heights along with long halls (originally, the structure would have had timber roofs). A picnic lunch will be available on site before you proceed to Tbeng Meanchey.

Overnight In Tbeng Meanchey.  [Lunch]

Day 2   Tbeng Meanchey – Preah Vihear temple 

After breakfast at a local restaurant, we will drive to the northern hilltop temple of Preah Vihear. From here, the Dangrek Mountains which form a natural border between Cambodia and Thailand may be seen.  A picnic lunch will be arranged on site. Return to Tbeng Meanchey.

Overnight in Tbeng Meanchey.  [Breakfast, Lunch]

Day 3   Tbeng Meanchey – Preah Khan temple “Bakan temple” – Siem Reap 

We will depart from the hotel very early and take an SUV to the small town of Stung for our adventure to a jungle temple of Preah Khan of Kampong Svay or Prasat Bakan. This Buddhist temple, originally constructed by Suriyavarman I, yet added to and modified by later kings, is a massive monastic complex enclosing near five square kilometres including Prasat Preah Stung, Prasat Preah Thkol and Prasat Preah Damrei. Most of the carvings have been looted or removed including a bust of Jayavarman VII which has become an iconic image and widely reproduced. Preah Khan Temple is located about 100km East of Beng Mealea and is difficult to reach by road, which requires the better part of the day to get there. Along the way, we will drive past some remote villages in one of the most isolated parts of Cambodia.  Upon arrival, we will explore the most important temples there, including the four faces Bayon-style of Prasat Preah Stung and the central temple which was one of the biggest enclosures built during the Angkor period. It is thought this may have been a very important provincial city during the Khmer Empire. Boxed lunches and cold mineral water will be prepared in advance and we will eat on site before we return to Siem Reap.  [Breakfast, Lunch]

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