9. Siem Reap Private 3-Day Exploration of Temples and Tonle Sap
Day 1: Fishing Village of Tonle Sap Lake and Roulous Temples Group
Begin your day with a pickup at your accommodation around 8:00 AM and journey through the countryside to the world’s second largest freshwater lake, Tonle Sap Lake, which swells to 12,000 kilometers squared. During the dry half of the year, the lake shrinks to 2,500 kilometers squared, draining into the Tonle Sap River. Take a boat trip to Kampong Phluk, a collection of three small fishing villages in an atmospheric flooded forest setting. Enjoy your lunch at your own expense and have a short rest. Continue your afternoon visit to the Roulos group of temples. This collection of monuments were built in the late 9th-century as a capital city for King Jayavarman II. Take time out here to explore the temples including Preah Ko, Bakong, and Lolei.
Day 2: Angkor Thom, Bayon Neak Pean, Bantreay Srei, and Pre Rup Temple
This morning head to Angkor Thom. This majestic site once served as the Khmer Empire's glistening capital city. Take a moment to consider its grandiosity before venturing inside the city. Arrive at the temple at Bayon and appreciate its beautifully crafted central towers covered in more than 200 enormous faces. Move to Neak Pean, an artificial island with a Buddhist temple on a circular island in Jayatataka Baray.
Visit the well-preserved Banteay Srei. The detailed reliefs on this smaller sandstone structure are regarded as the finest, most skillfully crafted in Cambodia. One the way back, make a brief stop at well-preserved Banteay Samre, a laterite structure that once featured internal moats. Finish your discoveries of the temples of Angkor with sunset at the Pre Rub temple.
Day 3: Temples of Angkor at Sunrise
Depart before dawn to see the sunrise outside Angkor Wat. Soak up the atmosphere from the edge of one of the ancient library pools. Then explore the interior of the great temple. Spend a thorough two hours discovering the corridors, central chambers, and upper terraces of this truly great temple.
Continue to Preah Khan temple, a ruined but highly atmospheric mélange of tree roots and crumbling stone structures. At the end of the morning return to your accommodation for lunch then in the afternoon drive to Ta Nei. This is a late 12th-century stone temple in Angkor that was dedicated to the Buddha. Set out for the jungle-enveloped Ta Prohm, which is one of the most atmospheric of all the temples in Angkor. This long but fulfilling day will leave you with lifetime memories of some of the most impressive monuments built by mankind.