Our gateway to the magnificent temples of the lost city of Angkor Wat is Cambodia's cultural heart, Siem Reap. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel before meeting your Travel Director and fellow adventurers for a Welcome Reception with drinks and appetisers.
Hotel: Le Meridien
Today, we venture deep into the Cambodian jungle, through a pyramid-shaped gateway into an ancient world. Serene stone faces watch over us as we cross the causeway suspended over a moat into the spiritual heart of the ancient lost city of Angkor. A 'Local Specialist' and renowned Khmer scholar brings to life the stories behind the intricate carvings and murals of celestial nymphs and mythical serpents along the abandoned hallways of Angkor Wat. Our next stop are the terracotta-hued walls of Banteay Srei Temple - the "Citadel of Women" dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. We'll have time to admire the 10thcentury carvings of women, said to have been too delicate to have been carved by a man, hence its name. Deep in the heart of the Cambodian countryside, we 'Connect with Locals', joining a local family for a Be My Guest lunch in their 80-year-old wooden house on their dragon fruit farm. This afternoon, we'll return to Siem Reap and embark on a walking tour. We 'Make a Difference' to the lives of rural youths during our visit to Artisans d'Angkor, where we'll witness the revival of Khmer arts and crafts. Later we'll visit Wat Damnak and participate in a private blessing ceremony during which a sacred thread will be tied around our wrists to protect against evil spirits. Our final stop today is to the labyrinthine Old Market, where the locals spend their early mornings shopping for fresh fruit, vegetables and spices. Wander past the busy stalls and smell freshly baked baguettes, a remnant of the country's French heritage.
Our intimate encounter with a lost empire continues today, as we uncover other iconic sites of the ancient abandoned city of Angkor that have been devoured by the Cambodian jungle. We explore its ancient ruins in the company of saffron-clad monks and monkeys that clamber up and over the roots of centuries-old trees that have carved their way deep into the Great City's walls. Our first stop today is a visit to the fortified Angkor Thom, where we'll see such iconic sites as the Terrace of Elephants, the Royal Enclosure and the Temple of Bayon with its giant smiling faces of Buddha. We venture underneath the dense tree canopy to the crumbling, moss-covered ruins of the Buddhist temple of Ta Prohm, which featured as the location for the film 'Tomb Raider', exploring its towers courtyards and corridors to uncover the intricate stone reliefs that are shielded by the surrounding foliage. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure or consider joining one of our Optional Experiences to learn the secrets of Khmer cuisine. Tonight, we watch enthralled by the energy, emotion and enthusiasm of the talented Phare performers who use theatre, music, dance and modern circus arts to tell uniquely Cambodian stories.
We begin the day in the company of local Khmer villagers and 'Make a Difference' with a visit to their local school for an opportunity to chat to some of the children who will join us on our walk through the village to see how they spend their day-to-day lives. We'll 'Dive into Culture', gaining insights into their time-honoured craft traditions, such as weaving Cambodia's national hats made from palm leaves, or folding Lotus flowers into delicate works of art. After the rest of the day at leisure, we'll join our Travel Director and fellow expeditioners for a Farewell Dinner with Apsara dance show.
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
One of our AAA Travel Vacation Specialists will be contacting you shortly. We are here Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00am to 7:30pm and Saturday 9:00am to 1:00pm.
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