Explore the mysterious Ta Prohm ruins
You'll have the day free to explore Siem Reap on your own. If you are still interested in learning more, consider one of these options (additional cost):
Option 1 - Cooking & culture experience ($75): Early this morning, travel further into the Angkor Archeology Park, where another beauty will be waiting for you. Banteay Srei (“The Women’s Citadel ”), though not the largest of the temples in the Angkor complex, it is perhaps the most refined. This 10th century temple is dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva. It is mostly built of red sandstone with elaborate and distinctive carvings.
Afterwards, you will have the special opportunity of making your own traditional breakfast by preparing rice noodles under the guidance of a local family. Enjoy your finished product together with the family. Then continue to another village specializing in bamboo sticky rice production and harvesting coconut. Assist in the preparation of the bamboo dish while tasting delicious Cambodian snacks and a fresh coconut. Along the way, explore sugar palm stallsand learn how villagers process the fruits in many different ways. Give it a try! The next and last of your village stops leads you to a house where a family creates palm leaf handicrafts as a source of income. The villagers will teach you to make one that you can take home as a souvenir. Return to your hotel where you have the rest of the day free to do as you like. Includes lunch.
Option 2 - Roluos Temple ruins ($50): After breakfast, set off to the Roluos group of temples, located about eight miles east of Siem Reap. Once the first capital of the Khmer Empire, this group of temples contain some of the earliest permanent structures built by the Khmer. Some temples date back to the ninth century and were built of bricks, laterite, or sandstone. These group of temples include Bakong, Lolei, and Preah Ko, along with tiny Prasat Prei Monti. The 9th century Bakong temple was the first temple made of sandstone and served as the official state temple of King Indravarman I in the city of Hariharalaya, known today as Roluos. This temple is shaped like a stepped pyramid, similar to the Borobudur temple in Java, a feature of early Khmer architecture. It is thought that perhaps Borobudur was a prototype of Bakong, indicating there may have been exchanges between the Khmer's and the Sailendras in Java. Lolei is another 9th century temple dedicated to Shiva and members of the royal family. It was once located on an island in the center of the now dry Indratataka Baray. The temple features some decorative carvings including the sky-god Indra mounted on the elephant, Airavata along with makaras (serpent-like monsters), and multi-headed nagas. Your final Roluos temple visit takes you to Preah Ko and Prasat Prei Monti. Preah Ko was the first temple built in ancient Hariharalaya in 879 to honor members of King Indravarman I's family. Its name, Sacred Bull, comes from the three statues of sandstone in from of the temples central towers representing Nandi, a white bull that serves as the mount of Shiva. This temple is known for its beautiful intricate carvings. Prasat Prei Monti is a hidden ruin among the Roluos group thought to have been the state temple of Jayavarman II or his successor Indravarman I during the mid to late 9th century. Though perhaps not as architecturally interesting as some of the other temple ruins, it has historic significance.
Next, visit the Grand Circuit, which include Preah Khan, Neak Pean, Ta Som, East Mebon and Pre Rup. The Preah Khan Temple was built in 1191 by Jayavarman VII in honor of his father. This temple, once a place for Buddhism studies, has been left largely unrestored, with trees and other vegetation growing among the ruins. Another interesting 12th century temple is Neak Pean, the only island temple of the Angkor temples known as "Entwined Nagas". The large central basin is linked with four smaller basins that represent the four great rivers flowing from the earth’s four cardinal points. One of the most interesting features of this site is the superb statute of Balaha, representing the legendary saviour of shipwrecked boats. Ta Som is a small, 12th century temple that has also been large left unrestored. Next up is the East Mebon, a 10th century temple built on an artificial island in the center of the now dry East Baray reservoir. Dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva, this temple was built of durable Khmer construction materials including sandstone, brick, laterite, and stucco. There is a central tower on a square platform at the top from where you can look out and imagine the vast expanse of water that once surrounded the temple. Close to the East Baray is Pre Rup, another 10th century Hindu temple built as the state temple of Khmer king Rajendravarman. It is thought that funerals were conducted here with the ashes of the body ritually rotated in different directions. Includes lunch.
If you like, attend another show of your choice tonight (not included in land cost).
- Shinta Mani Shack or similar