Angkor Wat Sunrise and Exploration
A sunrise tour starts at pre-dawn to witness the breathtaking view of the tropical sun emerging from behind the iconic lotus towers of Angkor Wat. Constructed over a period of 30 years during the reign of King Suryavarman II [AD1113], by some measures it is the largest religious complex in the world. Originally a Hindu mountain temple aligned to the spring equinox, around the C16th it was converted to a Theravada Buddhist monument, a capacity in which it continues today.
Explore the well preserved central complex and detailed bas-reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu mythologies and battles of the ancient empire. The beauty in balance and composition, combined with its sheer vast scale ensure Angkor Wat’s place as the crowning achievement in Khmer art and architecture. This is truly one of travel’s remaining great adventures.
Countryside Senses - Beyond the Temples
Beyond the temples lies a rural landscape often little changed since the days of Jayavarman VII. To depart Siem Reap having seen only the temple ruins is to miss contemporary Khmer culture and a living history of rice and fishing subsistence lifestyles. As infrastructure and technology encroach upon the countryside this opportunity will soon be lost forever. Your guide will lead you between rice paddies, through woodland and back gardens on foot, by ox-cart and boat to experience the very best of the countryside. After a short drive from Siem Reap visit a colourful contemporary pagoda to understand more of the importance of Buddhism in these rural communities and seek a blessing from the monks. Seasonal fruits will be brought straight from the tree, speak to families who have specialised in baking sticky rice in bamboo for over 30 years and gain hands-on experience of the essential rural skills of the rice harvest, thatching, fishing, or even making a simple meal over an open fire. Take an ox-cart ride through typical villages followed by a 20 minute easy walk to bring you to the vast Western Baray. An impressive engineering feat, this man-made reservoir was once integral to the complex Angkorian rice irrigation system which you will voyage by boat, both an education and an adventure from a slower, more romantic era of travel. On arrival at our partner's villa, surrounded by rice paddies, greetings for visitors are warm and generous.
Relax in the quiet of the countryside and enjoy sunset drinks (included). While your chef prepares your dinner take a wander across the levees of the rice paddies, look for fish traps, or walk a short distance to a viewpoint over the ancient reservoir, whilst listening to the elegance of traditional Khmer music played by local musicians, before being seated for your evening meal.
NB Please wear comfortable shoes for walking.
You will be staying at Sala Lodge, Bed & Breakfast