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CAMBODIA: INTO THE ABODE OF THE GODS

Best of Cambodia: 4 days

cambodia

MyPeople,

Enigmatic, inspiring, and sometimes utterly chaotic, Cambodia ‘Abode of Gods’ never ceases to bewilder travelers with its ever-changing hues and colours. A comforting piece of land with world class Temples, and a devastating history, this place is primarily known for Angkor Wat: one of the Seven Architectural Wonders of the World: the Temple Complexes themselves are a sight to behold.

Cambodia’s countryside will take you on a tour through the swaying paddy fields, blissfully laid back fishing villages, picturesque beaches dotted with sugar palms, and also Phnom Penh its Capital City known for its artistic culture and sophisticated dining scene.

MyPeople, you are entering a Pandora’s Box: full of unexpected surprises and during your visit you will unravel its secret treasures one day at a time.

HIGHLIGHTS

JOURNEY PLAN

DAY 1 – ARRIVE AT CAMBODIA

MyPeople, welcome to Cambodia: the land of awe-inspiring Temples. You will be received at the airport by our local representative and transferred to your Hotel. Today you will unwind and relax after your long flight: meet your other fellow travelers. Feel free to explore the city by TukTuk Rickshaws. You may head out towards Pub Street in the evening to enjoy the local street-food cuisine and have an early dinner. If you do have some left over energy do go Downtown for a Jazz or Blues evening: shop for some local spices or snake wine.

Good Morning MyPeople! Rise and Shine! Our journey today takes us on an exciting tour of the Angkor Temples with our Local Guide. From the 9th Century until the 15th Century, present day Cambodia was under the reign of the most powerful Hindu-Buddhist Emperors in Southeast Asia: the Khmer or Angkor Dynasty. The ancient city of Angkor Thom was its Capital and in the 12th Century it was King Jayavarman VII who commissioned this fortified city. Some of the structures here that were built of wood, unfortunately, could not survive the vagaries of time, but the remaining stone monuments bear witness to the greatness and grandeur of the Khmer Empire: and Angkor is surrounded by an 8 meters high wall giving it a shape of a perfect square.

Bayon Temple: MyPeople, feast your eyes first of all on an exquisite example of artistic genius: this was the official State Temple of Jayavarman VII, and the last State Temple to be built at Angkor. You will have the feeling that Lord Buddha is watching you all the time: as you will see 54 towers, each sporting four Buddha faces! Keep moving through golden bridges guarded by golden lions and golden Buddha housed in Chambers around the complex. Walk through deep forests and visit the intricately carved ‘Terrace of the Elephants’ and ‘Terrace of the Leper King’.

After a sumptuous local lunch we are now headed towards the Temples in The Small Circuit, which comprises of several major and minor Temples in the area, including the famous Angkor Wat. We will spend the remaining day catching a glimpse of some of the most beautiful Temples in Cambodia, like Ta Prohm, surrounded by overgrown trees and a crumbling façade : known as the ‘Tomb Raider Indiana Jones Temple,’ because it was used as a location in the film. Next, we will visit BanteayKdei, a Buddhist monastery from the late 12th Century, meet Buddhish Monks, between the age range of 2 years and 102 years, and we will give them our offerings, and seek their Blessings. We will visit SrahSrang, the pool of ablutions, and end our hectic day by visiting the NaekPean Buddhist Temple situated on the artificial island of NaekPean. Experience a serene and beautiful Cambodian sunset from the Roof Terrace of Pre Rup Temple: a pyramidal Hindu Temple built as the State Temple of the Khmer King Rajendravarman. After this, we head back to our hotel for some dinner, rest and recuperation and prepare ourselves for an early morning the next day.

Sunrise Time MyPeople! We start early at 5 am to catch the beautiful sunrise at Angkor Wat or Ta-Phrom. After this delightful rendezvous, we begin our day by taking a trip to the magnificent Temple of Angkor Wat, built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. This Temple, which means ‘Temple City’ was originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu but was later converted to a Buddhist Temple in the 14th century. It is one of the largest religious monuments ever constructed and encompasses an area of 500 acres. This Temple showcases rich artwork and beautifully carved embellishments. It has a 213 foot tall central tower which is surrounded by four smaller towers and a series of enclosure walls, a layout to recreate the image of Mount Meru: a mythological place in Hinduism that is believed to lie beyond the Himalayas and be the Abode of the Gods. Inside the Temple, take a quiet moment to appreciate its glory and splendour. Inside you will find depictions of scenes from Hindu mythology and also the wars fought by Suryavarman during his reign. The heart of the Temple is the central tower, and only the Brave Hearts can venture up the steep staircase to see a statue of Vishnu at the top. This tower was at once the symbolic center of the nation and the actual center where secular and sacred powers joined forces. A few hidden paintings have been discovered in the central tower, which show the life and times of the Khmer people.

Angkor Wat is an indelible part of the Cambodian culture, and the Temple finds a place not only on the map of Cambodia but the World Map! It represents the soul, body, and blood of the Khmer people, so when you enter the Temple it is important to respect the sanctity associated with the place and maintain decorum. After a memorable visit to this famous Temple, we will head back to the hotel for breakfast.

In the afternoon, we visit the Temples in Rolous: a small Cambodian village and an archaeological site known for some of the earliest permanent structures built by Khmer. These Temples mark the beginning of the classical period of Khmer civilization, and the three major Temples you will see here are Bakong, Lolei, and PreahKo. The surrounding countryside with its paddy fields adds more magic and beauty to the Temples. You can take a leisurely ox cart ride and interact with the local villagers around and catch glimpses of their rural lifestyle, local culture and ancient traditions.

After a hearty breakfast at the hotel, we will travel back in time MyPeople (well, not literally), to see, what is known as the precious gem or the ‘Jewel’ of the Angkor area, the Temple of Banteay Srei. This Temple is also called the ‘Citadel of Women’ or ‘Citadel of Beauty,’ referring to the mesmerizing bas-relief delicately handmade carvings done by women found on the walls which depict scenes from ancient Hindu tales. It is the only major Temple at Angkor that has not been built by any MonarchRevel amongst these artistic masterpieces which are made of red sandstone unlike no other building in Angkor.

Spend some time learning how rice is produced, taste some authentic palm sugar, and of course, sip on some locally produced palm wine.

We are now headed towards Viroth’s – a local restaurant to taste some authentic and traditional Cambodian cuisine.

For your afternoon jaunt, MyPeople will take you to an Angkor Silk Farm, to see how silkworms are cultivated from mulberry bushes, and how fine silk yarn and fabrics are produced in Cambodia. Over an area of 8 hectares, lush with mulberry plantations and workshops you will witness the rural countryside’s picturesque scenery and unwind to the sound of the silk weaver’s babble as they create beautiful designs on wooden handlooms.

For our evening sojourns we will be transported towards the local interiors for a boat trip on Tonlé Sap Lake: the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. This lake is designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve since 1997. We will board a local fisherman’s boat that will take us to the quaint village of Kampong Kleang: off the usual touristy trail, surrounded by mangrove forests and waterways, to the homes of local fishermen and their families who live in stilted houses. We will witness a different culture and observe different eating and housing patterns of people living on water in this side of the world. Your last sunset in this beautiful country amongst new found friends: enjoy the calm and serene Sunset on these backwaters and get ready to go onwards for your next adventure to Vietnam.

After an exciting rendezvous with Cambodia, MyPeople welcomes you to delightful Vietnam. You can go on a cross country adventure by coach and enjoy the lush countryside greenery and have sneak peaks at urban-rural lifestyle, whilst you spend a lazy day on your 9 hour coach journey. Alternately you can take a flight to Ho Chi Minh city and cut short your travel time and spend a free evening in Vietnam.

If you are short on time and are unable to continue onward to Vietnam after Cambodia then we wish you Sayonara MyPeople : wrap all your beautiful memories and you will be transferred to the airport for your homeward journey 🙂

MyPeople!
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