Specialist Temple Tours
For the more adventurous travellers out there and those wanting to discover more whilst travelling in Cambodia, we have put together 3 specialist temple tours that can be included in your wider Cambodia holiday itinerary with us.
Kulen Mountain Tour
Kulen Mountain, also called “Holy Mountain” has its sacred river of a Thousand Lingas. The mountain range is located 48 km northwards from Angkor Wat and follows a twisty road to the top of the mountain. The mountain range stretches over 12.8km and holds a a special symbolic importance. It is venerated by Cambodians as the site that the Khmer empire originated. We travel through this part of Cambodia and visit some beautiful underwater carvings of the 1000 lingas that lay just beneath the water’s surface. We continue on climbing to see a small Wat at the summit of the mountain. This houses a large Buddha ‘Preah Ang Thom’ carved into the sandstone boulder upon which it is built. Once here you have the opportunity to reflect and unwind with nature, as you take in the view of the surrounding forest. Finally we walk down from the mountain top to the nearby 5 metre waterfall, where it is possible to take a swim and take a free hydro massage. We then take some time for lunch before returning down the mountain and back to Siem Reap.
Banteay Chhmar Tour (L)
Leaving early we start the long journey to this special temple. This 12th century temple is one of Cambodia’s national treasures; it laid undiscovered for almost 800 years as forces of nature and more recently looting has resulted in its collapse. Only recently there is an effort to start renovating the temple and it is believed that the temple will be listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site.
After about one and a half hours travelling west in Cambodia we reach Svay Sisophon, before continuing north to the incredible jungle temple of Banteay Chhmar. Before exploring the temple, famous for its signature faces of Jayavarman VII, we stop for a local lunch. The temple has collapsed in most parts but using your imagination it is a simply wonderful experience clambering on rocks and trying to work out what piece goes where. We see the magnificent carvings of Lokesvara with 32 arms, nicknamed lok sam-pee (Mr 32) by Khmers, as well as the beautiful Hall of Dancers, similar to the famous Preah Khan. After spending a couple of hours discovering the temple we then start the long return journey back to Siem Reap.
Beng Mealea, Koh Ker and Preah Vihear (2 day Tour)
Day 1: Siem Reap – Beng Mealea – Koh Ker – Preah Vihear (-)
Today we begin our trip to the lost temple of Beng Mealea, the titan of temples, a slumbering giant that was lost for centuries in the forests of Cambodia. It is the most accessible of Angkor’s lost temples, a mirror image of Angkor Wat, but utterly consumed by the voracious appetite of nature.
We then continue to the remote Angkor capital of Koh Ker. The history of Cambodia is rife with dynastic spats and political intrigue. One of the most memorable came in the 10th century when Jayavarman IV (928-942) fell out with his family, stormed off to the northwest and established the rival capital of Koh Ker. We then visit the vast Prasat Thom, a seven-storey step pyramid, more Mayan than Khmer, with commanding views over the surrounding forest. Nearby is Prasat Krahom or Red Temple, named after the pinkish Banteay Srei-style stone from which it is built.
Following our temple visit, we travel to a village near by the site of Preah Vihear where we stop for the night at a local guest house.
Day 2: Preah Vihear to Siem Reap (B)
This morning we rise early to explore the Preah Vihear temple, which sits on top of a 700-meter-hight cliff, Preah Vihear, drops sharply down to the Cambodian plains to the South. Climbing up from the base of the hill and the border via an ancient stair way will leave you out of breath, but let you appreciate the amazing location all the more. You are offered the most breathtaking views in Cambodia from this Hindu Temple. The temple was probably built during the reign of Soryavarman I (1010 – 1050). Inside the temple, several stone pavilions, gopuras, in varying state of collapse and decorated with detailed and beautiful carvings, are arranged around several courtyards. The linked gopuras by causeways with naga snakes make the temple complex almost 800 meters long. The third gopura contains the carvings of a sophisticated and famous rendition of the churning of the ocean around Mount Meru. The main sanctuary of the temple is the best-preserved structure and sits right at the edge of the cliff.
After spending time exploring the temple we take lunch and then return back to Siem Reap. Travelling in Cambodia always throughs up beautiful scenery and many surprises.
- English Speaking Tour Guide
- Transportation (private vehicle with driver)
- Drinking water
- Entrance fees
- Meals where specified
- Other beverages and personal expenses
- Travel insurance (cover against all cancellation costs, medical expenses, including repatriation, in the event of accident of illness)