Angkor Up Close, Bike, Walk, Trek (6 Days / 5 Nights)

Stone carving, E.PetrofskyDay 1, Arrive Siem Reap

Upon arrival in Siem Reap, your local English speaking guide will welcome you and accompany you to the hotel for check in. Relax after your flight and enjoy some time at leisure. 

This afternoon, set out on your first cycling adventure to explore the rural charms of the Cambodian countryside. A rich tapestry woven with lush scenery, colorful bustling villages, stilted houses, hidden temples and dusty back roads hedged with sugar palms await you. (Escort by Tuk Tuk with bike rack)

You will pass through the Village of Chreav on route to the Tonlé SapLake. Down meandering trails with flashes of effervescent green and rich red earth abound from the fields; the fragrant smell of lotus blossom from Buddhist shrines excites your senses. Stop for a well-earned rest in the shade of the ancient Wat Athvea and take some time to explore this temple. Weave your way through the dusty back roads to a small stilted hammock bar overlooking the rice fields, where you will stop for light refreshment before proceeding to the seldom visited Phnom Krom hill.

The temple at Phnom Krom sits on top of one of the best vantage points overlooking the vast expanse of the Tonlé  SapLake. Take in this view as the sun sets. Transfer back to your hotel. This evening, you will have your first encounter with Khmer cuisine at The Sugar Palm, served in a traditional Khmer house with a charming warm interior. 

Distance biking today = 17km  
Meals: Breakfast
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Early morning,Angkor Wat, E PetrofskyDay 2, Angkor and temples

Your first destination is Angkor Wat. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing MountMeru, the home of the gods. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.

Walking from temple to temple is a unique way to see these magnificent ruins: glimpses of small temples can be spotted amongst dense jungle, towers appear looming overhead, and the sheer number of ruins along the way is staggering. Stop on the way for lunch at a simple local restaurant. From here, find your way through the forest towards the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall, drawing a perfect square. 

Take some time in the shade of a sugar palm tree as you take in the expanse of the moat of Angkor Thom before you enter the city through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant faces. On each side of the entrance path a row of 54 gods or demons is holding the sacred Naga snake. 

From here, continue to BayonTemple through meandering sandy trails that lead you through the dense jungle canopy. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its 54 towers with enigmatic faces representing the 54 provinces of the Great Khmer Empire. The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate bas-reliefs. Return to your hotel for some time at leisure. 

Tonight, enjoy an atmospheric dinner at Champey restaurant next to Pub Street. 
Distance walking today = 10km   
Meals: Breakfast / lunch / dinner
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 3, Siem Reap - Phnom Kulen - Beng Mealea - Siem Reap (B,L,D)

After breakfast at your hotel, transfer through seemingly endless rice fields and friendly local villages to Phnom Kulen, an impressive sandstone plateau in this otherwise flat area. The mountain is considered the birthplace of the Khmer empire and a sacred place for the Khmer. At the top of Phnom Kulen, you will discover stone carvings in a riverbed, a large reclining Buddha from the 16th century and visit several hidden pagodas. One of the main attractions is a waterfall where you can take a refreshing bath. From here, trek east to Svay Leu Pagoda. On the way you will discover Cambodia’s pristine jungle and some wildlife as well as the lychee trees Kulen is famous for. There is often a lively local market near the pagoda which you have time to explore – a real insight into the way of life in this remote area. Now you are ready to start the second part of today’s adventure: Cycle south on less used roads to Beng Mealea. We will have lunch here. Feel like an explorer when you discover the completely overgrown temple. Undiscovered for centuries, Beng Mealea has only recently been made accessible and remains unrestored. It is one of the very few temples that actually give the opportunity to climb through it. Explore the place on a trek through the jungle ruins and beyond.

Transfer back to Siem Reap. A filling and delicious dinner will be served in a contemporary setting at Nest Angkor Restaurant.
Distance biking today = 15km, and 35km trek
Meals: Breakfast / lunch / dinner
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 4, Siem Reap - Banteay Srei - Wat Tabeng (B,L,D)

banteay-srey-temple-alpineThis morning, get in the saddle again for a gentle cycling tour to Banteay Srei via backroads and villages. On the way, you will have the possibility to stop at local communities along the way and your guide will help you to interact with the local community to learn about the way of life here. Seize the opportunity to see how rice paper is produced and to taste Palm Wine and Palm Sugar, which are a popular local produce (seasonal).

Visit the LandmineMuseum which promotes mine awareness. Mr. Aki Ra, the museum founder, was trained as a child soldier during the Khmer Rouge regime and is working today as a de-miner. The museum serves also as a rescue center for a number of landmine amputee children that Aki Ra has brought off Phnom Penh’s streets or from impoverished rural communities.

Arrive at the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srey. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” remains the best preserved temple in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs. Banteay Srey is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.

Before you explore the temple, enjoy a picnic lunch in a relaxed setting at Banteay Srei Pagoda.

From Banteay Srei, it is only a short 18 km ride to Wat Tabeng, a traditional village that is among the most scenic in Cambodia, set amidst a sea of rice fields. Here, in a clean and safe place on the premises of a picturesque wat, you will find your home for tonight: An adventure style tented camp in the grounds of the pagoda. Imagine waking up to the sounds of nature is an experience no hotel room can provide.

Set out to explore the pagoda, village and surroundings with your guide, who will facilitate your encounters with the local population. This evening, a Khmer BBQ dinner will serve at the camp, which you can enjoy in comfortable and stylish sitting areas.

Distance biking today = 55km
Meals: Breakfast / lunch / dinner
Overnight in a tented camp at Wat Tabeng.
Tonle Sap Lake, T&C MacdonaldDay 5, Wat Tabeng - Phnom Bok - Kampong Pluk - Siem Reap (B,L,D)

Get up early as you will be invited to witness the monks at Wat Tabeng perform their morning rituals, and you will have many chances to meet the monks personally. Breakfast at the camp.

Later on, a short cycle through the village will bring you to Phnom Bok hill, where a short trek will lead you to the top, from where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the plains below. Walk down towards the pretty temple of Banteay Samre, where you will enjoy a relaxing lunch break.

From here, a military style jeep will take you on a journey towards Tonlé Sap Lake (35km), South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake with its size varying greatly depending on the season, as it is swelling to about four times it size during the wet season. Board a local boat and visit Kampong Phluck, a village where you will see houses on stilts that are submerged when Tonlé SapLake extends. On the way, you will pass floating houses and impressive flooded forests, portraying life on the water.

(NOTE: Due to low water levels during the dry season, the boat trip is only possible from June to March, but we can arrange an overland visit to Kampong Pluck that is an equally interesting experience, as you can walk among the stilted houses).Return to Siem Reap.

Tonight, enjoy a Khmer dinner at Viroth’s, a stylish and comfortable restaurant set in a quiet garden.
Distance biking today = 5km and 10 km trekking.
Meals: Breakfast / lunch / dinner
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 6, Siem Reap – Departure

Program ends after breakfast.

Meals: Breakfast
Rates from 1020.00 and up, based on double occupancy.