Following breakfast, we set out to visit Angkor Wat- the crown jewel of Khmer architecture, which has been the national symbol and the highlight of any visit to Cambodia. The largest, best-preserved, and most religiously significant of the Angkor temples, Angkor impresses visitors both by its sheer scale and beautifully proportioned layout, as well as the delicate artistry of its carvings.
We first cross the vast moat; continue along a broad causeway lined with naga balustrades and enter the main structure. Now, we ascend through a series of galleries and courtyard before reaching the central sanctuary, which offers beautiful views back over the causeway and across the surrounding countryside. On the way, we stop to enjoy the intricate stone carvings that adorn nearly every surface of the temple, with some 1,700 Apsaras, or celestial dancers, sculpted from the walls. Along with the outer gallery, walls run the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which narrates stories from Hindu mythology, including the famous 'Churning of the Ocean of Milk.' Angkor Wat is stunning at any time of the day, but sunrise and sunset are uniquely beautiful times to watch the play of light on the stones.
Next, we visit Ta Prohm- one of the most popular attractions of Angkor as much of the jungle is not clear. It looks very much as most of the Angkor monuments would have appeared when European explorers first stumbled across them. Other monuments we visit are:
Jayavarman VII built ta Som in the late 12th century for his teacher, Som. Ta Som means old Som.
King Jayavarman VII (ruled 1181 to 1201) built Neak Pean Temple. It is a Buddhist temple consisting of a square pool with four smaller square pools arranged on each axis. In the center of the large central pool is a circular island encircled by two nagas with intertwined tails.
Visit Preah Khan, also built by King Jayavarman VII, has towering enclosures and shoulder-hugging corridors in a jungle setting. Preah Khan covers a vast area, but the temple itself is enclosed within a rectangular wall of around 700 by 800 meters.
Overnight in Angkor, Siem Reap.