Siem Reap & Angkor Wat itinerary in 3 days
This gorgeous boutique resort has luxurious rooms surrounding a beautiful swimming pool. The perfect place to come back to after exploring the temples. Excellent breakfast and spa. The customer service is wonderful. Highly recommended.
Guides and Tours
Asia Tour Advisors
We booked all our tours in Vietnam and Cambodia through local tour company Asia Tour Advisors. They provided excellent and knowledgeable guides as well as wonderful drivers in all locations. They were prompt and reliable. All the activities were interesting and well-planned. The customer service they provided while planning our trip was excellent.
Our contact was David Hong Luong
Phum Steung Trocheak Restaurant. This restaurant is conveniently located near Angkor. It has a beautiful garden and is perfect for a leisurely Cambodian meal and a refreshing beer.
Chanrey Tree Restaurant. This upscale restaurant specializes in delicious Khmer cuisine. It is located in a beautifully restored, traditional wooden Khmer house in Siem Reap. It is reasonably priced by North American standards.
Batchum Khmer Kitchen. This restaurant is conveniently located near Angkor Thom. It is perfect for a nice lunch in their lush, tropical gardens.
Golden Temple Retreat Restaurant. This lovely open-air restaurant at the hotel offers a contemporary and traditional Cambodian dinner followed by a show of a Khmer blessing dance.
The ancient city of Angkor in Cambodia was the capital city of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to 15th centuries. It is the spiritual and cultural heart of Cambodia.
The temples of the Angkor area number over one thousand, ranging in scale from small temples located in the middle of rice fields to Angkor Wat, the world's largest single religious monument. Many of the temples at Angkor have been restored, and together, they comprise the most significant site of Khmer architecture. The entire expanse, including Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom is collectively protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The town of Siem Reap is the tourist hub, where many hotels and restaurants are located. Despite the crowds, Siem Reap does retain its original charm.
Not far from Siem Reap is Tonle Sap Lake, Southeast Asia's largest fresh water lake, with many floating villages.
We arrived in Siem Reap in the late afternoon and checked into the Golden Temple Retreat. This gorgeous boutique resort has luxurious rooms surrounding a beautiful swimming pool. The perfect place to come back to after exploring the temples. Excellent breakfast and spa. The customer service is wonderful. Highly recommended.
After a nice rest in our rooms, we were picked up by the Tara River Boat Company for a sunset boat cruise of the Tonle Sap Lake. While there were some aspects of this activity that we found interesting, I would not recommend this company.
Tonle Lake is Southeast Asia's largest fresh water lake and is home to several floating villages. These floating villages are unique but they are extremely poor and it did not feel right, as tourists, to be gawking at these people and the horrible conditions that they live in.
We did get a chance to see the beautiful sunset on the lake before heading back to our hotel.
Angkor outlying temples
Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom
This morning we were picked up early following breakfast, in order to beat the heat and the tourists at the temples. We spent the day visiting the outlying temples, which are often missed by many visitors.
We started with the Ta Prohm temple which was made famous by the movie Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie. Unlike most Angkor temples, Ta Prohm is in much the same condition in which it was found. It is very unique due to the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees and roots growing out of the ruins and its jungle surroundings.
From there we visited the smallest but magnificent temple of Banteay Srei, built in the 10th century and dedicated to Shiva. The temple is the birthplace of Khmer classical style architecture and the bas-relief work is the best example of Khmer classical art remaining. The pink sandstone structure bears a series of striking and beautiful sculptures, lintels and friezes.
We then went to Chau Srei Vibol, a small charming temple on the top of a hill. Very few visitors come out to this lovely temple where you can meander across the stones or walk around its perimeter.
We stopped for lunch at Phum Steung Trocheak Restaurant and sat in the gardens for a leisurely Cambodian meal and a refreshing beer.
After lunch we continued on our way to the ancient Khmer civilization site of Hariharalaya which flourished in the 9th and early 10th centuries. These are the earliest temples in the Angkor area and are referred to as the Rolous group. We visited the main one called Bakong temple as well as Prea Ko.
We got back to the hotel in the mid-afternoon and relaxed by the pool with a refreshing cocktail.
This evening we walked to Chanrey Tree Restaurant for dinner. This upscale restaurant specializes in delicious Khmer cuisine. It is located in a beautifully restored, traditional wooden Khmer house and is reasonably priced by North American standards.
After dinner we walked over to the famous Pub Street, which is filled with bars, restaurants and crowded with many young people. There is a night market filled with souvenirs.
We got an early start again this morning. Our guide picked us up at 7 am and we went to visit the massive temple of Angkor Wat. Originally built in the early 12th century as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu, it gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple by the end of the 12th century.
It is believed to be the biggest religious monument ever built. Its' five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag, and it is considered a prime example of Khmer art and architecture.
The temple is adorned with intricately carved bas-relief - many of celestial women. The Apsara carvings, from the Angkorian era, cover over 1,000 sq. metres. It is the longest, continuous bas relief in the world.
In the open courtyards statues of animals enliven the walls.
From there we headed to temples of Angkor Thom - which literally means "great city." It was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer Empire. It was established in the late twelfth century by King Jayavarman VII.
The area within the walls is larger than any walled city in medieval Europe. It covers an area of 9 km², within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well.
The five entry towers are among the most photographed of all the ancient Cambodian ruins. Each sandstone tower rises 23 meters (75 feet) to the sky and is crowned with four heads, one facing each cardinal direction. A long causeway leading to each entry tower is flanked by a row of 54 stone figures on each side to make a total of 108 mythical beings guarding the city of Angkor Thom.
The Bayon is one of Angkor's most famous sights. It is a three-tiered pyramid temple with a 45-metre-high tower topped by four gigantic carved heads. This complex is an unbelievable sight to visit.
Following this incredible morning we stopped for lunch at Batchum Khmer Kitchen for a nice lunch in their lush, tropical gardens.
After lunch we returned to our resort for an afternoon for a relaxing massage in beautiful hotel spa and sat by the pool.
Before dinner we headed to the Made in Cambodia Market. This small community market features Khmer hand-crafted, artisan products. This was a nice spot to pick up souvenirs and gifts for our families.
We had a nice dinner at our hotel restaurant where they have a nightly show of traditional Khmer dance.
Depart for Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon
After breakfast we headed to airport for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon. See my Ho Chi Minh City itinerary.