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Cambodia's shrines & shores
Tin đăng ngày: 01/06/2011 - Xem: 341
 

Cambodia has gained great acclaim among tourists who wish to visit a place rich in ancient history and amazing temple architecture. Angkor Park near Siem Reap is home to over 100 such temples, most of which date back to a period covering the 9th to 13th centuries. Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom, Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, the Terrace of the Elephants, the Terrace of the Leper King, Preah Kahn, Neak Poan and the Eastern Mebon are among the must-see temples and buildings in this area. There are also many fascinating temples and shrines, and more amazing photo opportunities, outside of Siem Reap and Angkor in places like Roulous and Kampong Thom.

It's easy for one to get caught up in the breathtaking nature of these architectural wonders, so it's a good thing that Cambodia has much more to offer the discerning tourist. You will be delighted to mix with the locals in the Kampong Phluck floating village and Phnom Penh, the country's exciting capital nestled majestically on the banks of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. Phnom Penh is a veritable oasis compared to the modern nature of other Asian capitals. With wide tree-lined boulevards and low-rise buildings, it still reflects its French colonial past and the Silver Pagoda, National Museum, Royal Palace are essential sightseeing stops in this city.

Day 1: Arrive in Siem Reap
Upon arrival in Siemreap, a small, charming gateway town to the famous Angkor temple complex, meet your local guide and transfer to the hotel for check in. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 2: Siem Reap
After breakfast, enjoy a fun tuk-tuk ride to the intricately carved Khmer ruins at Angkor Wat, one of the world’s most impressive temple ruins constructed between 9th and 13th centuries. The temple still owns hundreds of fine carvings of Apsara and Hindu mythology. Stroll around the massive hallways and discover small shrines still in use today by the local people. In the afternoon, visit the royal city of Angkor Thom. At first glance, it seems a shapeless mass of stone, but further scrutiny reveals enigmatic faces looking at every direction, with half-closed eyes, all looking content and serene. Continue your exploration by visiting Elephant Terrace served as a platform from which to view his victorious returning army and the Leper King Terrace with perfect carvings winding along a narrow passage way. Overnight in Siem Reap (B)
Day 3: Siem Reap
Continue your culture tour with a visit to the picturesque Ta Prohm, a jungle-clad temple with overgrown trees, giving a haunting and exotic atmosphere. The magnificent roots of a tree push itself between the temple’s huge stone blocks in an embrace, emphasizing the ‘lost city’ feel. In the afternoon, drive 35km to the rural outskirts and visit to the pink sandstone Bantei Srei temple, the birthplace of classical Khmer architecture. This is a small temple but the carvings are so impressive it remains one of the most popular places with both locals and tourists. On the way back, stop at Les Artisans d’Angkor to see how artisans preserve age-old Khmer arts and crafts. Overnight in Siem Reap (B)
Day 4: Siem Reap - Battambang (173 kilometers - 03-hour drive)
After breakfast, catch a speedboat to Battambang or travel by land. Upon arrival at Battambang, transfer to the hotel for check in. In the afternoon, embark on a walking city tour around colonial buildings and local villages. Visit the local fish market and observe the daily life of local people. Overnight at La Villa Hotel/Deluxe (B)
Day 5: Battambang
In the morning, visit Wat Banon and Phnom Wat Ek before stopping by at Wat Phnom Sampov for a closer glimpse at the daily life of people along the Sangke River. The remainder of the day is free at your leisure. Overnight at La Villa Hotel/Deluxe (B)
Day 6: Battambang - Phnom Penh (291 kilometers - 41/2 hour drive)
In 1975, the radical Khmer Rouge party, under its leader Pol Pot, seized power and declared ‘year zero’. In the next 3 years, an estimated 2 million Cambodians died, many from starvation and exhaustion, while others were tortured and executed for being ‘enemies of the state’. Learn more about these terrible years through a visit to the infamous Tuol Sleng Museum and Cheung Ek, better known as the Killing Fields, where large numbers of people were killed and buried. Return to town. Overnight in Phnom Penh (B)
Day 7: Phnom Penh
After breakfast, visit the Victory Monument as well as the Royal Palace, built by the French in 1866, a beautiful combination of eastern and French architecture. Located within the Royal Palace compound is the Silver Pagoda, so-named because its floor is made up of 5,000 silver tiles. Treasures inside include a solid gold Buddha weighing 90 kilos and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha. Then, continue your visit to National Museum, designed in Khmer style by a French archeologist and painter in 1917. The museum houses Khmer art and sculptures from different periods of Cambodian history. Mid-afternoon, visit the bustling Russian market for souvenir hunting before ending the day with a visit to Wat Phnom Temple, Phnom Penh’s namesake, from where you can enjoy views of the city’s tree-lined avenues during sunset. Overnight in Phnom Penh (B)
Day 8: Phnom Penh - Sihanoukville (Road - 230 km - 3.5 hour dive)
After breakfast, transfer to the beach resort Sihanoukville, a journey of around three hours. With white sand beaches, warm waters, and a laid back atmosphere, Sihanoukville provide a great little tropical getaway. Arrive around midday and transfer to hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Overnight at Sokha Beach Resort/Deluxe Pool View (B)
Day 9: Sihanoukville
After breakfast, immerse yourself in the small town and visit the Victory Monument, market, International seaport, railway station, the fishing village and Wat Krom. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Overnight at Sokha Beach Resort/Deluxe Pool View (B)
Day 10: Sihanoukville - Kampot by land (100km - 02-hour drive)
Around 8.30am, drive to the town of Kampot, located at the foot of the Elephant Mountains. Transfer to the hotel for check in. Kampot boasts pretty offshore islands, interesting limestone caves as well as the seaside resort of Kep and the Bokor Mountain in its vicinity. In the afternoon, visit Teouk Chhu and enjoy a city tour walking around French colonial houses, markets and shops. Overnight at Veranda Resort/ROH in Kep town (B, L)
Day 11: Kampot
Free at your leisure. Overnight at Veranda Resort/ROH in Kep town (B, L)
Day 12: Kampot - Phnom Penh (148km - 3.5 hour drive, the road condition is quite poor) - Departure
In the morning, return to Phnom Penh and transfer to the airport for your departure flight. End of services (B)
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