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Saturday, November 05, 2011

A 5-day tour in and around Siem Reap visit Angkor temples Kbal Spean Bantey Srei Beng Melea Tonle Sap lake

By Lotramar

A 5-day tour in and around Siem Reap visit Angkor temples Kbal Spean Bantey Srei Beng Melea Tonle Sap lake

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Upon your arrival in Siem Reap aiport, you will be greeted by Lotussia Travel local team and transferred to your hotel for check-in (*). The rest of the day is free at leisure. Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 2: Visit Angkor Temples (B,L).

We start the day with the infamous and treasured legacy of Angkor Wat. The masterpiece and holy grail of the temples of Angkor. Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious building and an insurmountable legacy left by Suryavarman II. Believed to be the world's largest religious building, there is almost one kilometer of exquisitely detailed carvings which depict the intricacies of the Khmer empire through dramatic and humorous stories of love, life, war, religion and mythology, before accessing the inner complex to experience the powerful energy that this sublime temple inspires. Marvel at the quincunx of towers, admire the carvings and architectural detail of the complex as a whole, as it seemingly defies with its beauty and symmetry the fact that it’s a man-made creation almost 1000 years old.

We shall continue our visit Ta Prohm. Of Tombraider fame, Ta Prohm is an Angkorian treasure, and it’s going to stay that way. One of the most fascinating things about Ta Prohm (except for its size, beauty and pleasantly eerie atmosphere) is that today it can be appreciated perfectly as it would have been in its day, a mere 900 years ago, as it has been ‘left as it was found’ by the French explorers who discovered it in the 19th century. Ta Prohm is a sight to behold, a veritable maze with gigantic golden trees strangling the stone foundations at every juncture, fine carvings, prominent galleries and a layout that will bring out the explorer in you.

After lunch we commence our exploration of Angkor Thom. Known as the ‘Great City’, Angkor Thom was Jayavarman VII’s ultimate creation, his true expression of design excellence. Angkor Thom was an entire city built in the 12th century which at one point was believed to house up to 150,000 people across an area of nine square kilometers and which thrived upon a complex system of agriculture and waterways. 5 magnificent gates which stand 23 metres high and are spiritually guarded by faces reminiscent of the Bayon, and we will enter through the Victory Gate, complete with a causeway with two emanating rows of Devas and Asuras, both of which are wrestling a powerful Naga.

We will converge upon the centre of this extraordinary city, and begin to explore its elements, starting with the Elephant Terrace, a royal platform used as a viewing gallery for grandiose royal spectacles, decorated wonderfully with statues of elephants and perfect carvings. Adjacently sits the Terrace of the Leper King, decorated in much the same way but unique for possessing the statue of Yama (the Leper King), god of Death.

We will proceed through the forest to Preah Palilay. Guarded by a large Buddha this is a small but beautiful temple from the 13th century. Afterwards we will proceed to Phimeanakas, a 10th century largely uncarved but beautifully constructed pyramid temple affording terrific views, before Baphuon, an imposing 50 metre tall temple dedicated to Shiva which houses one of the world’s largest reclining Buddhas. And finally to Bayon, arguably the most stunning of all the Temples of Angkor, adorned with 37 towers decorated with wonderful giant stone faces and beautifully decorated carvings throughout.

Finally we will proceed to Bakheng Hill (if weather permitted) , an iconic temple setting where we will admire the sun set over this ancient land, with views across the great Tonle Sap Lake, the West Baray, and of course, Angkor Wat.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 3: Kbal – Spean – Bantey Srei (B,L).
Breakfast at the hotel, then travel 45km to Kbal Spean, or valley of the 1000 lingas; a remarkable place where natural meets man-made phenomenon – 1000 hand carved lingas lie on the bed of the Kbal Spean River downstream from the stunning waterfall, placed there to fertilize the river during ancient times.

Lunch will be provided in a local restaurant in town.
After lunch we will continue to Banteay Srei; 30km from Siem Reap, Banteay Srei is a unique and exquisite temple, glowing red and in perfect symmetrical detail, which possesses a truly unrivalled beauty all of its own. The carvings here are undoubtedly the most detailed of any of those in Angkor, and the perfection and attention to detail are remarkable.

We move on to Banteay Samre, or Citadel of the Samre, a smaller temple located in the jungle in the style of Angkor Wat. On our return we will also stop at Srah Srang – a vast and beautiful man-made lake where the Royals of Angkor would bathe, relax and unwind, before returning to Siem Reap.

Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 4: Beng Melea – Tonle Sap lake (B,L).
After breakfast at the hotel, we will venture to Beng Melea Temple. 65km from Siem Reap through traditional rural villages, Beng Mealea, yet another of King Jayavarman VII’s extraordinary creations, will be discovered. On a huge one whole square kilometer scale, this temple is built in the same style of Angkor Wat, and although partly collapsed its immense grandeur is still a sight to behold. Lost to the jungle, and with fewer visitors, Beng Mealea will certainly bring out the explorer in you.

Once back in Siem Reap we shall visit the Great Tonle Sap Lake, the largest lake in Southeast Asia. After taking in the beautiful countryside to reach the water’s edge, we will transfer to our boat and proceed to sail through mangroves, visit floating and stilted villages, and experience a fascinating, traditional and unique way of life. This lake with an area of 16000 square kilometers during the height of the wet season is an astonishing place, so significant to Cambodia and Southeast Asia as a whole, and it’s home to great number of rare species of wildlife and some of the most resourceful communities on this earth.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 5: Angkor National Museum – Departure (B).
Visit the Angkor National Museum, a wonderful cultural landmark in Siem Reap over 20,000 Sq.m. in area which through a modern interactive approach takes you on an exciting tour through the ancient Khmer Kingdom within its modern day context through the exhibition of ancient artefacts, videos, presentations and historical accounts of the kingdom of Angkor.

Afterwards we’ll visit Chantier Ecole-Artisan d’Angkor, a museum and vocational centre dedicated to the revival of Khmer art. Founded on the idea that Cambodia must endeavour to keep its heritage of skilled craftsmanship alive despite the loss of a large body of expertise during Cambodia’s recent history, Artisans d’Angkor was set up by CEFP (Chantiers-Ecoles de Formation Professionnelle) to provide instruction and employment to some of the poorest members of the community in such art. Visitors can observe modern day professionals employing ancient techniques in the production of metalwork, stonework, lacquer and silk.

According to your flight departure, you will be transferred to Siem Reap airport for onward flight home. The end of Lotussia Travel service.
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Cambodia: Dispute in South China Sea should be solved between China, concerned countries

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong said on Saturday that the territorial dispute in the South China Sea should be solved between China and the concerned countries by complying with the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and recent adopted guidelines.

His remarks were made on Saturday during meeting with visiting Liu Zhenmin, assistant to Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, at the ministry.

"Both sides agreed that the South China Sea issues must be solved out between China and the states involved in the dispute only," Koy Kuong, spokesman for Cambodia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters after the meeting.

"All concerned parties in the South China Sea have to comply with the (2002) DOC and adopted recent guidelines," Hor Namhong was quoted by Koy Kuong as saying to Liu Zhenmin.

Hor Namhong continued to say that all relevant parties in the dispute have to build mutual trust in order to solve the dispute in the spirits of mutual benefit, peace and friendship.

China and ASEAN in July adopted an agreement on the guidelines of implementing the DOC.

The guidelines include some principles that offer directions for implementing the DOC and map out procedural rules for cooperation in the future.

The oil- and gas-rich South China Sea is partially claimed by several Southeast Asian states, including the Philippines and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Liu Zhenmin said the visit in Cambodia was to strengthen bilateral and regional cooperation in all fields with Cambodia and said China still continued its support to Cambodia in all circumstances.

Both sides also exchanged views on the East Asia Summit in Bali, Indonesia later this month in order to enable the Summit to run smoothly and successfully as this year was the 20th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue relations.

Liu arrived Phnom Penh on Saturday and will leave here on Sunday.
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