Start with a tour of Angkor site, without stops in the temples in order for you to get a global vision of Angkor, to meet with its people, to understand its splendor and its specificity and to soak up of its environment, and in particular the variety of its forest and the water plans (moats, barays, ponds, river, lake).
After this first approach, pass by the Panorama Museum to get an introduction to Angkor and its grandeur.
Your discovery of the monuments and the temples will start with Roluos group.
Spending the afternoon in this area, located 13 kms from the National Highway 6, South-East of Siem Reap, will allow you to discover the vestiges of the centuries during the boom of the Khmer empire.
Visit the Bakong, first major mountain temple, dedicated to Shiva, supreme god of the Hindu trinity. Its extent is considerable: 900mx700m. It includes two moats and three concentric enclosures. You will be able to understand the structuring elements of the Angkorian landscape: monumental temple, major infrastructure (barays, ponds, ditches, canals, causeways). During the visit we suggest for the whole week, you will find again those elements throughout the entire site of Angkor. Do not miss the visit of the modern Pagoda next to the temple famous for its very beautiful popular style paintings.
Continue with Preah Ko, remarkable brick temple (6 towers, in 2 rows) built by Indravarman I to honor the memory of his ancestors. The walls were coated with modeled stucco and probably painted. Don’t miss in the nearby craft center where young people revive the tradition of weaves.
Before leaving the Roluos group, complete the tour with Lolei, a temple of great interest, called to a brilliant touristic perspective thanks to its natural but also archeological potential. Crossing national road n6, from South to North, will allow you to recognize the limit of the first large reservoir (baray) built in the Angkor area.
This artificial reservoir, about 3800m upon 800m, known as Indratataka’s, has been initiated by King Indravarman I. An inscription mentions that its construction started only five days after King’s coronation. Amid the baray, what was an artificial island was the platform (90mx80m) of 4 brick sanctuaries that can still be admired especially after its recent restoration. Take your time to visit the Pagoda next to the temple. The coexistence between historic and modern sanctuaries reveals that the sacredness of the temples remained throughout the centuries, from Hinduism (the IXth century) until the current devotion to Buddhism.
Late afternoon, enjoy a visit of the old town and spend a couple of hours in the old market Phsar Chas to admire its “colonial style”, immerse yourself in the smells and sounds of local market and test Khmer traditional kitchen. Street-food is very much appreciated in Cambodia so before going back to your hotel, try Khmer sweets or ice-cream in one of the food-truck around the market.