Today, we will take you to visit the historical sites of the Angkor Ruins, which would be the most splendid part of your trip. First, we will proceed to Angkor Thom
, the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer Empire, which is surrounded by a moat. There is a stone bridge standing on the moat out of its grand South Gate. The busts on one side of the bridge represent Gods while busts on the other side symbolize Demons. When you enter the South Gate, the Bayon Temple
will come into your sight. This temple is well-known for its mysterious smiling faces, which were carved on four sides of the Buddhist towers. Altogether there are 54 towers and 216 gigantic faces. Next, we will accompany you to visit the Baphuon Temple,
a pyramid temple-mountain, which is known as the world’s largest and most complex three-dimensional building. Not too many tourists in this site, but it is a place loved by photographers. The Terrace of the Elephants
will be the last stop of this morning.
► Who is the Owner of the Khmer Smile?
There is the famous Mona Lisa Smile in the West, but Cambodia also has its Khmer Smile, carved on Buddhist towers, which is even 320 years earlier than the Mona Lisa. No matter where you stand in Bayon Temple, you can always see the kind smiling faces of the Buddha statues, which seem to welcome you. Facing these smiling faces, many people have a question in mind: who was the owner of this smile when it was carved over one thousand years ago? Was it carved by a highly respected Bodhisattva image in Mahayana Buddhism? Or carved by the image of a special person in history? After comparison and demonstration by Cambodian and world archaeological experts, it was surprising to find that these smiling faces were carved according to the image of the King Jayavarman VII during the Angkor Dynasty.
So why did the statue use the image of Jayavarman VII? Surely, it attributed to his heroic deeds and contributions to the country. He once undertook the difficult task of saving the country when it was teetering on edge. He reorganized and commanded the national army, went through countless battles, then expelled foreign enemies and quelled the internal strife, which gave full play to his strategy of governing the country. Finally, he built a powerful empire that ruled 54 provinces. To commemorate him, people carved his great image into Bodhisattva statues in Angkor City, which were worshiped by Cambodians for generations. Afternoon Activities:
In the afternoon, we will visit the Ta Prohm Temple
, the shooting site of the movie Tomb Raider
. This distinctive temple standing among the towering green trees brims with the breath of life. Afterwards, we will come to the Temple of Angkor Wat
, the best-preserved temple in Angkor complex. This typical Khmer building is known for its exquisite bas-reliefs and the Indian mythology is expressed vividly and fully here.
► What Is the Function of the Moat Surrounding Angkor Wat?
Ta Prohm Temple
Angkor Wat Temple
Angkor Wat covers an area of more than 300 hectares and was built on a large swamp. In order to firm the foundation, ancient craftsmen dug the land a few meters deep, took out the soil and replaced them with sand, and then they paved small stones and soil on the surface. Also they dug a 190-meter-wide moat, which formed a huge rectangle around Angkor Wat, 1500 meters long from east to west and 1300 meters wide from north to south, just like a barrier blocking the surrounding forests. In rainy season, the moat forms a huge reservoir to store the rainwater, while in dry season, the water stored can maintain the stability of the groundwater level under the foundation, which has kept Angkor Wat standing still for over one thousand years. Seeing this amazing project, we really should appreciate and salute the ancient Khmer craftsmen for their superb wisdom.
Weather permitting, we will take you to enjoy an amazing sunset
on top of the Bakheng hill. You may get a full view of the golden Angkor Ruins under sunset. Since you have admired the bas-reliefs of the Apsara dancing in the daytime, tonight, we will arrange for you to watch a high-quality Khmer classical Apsara Dance Show,
, which will make your trip more perfect. Dinner will served on show. After that, we will drive you back to hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Apsara Dinner Show