Study Spirituality in Cambodia
Study Philosphy & Religion in Cambodia
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Upon arrival at the Siem Reap airport, take the transfer to your hotel. Relax by the pool, explore one of Siem Reap’s many markets, or borrow a bicycle to do some exploring before a welcome dinner with your tour guide.
After a leisurely breakfast, take a walking tour of Siem Reap. The main city center bustles with multiple markets and cafes, the infamous Pub Street, and food vendors by the river. Do some shopping or head to the Angkor National Museum with your guide to get an overview of Angkor Wat, which you will visit tomorrow.
End your evening with a performance at Phare, the Cambodian Circus. This social enterprise trains village children in stage performance, acrobatics, set design, and stage management to offer them a chance at a better future. And the show will be great, too! You’ll want to arrive a bit early to peruse the gift shop, proceeds going to the Phare non-profit organization.
Rise bright and early for a sunrise tour of Angkor Wat, which means “City of Temples” in Khmer and is the iconic symbol of Cambodia. You’ll be picked up by air-conditioned minibus from your hotel at 4:30 a.m. Stop at Bayon and Ta Prohm temples, the latter famously featured in the film “Tomb Raider” starring Angelina Jolie. After lunch among the temples, return to your hotel for a nap by the pool.
A few hours before dusk, hop on a bike for a countryside bicycle tour. This tour stops at a Buddhist monastery, then meanders down a back road where you can watch a local man harvest palm liquor from trees. Stop at a lotus farm and fish hatchery for sunset and a snack of frog legs, then ride back into town for dinner.
This morning your guide will take you to visit a handicraft workshop called Artisans d’Angkor. Take a short bus ride out to the studio, where the artisans also offer vocational training to village children, teaching them a trade so they can have a source of income throughout their lives. Watch silk-spinning and weaving in action and purchase handmade wares at the gift shop.
Alternatively, ask your tour guide to arrange a motorbike or tuk tuk for the day for more Angkor Wat explorations, or just for a drive through the countryside. If you do visit Angkor, don’t miss Preah Khan, East Baray, and the Terrace of the Elephants.
End your visit to Siem Reap with a traditional Khmer meal and music. If you’re feeling energetic, stay out late for some cocktails or local beer on Pub Street.
After some last-minute souvenir shopping, board your flight to Phnom Penh.
When you’ve settled in at your hotel, take the afternoon to take a walking tour with your guide. Visit the National Museum of Cambodia, full of traditional Khmer art and religious artifacts. Then take a guided tour of the Royal Palace, former home to Cambodian kings. Alternatively, explore on your own before joining the group for dinner at a modern Khmer restaurant.
Today is a hard day, but an important one in terms of learning about the history of Cambodia. Your first stop will be the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. This haunting complex is a former Khmer Rouge prison and interrogation center. Listen to the audio guide narration as you walk through this grim museum full of photos and objects of torture.
Take the bus to the Killing Fields, where you will learn of the atrocities committed upon the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge. More than a million people were killed and buried here by the Communist Party of Kampuchea during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979. Stop and pay your respects at a commemorative stupa filled with the skulls of the victims before heading back into town.
Enjoy breakfast at your leisure. If you have an early flight, your transport to the airport will be arranged by your tour guide. If your flight is later in the day, cool off at one of Phnom Penh’s surprisingly trendy cafes, shop at the markets, or visit a pagoda.
Mostly abandoned between the 16th and 19th centuries, Angkor Wat is once again the gem of Cambodia. In 1993 there were 7,650 visitors to Angkor Wat. By 2012 there were 2 million visitors per year, and the numbers continue to climb. It’s safe to say Angkor Wat is now a major tourist destination, so you’d better visit soon!
Don’t miss the chance to experience the otherworldly temples, the dark history of the Khmer Rouge, and learn about the ways Cambodians are helping each other on this global travel tour of Cambodia.
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