Day 1: Arrive Phnom Penh
Upon arrival in Phnom Penh, you are driven to your hotel with some time to relax. This afternoon, embark on your first discovery of the capital onboard a cyclo. Visit the Wat Phnom Pagoda which is at the origin of Phnom Penh. In the evening have a sumptuous welcome dinner.
Day 2: Phnom Penh City Tour
A guided tour through this bustling city to explore the main sights including the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda as well as the National Museum. In the afternoon, discover the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum as well as the Central Market. A day of looking into the past and the future of Khmer people.
Day 3: Phnom Penh Boat Trip and Introduction to Buddhism
This morning, enjoy a boat trip to a nearby island where silk is produced. Take your time to stroll through the village, discover handicraft producers as well as the local pagoda. Here your guide introduces you to Buddhism with a focus on the different concepts. Introduction to Buddhism: focus on Buddhist concepts. After lunch, head to Choeung Ek killing fields for an additional historical insight on Cambodia.
Day 4: Phnom Penh – Sambor Prei Kuk – Siem Reap (6 hours drive)
This morning, start your journey to Siem Reap (approx. 6 hour drive). You will stop mid way in Kampong Thom for lunch and to discover the temple complex of Sambor Prei Kuk; this complex features 3 pre-Angkorian temples dedicated to Shiva. It was built in the 7th century, abandoned, rediscovered and restored in 1980. Here, your guide introduces us to Hinduism; Hinduism has strongly influenced pre-Angkorian and Angkorian civilizations; its impact and artistic testimony is worth focusing on. Picnic lunch. Buddhist & Hindu influences on pre Angkorian and Angkorian arts. Drive further to Siem Reap, hotel check in and dinner.
Day 5: Siem Reap Angkor Complex
First insight on the Angkor Complex: commence at the South Gate of Angkor Thom City. Here you will explore the centerpiece of the ancient city, The Bayon. The Bayon contains 54 towers decorated with more than 200 enigmatic smiling faces. Also included in the morning tour are the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Terrace of Elephants and Terrace of Leper Kings, as well as The Ta Prohm Temple.
Enjoy lunch before embarking on your discovery of Angkor Wat, easily the most famous and best-preserved of all temples within the Angkor complex. You will have most of the afternoon here before heading back to Siem Reap where you will enjoy an evening course on Buddhism and dinner. Evening course on Buddhism: focus on the life of the Buddha, history of Buddhism and different Buddhist schools in Southeast Asia.
Day 6: Siem Reap - Angkor Complex & Monastery
After breakfast, head to the exquisite Banteay Srey (“Citadel of the women”). The temple displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art. The visit is combined with the discovery of Banteay Samre. After lunch, you are transferred to a local monastery meeting with the monks who live here. Today, our course focuses on Buddhist philosophy and monastic life. Overnight in the monastery. Course on Buddhism: focus on Buddhist philosophy, monastic life and nirvana. Discussion with a monk.
Note: monks have their last meal at 11 AM in the morning. No dinner is planned for the evening. Absolute Asia Tours will however prepare snacks and fruits.
Day 7: Siem Reap Monastery
Rise in the early morning to the sound of the drums (monks wake up at around 4 AM). After breakfast, you will be introduced to meditation, followed by a half day practice in the monastery. Introduction to Buddhist meditation (including half day practice). Transfer back to your hotel in Siem Reap and free time to enjoy at your leisure until the farewell dinner.
Day 8: Depart Siem Reap
Free to relax until your transfer to the airport.