Your personal guide will collect you from your Siem Reap hotel around 8am for your private day tour of the highlights of Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Your first stop is Angkor Thom, the 12th-century masterwork of King Jayavarman VII, a 30-minute drive from Siem Reap. After the Chams occupied Angkor, the king decided to build an impregnable fortress city at the heart of his empire: the scale is staggering.
Your guide will lead you to the Bayon Temple, an eccentric expression of the creative genius and inflated ego of Cambodia’s most celebrated king. Its 54 towers are each topped off with the four faces of Avalokiteshvara (Buddha of Compassion), which bear more than a passing resemblance to the king himself. These colossal heads stare down from every side, exuding power and control with a hint of compassion, just the mix required to keep a hold on such a vast empire.
Next, visit the Terrace of the Leper King. This intricately carved platform was the royal crematorium and the statue that was originally thought to be the leper king is now believed to be Yama, the god of death. Walk along the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances, and traditional sports, to the Baphuon. Once of the most beautiful temples at Angkor, it has undergone a massive renovation by the French and is now once again open for viewing.
You'll break for lunch at a local restaurant before the 15-minute drive to Ta Prohm, the monastery-temple of Tomb Raider fame. Left as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhot in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones.
Your day concludes at the mother of all temples, Angkor Wat, a 20-minute drive from Ta Prohm. The world's largest religious building, this temple is the perfect fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers. Built in the twelfth century by King Suryavarman II, this is the most famous temple at Angkor.
After a few moments to take in the sheer scale of Angkor Wat and enjoy its magnificence, you'll explore under the tutelage of your guide. They will explain the mysteries of the bas-reliefs that tell tales from Hindu mythology, such as the Churning of the Sea of Milk, and the glory of the Khmer kings, and the structure of Angkor's many stupas and temples. You'll be back at your hotel around 4 or 5pm.