We will take you at your hotel and drive about 15 km southeast of Siem Reap to reach the temples of the Roluos group, ancient city tour, a collection of monuments representing the remains of Hariharalaya, the first major capital of the Angkorian-era Khmer Empire. The Angkor period was inaugurating in 802 with the establishment of the first capital on Phnom Kulen by king Jayavarman II. Nearly 50 years after, he moved the capital to Hariharalaya, probably for defensive reasons. Four successive kings reigned at this site for over 70 years before Yasovarman built Phnom Bakheng and moved the capital to the Angkor area in 905. We will visit the three main temples of this site, Prasat Bakong, the oldest temple mountain of the Angkor-era, Prasat Preah Ko, with beautiful preserved carvings and Prasat Lolei, 4 tours built in the middle of a now dry baray.
We will continue our tour to the north and drive about one hour to Phnom Kbal Spean. First we will have lunch at Borey Sovann Kbal Spean, a nice restaurant set at the base of jungled mountains opposite the entrance to the site.
Then, we will visit Phnom Kbal Spean. After a 30 mins walk in the forest, we will arrive at Sahasralina, the River of a Thousand Lingas. The remarkable 11th-century riverbed rock carvings display a gallery of gods and celestial beings including Vishnu reclining on the serpent Anata, Shiva, Brahma, Lakshmi, Rama and Hanuman.
After, we will drive to the magnificent Banteay Srei temple – the Citadel of women. This Hindu temple, dating back to the 10th century, has three central towers each decorated with superbly intricate reliefs of male and female divinities, carved from pink sandstone contrasting with the main walls made of laterite. While many of Angkor temples are impressive because of their sheer size, Banteay Srei stands out by the quality of craftsmanship.
On the way back, we will stop at Banteay Samre, one of the most complete complex at Angkor, restored with the method of the anastylosis. Built under the reign of Suryavarman II during the mid 12th century, its unique feature is the interior moat covered with a laterite paving. Not very touristic, you should appreciate its peaceful atmosphere.
After the visit, we will drive you back to your hotel. End excursion temple day trip