Take a drive through the countryside to the Rolous Group on this half day Siem Reap temple tour. Located amid rice paddy fields and sugar palm tree plantations, the setting is quintessentially Cambodian.
Upon reaching the entrance, leave the car behind and travel on foot to appreciate the beauty of the land and the pagodas. Admire the three monuments of the Rolous Group from afar while the guide provides a brief introduction of their history. Dating back to the 8th and 9th centuries these are the oldest ruins in the region and, yet, are still remarkably well preserved.
Take a closer look at the temples, named Lolei, Bakong and Preah Ko, with a three-kilometre walking tour. Step inside one of these ancient monuments for a special blessing ceremony. Seated in front of a Buddhist monk, receive wishes of good luck and good health while gaining a deeper understanding of Khmer culture and customs.
Following this special ceremony, climb into an ox cart for a short ride around the area. Soak up the beauty of the surroundings and enjoy the tranquillity of the countryside as the cart slowly makes its way through the fields. See typical scenes of rural farming life set amid Cambodia’s iconic sugar palm trees.
Savour one last look at the remarkable Rolous group and scenic countryside before returning to Siem Reap at the end of the tour.
After returning back to Siem Reap to escape the midday heat, spend some time at leisure.
End the day with a tour to the temples of Angkor by remork (a Cambodian tuk tuk). First up: Ta Prohm. Built between the late-12th to early 13th centuries, Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes the ‘Tomb Raider Temple’ one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. The visit will also include Banteay Kdei, a Buddhist monastery from the late 12th Century, and Srah Srang, also known as the ‘pool of ablutions’. Note: As Ta Prohm temple has become increasingly popular, there is an option to visit Preah Khan, a larger temple built by the same king in honour of his father (Ta Prohm was built for his mother).
Less well known and therefore less frequently visited, Preah Khan is more grand in scale and yet provides a more intimate experience because of fewer visitors and it’s many collapsing and crumbling corridors. Note: Speak to the guide in the morning of the visit. Depending on the season there is a chance to visit a different temple to avoid the crowds as Ta Prohm is very crowded during peak periods.
Optional: Dining for a Cause: Social Enterprise Restaurants of Siem Reap Foodie Tour
Pick up from the hotel by remork (a local form of open-air transportation) and drive to the first restaurant. Here, order any drink from the menu (they make some excellent cocktails and mocktails using local ingredients) and any one appetizer (try different ones and share with each other) while learning all about the organisation’s efforts and accomplishments to aid local Cambodian youth.
Enjoy a family-style dinner of various Khmer classic dishes at a restaurant that follows a different business model, directing their profits both to employees and to various organisations. Learn about its efforts while dining. Along with food, order a soft drink, beer, or glass of house wine.
After dinner, go to a tropical garden restaurant run by an organization that operates a hospitality training school where all the restaurant workers learned (or are currently learning) their trade. Learn about how the program runs and its achievements while enjoying a creative cocktail, a glass of wine, beer, or coffee.
The final stop of the evening is an education social enterprise set up by a not-for-profit NGO with the mission of Breaking the Poverty Cycle Through Education and operated by the students who are served by the program. Self-service to 200g of fro-yo with toppings and then head upstairs to talk with some students about how the program has changed their lives.