A Beautiful Combination: Western Bhutan; Paro, Thimphu, Punakha. Cambodia; Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Tonle Sap Lake
The famous temples of Angkor are one of the wonders of the ancient world. For over 500 years the mighty Khmer kings built a succession of cities known as Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat. They have been called one of the world's greatest architectural achievements. No books or photos can prepare you for these astonishing ruins. Angkor Thom's sweeping stone terraces, gateways, 54 massive stone Buddha faces, and exquisitely carved bas-reliefs testify to the Khmer's masterful architectural prowess. Angkor Wat, the supreme masterpiece of Khmer art, is the largest religious complex ever built by man. It's impressive in size and built with foundation stones of volcanic laterite. Erected in the 12th century, it is surrounded by a moat, each side of which is nearly one mile in length. The inner and outer courtyards are vast enough to hold thousands of people. The pyramidal temples soar to over 200 feet and can be seen from miles around. Walking slowly through this vast complex, you'll appreciate many carved galleries, stairways, and shrines. You will spend time at the Gallery of Bas-Reliefs to view the stunning, perfectly preserved panel called Churning of the Ocean of Milk.
Visit the Rolous temples, the oldest Khmer temples at Angkor built at the beginning of the classical period of Khmer art from the sixth to the ninth centuries. The Rolous temples pre-date the great temples of Angkor by 300 years and are worthy of a visit. We take you further afield to a classic temple that was closed for years when Cambodia was under the Khmer Rouge.
During the monsoon season of June through September, the Mekong River overflows, causing the Tonle Sap River to reverse, flooding the great lake and plains. The Tonle Sap Lake encompasses a variety of interconnected streams, rivers, and wetland vegetation, which support a great number of wildlife, fish, mammal, and reptile species. Unique to the lake are the many floating fishing communities that have been practicing traditional fishing for centuries and a local floating hospital, which we visit on our half-day lake excursion.
Our seven-night program in Bhutan covers the classic West including Paro, Thimphu, and Punakha. Our Paro program features all the highlights, such as the Paro Dzong (fortress monastery), the National Museum, and Tiger's Nest, the most sacred site in the country. Enjoy two nights in the cultural capital of Thimphu with all the attractions the city is known for, like the Textile Museum, the School of Traditional Art, and Memorial Chorten, to name a few. The capital still doesn't have a traffic light, and at times it can be congested. For this reason we've selected a five-star hotel nestled in a rice field just outside the capital. Spend two nights in Punakha visiting the most elaborate dzong in the country––if you only visit one, see this fortress monastery. Every inch from the floors to the lintels to the ceilings is intricately carved and exquisitely painted.
The Bhutan trip is escorted by one of our renowned senior guides (as mentioned in Trip Advisor's Far Fung Places Bhutan entry). Trip Advisor® Far Fung Places Bhutan site. Our senior guides, knowledgeable on all aspects of the culture and flora and fauna. As the religious traditions are so pervasive, we've included a talk on Mahayana Buddhism. This trip is designed for maximum cultural exposure, such as a festival with a variety of experiences and some easy walks and hikes. Please inquire about our day-to-day itinerary for more details.
Custom Land/Air Cost
Bhutan, Bangkok, and Cambodia–7 nights in Bhutan deluxe hotels, 1 night Bangkok, and 3 nights Cambodia, deluxe hotels.