Visits to the Khmer style temple complex of Sdok Kok Thom and the newly opened museum at Aranyaprathet (in Thailand), including a visit to remarkable masterpieces of architecture and statuary remains of the Pre-Angkor, Classical Angkor and Post-Angkor period in Cambodia
A Journey Through the Khmer Era
The art and architecture of the ancient Khmer have been classified into periods by French art historians. Each style takes its name from the principal monument built by the ruler of Angkor, with the sequence being based on a combination of epigraphic information, the evolution of the temple/mountain concept, and architectural elements and types of ornamental carving. Many of the elements found on the Khmer doorway, pilasters, pediments, lintels, etc., have been shown to change over the centuries and have come to be used as an index, by which to date, the temple can be found in fourteen styles, namely Phnom Da, Sambor Prei Kuk, Prei Khmeng, Kampong Preah, Kulen, Preah Ko, Bakhang, Koh Ker, Pre Rup, Banteay Srei, Khleang, Paphnon, Angkor Wat, and Bayon. The history of Cambodia can be divided into three major periods: Pre-Angkor Period from the mid-5th century to the end of the 8th century, Angkor Period from the 9th to the 13th century, in which royal power became progressively more centralized, and the Post-Angkor period, dating from the city’s abandonment in 1431 to the present.
Since many roads in Cambodia have been improved, it is now possible to explore many of the ruins of the Pre- Angkor Period and the Angkor Period. In this regard, The Siam Society is arranging a trip for members to visit some of the most remarkable masterpieces of architecture and statuary remains of the Pre-Angkor Period, the Angkor Period, and the Post-Angkor in Cambodia from 22-27 September 2022, Members will visit the Khmer-style temple complex of Sdok Kok Thom and the newly opened museum in Aranyaprathet, Sa Kaeo province, Thailand, located about 3 km from the Cambodian frontier and 30 km due northeast of Aranyaprathet. The sanctuary is the site of the ancient Bhadraniketana, founded in or around A.D. 1052.
The group will be staying one night at the hotel in Aranyaprathet (in Thailand), one night at the hotel in Sa Aem, the small town near Prasat Preah Vihear, and three nights at the hotel in Siem Reap. Apart from visiting Prasat Sdok Kok Thom and the newly opened museum (near Thai-Cambodian border), members will have an opportunity to visit Prasat Banteay Chhmar, Prasat Preah Vihear, Angkorian Capital Temples at Koh Ker, Prasat Beng Mealea, Prasat Banteay Srei, Angkor Wat, Prasat Preah Khan, Prasat Neak Pean, Prasat Ta Prohm, the city of Angkor Thom and the Bayon Temple.
|Day 1: Thursday, 22 September: Bangkok – Aranyaprathet – Prasat Sdok Kok Thom|
|08:00||Depart from The Siam Society for Aranyaprathet district, Sa Kaeo province by bus.(261 km/ 4.30 hrs.)|
|Enroute:||Lunch at a local restaurant.|
|Afternoon:||Visit Prasat Sdok Kok Thom and the newly opened museum.|
|Prasat Sdok Kok Thom or Sdok Kak Thom, is an 11th – century Khmer temple in present-day Thailand, located about 34 kilometres northeast of the Thai border town of Aranyaprathet. The temple was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Constructed buy a prominent priestly family, Sdok Kok Thom is best known as the original site of one of the most illuminating inscriptions left behind the Khmer Empire, which ruled much of Southeast Asia from the end of the 9th century to the 15th century. Built on red sandstone and laterite, the temple is a prime example of a provincial seat of worship during the empire’s golden age. It is small by the standards of the major monuments in Angkor, the empire’s capital, but shares their basic design and religious symbolism. In its 11th century heyday during the reign of King Udayadilyavarman II, the temple was tended by its Brahmin patrons and supported with food and labor by the people of surrounding rice-farming villages. The Sdok Kok Thom inscription is a 340-line composition, in both Sanskrit and ancient Khmer, carved on a gray sandstone stele 1.51meters high that stood in the northeast corner of the temple’s cort. Dating to 8 February 1053, it recounts two and a half centuries of service that members of the temple’s founding family provided to the Khmer court, mainly as chief chaplains to Kings. In laying out this long role, the text provides a remarkable and often poetically worded look at the faith, royal linege, history and social structureof the times. In the 1920s, the inscription stele was moved to Bangkok, where it entered the collection of the national museum.|
|–||Proceed to The VELO’s Hotel & Pumptrack (37 km/ 45 mins).|
|Evening:||Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Aranyaprathet (in Thailand).|
|Day 2: Friday, 23 September: Crossing border to Cambodia – Banteay Chhmar temple – Sa Aem|
|–||Breakfast at the hotel|
|08:00||Check out of the hotel. Cross the border to Cambodia, at the Thai – Cambodia border at Poi Pet. (11 km/ 25 mins). After that, continue to visit Prasat the Banteay Chhmar.|
|Prasat Banteay Chhmar is situated close to the Thai border in the north-west corner of Cambodia, in Banteay Mean Chey province, about 70 km north of Sisophon, built between the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th century. This major temple is one of the most important monuments of Jayavarman VII, dedicated to his son Srindrakumara and to four of his companion-in-arms who lost their life during a cruel battle. The temple, surrounded by moats, can be reached through causeways lined with devas and asuras holding a snake, as in Preah Khan. Banteay Chhmar features face towers and bas-reliefs similar to those found at the Bayon. Among its most important sculpture are eight large relief carvings, each depicting a scene with Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Enclosed by a nine-kilometre-long wall, the city had in its centre one of the largest and most impressive Buddhist monasteries of the Angkor period.|
|Noon:||Lunch at a local restaurant.|
|Afternoon:||Continue to Sa Aem. Check-in at Hotel Sopeakmongkol Preavihea in Sa Aem (217 km/ 4 hrs.)|
|Evening:||Dinner and overnight at a small hotel in Sa Aem, near Prasat Preah Vihear.|
|Day 3: Saturday, 24 September: Sa Aem – Preah Vihear – Koh Ker – Siem Reap|
|07:00||Breakfast at the hotel.|
|08:00||Check out of the hotel.|
|Proceed to visit Prasat Preah Vihear (85km/ 1.30 hrs.), which lies on the hilltop of the Dangrek Mountains on the Cambodian and Thailand border. The temple is dedicated to Shiva, composed of a series of sanctuaries linked by a system of pavements and staircases over an 800 metres long axis and dates back to the first half of the 11th century AD. This site is particularly well preserved and is exceptional for the quality of its architecture, which is adapted to the natural environment and the religious function of the temple, as well as for the exceptional quality of its carved stone ornamentation, one of the most remarkable temples in the whole of the Indochina peninsula. In 2008, the temple was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Enroute:||Lunch at a local restaurant.|
|Afternoon:||Visit an ancient Angkorian Capital Temples at Koh Ker.
Koh Ker, also known as Chok Gargyar, consists of many brick and sandstone temple buildings. It served as the capital of Jayavarman IV which ruled 928 – 942 AD. He seized the throne, left Angkor, and transferred his capital to this location where it remained throughout his reign. The principal monument of this large group of very interesting ruins is Prasat Thom, also known as Prasat Kompong, which includes a 40 metres-high, and stone-faced pyramid of seven levels. About 40 inscriptions, dating from 932 to 1010 AD, have been found at Prasat Thom.
|–||Proceed to Siem Reap. (116km/ 2.30hrs.)|
|Check-in at the hotel in Siem Reap.|
|Evening:||Dinner and overnight at Hotel Regency Angkor, Siem Reap.|
|Day 4: Sunday, 25 September: Beng Mealea temple – Prasat Banteay Srei – Angkor Wat|
|–||Breakfast at the hotel.|
|08:00||Depart the hotel to The Beng Mealea Temple.|
|Morning:||Visit the 12th-century temple of Beng Mealea.|
|The Beng Mealea temple is located about 7 km southeast of Phnom Kulen. Despite being in a state of ruin it is one of the most interesting of Angkor’s many temples and also one of the most difficult to reach. Beng Mealea is enclosed by a moat measuring 1,200 m by 900m. It is nearly the size of Angkor Wat but utterly overgrown by jungle.|
|Noon:||Lunch at a local restaurant or picnic lunch.|
|Afternoon:||Visit Prasat Banteay Srei. This temple was built in the late 10th century and is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. It is considered by many to be the most perfect of Khmer temples. It is famous for its exquisite carving executed in pink sandstone and for its inventive architecture.|
|–||Return to Siem Reap.|
|Evening:||Visit Angkor Wat and watched the sunset over Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat, with its soaring towers and extraordinary bas-reliefs, is considered by many to be one of the most inspired and spectacular monuments ever conceived by the human mind. It was built by King Suryavaraman II, who reigned from 1112 – 1152 AD. Angkor Wat is the largest and undoubtedly the most breathe taking of the monuments of Angkor.
|–||Dinner at own arrangement.|
|Overnight at Hotel Regency Angkor in Siem Reap|
|Day 5: Monday 26 September: Prasat Preah Khan – Preah Neak Pean – Prasat Ta Prohm|
|–||Breakfast at the hotel.|
|08:00||Visit Prasat Preah khan. The third of Jayavarman VII’s monasteries were built for his father in 1191 and is called Preah Khan, “Sacred Sword”, after the protective symbol of Cambodia. The site is one of the largest temple compounds in Angkor and is defended by four concentric walls. To the south and east, the site is bounded by the now dry Eastern Baray, a reservoir in the middle of which stands the temple of Preah Neak Pean, From the east and west, roads flanked by stone pillars lead to the temple. The first rampart has outer dimensions of 800 m by 700 m and is surrounded by a wide moat, once guarded by garudas, 7 m high. On all four sides, a “Street of Giants,” as in Angkor Thom, leads across the moat. The temple and the main shrine and its adjoining buildings are richly decorated. The lintels, bas-reliefs, pediments, friezes, and panels are all adorned with Buddhist motifs and scenes from the Hindu epics with goddesses, dancers, and a wealth of other detail.|
|Noon:||Lunch at a local restaurant.|
|Afternoon:||Visit Prasat Ta Prohm. King Jayavarman VII had the monastery built as a residence for his mother in 1186, who has been deified as Praynaparamita. The temple, which measures 445 m, is a labyrinth of passages, and halls, made even more confusing by the jungle vegetation forcing its way in from all sides. The older parts of Ta Prohm display careful workmanship and a variety of ornamentation; dancing apsaras are almost as common as at Angkor Wat. Ta Prohm was built as a monastery for a large number of people, not as a place for worshiping the gods or god-kings, as were the temples of the Angkor periods. Around the main building, there are many small pavilions, calls, and shrines, as well as houses for accommodating pilgrims. The entrance building consists of a large hall with three cloisters, and nearby there is another with square columns. Beside the rampart, there are about 100 monks’ cells with porticos of laterite. The path leads into a large courtyard decorated with false gates on the walls. The main shrine is in the center, surrounded by dense green jungle, into which light filters through the branches of tall trees.|
|Evening:||Dinner at a local restaurant.|
|Overnight at Hotel Regency Angkor in Siem Reap.|
|Day 6: Tuesday, 27 September: Angkor Thom – Bayon Temple – Don Muang Airport|
|–||Breakfast at the hotel.|
|07:30||Check out of the hotel.|
|Bayon – Three stories high, was the state temple of King Jayavarman VII and his successors. The temple consists of a mass of face towers, originally 49, of which 37 still stand. The faces of the towers show the same Lokeshvara as the entrance gate of Angkor Thom. In the center of the temple is a round tower, 43 m high and 25 m in diameter. There are 8 bas-relief sections, each 35 m long and 3 m high. The most interesting reliefs are in the southern part of the eastern gallery and the southern gallery. Bayon takes an easy second place after Angkor Wat as the most popular of Angkor’s many monuments.|
|10:00||Proceed to Siem Reap Airport.|
|12:25||Depart to Bangkok by Air Asia flight FD611.|
|13:30||Arrive at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport.|
|The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary.|
Contribution of THB 55,000 (THB 58,500 for non-member). Single room surcharge of THB 7,000. A deposit of THB 15,000 and a photocopy of the identification page on your passport must accompany the booking. Your reservation will be confirmed as soon as the deposit has been made.
Payment in full will be required 30 days before the start of the trip (i.e. by Tuesday,23 August 2022). Please pay by cash or cheque payable to “The Siam Society”. Transfer can also be made to The Siam Society travel account at TMBThanachart Bank (ttb), saving account no. 053-2-18000-7 or by scanning the QR code on your right. Once payment has been made, please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us.
- The contribution includes accommodation (twin sharing basis), air ticket, meals as mentioned in programme, transfer & sightseeing coaches, entrance fees, gratuities and other costs incurred to make this trip possible.
- Visa fees (if any), personal expenses, personal food and beverage consumptions, etc.
To comply with payment and cancellation policies set forth by tour agencies and to facilitate smooth working conditions between The Siam Society and the tour agencies, please read carefully the revised cancellation policies stated below:
|45 days before the start of the trip:||Deposit forfeited|
|45–30 days before the start of the trip:||50% of the tour cost|
|Less than 30 days or cancellation without notice:||No refund|
Tourist Visa Policy
Thai passport holders are not required to apply for a visa to enter Cambodia, as well as the other ASEAN member countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia etc.
Most foreign nationals will require a visa for entering Cambodia. However, visitors can apply for an eVisa via an online application, which is the most convenient option and can be completed from your home.
For more information, please visit: https://www.cambodiaonlinevisa.com/visa-requirements/
For further information and bookings, please contact Khun Prasert at 02-661-6470-3 ext 504 or Khun Supanut at 02-661-6470-3 ext 506, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Society’s office is open from 09:00 to 17:00, Tuesday to Saturday.