Day 2 | Banteay Srei | Ta Prohm | Angkor Thom
After breakfast, set off very early to visit Banteay Srei, the crown jewel of classic Khmer art, and the temple at Ta Prohm dating back to 1186, dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman II. The site was cleared from vines and the forest in 1924 by H. Parmentier. Banteay Srei, which means “the citadel of women” or “citadel of beauty”, is known for the intricacy of its fine carvings. The detail of the sculptures on every corner of this small temple built in pink sandstone and laterite is a joy to behold.
Next, visit Ta Prohm. Today nature has taken over the site, and the result is stunning: trees spring out from the temple buildings and thick roots now cover the temple. After lunch explore Angkor Thom, a huge architectural masterpiece, accessible through five monumental gates with the mountain temple of Bayon at its center. Wander in the heart of the ancient Royal Palace where the sanctuary of Phimeanakas is located, then visit the terrace of the Elephants and the terrace of the Leper King.
After dinner, enjoy some free time to stroll through the “Angkor Night Market” and perhaps do some shopping. It's a very pleasant place for a stroll in the cool night-time temperatures (open from 4:00 p.m. until midnight), with over a hundred shops and stalls selling souvenirs, handicrafts, clothes, books, etc. Return to the hotel for the night.