*1 passport-size photo is required for a Cambodian Visa. Remember, the visa will require additional blank visa pages in your passport. To verify you will have enough blank visa pages to travel to Cambodia, please review the Passports 101 Guide . Visa fee is included in program cost*
This Faculty-Led program will be led by Dr. Soo Kang, Associate Professor of Hospitality Management in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University
Explore the imposing and impressive ruins of Angkor by bike, experience life around Tonle Sap Lake, and get a glimpse into local development projects on this exciting 3 day program! This excursion is designed for SAS participants that wish to experience a more intimate and authentic side of Cambodia not often seen by travelers.
Angkor is an incomparable temple complex built between seven and 11 centuries ago at the height of the Khmer civilization. Angkor’s 100 or so temples constitute a sacred network of spectacular administrative and religious centers covering 200-square kilometers (124-square miles). These ruins represent successive capitals constructed by a dozen Khmer kings, which included massive stone temples, majestic causeways, and imposing towers.
Start off with a bike tour to the famous Angkor Wat! With its soaring towers and extraordinary bas-reliefs, many consider Angkor Wat to be one of the most inspired and spectacular monuments ever conceived by the human mind. The largest religious building in the world, it was built by Suryavarman II, who reigned from 1112 to 1152, to honor Vishnu and for later use as his funerary temple.
In the afternoon, pay a visit to EGBOK Mission (Everything’s Gonna Be OK), which was founded by a 2007 SAS alumnus, Ben Justus. At the EGBOK student home, discuss Cambodian history, the unintended consequences of the tourist economy in the country, and learn how EGBOK utilizes the hospitality industry to alleviate poverty through self-sustaining employment. Join EGBOK students in some fun activities which may include Kroma folding, lotus flower folding, making spring rolls, or even tasting different types of insects. Enjoy dinner together and some farewell dancing before heading back to the hotel for a night. (A donation to EGBOK Mission is included in your program fee.)
The following morning, travel to Kampong Khleang, located on the northern edge of the Tonle Sap Lake about 35 km east of Siem Reap town. Tonle Sap Lake is the largest fresh water lake in South East Asia. It is the heart of the Cambodian fishing industry and lifeblood for millions of Khmer living on and around its shores. Every year during the monsoon season, the flow of water from the Mekong River changes direction, forcing water back into Tonle Sap Lake and bringing vital nutrients to fertilize the rice fields and support the breeding of the 200+ fish species. Travelers to Kampong Khleang during the dry season are universally awestruck by the forest of stilted houses rising up to 10 meters (33ft) in the air! In the wet season, the waters rise to within one or two meters (3-7ft) of the buildings. Kampong Khleang is a permanent community within the floodplain of the Lake, with an economy based in fishing and surrounded by flooded forest.
After lunch, explore Beng Melea Temple. The “Lotus Pond” Temple is an early 11th Century Hindu temple built by Suryavarman II. Engulfed with jungle, Beng Mealea is a resplendent sight. Clamber over large sandstone blocks to reach the inner sanctuary; the eerie worship corridor is a vision to remember. This is truly a remarkable temple that has been left largely unrestored, which makes for some stunning photography.
On the final day in Siem Reap, travel to Angkor Thom, the last capital of the great Khmer Empire. Here experience the sprawling Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King and the enchanting Bayon Temple, an edifice of 54 towers each carved with the four enigmatic faces of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and bas-relief events.
Continue on to Ta Prohm. This temple has been left largely in its natural state since its “re-discovery” by French explorers. Surrounded by jungle, its labyrinth of stone hallways is overgrown with the roots and limbs of massive banyan trees, which envelop the stone like tentacles. Dedicated in 1186, it is one of the largest temples at Angkor. Historians have noted its mystical charm.
Wrap up this insightful Cambodian experience with lunch and an afternoon on your own to explore before flying back to Ho Chi Minh City.
- Fly to Siem Reap
- Early lunch
- Bike tour to Angkor Wat
- EGBOK Mission Center exchange and dinner
- Overnight at hotel
- Early breakfast
- Kampong Kleang village
- Beng Melea Temple
- Evening and dinner on your own
- Overnight at hotel
- Sunrise at Angkor (optional)
- Angkor Thom & Ta Prohm temples
- Afternoon to explore on your own
- Fly to Ho Chi Minh City (Dinner on your own)
Day 1: lunch, dinner
Day 2: breakfast, lunch
Day 3: breakfast, lunch
- A hat, sunscreen, and bug spray is recommended.
- Clothing should cover shoulders and knees for temple visits.
- Small gifts for children at the floating village are welcome.