a butterfly's view of Angkor
Angkor Wat Flightseeing

See Angkor Wat by Helicopter!

You can experience Angkor Wat as few visitors have seen it before--from above. Whether you choose a quick eight-minute trip or take the entire day to see distant and seldom-visited Khmer temples, the ride is exhilarating and you get incomparable views of Angkor's principal sites and their surroundings. For longer trips that include one or more stops, you may explore temple ruins at your leisure.

Eight Minute Flight

This brief adventure is for whose who want to see only the Angkor temple. Follow Phum Peak. the ancient highway leading the gates of Angkor Wat. circle the temple and return.

Fourteen Minute Flight

This flight gives you a real sense of the layout of the massive Angkor temple complex. You will have stunning views of Angkor Wat, the Western and Eastern Barays. Prasat Kravan. Sras Srong. the Eastern Mebon temple, plus breathtaking vistas of the entire area.

Twenty Minute Flight

In addition to all the sights in the fourteen minute flight, you soar over Phnom Krom and the floating villages on Tonle Sap.

Helicopters used are recently built for corporate passengers (not purchased second hand from the military), maintained to an international standard, and operated by highly experienced Western pilots. Prices are for one to three passengers. If you are traveling alone or with one companion, our guide will join you if you like to explain what you see. Are these trips expensive? Of course they are, which is why so few people can enjoy the experience of soaring over Angkor Wat. And how much should special memories cost, anyway? Please contact us for prices, which include transportation to and from the airport from your hotel, the services of our experienced guide, all taxes and insurance. We regret that these helicopter trips are not subject to discounts or special offers of any kind. An additional surcharge applies to guestsnot using one of Purple Dragon'sall-inclusive Angkor Wat packages. Charter flights are also available to Phnom Kulen, Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh and other places in Cambodia. Longer, multiple-stop flights may originate in Phnom Penh on a custom basis.

Thirty Minute Flight

This is the most comprehensive trip you can take by helicopter without touching down. It is a bit more leisurely than the twenty minute flight and also includes Banteay Samrae and the Roulos Group.

Beng Melea

Beng Melea is one of the most distant of all of the temples within the Angkor complex. Until recently it could be reached only by air or by four wheel drive all terrain vehicles. Many who are lucky enough to see Beng Melea say it is the most impressive of all of Angkor's temples. Within one square kilometer, half of the temple complex is practically destroyed and engulfed by the forest, and the other half is nearly intact. A convenient ramp has been built over piles of massive toppled stones so that the most impressive inner courtyards can be reached easily without being a skilled rock climber. Total flightseeing time is 36 minutes, but you will have a couple of hours to explore Beng Melea without being rushed. For this trip as well as the one below, we can arrange for an optional picnic that suits your appetite--anything from a hamper of freshly-baked breads, cheese, cold meat and wine, to white linens, Champagne and a private chef.

Beng Melea and Koh Ker

From Beng Melea you continue on to Koh Ker. near the Thai border. It was the tenth century capital of the Khmer Empire and many of the remaining buildings are regal indeed. One of them, Prasat Thom, is unique among all of Angkor's wealth of architecture. This seven-tiered pyramid looks as if it could have been lifted straight from the jungles of Central America. Prasat Khrom is equally impressive, with its immense portals and tower. The drive from Siem Reap is around three hours on a miserable road, so you will probably have the place to yourselves.

Koh Ker and Preah Vihear

Fly directly to Koh Ker for your first stop, then continue to Preah Vihear. also almost exactoy on the Thai border. Perched on a cliff overlooking the green lowland plains of Cambodia, the setting could not be more dramatic. Construction of Prehar Vihear began about one hundred years before Angkor Wat. Ownership of the site has always been a matter of disagreement between Thailand and Cambodia (Thailand lost). However, it was closed to visitors until 1998, after it became the place of the surrender of the Khmer Rouge. Terrain in the area is still scarred with the craters of Vietnamese shells and bombs. The area was not cleared of land mines until 2005. This site is spectacular not just for the views but for the ruins themselves, which are ornately carved and  remarkably intact. This is a place you will never forget.

Banteay Chhmar

The fortress temple of Banteay Chhmar is not exactly a "lost" temple, but it is so difficult to reach and so choked by dense jungle that it looks like something Hollywood set designers would invent. Jayavarman II built Banteay Chhmar in the twelfth century. Although Banteay Chhmar has been subjected to considerable looting, it is worth seeing just for the massive and spectacular friezes. In 1999 Thai authorities recovered an entire wall covered with intricate carvings, which is now on display at the National Museum in Phnom Penh.

Preah Vihear, Koh Ker and Preah Khan

This trip visits  three of Cambodia's most spectacular but most difficult to reach temple complexes. More than two hours of total flying time, plus time to explore each of them. We will pack provisions for the trip--cold towels, bottled water, a lunch hamper from one of Siem Reap's famous hotels, and a bottle of bubbly.

Banteay Chhmar, Preah Vihear, and Koh Ker

This, of course, is the ultimate adventure to three of the Khmer Empire's most remote and most spectacular holy places. Almost two and a half hours of total flying time, plus ample time to explore each of site. We will pack provisions for the trip--cold towels, bottled water, a lunch hamper from one of Siem Reap's famous hotels, and a bottle of bubbly.

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