2019 PromotionsEssential Angkor, a two-night introductory tour to Angkgor Wat
The Bayon is one of Angkor Wat's most iconic carved monuments. On four sides it depicts the face of Jayavarmin II

Our "Basic" Gay Angkor WatTour

Short of time but want to see the most of Angkor Wat with the time you have? Our "Essential Angkor" trip is the perfect solution, ideal for first-time visitors to Cambodia. A private car, driver and guide means you can avoid the bus tour crowds and enjoy many historic monuments mostly to yourself. That's really not so "basic" after all!

Day One: Legacy of the God-Kings

Arrive on an early morning flight and follow your personal guide through the south gate of Angkor Thom, a city-fortress of perfect proportions designed at the height of Angkor's artistic daring. Wander awestruck by the sheer magnitude of these haunting remnants of celestial cities modeled on Hindu cosmology.

The jewel of this immense collection of temples and palaces is the temple of Bayon, with its sensational, towering stone faces and epic sculpture galleries. Beyond are the Terrace of the Leper King and the Terrace of the Elephants. The remainder of the day is devoted to Angkor Wat, epicenter of an empire that once stretched to present-day Burma. Centered within a mile-square moat, it is probably the largest religious monument ever built. The portico still resonates with visions of saffron-robed monks and muscled artisans carving a mile of stone reliefs depicting the Ramayana epic and the military conquests of the god-kings who built Angkor.

If you like, climb the steep steps (if you are insured) to the very zenith of the temple for a glorious view. End this most amazing day with a million riel sunset. (The riel is the national currency.)

Essential Angkor is a two-day, two night introduction to Angkor Wat for first-time visitors and those who are short on time and want to see Angkor's essential sites. You get a great hotel, daily breakfast, airport transportation and two intensive days of days touring with a private car, driver, and guide, as well as Angkor admission pass, and a night at Phare, the Cambodian Circus. The Angkor archaeological site is spread over 400 square kilometers of Cambodian countryside. While we recommend a stay of at least four days to get the most from a visit to Angkor Wat, you can see the most important ruins in two full days. We use private guides and late-model, air conditioned cars. Our guides are adept at avoiding the gigantic tour buses that all seem to arrive at a monument simultaneously. If you have a bit more time, please consider one of our more comprehensive itineraries.

Monks at Angkor Wat remind us that this is still a holy place for BuddhistsThere is even a bit of gay nightlife in Siem Reap, including a couple of bars and a disco. If you are lucky you may have a chance to witness the best worst drag show you have ever seen. The "Before You Go" information we provide includes some dining suggestions that we have gathered over the past two decades and countless trips to Siem Reap, the little town next to Angkor where all the hotels, dining and entertainment are located.

Day Two: Off the Tourist Radar

Continue your adventure early to take advantage of the cool morning. You will no doubt see busloads of tourists being herded about and will appreciate having your personal guide all to yourself as you wander, awestruck, through the ficus root-engulfed temple of Ta Phrom, built to house the divine image of the Queen Mother, Ta Keo, where five towers rest atop a five-tiered pyramid, Srah Srang, a ritual bath large enough for a thousand women; and the Eastern Mebon, a terraced pyramid that was once an island on a man-made lake larger than all of ancient Rome.

Tonight, why not enjoy a culinary adventure in one of Siem Reap's traditional garden restaurants? We'll give you a list of our own favorites. If you are a Club Sanook Memberyou get a night at Phare, the Cambodian Circus including round trip transportation by tuktuk free. This may be one of the most memorable parts of your visit to Siem Reap.

Angkor Wat, still transcendant after ten centuriesDay Three: Stay Longer, See More

Your morning is free until your transfer to the airport. If you depart on an evening flight, consider delving deeper into the mysterious and un-touristy jungle to the unforgettable River of 1000 Lingas, or experience an unforgettable scenic flightby helicopter. Alternatively, there's plenty more to see and do in and around Siem Reap including Overlooked Angkor. Most people who spend just two nights in Angkor wat truly regret that they did not allow just a bit more time. Please consider spending an additional night since there is an enormous amount to see. Click on the "back" button below to see all of our longer Angkor Wat itineraries. High-quality trained, licensed guides are in short supply and must be arranged in advance.

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Purple Dragon pioneered LGBTQ travel to Cambodia, but everyone is welcome on our tours!

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Photos: Brian Darby, Douglas Thompson