The Arc of the Sacred Symposium: Temples and Treasures of Cambodia

Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Battambang, Banteay Chhmar
with Guest Speaker John Sanday and WT Trip Leader Max Holland

The Arc of the Sacred Symposium: Temples and Treasures of Cambodia route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $7895  
Length: 12 days
Arrive: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Depart: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Lodging: 11 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 2 dinners
Activity: Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Overland travel with walking tours, cultural explorations


  • Four-day symposium at Angkor, one of the world’s most phenomenal artistic achievements, featuring five of the world’s top experts in classical Asian art and archaeology, architectural conservation, and Hindu and Buddhist cultures
  • Phnom Penh: striking palaces and pagodas, dinner cruise on the Mekong, special introduction to Cambodian music and dance at Plae Pakaa Academy
  • Explore floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake, and visit Banteay Chhmar, one of the great architectural masterpieces of Southeast Asia
  • Enhanced experience of traveling with conservation architect and Cambodia expert John Sanday, OBE, FSA

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

This itinerary is part of the Arc of the Sacred Symposium & Tour Program, an extraordinary four-day symposium in Siem Reap, Cambodia, that explores the remarkable spiritual synchronicity that exists across Asian cultures.

The tour described on this page is one of six special journeys which are being offered in conjunction with the symposium. For information on the other symposium tours, click on these links: Ancient Cities & Monuments of the Deccan Plateau, Buddhist & Hindu Kingdoms, Sacred Sites of Java & Bali, Indochine, and Burma: The Golden Land.

The exquisite temples of the Angkorian era of the Khmer Empire extended across a vast area, not just the world-famous site at Angkor Wat. Many were left abandoned after Angkor’s defeat by the Thais in the 15th century or more recently left to the jungle during the Pol Pot era. On this special expedition, we rediscover amazing lost temples with conservation architect John Sanday, including Banteay Chhmar, a remote 12th century Buddhist site and grand-scale masterpiece of Khmer king Jayavarman VII. John and his team are currently restoring this site and we have a unique opportunity to see the work in progress with him.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-3
The Arc of the Sacred Symposium

Presentations, excursions, and other activities with our guest speakers at the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Days 4-5
Angkorian Monuments / Cambodian Villages

We explore Sambor Prei Kuk, the most impressive group of pre-Angkorian monuments in Cambodia, enjoy a private sunset boat ride that brings us past rural villages, and visit a silk weaving farm and village of stone masons.  

Days 6-8
Phnom Penh / Kampong Chhnang

In this city of French colonial architecture and tree-lined boulevards, we take a cyclo tour of old Phnom Penh, explore the sites associated with Cambodia’s traumatic Khmer Rouge period, and enjoy a special private visit to the Plae Pakaa Academy, which offers us an interactive introduction to Cambodian music and dance. A drive through the timeless rice-farming villages of the Mekong Delta brings us to Kampong Chhnang, and we take a boat trip on Tonle Sap, Cambodia’s “Great Lake,” cruising past floating villages.

Days 9-12
Battambang / Banteay Chhmar / Siem Reap

Sprawled along the banks of the Sangker River, the laid-back farming center of Battambang is graced with a charming blend of French colonial and traditional Cambodian architecture.  We visit Wat Ek Phnom, an 11th century Angkorian-era ruin originally built as a Hindu temple, take a ride on the famed Bamboo Train—a slice of rural Cambodian life, and explore the remote 12th century “jungle” temple of Banteay Chhmar (“Citadel of the Cats”), one of the architectural masterpieces of Southeast Asia. Our tour ends with a visit to the Angkor Conservancy, where we have been granted special access to see some of the 7,000 antiquities that have been collected here. Time allowing, we may visit some of Angkor’s other famous monuments. Depart Siem Reap on Day 12.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

The Arc of the Sacred Brochure

Download The Arc of the Sacred brochure, featuring a symposium at Angkor Wat with journeys from Nepal to Indonesia. Or request a print copy to be sent by mail.

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated 2, or easy to moderate, according to our trip grading system. It is an overland cultural adventure, and for the most part, physical activity is light, but there will be some long drives, occasionally on rough or dirt roads. There will be extensive walking both during the symposium and during the tour, some of it up or down hill, some over uneven footing, and we will spend some time clambering around temple structures. We encourage you to get in shape for the trip because travel to remote places does require some physical stamina. We will also take a few short hikes, so we recommend that you be in good physical condition to get the most out of the trip.
Please note that the sequence of temple visits may be changed slightly to suit local ground conditions. Some of the sites we’ll be visiting in Cambodia are quite new to tourism and the infrastructure may be less than perfect. To derive the most out of this special expedition, we recommend you maintain a spirit of adventure and flexibility.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

Jan 25-Feb 5, 2015

Program Cost

Prices are for 2015
$7895 (15-16 members)
$8395 (11-14 members)
$9095 (8-10 members)
Single supplement: $1690
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Laos: Luang Prabang Extension
   from: $860
Bangkok Extension
   from: $645
Phuket Extension
   from: $795
Chiang Mai Extension
   from: $490
Khmer Jungle Temples Extension
   from: $945

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: $1000
Due July 29, 2014: 25% of trip cost
Due October 27, 2014: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $500 per person
270-181 days prior to departure: $1000 per person
180-91 days prior to departure: 100% of trip cost
90 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Program of presentations by Guest Speakers and symposium excursions
  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations based on double occupancy, including three nights at the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort during the symposium, and hotels in Cambodia
  • Welcome and farewell dinners
  • All meals included except 2 dinners
  • Sightseeing and activities as noted
  • Airport transfers on scheduled arrival and departure dates
  • Land transportation in air-conditioned buses
  • Entrance fees and service charges
  • Bottled water included with all meals; sodas and soft drinks also included with meals during tour
  • Baggage handling; gratuities to hotel and restaurant staff

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare to and from US to Siem Reap, Cambodia; transfers for independent arrival or departure; any meals not specified after each itinerary day; international airport departure taxes; hotels en route and any hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors; optional tipping or gratuities to trip leader, and local guide and drivers; medical immunizations, travel insurance, passport and visa fees; items of a personal nature (beverages other than bottled water, tea, coffee, and sodas with meals, laundry, telephone, internet, etc.)

Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort

Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort

Days 1 to 3 (3 nights),
Days 10 to 11 (2 nights), Siem Reap, Cambodia

Set among lovely gardens and ponds, the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort will feel like an oasis of serenity after a full day exploring the temples ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Sambor Village Hotel

Day 4 (1 night), Kompong Thom, Cambodia

This pleasant 19-room  hotel, set on the Stung Sen River, is the best option in town, providing rustic but comfortable accommodation in a lush garden setting.

Amanjaya Pancam Hotel

Amanjaya Pancam Hotel

Days 5 to 7 (3 nights), Phnom Penh, Cambodia

You can’t beat the location of the Amanjaya Pancam Hotel. Set on the waterfront in the heart of Phnom Penh, the main sights of town are ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Bambu Hotel

Days 8 to 9 (2 nights), Battambang, Cambodia

This relatively new boutique hotel combines the best of Khmer architecture with French colonial ambiance. Set on a side street in Battambang, it’s a veritable oasis in this bustling city. Spacious, airy guest rooms are comfortable and well appointed, and there is an outdoor bar and eating area, elegant restaurant, and an inviting saltwater swimming pool with sun loungers. The English owner and host goes the extra mile to make you feel at home.

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

John Sanday

Departure Dates: January 25-February 5, 2015

John Sanday, OBE, FSA, is a leading architectural conservator with more than three decades of field experience in Nepal, Cambodia, India, Bhutan, and China. He is the Regional Director for Asia and Pacific programs for Global Heritage Fund, a leading heritage conservation foundation. In ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Max Holland

Departure Dates: January 25-February 5, 2015

Max Holland has been developing and leading unique cultural adventures for us in Southeast Asia since 1988. A native of the UK, Max moved first to Canada and then to the US, where he worked for many years as a project development engineer in both Michigan and California before settling in northern ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:


Khmer Jungle Temples Extension

Exploring Angkor's Remote Temples

Archaeology, Cultural Adventures, Walking
3 days  -  Level 2


Laos: Luang Prabang Extension

Gilded Temples and Traditional Buddhist Culture of Laos

Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 2


wat arun bangkok thailand

Bangkok Extension

Discover the Beautiful Cultural Monuments of Bangkok

Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 1

Chiang Mai Extension

Explore the Wonders of Northern Thailand

Cultural Adventures, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
3 days  -  Level 2

Phuket Extension

Explore a Jewel Set in the Andaman Sea

Cultural Adventures, Sea Kayaking
4 days  -  Level 2