CASE STUDY: ‘World Monument Fund’ Tour of Cambodia & Burma
16 days from £POA per person
Ampersand primarily organises private tailor-made tours for couples, families and groups of friends. However, we also occasionally arrange special trips for some of the world’s most acclaimed museums and organisations who rely on us to arrange once-in-a-lifetime group tours for their most important patrons.
For example, in January 2013 Ampersand planned, booked and hosted an exclusive tailor-made tour of Cambodia and Burma for a select group of 24 members of the World Monuments Fund (WMF). The 16-day tour was to celebrate the completion of restoration work on the ‘Churning of the Sea of Milk’ bas relief on Angkor Wat temple which they funded. To commemorate the occasion we arranged a special Gala Dinner at Angkor Wat temple itself, which was a truly magical event.
We took care of arranging all international and domestic flights, hotel bookings, local specialist guides, transfers, activities, academic seminars and meals. Our South East Asia sales specialist flew out to accompany the group for the duration of their trip and was on hand should they have required anything.
The group got a taste of authentic Khymer and Burmese food with a mixture of dining at the finest hotels, recommended local restaurants, gala dinners, gourmet picnics and private sunset cruises. They also had plenty of opportunities to unwind and relax, or head off on their own to take photographs and buy local arts and crafts. However, the main day-to-day activities were carefully planned and tailor-made to the WMF’s specific interests over the course of 12 months prior to travel.
Here are just a few of the highlights of their trip…
- Receive an expert introduction to Cambodian culture and history at Raffles D’Angkor; visit the Centre for Khmer Studies with Dr Michal Sullivan; and receive a talk from Professor Roland Fletcher outlining the ongoing WMF research at Angkor.
- Welcome the dawn at one of travel’s greatest glories: Angkor Wat, The CityTemple of King Suryavarman II. Watch the sun rise over these world-class bas-reliefs in privacy while camera-toting crowds wait at the West Gate.
- Avoid the sunset crowds and enjoy expansive views over Angkor Wat by climbing Phnom Bakheng in the late morning.
- Explore the temple of Bayon at the heart of the ancient city – an important and enigmatic temple made up of 37 carved towers with multiple faces of eerie serenity.
- Experience the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom, memorable for its colossal heads of gods and demons.
- Climb aboard a small rowing boat to cruise the moat of Angkor Thom for sunset cocktails accompanied only by bird song in the warm glow of the setting sun.
- Walk back in time to temples that pre-date Angkor Thom: the monumental and newly restored 11th century Baphuon temple, the 10th century Phimeanakas with its hidden bathing pools, and on through shaded parkland to the Terrace of the Elephants.
- Visit Banteay Srei, “Citadel of the Women”, the exquisite 10th century Hindu temple 35km North of Siem Reap with some of Angkor’s finest, deep and complex carvings.
- Witness traditional local industries: Khmer noodles, basket work and palm sugar production. Visit idyllic rural settings and stilted house fishing communities like Tonle Sap Lake at Kompong Khleang.
- Hop on a cyclo to explore Phnom Penh with its shady boulevards, French colonial buildings, pagodas, saffron-robed monks and the glittering spires of the Royal Palace. Visit the National Museum to linger amongst the world's largest collection of Khmer art, and the Silver Pagoda with its floor of over 5,000 silver tiles.
- Take a walking tour of Yangon showcasing the cities’ colonial architecture. Surrounded on three sides by water, it has a unique charm with crumbling buildings, tree-lined streets, bustling food markets, glistening pagodas and tranquil lakes.
- At the heart of Yangon lies Shwedagon Pagoda, revered throughout the land. Visit as the light softens, admiring its golden spire soaring to a height of nearly 100 metres.
- Visit the 70-year old Bogyoke Aung San Market with over 2,000 shops selling Burmese handicrafts; slippers, puppets, paintings, textiles, gems, gold, silver and much more. Listen to a talk on Pyu Dynasty jewellery.
- In Inle Lake, visit the Nga Hpe Kyaung Monastery - also known as the jumping cat monastery - which has a large meditation hall & a collection of ancient Buddha images and the Phaung Daw Oo Paya.
- Also at Inle, visit a number of local villages on the Lake which are renowned for their crafts such as the famous Lotus weaving and cigar making.
- Visit the temple strewn plain of Bagan, one of the richest archaeological sites in the world with some 5,000 monuments scattered over 26 square miles along the Irrawaddy riverbanks. Explore its most intriguing temples and view this amazing landscape by hot air balloon.
- End with a night in Bangkok – culture fiends will delight in the dazzling Royal Palace, while shoppers can sift through buzzy malls and markets, and food-lover's will be completely spoilt for choice.
16 days from £POA per person
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