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From Ancient Angkor to New Khmer Architecture

  • 10/13/2018 - 10/23/2018
  • 11 Days
  • Starting price $5,690

Discover the incredible architectural legacies of Cambodia. Experience the beauty of Angkor and the designs behind it, all while learning how many of those features formed the base of what is now called New Khmer Architecture. The style was created after the country’s independence from France when a generation, led by architect Vann Molyvann, began transforming the face of their country. From massive public monuments to villas for the elite in the southern city of Kep, these buildings remain an extraordinary testament to a generation of largely-forgotten Cambodian architects. From Angkor to Sihanoukville, discover Cambodian architecture whose structures continue to provide cultural markers, reminders of greatness, and will provide inspiration for generations to come.

Architectural Adventures is delighted to extend this unique opportunity to experience Cambodia on a tour offered in connection with our friends at National Trust Tours.

Call now to book! 1.800.293.5725

Max. guests 24

Architectural highlights

  • Take in the most famous of all Angkor monuments, Angkor Wat.
  • Visit the intricate Banteay Srei, considered the most perfect Khmer temple.
  • Marvel at Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer Empire.
  • Enjoy visiting the Hundred Houses project, a clever modern interpretation on traditional Khmer homes.
  • Explore the Royal Palace, home to the Kings of Cambodia.  
  • Discover the 11th century Phnom Banan, near Battambang.
  • Admire one of the most recognized of Vann Molyvann’s works, the Independence Monument.
  • Visit Sihanoukville, a city planned by Molyvann featuring several of his designs


More highlights

  • See the Khmer Arts Center to meet with Sophiline Cheam Shapiro and watch a classical dance performance.  
  • Explore the National Bank of Cambodia, designed by Vann Molyvann.
  • Enjoy the exceptional Khmer art collection at the National Museum of Arts, designed by a French archaeologist and painter, George Grosloer.
  • This trip qualifies for up to 23 AIA learning units.



  • Hotel Pavilion - Opened on August, 18, 2006 with 10 rooms, The Pavilion has slowly expanded over the years, and now offers 36 rooms throughout three more period buildings that have been added to the property. Each building has its own style and atmosphere, with distinctive architectural features such as an elaborate wooden stairway and intricate iron wrought railings.
  • Battambang Resort - The luxurious Battambang Resort established its reputation as a small piece of paradise in Cambodia. The beauty of Battambang provides the perfect setting for this very special resort. Located in the midst of countless serene rice fields, guests at Battambang Resort can unwind after a busy day’s sight-seeing by taking a dip in the refreshing saltwater pool or perhaps enjoying some soothing relaxation time in the jacuzzi. From the comfort of an on-site restaurant, guests can enjoy fine views of the spacious tropical gardens, also an ideal place for taking a tranquil after-dinner walk.
  • Jaya House River Park - A definitive sense of heritage, culture, and the beauty of nature surround this four star hotel which is just minutes from the hustle and bustle of Siem Reap’s city centre. Each of the rooms has bluetooth connectivity, complimentary wifi, arguably the best beds in town, a proper coffee machine plus handmade and homegrown teas.
  • Knai Bang Chatt - In Khmer, Knai Bang Chatt means a rainbow encircling the sun and in Buddhism, this rainbow is the halo around Buddha’s head.  Keeping this symbolism in mind, Knai Bang Chatt was developed as an exclusive retreat to protect and shelter its visitors and offer them a home away from home. Opened to the public in 2006, the resort still prides itself on its signature blend of privacy and personalized service.The lush and private grounds house a collection of completely remodeled and expanded colonial villas, creating a unique seaside destination to discover the splendors of Cambodia and its beautiful and friendly people.


Also included

  • An internal flight from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville.
  • An experienced Tour Director.
  • Land transportation by private motor coach as outlined in the itinerary.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers.
  • One drink with lunch and dinner - bottled water, soft drink, local beer and/or wine.


What to expect

  • Appropriate for people in good health with overall good mobility.
  • Travelers should be comfortable participating in a full day of sightseeing including walking between 1-2 miles per day in total.
  • Activities range from light to moderate intensity at an easy pace, but with lengthy walks, sometimes on uneven terrain, and climbing stairs without handrails.



  • $5,690 per person, based on double occupancy
  • $980 single supplement
  • A deposit of $1,000 per person, payable by credit card or check is required to reserve a space. Deposits are applied to payment of the total price.


Not included: Roundtrip airfare to Cambodia and air departure taxes; airport transfers; Passport and Visa fees (Visa is issued upon arrival); meals not specified in the itinerary; personal items and expenses; gratuities other than specified; travel and trip cancellation insurance; other items not specifically mentioned as included. Prices, itinerary, accommodations and experts subject to change.


Architectural Adventures tours are managed by professional tour operators retained as independent contractors by The American Institute of Architects. To read Architectural Adventures full Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer visit To read the tour-specific terms and conditions from our tour operator Distant Horizons visit




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Depart Gateway City

Depart your gateway city and fly to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Arrivals, Phnom Penh

Arrive to Phnom Penh and transfer to the Pavilion Hotel. Enjoy a brief orientation and welcome reception before dinner.

Accommodations: Pavilion Hotel
Meals: Reception, Dinner

Vann Molyvann - Phnom Penh

Begin the day with a special tour of Phnom Penh, designed with Space for Architecture Cambodia (SAC), focusing on its architecture and urban heritage. The tour will have a strong focus on buildings erected after Cambodia’s independence in 1953, often referred to as New Khmer Architecture. Under the patronage of Norodom Sihanouk, Vann Molyvann transformed Phnom Penh and Cambodia, designing the Senate, National Sports Complex, National Theater, Council of Ministers, and Chaktomuk Conference Hall. Next, drive to the Hundred Houses project, a clever modern interpretation on traditional Khmer homes, before visiting the Royal University of Phnom Penh and the Olympic Stadium. Continue exploring the works of Molyvann with a visit to Molyvann’s family home which is simultaneously an exemplar and a contradiction of his other works and defining philosophy. Then, discover the famed, and arguably most recognized of Molyvann’s works, the Independence Monument before walking through Phnom Penh’s Central market. Finally, enjoy a wonderful local dinner this evening at Romdeng‎ where Gustav Auer, founder of Friends the Restaurant and Khmer chefs at Romdeng will introduce you to Khmer cuisine. A member of the Vann Molyvann Project will join the group for dinner.

Accommodations: Pavilion Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Phnom Penh

Begin the morning at the National Museum of Arts, which was designed in 1920 by a French archaeologist and painter, George Grosloer, in Khmer style. Next, visit the Royal Palace, the complex of buildings faces the Mekong River and has been the royal abode of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Close by is the Silver Pagoda, which has silver floors and beautiful murals. The Silver Pagoda is a compound located on the south side of the Royal Palace. Enjoy lunch at Friends the Restaurant. This foundation takes children in off of the street, and under the guidance of chefs and staff, teaches them skills to work in a restaurant. Continue on to the Khmer Arts Center to meet with Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, a superb trained classical dancer. Enjoy watching an instructional performance of classical Khmer dancing. End the day at the Tuol Sleng Museum, known as the Museum of Genocidal Crimes. This building, a former high school, was used by the Khmer Rouge as a detention and torture center in the late 1970s. Have dinner at Chinese House, which is the former home of Darryl Collins. The building is an original combination of Chinese architecture (roofs, doors, pillars) and French colonial style (facade, tile floors). In November 2008, it was transformed into an art gallery, bar and restaurant.

Accommodations: Pavilion Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Travel to Battambang, the origin of Lon Nol’s coup d’état in 1970, which sent King Norodom Sihanouk into exile and effectively marked the end of the New Khmer Architecture movement. Just before arriving in Battambang, stop at the 11th century Phnom Banan. Walk up the shaded 358 steps and admire a small complex of towers with some intricate carvings, Buddha statues wrapped in citrus robes inside the main tower, and glimpses of the surrounding countryside and the Sangkhae River. Upon arrival, enjoy lunch before exploring Battambang. Begin at the Heritage Protection Area, a compact district defined by the municipal government in 2009 and admire traditional Khmer timber houses. Stop at the Phsar Naht, the old market in the center of town, which is an Art Deco gem. Additionally, see the Sangkar Cinema and warehouse, and the Battambang Cinema. Stop at Battambang University, a design by Ung Krapum Phka, which draws from the university complexes in Phnom Penh. Next, make a stop at an abandoned jute mill designed Vann Molyvann as well as an old Pepsi bottling plant which features some of the details common in New Khmer Architecture, as well as a clear Art Deco influence. Enjoy dinner at Jaan Bai or Rice Bowl located in a colonial-era shop-house with art and murals covering the walls inside and out. End the day walking through Street 2 ½ which is home to an artist community featuring galleries and cafes.

Accommodations: Battambang Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Siem Reap

Start your morning with a visit to Ek Phnom, which the Khmer Rouge attempted, but failed, to destroy. Continue to Phare Ponleu Selpak, an arts school established in 1994 by a group of young Cambodians who met in a refugee camp during the 1980s. Explore some of Battambang’s new art spaces, including Make Maek located in a whitewashed Chinese shop-house. After lunch at a gallery, drive to Siem Reap and take a boat to the Western Baray (reservoir), which measures an incredible 8km by 2.3km and was built to provide water for the intensive cultivation of lands around Angkor. In the center of the basin is the ruin of the Western Mebon Temple, where the giant bronze statue of Vishnu, now in the National Museum in Phnom Penh, was found. After checking into your hotel, enjoy a reception and dinner.

Accommodations: Jaya House River Park
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Spend the morning learning about the area of Angkor, the great sequence of capital cities built between the 9th and 14th centuries, when Khmer architecture, language, religions, court rituals, and material culture provided the preeminent models across a vast sphere of influence extending over much of mainland Southeast Asia. Afterwards discover the most famous of all Angkor monuments, Angkor Wat, built by Suryavarman II in the 12th century the complex’s sculptures and bas-relief friezes are unsurpassed. Continue to Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer Empire, and a fortified city enclosing residences of priest, officials of the palace and military, as well as buildings for administering the kingdom. Visit the Bayon Temple, which was built by Jayavarman VII in the exact center of the city of Angkor Thom. Enjoy a catered lunch at Srah Srang, an artificial pond which was used for ritual bathing. After lunch, visit the site of Ta Prohm, which has been left just as it looked when French explorers first set eyes on it over a century ago. Enjoy dinner at AHA Restaurant, located within walking distance from the hotel.

Accommodations: Jaya House River Park
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Siem Reap

Start your day with a visit to Banteay Srei, an architectural jewel located about 16 miles north of Angkor Thom. This large monument, considered by many to be the most perfect Khmer temple, is famous for its exquisite pink sandstone carvings. End the morning at Banteay Samre, which has a fine collection of bas reliefs. After lunch, continue to the Institute for Khmer Traditional Textiles (IKTT). Founder and director Morimoto Kikuo will show you how the “Wisdom from Forest” project is regenerating the landscape and village living conditions that once produced the beautiful fibers and dyes of Khmer textiles before taking a tour of the village complex. End the day at the Preah Khan temple complex situated at the northern edge of the Angkor Archaeological Park. Dinner this evening is at the Sugar Palm Restaurant.

Accommodations: Jaya House River Park
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kep Villas

Take a morning flight to Sihanoukville, a city planned, if not executed by Molyvann. Upon arrival, drive to the National Bank of Cambodia, designed by Molyvann. The most striking element of the bank is the huge roof top pergola providing protection from the sun and shade. Next, stop at St. Michael’s Catholic Church. This distinctive building is based on elements of fishing boat design — such as a prow-shaped roof line and brickwork like wicker baskets. See the Cambrew Brewery where Angkor beer is produced. Inspired by the dong raik, a pole used by rural Cambodians to carry loads on their shoulders, the building seems to float in the air, its concrete and brick second floor held aloft by a complex web of hidden beams. After a stop at Villa Sovann, continue to Kep, “formerly known as the Saint-Tropez of the far east” and witness the once grand French colonial mansions and Modernist New Khmer villas. Next, check in to the luxury boutique resort Knai Bang Chatt, where Belgian entrepreneur Jeff Moons salvaged three villas and created a unique hotel. Enjoy dinner this evening at the hotel with a chance to sample the famous Kep crabs.

Accommodations: Knai Bang Chatt
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Spend the day exploring the remains of villas that are somewhat of a Bauhuasian Angkor Wat. While some have crumbled completely, leaving only traces of foundations and rusted rebar peeking out through the foliage, others sit relatively intact. Explore the crab market and enjoy a freshly prepared lunch at So Kheang Restaurant. Stop in at Villa Romonea, the last villa built before the Khmer Rouge took control of the country and was recently opened as a 6-bedroom private villa. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner.

Accommodations: Knai Bang Chatt
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Return to Phnom Penh by private motorcoach for your flight home.

Meals: Breakfast
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