We will meet you at your hotel at 7:30 am with the mountain bikes. We will leave Siem Reap and follow some small bucolic roads west of the city. We will cycle through the countryside and cross villages. We will see temples, traditional houses and the daily life of the villagers at the markets and the farmers in the rice fields. At about 9:30 am, we will arrive at the village of Puok where we can visit the local market and the Silk farm, an applied research and vocational training center for all silk-related jobs which is part of Artisans d'Angkor from the Chantiers-Ecoles. This company was created to help young people to find work in their home villages and was quoted as a means to reduce poverty in the world by IMF and UNESCO. There, you will learn the silk production, from the silk-worm breeding to the weaving.
We will then continue our ride to reach the Sangkheum Center for Children, an NGO which provides a home for orphaned, abused or neglected children, as well as general education and selected vocational training. We will visit the center to learn more about their work and see the children in training in the workshops, the agricultural farm or practicing dance and music.
Afterwards we will go to the Western Baray, an ancient reservoir more than 2 km across and 9 km long with an average depth of 7 m. This huge construction was realized by King Yasovarman 1st (889-910), the entire expanse of water is contained within a levee of earth which forms a dike, shaded by large trees and with the forest of Angkor as its backdrop. At its present level, the water only covering two thirds depths of 4 and 5 metres - the remainder is currently rice fields. On the island in the middle of the Baray stand the ruins of the western Mebon temple. This temple contained formerly a gigantic bronze statue of Vishnu which is today exhibited in the National Museum in Phnom Penh. This artificial lake is now a recreational place for the locals who flock here on the weekend. We will have lunch in this lovely place and spend a part of the afternoon by swimming.
On the way back, we will stop at the small village of Banteay Chreu to visit the popular Buddhist temple Svay Romeat from where we can have a whole view of the surrounding countryside. Then, we will continue our ride along a quiet road to Siem Reap. We will arrive at your hotel at the end of the afternoon.