personal notes on a nomadic style round the world trip.
Angkor Wat? Siem Reap and one of the Seven Wonders of the World
Disclaimer: This post is mostly photos.
Ah Siem Reap! When we arrived following our uneventful and massively overpriced bus journey (of 11 hrs and two buses via Phnom Pehn) we were stuck with how different the vibe was in Siem Reap in comparison to Phnom Penh.
Where as you go to Phnom Penh to remember the horrors of what happened here some 40 years ago, Siem Reap is where the pride of the Khmer nation rests with the phenomenal Angkor Archaeological Park.
Siem Reap is very touristy which we had expected, the obvious lure being the temples. Due to the size of the site however they are super expensive to see. For a one day pass it’s $20 for a two or three day pass its $40 plus the tuk tuk to drive us there and between the temples.
Our first full day we eased in and had organised a tuk tuk with the guesthouse to do the Grand Circuit- the older temples of the main complex which included: Pre Rup, East Mebon, Ta Som (our favourite one of these ones), Neak Pean and Preah Khan. Here’s a few snaps from each temple. Its hard to really convey the size, scale and skill of the temples, better to visit them yourself!
The next day it was time for the big event- Sunrise at Angkor Wat. I have seen very few sunrises- normally because I love my sleep but it would take a fairly stellar one to beat this…..
Once the sun was up, we headed outside to wait for the hoards of people to leave (busiest time is 5.30-7 am) and headed back in just after 7 am.
After Angkor Wat it was a quick ride through the South Gate of Angkor Thom and to Bayon Temple. Bayon Temple is incredible- so many faces all different. Unfortunately we got it when it was crawling with tourists…between the people and their blasted selfie sticks it was difficult to enjoy the temple fully. One can imagine that it is a truly magically place in the silence and calm before the hoards of sightseers descend on the place. We did however get to spend a few moments in the central temple as we were appropriately dressed (knees and shoulders covered) unlike 90% of the people there.
We spent a bit too long here I think (we had to stop for a drink in the middle- it was sooooo hot and we ran out) and out tuk tuk driver came looking for us! We were so glad to see him!
He whisked us away through the Victory Gate and on to Ta Keo.
So many temples! The next one was made famous by Tomb Raider- Ta Prohm. It is currently being restored by the Indian Government who had a whole host of stone masons on site. The gentle “tip, tip, tip” of many hammers was quite relaxing. We liked this temple. It was very cool and not as busy as we were expecting.
Ok so on to the last two, we had been up since 4 am-it was now after 1 pm, we were glad to hear that we were on the last ones! So on to Banteay Kdei:
Last but not least….Prasat Kravan (photos are from within the complex).
So apart from the temples we managed to find some decent food (hurrah!) and mostly wandered around the markets and especially the night markets. $2 (30 min) foot massages- you can’t pass that up.
I was also a bit ill (for two days we did very little other than get food)- the joys of travelling.
Anyway after 6 days in Siem Reap it was time to move on. Next stop the Thai capital of Bangkok!