Siem Reap – destined for great things

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Angkor is a place to be savoured, not rushed, and this is the base from which to plan your adventures. Still think one day at the temples is enough? Think again with Siem Reap on the doorstep.

Overview

Siem Reap may be daunting at first, especially if it’s your first experience to Southeast Asian areas, but you find the groove and pattern of the small city within the day. It’s a very safe and easy-to-get around town, and very economical for every sort of traveller! Not to mention it’s a short 20 minutes from Angkor Wat – the famous temples in Cambodia! This guide will tell you suggestions of what to do, what to see, where to go and what / where to eat in and around Siem Reap. Definitely doable in 3 days, even with down time!

Day 1 Ankor Thom

Angkor Thom via Remote Lands

 

Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer Empire, was a fortified cit enclosing residences of priest, officials of the palace and military, as well as buildings for administering the kingdom.

These structures were built of wood and have perished but the remaining stone monuments testify that Angkor Thom was indeed a “Great City” as its name implies. Temples inside the walls of the city described in this article are Bayon, Phimeanakas, Baphuon, Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King, Prah Palilay, Tep Pranam and Prasat Suor Prat.

The Royal Palace situated within the city of Angkor Thom is of an earlier date and belonged to kings of the tenth and first half of the tenth and first half of the eleventh centuries. Although the foundations and an enclosing wall around the palace with entry towers have been identified, little evidence remains of the layout of the buildings inside the enclosure. This absence of archaeological evidence of the royal buildings suggests that they were constructed of wood and have perished.

Day 2 Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm via VIVU360

The site of the Tomb Raider films! Get as many pictures as you can, and don’t be afraid to ask for the sights to be cleared 🙂 People are friendly. It’s so incredible to see a temple overtaken and reclaimed by nature. You will want to take lots of pictures, even beyond the Tomb Raider ones.

The ultimate Indiana Jones fantasy, Ta Prohm is cloaked in dappled shadow, its crumbling towers and walls locked in the slow muscular embrace of vast root systems. Undoubtedly the most atmospheric ruin at Angkor, Ta Prohm should be high on the hit list of every visitor. Its appeal lies in the fact that, unlike the other monuments of Angkor, it has been swallowed by the jungle, and looks very much the way most of the monuments of Angkor appeared when European explorers first stumbled upon them.

Day 3 Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat via Wikipedia 

The face of the temples, this is the main one you will visit. Be prepared to climb short vertical stairs to get to the holy place. If not, you can skip it and wander around the rest of the complex. Start at the back, and go to the front. You will have less people (or no people!) in your pictures.

The temple is the heart and soul of Cambodia and a source of fierce national pride. Unlike the other Angkor monuments, it was never abandoned to the elements and has been in virtually continuous use since it was built.

Tips

  • Haggle!! Though most things are very inexpensive.
  • Cambodia starts early (around 7 am latest) and dinner is not late – most restaurants close by 10 pm.
  • Sunrise at Angkor Wat is a must! Take a tuk tuk.
  • Tips are not necessary, you can just round up.
  • US Dollars are king. Pay with that. Change will be given in Cambodian Riels if you don’t have exact money.
  • Tuk tuks are the taxis and ways to get around – hiring one for the day shouldn’t cost you more than $10-12. If you keep the same driver for a few days, you can work out deals.

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