Siem Reap is a small city close to Angkor Wat which is a must see place when in Cambodia. Although I don’t really like to follow the masses I really cannot miss out Angkor Wat. So I take a minibus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap; it’s a very convenient way of traveling. You can also fly there but I prefer to see some of the landscape of Cambodia.
I think there is more than enough information about Siem Reap and Angkor Wat on the web so I just want to contribute my experience here, share the photos I took while visiting the temples and just tell you which one I think are the most impressive. This is not your typical travel blog about Cambodia. In here I will share to you my detailed experiences like how I rented a tuk-tuk, how much it cost, my thoughts and impression of the different temples of Angkor Wat (Bayon, Baphoun, Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, Srah Srang, Pre Rup, and Banteay Srei) as well as the Landmine museum lastly, give you some advice or insights that can be beneficial for your future trip.
It’s only possible to get either a 1, 3 or 7-day ticket. Actually, a two-day ticket would be perfect. Anyway, I took the three days pass and it cost 40 US$. One day costs 20 US$ and one week would be 60 US$. It is totally worth it but I’m not sure what they do with the money. I wish they use it to rebuild and keep the temple as authentic as possible. But I’ve heard they changed it recently so more money goes to the financial minister. Which means a huge percentage of the money is invested into these Lexus 4×4 that are cruising around in Phnom Penh. Which supports the export of Toyota sure but I don’t think that Cambodians profit a lot from this. Anyway, this is only my opinion.
I rent a Tuk-Tuk with a driver for 15$ the whole day. It is fine cause he will always wait for me and it is quite convenient. There are some tourists riding a bike to go from temple to temple. It is actually not that far and it can be a good workout. But the temperature reaches over 40 degrees Celsius and I’m already sweating by just sitting in the back of a tuk-tuk. I also drink 3 liters of water within 5 hours and never need to pee as I loose the water just by sweating. I can’t imagine that it would be fun bicycling. You can rent a bicycle for 2 dollars. Actually, it is also possible to rent a scooter for 6 dollars. But as this guy speaks some English and I travel alone I like having some company on the track. Also, he has a family and explains to me that there is a hospital which is free for kids. At least I think to myself. But I’m also happy to support his family this time instead of the export of Lexus 4×4 and I already book him for the next day as well.
We go first to the main temple of Angkor Wat and I plan two hours to see it. According to Wikipedia, it is the biggest religious monument in the world.
Actually, I think 1.5 hours is enough. It is really huge and I walk around the whole temple. I’m already exhausted when I go back to the entrance again. Although I still have a few temples ahead today. But luckily there is a girl serving fresh mango shake for only 1 US$ it is so amazing that I pay 100% tip.
I still think it is underpriced at the entrance of Cambodia’s top attraction for tourists. Anyway, I have to look for my tuk-tuk driver. He is not waiting for me where he supposes to. He comes 15 minutes later. He had to fix a tire like he explains… We continue to see a very interesting temple. It’s called The Bayon or also known as the temple of 200 faces. The stairs are often very steep with this 40 degrees heat it is really a piece of work.
The day just continues like that and I meet tourists from all over the world while visiting a few more temples.
At The Baphuon
At Ta Prohm
at Banteay Kdei
Kings Pool at Srah Srang
At Pre Rup
The next day I visit the ladies temple or Banteay Srei a bit further up north.
On the way there I also pass by at the Land Mine Museum.
The guy called Aki Ra shows off his impressive collection of mines, bombs and other weapons he personally took out of the ground of Cambodia. The Museum with a good audio guide is definitely worth a visit. Also the second day I visit more places and temples around Angkor.
At Neak Pean, the music is played by landmine victims along the track.
At Preah Khan
If you only have one day at Angkor I would recommend those places to visit:
- Angkor Wat main temple
- The Bayon
- The Baphuon (right next to The Bayon)
- Ta Prohm
- Preah Khan
- The Landmine Museum
You can also find a very valuable information about the best temples in Angkor here.
About the city of Siem Reap, there is nothing much to talk about as it is pretty touristy and all in all nothing special. But as always everything in Cambodia is pretty cheap.
But even when a city is nothing special there are some special things like this small Restaurant/Bar called “The Brother’s Bar”. They have really good food for decent prices. I went there twice to eat but unfortunately forgot to take a photo. They have international food but also some Khmer dishes. You can find it when you cross the old market bridge and go to the left at the circle. After following the river it will be on the right side after maybe 100 meters.
If you know any other good places to go around Siem Reap please mention in the comments.
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