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Trip to Siem Reap (Day 1): Angkor Wat - A MUST-SEE Place

>> Thursday, September 26, 2013

Finally! Time & energy are in my hands now (sorta) :P

Some of you would have known that I've been on several trips since mid of this year, but never had the time to sit down & blog on those places (and the food offered, of course!). I now have the time to do so & in this post, I would like to share with you on the sights & tastes of Cambodia.

My family & I were in Cambodia early June 2013 & we did a 'country-tour', whereby our journey covered 3 of the major provinces in Cambodia i.e. Siem Reap, Battambang, & Phnom Penh. In this post, I'll share with you on the approximate budget, spots that we visited & the food that we ate as well. Do bear in mind that most of the tourist places in Cambodia are architectural buildings & temples. We did LOADS of walking & seeing the different temples although non of us are Buddhist/Hindu.

Map of Cambodia
taken from Wikipedia

Summary cost for tour in Siem Reap
Return flights by Air Asia = RM491.02/person (USD159.42/person)
Transport SR - Hotel =
Tour Angkor + Guide + Fee = RM271.04/person (USD88.00/person)
Hotel SR (2 nights $37/night/room) = RM113.96/person twin sharing (USD37.00/person)
Mini van SR - BT ($70/mini van/way) = RM35.93/person (USD11.67/person)

Day 1: "Small tour"
Upon arriving in the Siem Reap International Airport, we were greeted by our van driver, who took us back to the Khmer Cuisine Bed & Breakfast to "check-in". I found the hotel through Agoda.com & I'm pretty pleased with the place although it wasn't some "wow" hotel. It's a humble place to stay, with air-con rooms & clean beds. The hospitality provided by the staff were also commendable. I won't mind staying there again :) We left our bags there & started our tour with a simple breakfast nearby, followed by a whole day of sight-seeing.

Our B & B - simple & cosy

Inside the B&B 

Khmer Cuisine Bed & Breakfast
Along Siem Reap River
100m northern of Siem Reap Catholic Church
Tel: 855 63 963 728
Fax: 855 63 963 726
Note: I requested the hotel's help for tour + van arrangement. They're VERY helpful & it saved me LOADS of hassle. Prices aren't very different from engaging with a tour guide + transport myself.

Our 1st meal, breakfast, at a nearby restaurant

The food we ordered...not too bad for a humble restaurant near the hotel

The bill came up to approximately USD4/person 

Thida Spean Neak Restaurant
St. 60m, west of Spean Neak about 200m
Treang Village
Sangkat Slor Kram
Siem Reap City
Siem Reap.
(near Khmer Cuisine Bed & Breakfast)

Once we're done with breakfast & energized for a whole day of walking (okay, maybe just half the day of walking), we left for the "Small Circuit" temples around Angkor Wat area by air-con van! It was REALLY hot & we're all VERY glad to have chosen the air-con van for 6 pax instead of taking 3 tuk-tuks.

1. Angkor Thom Temple Complex
The 1st place that we visited was the Angkor Thom temple complex. The entrance of the temple complex is 'guarded' by 1 row of gods (on the left) & another row of demons (on the right).

2. Bayon Temple - built during the late 12th or early 13th century
This temple is easily recognized as it is a temple with many towers & carvings. We had a really good guide (has a degree in history! fuh), who explained to us in detail on the history of the various temples. Every stretch of carving has some story to tell & it was quite interesting to know which king does what & why :P (kings at that time are deemed as gods)

See the stacks of stones? Signs of animism

3. Preah Ngok Pagoda
This temple features a large sand-stone statue of the Buddha sitting crossed leg with its eyes opened only slightly. It's one of the Buddhist temples in the Angkor area during the 13th - 15th century. (info from: khmer-geo)

4. Baphuon Temple - built in the mid 11th century
As every temple has different criteria, this temple is a three-tiered temple mountain built as the state temple of Udayadityavarman II dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. (info from: Wikipedia)

5. Royal Palace & Phimeanakas Temple - built around end of 10th century
Phimeanakas is built during the reign of Rajendravarman (from 941-968), then rebuilt by Suryavarman II in the shape of a three tier pyramid as a Hindu temple. On top of the pyramid there was a tower. (info from Wikipedia)

Exit to the Phimeanakas & Royal Palace area

6. Elephant Terrace
This is just a simple terrace for the king to view his army's victorious return from war at that time. The name is derived 'cause of the carvings of elephants on the wall. We find it really mind-boggling to know that the palace/temple area is SO huge that it contains various 'temples' & buildings within a circuit. Imagine how it was when it was active & still in-use! Fwah...

7. Ta Phrom Temple Complex - built around the late 12th - early 13th century
Ta Phrom is another Bayon-style temple complex. The unique feature of this temple complex that you will never miss is the tree roots growing over the walls of the temple. It's so 'jungly' & a good reminder that nature's forces are much stronger than any man-made items.

That was like half a day of pure walking & climbing. We were really tired & the weather didn't help at all! Lunch was much craved, so the driver & tour guide took us to a nearby restaurant. We didn't expect much from that restaurant as it was inside the circuit, where most tourist will frequent. Prices are definitely higher, but surprisingly not terribly high. SO different from Malaysia! Hahaha...

Kolab Angkor Restaurant
Pretty comfortable environment with decent food. A rice set costs an average of USD6.50.

Curry & Amok are very popular in Cambodia - must try when you're here

Kolab Angkor Restaurant
Opposite of Angkor Wat
Trapeang Ses Village
Sangkat Kork Chak
Siem Reap City
Siem Reap.

Right after lunch, we were energized to continue walking & touring. It's time for the highlight of the day: Angkor Wat!

8. Angkor Wat Temple Complex
No explanation is needed as there are many articles written on this majestic temple complex, that was once a Hindu temple, which in the end was converted to a Buddhist temple. The carvings & structure of the building is just amazing - how many years it took for the whole complex to be completed with the technology of the olden days? :S Enjoy the photos!

The temple complex from outside
During certain times of the day (according to the sun shine), the complex's reflection can be admired on the still waters :)

The library (one on each side) 

The place to view the reflection of the entire Angkor Wat during sunrise 
At certain angles, you can view more 'stupas' or peaks of the temple. There should be 5 peaks.

Check out how the slabs of stones are 'joined' 

Pillars must be odd numbers because odd numbers are believed to be auspicious 

Amazing carvings, telling a story as you walk past 

Looking back at the hundreds of photos that I took brings back lovely memories of the trip. It just amazes me how the people in the empires & kingdoms of the olden days are so clever & 'spiritual'. Everything in their life resolves around gods & temples. Kings are revered as they are looked up as representatives of god.

Our current world is a far fetch from the majestic & glorious days in the past. What has changed for the worse & what has improved for the better? I'm in awe in the God whom I believe & in His creation. If earth can be like this (once upon a time), what more Heaven, which I await to return to? :)

Stay tuned for the next post on Day 2 in Siem Reap!

Feeling nostalgic,


Shiyan John January 13, 2016 at 10:06 PM  

nice post, amazing Siem reap attractions, really beautiful places, want to visit there soon.

Lydia February 20, 2016 at 12:58 PM  

Hi! your blog has been a helpful guide as I'm travelling there in May. Could you kindly share how much USD should I bring for a 3 day trip to Siam Reap? Thanks in advance!

PerutBesi February 23, 2016 at 3:59 PM  

@Shiyan John: Thanks! It was a great vacation there albeit the crazily hot weather! We actually loss weight there! :D

@Lydia: We paid around USD10/night for our accommodation (REALLY CHEAP, but good hotel: Khmer Cuisine Bed & Breakfast). As for food, transport, tips & all, we spent around USD15/person for the 3 days at Siem Reap only! I'm not sure of the prices now since I was there few years back. If you would want a copy of my itinerary, please email me at perutbesi[at]gmail[dot]com. :D

John David May 10, 2016 at 7:45 PM  

Cambodia's most beautiful place. Siem Reap is fully relaxed place and many types of games and adventures can be played there. Beautiful places and the ancient temples can be visited in Siem Reap.

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