>> 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.
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)
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.
Thida Spean Neak Restaurant
St. 60m, west of Spean Neak about 200m
Sangkat Slor Kram
Siem Reap City
(near Khmer Cuisine Bed & Breakfast)
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)
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)
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
Opposite of Angkor Wat
Trapeang Ses Village
Sangkat Kork Chak
Siem Reap City
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!
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!