Temple Run at Angkor Wat

Travel Blog by J
Feb 10-14, 2013

Among the items in my Bucket List are to see Machu Picchu  in Peru, Borobudur in Indonesia and the Angkor Wat  in Siem Reap.  I am fascinated by temples and old civilizations, interested in the stories behind the structures and symbols etched in stone.  This year, I was lucky to tick one item off my BL: Angkor Wat!

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Booked 5 days in Siem Reap and stayed at the lovely Siddharta Boutique Hotel, just a few minutes away from the Angkor Wat Complex.

I have heard some people say that by the end of one's stay in Siem Reap, one would have been "templed out."  While that is true (I won't deny it), it is still worthwhile to see all the temples that you could for the duration of your stay for each temple is unique.

Here's what we did in 5 days

Day 01:  Evening arrival in Siem Reap.

Day 02:  Banteay Srei, Banteay Samre, lakeside lunch, Banteay Kdei, Ta Phrom (site of the movie, "Tomb Raider"), Ta Keo, Phnom Bakheng

Banteay Srei has the most intricate stone carvings.

Banteay Samre

Ta Phrom's characteristic overgrowth of roots made famous in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider"

Day 03:  Sunrise at Angkor Wat (a definite must-see), explored Angkor Wat after breakfast, South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple, Bauphon, Terrace of the Elephants and Leper King.  Pub Street at night.

Angkor Wat

South Gate of Angkor Thom

Bayon Temple

Pub Street very alive at night with its many bars, restaurants, spas and shops.

Day 04:  Preah Khan, Angkor National Museum, Artisans D' Angkor, Spice Shop

Preah Khan

At Artisans D' Ankor: ladies doing some intricate lacquer work
Day 05:  Depart for Manila

Some  travel tips when going to Siem Reap:

* The best time to go would be from December to January when the weather is cool.  February was still okay, but dry and quite dusty.

* Pack an umbrella, a hat and a bandana to protect yourself from the sun and dust.  Some roads that lead to the temples are unpaved.

* Keep yourself hydrated.  Wear comfortable walking shoes.

* You must purchase an Angkor Pass to visit the temples.  Passes are sold in one-day (US$20), 3-day (US$40), and 7-day (US$60) blocks that must be used on consecutive days.  Your photo is taken on the spot at the time of purchase.  You must keep this pass with you at all times as you will need to present them upon entry to the major temples.

At the time we were there, the 3-day pass we purchased was actually valid for 7-days.  I am not sure if it was some kind of promotion.

* Hire a knowledgeable tour guide.  As of 2013, the services of an English-speaking tour guide runs at US$25 per day.  You can appreciate the temples more when the history is explained to you. With the vastness of the temple complex, having a guide will also save you time in navigating your way through the sites.  If you wish to be accompanied by your guide to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat, you need to pay an additional $5.00.

* Hiring a tuk-tuk is a cheap way to explore the temples.  As of 2013, the tuk-tuk service is US$15 per day.  Give your driver a tip if you are especially pleased with his service.  It will be much appreciated.

* Treat yourself to a traditional Khmer massage after a long day at the temples.  There are many massage salons in the city (or maybe one at your hotel) that offer these at reasonable prices.

Enjoy your trip! :)