When we were planning our trip to Thailand, we came up with the most awesome plan we’ve ever had! What if we just take a plane to Cambodia and take the opportunity to visit one of the world’s most wonderful places? Angkor Wat. YES, perfect plan.
After a stay full of adventure in Chiang Mai, Thailand, it was time for some culture in Siem Reap, Cambodia. We took a plane to Bangkok and then another one to Siem Reap. As happy and friendly Thai people are, Cambodian people were truly the opposite. At the airport you were lucky if they didn’t throw your passport to your head…
Unfortunately, our first impression of Siem Reap wasn’t that wonderful… Our taxi driver couldn’t find the hotel because it changed its name, our drives was very pushy in selling tours to us, the water in the shower of the hotel was stone cold, … Not very amusing after a day of traveling. (P.s.: If you want to read our review about the hotel; click here.)
Despite the unfriendly people in Siem Reap and the bad first impression, the city has a lot to offer. The historical site of Angkor Wat is a very impressive place to see. This should be on everyone’s bucketlist! Angkor Wat stood very high on our to do list and it didn’t disappoint. We were a little bit scared that the mass tourism would ruin the site, but it really didn’t!!!
To get around, we rented a scooter for 2 days, so we were free to go where we wanted to go. Don’t make the mistake to take the bike, because it is freaking hot there and the distances are quite big too. Before going to the actual site where it all happens, you need to buy a ticket at the office, which is not at the entrance of the site. The tickets are $10 for 1 day, $62 for 3 days and $72 for a 7-day pass. Every time you enter the park, they stop you and you need to show your passes to the staff.
These are the most impressive temple’s we’ve seen:
- Angkor Wat: Obviously, this is the first temple you want to see there. It is big and it is pretty extraordinary. It is difficult to image that they were able to build such a massive place so long ago… Till the smallest detail, it is dazzling. Angkor Wat has 5 towers and you can climb up the biggest one. It gives you a great view of the surroundings. If you are into photography, this place is a dream. (TIP: Close to the temple you have this small food trucks. Picknick with a view on Angkor Wat… It can’t get any better, right?)
- Phnom Bakheng: If you want to see a beautiful sunset, you can go to Phnom Bakheng. Be aware that there will be a lot of other people there too. They only let 300 people up, so you have to be there early to get a spot in the temple. When we were there it got a little bit crazy, because a lot of tourist think they don’t have to wait in line, so they start arguing with the guards… But the view is gorgeous, so you should definitely go up there.
- Angkor Thom: After we spent a few hours at Angkor Wat, we went to Angkor Thom. This is the old capital city of Angkor (there lived almost 1 million people back then). The biggest and most important temple of that city is the Bayon temple.
- Bayon temple: This temple is known for the big stone Buddha faces. There used to be more then 50 towers, but now only 37 are left over. It is massive and the architecture is astounding. A big plus; there are fewer tourists here! (TIP: Try to make a picture there while kissing or hugging one of the Buddha faces at the top.)
- Wat Baphuon: Wat Baphuon is a pyramid temple in the center of Angkor Thom. The temple is surrounded by trees and beautiful nature. If you are lucky there will be some monkey beside you while visiting this ruin.
- Ta Prohm: This temple is known for the movie Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie. It is located in the jungle and the temple is largely unreconstructed. It is surrounded by huge trees and the big roots are growing through the walls. For us, this temple left us speechless by its beauty!
The site is about 400km2 big, so there is a lot more to see there. Our travelbuddy was really sick during our stay, therefore we did everything on a slower pace and couldn’t see that much.
Other temples you can visit there are:
- Banteay Kdei: This is a smaller temple and looks a bit like Preah Khan and Ta Prohm. There is not much history about this temple, because nobody really knows the story about it.
- Pre Rup: This is the miniature version of Angkor Wat.
- Banteay Srei: This temple is a little bit further away from the rest and it is also a bit smaller.
- Ta Keo: Another temple at the site of Angkor Thom, is Ta Keo. The special thing about Ta Keo is that it was never finished back in the days. It is build out of green sandstone; therefore, it looks a bit different than the other temples at Angkor Wat. You can climb the steep staircase and enjoy a stunning view.
Where to eat?
Because we are really tiered after a long day of traveling from Thailand to Siem Reap, we decided to go eat at a restaurant close to our hotel, called Grill Wine Café. This restaurant is soooo good that we eventually ate their every night of our stay. The food is international, but they also have typical Cambodian food. It is probably a bit more expensive than other restaurants in Siem Reap, but it was worth every penny! The staff is extremely friendly and funny. Definitely a MUST DO when you are there.
If you want to read more about our whole trip to Thailand/Cambodia, click here: Thailand & a piece of Cambodia in 21 days
Hope you enjoyed reading about our fantastic holiday. If you have any questions, please let us know, maybe we can help you!
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And many more stories will come… so stay tuned!
Inne & Gilles