Siem Reap is probably one of the most recommended places to visit in Asia for holidays where it’s full of histories and ancient architectures, Angkor Wat especially. I’ve been wanting to go for a long long time and to cut the grandfather story short, I finally did a 4d 3n visit. Here’s an entry about the trip
We touched down at about 2:30pm and head straight to our hotel (Apsara Centrepole Hotel) by TukTuk provided by the hotel itself. The journey took about 15-20 mins. First impression? Air quality. I had to cover my nose with a shirt the whole way. So if you have sensitive nose or asthma, you might wanna get a mask beforehand.
After we settled down, we head to the streets to check out what’s nice to buy. In other words, yes, we went shopping like how my mom would in a sale. Well the first and only thing that caught my attention was the $0.50 a mug beer. Everywhere I turned I saw “$0.50 cold beer”. I was in heaven.
This is my uncle, my travel buddy for this trip, his wife and kids are his priority so shopping for them was on top of his to-do-list, hence the pink tank top (is that what you call it?). Clothes are pretty cheap. 3 pairs of t-shirt for $5, or 2 pairs of alibaba pants for $5. The down side to this is that every single shop/store sells the same stuff, it’s just a matter of who can give a better discount. Some shops might even hit you with a high price of $7-$10 a piece so you got to bargain shamelessly with them. Also be nice when bargaining, these people don’t earn must to begin with so there’s really no harm just paying a little more than what you desire.
They have all sort of things that I might not wanna put in my check-in baggage, like that weird looking dried meat or anything form the wet market. But it’s a nice place to check out. (I’ve attached a map that shows where this is)
On day 2, we decided to cycle around the Angkor area. This is the bike we rented which cost us $4/day. Our plan was to start cycling at 4:00am to catch the sunrise so you might want to rent the bike a day before because most bike rental shops open at 7:00am.
When it comes to sunrise, Angkor Wat would be the typical spot for a beautiful view so to Angkor Wat we went. Started our journey at 4:00am through a long dark road and it took us about an hour to get there. Torch light would have been useful.
Midway through our cycle, we were required to stop at the ticketing booth to buy our day pass. You will need to hold on to this pass throughout because it’s the ticket to enter these historic places. A day pass cost $20.
To be honest, the sunrise were pretty disappointing. The spot of the supposedly ‘best view’ was pretty much filled with people. Not print worthy I must say, unless you don’t mind having a swamp of people in your photos. It was hazy that morning too so we decided to ditch sunrise watching and started walking around the compound.
Typically if you go on a tour, they would travel clockwise (to Angkor Thom at the top left of this map), but we wanted to avoid the crowd so we went the opposite direction.
This is Srah Srang, our 2nd stop. For some strange reason, the sun rose pretty slow that morning so we still managed to catch this sunrise. The best part? NO ONE was there. Set whatever tripod you want. They have some stalls just a few meters from where this picture was taken and this young lady was probably taking some water to be used for cooking or washing the dishes. I got curious so down I went. When I saw how disgusting that pond/lake was, all I thought of was “good luck to whoever that’s gonna dine there”. But…I could be wrong. Better flavoring maybe? Hmmm..
Ta Prohm was high in my uncle’s list to visit, this is where they filmed the Tomb Raider movie (apparently).
When we got there, we were told that bikes/bicycles are not allowed so we had to lock our bikes to a tree and walk for about 3 minutes before reaching this bridge.
Cross that bridge and you’ll see my uncle doing some 360degrees picture thingy…just kidding.
It was from this moment that I started realizing that a lot of their statues have no heads. I was too cheapskate to get a tour guide for explanation but I’m pretty sure I can find answers somewhere in google.
This little girl was helping her mom sell some handmade rainbow colored bracelets. They were priced at $5 each and as much as I would like to help, we could only afford to give this hungry girl our biscuits. I love biscuits..
Another interesting thing I found out from eavesdropping someone else’s tour guide is the statue’s face in between the roots.
Here’s more shots of the place before we move on to the next location. By the way there are food stalls outside (where the bridge was) too. We had our brunch there before continuing our journey.
We continued our journey and Ta Keo was a place we saw along the way that we decided to check out.
We’re not too sure where the main entrance was but I’m just gonna believe that this is the main entrance.
I don’t have a banana with me so here, my uncle for scale.
These steps are so steep that I wasn’t afraid of falling, I was more afraid of people falling on me.
Alright that’s enough of this knee weakening place.
5th destination, the biggest capital city of the Khmer empire, Angkor Thom.
We were so excited when we saw Victory Gate.
But when we got there…it was boring as fuhhhh.. honestly there’s nothing much to see. Some places were closed for renovation work.
So we left and had a short coconut water break. I know you can only see clothes but the coconut stall is behind. Not too sure why am I clarifying this but okay.
We headed back to Angkor Wat after the break to properly check out the place hoping there were not many people this time.
And we were right😉
This is the main temple (I think) but caps and hats are not allowed so you got to take them off before going up.
This is what it looks like going up and going down. They have a thing for steep steps.
This one got me laughing so hard. Why would you clean it halfway!? Now it looks naked.
We then headed back to our hotel, exhausted but satisfied. I would say I enjoyed Ta Porhm the most. It was peaceful to the point I could just stand on one spot and just enjoy my surroundings. Just in case you are curious, one coconut water cost $1.
to be continued…. (part 2)