Siem Reap: The Gatekeeper Of The Hidden Jewels!

Full View!

Full View!

The moment I landed in Phnom Penh, I hopped onto a bike that cost only USD 3 to go downtown, before I took another 7 hours bus-ride to Siem Reap. Traveling with a local transport-rider is a much easier way to dodge the congested traffic. Well, most of the riders here do not usually have extra helmet for the passenger. So, I could only hold tight onto his shoulders and pray for blessing.

Amazing Grace!

Amazing Grace!

Many flocked to Cambodia with the intention to visit the majestic Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. I was one of them! Siem Reap is a small city surrounded by all the activities centered in the busy district of the Old Market. It’s excellent for a solo trip of 4 days 3 nights. Despite the local traditional activities taking place along the small shophouses next to the river, a strong French influence is apparent. In my opinion, Siem Reap has reinvented itself into a fast-growing tourism industry with its upscale guesthouses, luxury spa and world-class dining experience.

Angkor Wat From Outside!

Angkor Wat From Outside!

The night market around the “Pub Street” is something that I will remember for a long time. I can easily brand it as one of the best in Asia. Spending 3 hours seem too short to end the night with my considerably long to-do-list in Siem Reap

The Sun is Up!

The Sun is Up!

There are lots of temples to explore in Siem Reap. There are 3 temples I would recommend as must-visit if you have time. But honestly, all the temples look the same after a while. For some, the excitement might die down by the end of the excursion. To avoid that, it is essential to read the history to appreciate the hidden beauty behind each temple.

The Girl in The Temple!

The Girl in The Temple!

1. Angkor Wat
Like what they say, this is the mother of all temples in Siem Reap. I couldn’t agree more. It can be beautifully captured during sunset or sunrise, and the sculptures on the wall seem to have many stories to tell. Keep your camera well charged before Angkor Wat to avoid disappointment.

Early Morning in Angkor Wat!

Early Morning in Angkor Wat!

2. Bayon
A 3-level temple with 216 smiling Avalokiteshvara makes this site a class of its own. Far different architecture style from Angkor Wat, I can easily spend 2 hours photographing along the small alleys and steep staircases.

Bayon Temple!

Bayon Temple!

3. Ta Prohm
Ta Prohm appeal has invited Angelina Jolie to Cambodia for the filming of Lara Croft. This temple is literally swallowed by the forest with big roots surrounding the ruins. It makes Ta Prohm one of the most exotic temples in Siem Reap! Watch out for the iconic Tomb Raider tree in the middle of the temple!

Where is Tomb Raider?

Where is Tomb Raider?

Below are the guidelines to help you plan your Siem Reap trip:

1 liter of water: USD 05 – USD 1.5
1 night in a guesthouse: USD 4 – USD 20
1 day of “Tuk Tuk” (local three wheeler) ride: USD 12 – USD 15
1 day of taxi ride: ESD 20 – USD 25
1 day of bicycle: USD 1 – USD 3
1 decent lunch/dinner: USD 4 – USD 15
1 bus ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (app 6 to 7 hours): USD 7 – USD 13
1 hour foot massage: USD 1
1 hour fish spa: USD 1

Side View of Angkor Wat!

Side View of Angkor Wat!

I was in Siem Reap on April and the heat was just brutal. Bring lots of water and a bottle of sun block; you will be so thankful that these items have been invented. American dollars is widely used in Cambodia, it’s best to keep some small notes in your pocket. Lastly, travel safe and have fun!

After Morning Prayer!

After Morning Prayer!

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7 thoughts on “Siem Reap: The Gatekeeper Of The Hidden Jewels!

  1. Was it hazy when you went? Because from your pictures it seems it was. Anyway, I will never forget my amazement upon visiting Bayon very early in the morning when there was only less than five other visitors at the temple. Truly breathtaking!

  2. Pingback: Top 15 Moments of TravelWithoutBorders in 2013! |

  3. Hi Alex, LOL imagining you’re in Cambodia in the April heat! Well, it’s the hottest time. But you’re not alone, been there in April 2011! Around 40C!
    Anyway, I am a lover of Angkor temples, been in most of it in the area and I remember each name hahaha.., and the remote temples: Koh Ker, Beng Mealea and Preah Vihear as well. And got the amazing sunset at Preah Vihear although Cambodian army was around 😀 I recommend one beautiful pink temple 25kms from Angkor, the Banteay Srei!

  4. Cambodia is definitely on my list, of countries I want to see, but haven’t had the chance to travel to yet! Great blog you have! Beautiful pictures! Looking forward to see more!

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