Angkor Temples - The small circuit

Siem Reap Travel Blog

 › entry 98 of 658 › view all entries
Elephants passing through the South Gate of Angkor Thom

People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia), Jim (England)

We found a really lovely hotel in Siem Reap with air conditioning, hot shower and nice owner for only $8.75 a night, which was relative luxury after some of the other places we had inhabited! Next step was to sort our laundry and then hire a tuk tuk driver for the next 3 days. All of this accomplished and we were ready to explore the amazing Angkor ruins.

We had met up with Jim again to do the 3 day excursion and on the first day we did the popular small circuit, which i had done on my last visit to Cambodia.

Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
I was slightly sceptical whether i would enjoy myself as much this time, as nothing would come as a huge shock. Thankfully this doubt was laid to rest the second Angkor Wat came into view. We skirted around its huge moat, but saved the complex itself for later in the day. The first place we actually stopped at was the complex of Angkor Thom

We entered Angkor Thom through the impressive South Gate, which is lined with huge faces carved from rock. Once into the complex, we were greeted by a number of monkeys, swimming in some shallow water, which came as an added, unexpected bonus. The first temple you come across is Bayon, famous for the 216 massive faces of Avalokiteshvara, constantly watching your every move! Other than the more obvious large carvings, staring down at you, are the other 11,000 carved figures throughout the temple.

Ta Prohm Temple
We spent over an hour looking around and after arriving at a busy time of day, it was great to leave when there were just a scattering of tourists still pottering around.

After Bayon we walked to the nearby Baphuon temple, which was undergoing massive reconstruction due to various collapses over the years. The temple was originally a pyramid and it should look pretty imposing if its ever restored to its former glory. Another short walk and we reached Phimeanakas, where we clambered to the top of the extremely steep staircase. Although not as famous as the other temples in Angkor Thom, it holds its own in design and serenity. We walked back to our starting point near Bayon, passing both the Terrace of the Leper King and the Terrace of Elephants, both with intricately carved depictions from the period.

Angkor Wat

We were pleased to escape the sun and jumped in the tuk tuk to be whisked around to Ta Keo, a massive pyramid, made from stone that had been transported from 70km away by elephant. The views from the top were lovely, even if the climb wasn't one for someone with vertigo.

Next on our list was the fascinating complex of Ta Prohm. Unlike any of the other temples, many of the trees that had been growing for hundreds of years at the site, had been left to run riot. We walked in and out of decrepit ruins, finding it not too hard to believe that Tomb Raider had been filmed here. After more than an hour, we bode a fond farewell and went to see what is arguably the jewel in the Angkor crown, Angkor Wat.

The temple is accessed across a moat and as you approach the outer wall it is hard to grasp the true magnitude of the site, as the distances are so great.

Monkey at Angkor Wat
Once through the front gateway, the 5 tall spires become prominent, with the central depicting Mount Meru - the centre of the universe - and the others representing surrounding continents. At the base of the temple, the carvings are extremely intricate and represent events such as the Churning of the Ocean of the Milk, as the demons fought the gods for immortality. In the centre, we climbed the steep towers, for amazing panoramic views and wondered who could dream up such a place, so long ago. As the sun began to set on an amazing day, we headed down the main walkway and had a really great bonus. We were greeted by a loveable monkey, who seemed to be very photogenic, to round off a perfect day.

Deats says:
Thanks a lot :) I stayed in a place called Angkor Tep Guesthouse. For 5 nights, we paid $8.75 a night, for a double en-suite, air-con, it was a really great place. Its not in the guide books unfortunately, but i remember it was located at the end of a dead end street, quite near to all the other major backpacker hotels. Id recommend asking around for it as it was amazing value :)
Posted on: May 11, 2009
apsara says:
Beautiful pictures! going there in 3 weeks. what hotel did you stay at?
Posted on: May 10, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Elephants passing through the Sout…
Elephants passing through the Sou…
Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
Ta Prohm Temple
Ta Prohm Temple
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Monkey at Angkor Wat
Monkey at Angkor Wat
South Gate of Angkor Thom
South Gate of Angkor Thom
Me with the carved heads at the So…
Me with the carved heads at the S…
South Gate of Angkor Thom
South Gate of Angkor Thom
Monkeys in Angkor Thom
Monkeys in Angkor Thom
Monkeys in Angkor Thom
Monkeys in Angkor Thom
Me at Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
Me at Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
Julia at Bayon Temple in Angkor Th…
Julia at Bayon Temple in Angkor T…
Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
Carvings at Bayon Temple in Angkor…
Carvings at Bayon Temple in Angko…
Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
Carvings at Bayon Temple in Angkor…
Carvings at Bayon Temple in Angko…
Baphuon Temple at Angkor Thom
Baphuon Temple at Angkor Thom
Baphuon Temple at Angkor Thom
Baphuon Temple at Angkor Thom
Me climbing Phimeanakas Temple at …
Me climbing Phimeanakas Temple at…
Julia and I at the top of Phimeana…
Julia and I at the top of Phimean…
Phimeanakas Temple at Angkor Thom
Phimeanakas Temple at Angkor Thom
Me at Phimeanakas Temple at Angkor…
Me at Phimeanakas Temple at Angko…
Julia at the Terrace of the Leper …
Julia at the Terrace of the Leper…
Julia at the Terrace of Elephants …
Julia at the Terrace of Elephants…
Ta Keo Temple
Ta Keo Temple
Ta Keo Temple
Ta Keo Temple
Ta Keo Temple
Ta Keo Temple
Me at Ta Prohm Temple
Me at Ta Prohm Temple
Ta Prohm Temple
Ta Prohm Temple
Ta Prohm Temple
Ta Prohm Temple
Julia and I at Ta Prohm Temple
Julia and I at Ta Prohm Temple
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Me on the causeway leading to Angk…
Me on the causeway leading to Ang…
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Me at Angkor Wat
Me at Angkor Wat
The causeway leading to Angkor Wat
The causeway leading to Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
At the top of Angkor Wat
At the top of Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Carvings at Angkor Wat
Carvings at Angkor Wat
Carvings at Angkor Wat
Carvings at Angkor Wat
Steep climb to the summit of Angko…
Steep climb to the summit of Angk…
Carvings of The churning of the s…
Carvings of 'The churning of the …
Monkey at Angkor Wat
Monkey at Angkor Wat
Monkey at Angkor Wat
Monkey at Angkor Wat
Siem Reap
photo by: genetravelling