There's a Wat to see in Siem Reap.
Siem Reap Travel Blog› entry 81 of 251 › view all entries
May 27th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
We decided to use the services of a guide so that we would know what the heck we were looking at. The cost for a daylong tour was $25 for the guide, and $20 for the car and driver, plus a $20 entrance fee.
We left at 8am, and it was already searing hot out. In the car, our guide, Prom, gave us a quick primer on Cambodian history (itâs deep, complex, and recently pretty awful). Prom spoke English very well, but had an odd Cambodian/Australian accent. (He said he picked up the Aussie inflection from tourists.
Our first stop (also my favorite stop) was Ta Prohm. Built in 1186-1187, it was overtaken by jungle and the result is quite stunning. Huge trees are growing on roofs, gripping walls, and have generally taken the place over. Itâs magical, picturesque and looks like a movie set. Oh wait, it has been a movie set! The area where Angelina Jolie filmed a scene for Tomb Raider is roped off to visitors. You can look, but no touching.
We got back to the car and the driver had chilled towels and more water for us. Nice! From there we went to the grandaddy of the area, Angkor Wat. Oh myâŚ itâs huge. Whereas Ta Prohm was tumbling down, Angkor Wat is remarkably well preserved. That is because it was intermittently occupied and used by Buddhist monks over the years, who kept things up somewhat.
More cool towels were waiting for us, then it was finally time for lunch. We ate at a restaurant within the areaâŚexpensive, and none too clean. Plus, at $20 including tip, it was pretty expensive by SE Asia standards. It wasnât that good, and I wished we had packed our own.
Next on the list was Angkor Thom, a whole city, really. It was surrounded by a moat and accessible through an impressive gate. There were several things to see inside.
The Elephant Terrace was next. This was kind of a platform for the king, who sat there and watched entertainment on the field in front. The terrace is carved with elephant depictions, hence its name.
Our guide suggested we go back to the hotel at this point, but we had paid for a full day and it wasnât yet 2:00! From there, I kind of had to prod him to carry on, and we ended up at Phnom Bakhang, the oldest structure in the Angkor complex, built in the 9th century.
I had really wanted to stay for sunset, but our guide let it be known that our tour was over. I was tired and hot, but I still wanted to keep going, but it seemed to not be an option. We were driven back to the hotel, where we relaxed by âourâ pool and I researched ongoing travel. In the evening we went into town and had an OK dinner at Original Khmer Food Restaurant. Once the sun went down the temperature was more bearable, so we wandered around a bit, but found there really isnât that much to do in Siem Reap.
Tomorrow we will go to the Land Mine Museum, then we are off to our next destination, which has recently changed: we are going back to Thailand, to spend a couple of days in Bangkok. Then, on to India and the Himalayas!
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!