Angkor Wat et al

Siem Reap Travel Blog

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ANDREI - Just arrived in Siem Reap after a 12 hour bus ride from Ho Chi Minh City.  Relatively painless.  The roads weren't as bad as we'd feared and the people so far seem the friendliest in SE Asia!  One mildly annoying thing we've discovered so far is that (in the big settlements, at least) they mainly use US dollars, but will also charge for certain items in Riels (like drinks at street food stalls).  So we're starting to build up 2 lots of currency.

KERRY - our main reason for visiting Siem Reap was of course to see the temples that make up the Angkor Wat complex. We spent our first day getting quotes for a guide and tuk-tuk and settled on a price with our driver for $35 which was to take us to Angkor Wat that afternoon to see sunset and get our ticket for the next 2 days. (If you buy your ticket after 4:30 the day before the 3 days starts then you get to see a sunset for free!). Unfortunately it was raining so the sun set did not really exist! We also opted to get a guide fort eh 2 days for $55 which included one sunrise.

On arrival at the ticket office for the temples, it was all very organised. We opted for the 3 day pass for $40, even though we would only use 2 days (1 day was $20 anyway) and had our photo taken to be shown on our ticket. Then it was off to take in the amazing sight of Angkor Wat iiself. Walking along the bridge that leads to the temple you realise how huge and amazing it is - and is so well preserved! We had a wander around for about an hour and took some photos, but left around 6pm when they started to clear us off (It actually closes at 5:30pm).

ANDREI - We returned at 5:30am the next day to explore in more detail with our young guide, Sarphong.  We weren't feeling too good as we had changed guesthouses (the first, the River Star was a tad depressing inside) and had not noticed the club next door, which kept going pretty much until we met our tuk-tuk at 5am!

Thankfully, our guide was excellent and added real value to our 2 day trip.  At 26 years old, he had only been a guide for a year or two but was well versed in the history of the Khmer people, the changes of religion (back and forth between Hinduism and Buddhism, reflected in the architecture of the different temples, and other buildings), the religions themselves, and much more.  He was also earningmoney to put his next 2 brothers through university (Medicine and Engineering, respectively)!  We noticed many other independent travellers wandering around with no guide and I can imagine how empty a visit to this kind of place can be without being well read - I've thought that at a number of other (albeit smaller) historical sites we've been to.  A guide is vital togetting the most out of the more important ones, in our opinion.

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Siem Reap
photo by: genetravelling