Siem Reap Travel Blog› entry 12 of 17 › view all entries
At , I was already wide awake, all dressed up and ready for my Angkor Wat exploration; then came the knock from my door, telling me that my tuk tuk driver had arrived.
So there I was, on our way to one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites, all alone with my tuk tuk driver. Yeah, I was scared. What have I gotten myself into?! It was still dark and I’m all by myself, anything can happen. The morning chill added to my apprehensions.
The sight of the entrance was a great relief.
Paid USD20 and the staff gave me a day’s pass with my picture on it.
I headed straight for the most impressive of all temples -- the Angkor Wat -- to catch the famous sunrise. When I got there, hundreds of tourists had already crowded. This did not stop me from appreciating this remarkable temple. It's just breathtaking, up close and from afar. I looked for a spot where I could sit down, sip my coffee and wait for the sunrise. Then as the sun rose slowly, I began clicking.
Moving on, I went inside the Angkor Wat and was stunned by the fine carvings of Apsaras and other Hindu myth scenes. Going inside made me appreciate the magnificence of the temple. At this time, I was going crazy with my camera, trying the capture that 'Kodak' moment. After spending USD5 for incense sticks in exchange of the staff taking my pictures, I left the temple.
It was already when I left Angkor Wat so I grabbed some sandwich along the way before proceeding to Angkor Thom, with a quick camwhoring at the impressive
From a distance, I saw some pile of stones, but as we were nearing the temple, the famous huge smiling faces started to appear and I was so excited as we’re near the Bayon. At last, I would be seeing it up close. I got off the tuk tuk, after agreeing with the driver where to meet, and entered this complex of face towers.
Moving to the next temple, the Baphoun, I was flocked by kids selling all sorts of souvenirs, thus, the serenity that I felt after seeing the Bayon faces was gone.
The Baphoun is another huge temple-mountain. I did not spend much time there since most of the area is not open to the public as it is undergoing extensive restoration, and there was this local guy who approached me and began telling me sorts of facts about the temple. I knew that this was again another scam so I decided to leave. I’m not going to spend another dollar for some trivia that I was already reading at a guide book that I had with me.
Next to the Baphoun is the Phimeanakas that looked like a pyramid, which I did not find interesting and again, there was an ongoing restoration going on, so I proceeded to the Terrace of the Elephants, which is a long stretch (that looked like forever) of carvings. The end of it is the Terrace of the Leper King with its demon-like carvings.
I skipped the other small temples within the Angkor Thom and decided to hop in on my tuk tuk.
Next to the Angkor Thom is the Ta Keo. I just spent a brief visit to the temple as it lacked carvings, and so, it was not really worth the climb up.
Next stop, the Tomb Raider locations, Ta Prohm -- the top of my list. They say that it remains in the same condition as when it was found. And they succeeded because there was still a jungle atmosphere in it as the trees swallowed the temple. It was like Tomb Raider meets Indiana Jones. It was actually scary, like anytime the temple might collapse, but at the same time, it was also charming, seeing how Mother Nature takes back her space. Again, I was going camera crazy, taking millions of photos. I must have spent a few hours in there because of a number of tree-in-temple & Angelina Jolie-like photo opportunities.
It was lunch time when I got out of the temple so I took just a light lunch outside the small restaurants outside. After my experience with Ta Prohm, I just could go back to my hotel and take a rest but there was still one temple to check out -- the pink temple of Banteay Srey.
Banteay Srey was far from the
After experiencing temple overload, I decided to call it a day.
My trip back to the hotel was relaxing due to the afternoon gentle wind, making me drowsy. On the other hand, I can’t keep my eyes off the scenery that we passed by, like the lake at
It was when I got back and I was starving. This time, I decided to try a Khmer specialty -- Amok -- a fish curry in coconut with peanut and cashew sauce. It was delicious!
Later that night, I checked out the Old Market, but the stalls were closing down already so I headed to Angkor Night Market.
After a nice stroll, I headed for dinner and decided to try their “special” pizza. I found this lovely restaurant called Happy Special Pizza. Hmmmm, nothing really “special” there. After savoring their local dish, I went to the Pub Street, checked out the stalls along the street for a few pasalubongs, and grabbed a bottle.
Since the hotel that I checked in was a bit far from the Old Market area, I decided to get back, afraid of ending up at someone else’s room. :D