ANCIENT CITY, BEHOLD!
Siem Reap Travel Blog› entry 3 of 5 › view all entries
Left hotel at 7am on the tuk-tuk with our pilot, Mr. Bean. Bought 1 day pass to the temple at USD20 per person.
1st stop : BANTREAY SREI (almost an hour journey). Said to have the best carvings still intact. It was beautiful, however it was sad to see a few statues missing their heads, or a huge chunk of their upper bodies. Stolen to be sold. They've imposed a 'no touching' policy to preserve the ancient ruins but they can't post guards everywhere, so you'd see some lots of tourists breaking the rule.
2nd stop : TA PHROM. I'm instantly reminded of Tomb Raider, the movie. This place is like a fairy land, it's beautiful. The old trees have taken over the stone structures, the roots digging into them. Magnificent! My mind started playing its own movie.
3rd stop : ANGKOR THOM (Temple of the Leper Kings / Temple of the Elephants / Baphoun / Bayon). Huge... huge... I can't imagine how it must've been like way back then. The carvings were magnificent! The Bayon with its many heads, all identical, they are an architectural marvels. I wonder if they have mass production back then?
4th stop : ANGKOR WAT. another huge, grand temple. Seen so much of it on TV but nothing prepared me for its granduer. However, I think Angkor Wat is slightly overrated, I think the other temples were equally amazing! I don't have a favourite, each was equally unique in its own way.
There are of course sooooo many other 'wats'. A 3 day pass would probably be appropriate to see them all. Just this 4 temples took me a whole day.
In the end, I paid Mr. Bean USD25 for his pleasant service. BUT at USD25, one can rent a car for a whole day with driver, highly recommended as it is extremely dusty. Cheaper alternative : rent motor bike with/without guide.
Oh yeah, a lot has been said about the children beggars. You'd need to have a heart of steel. If you can ignore them, just smile and don't give money especially if you've just arrived. If you do, you'll be surrounded by many more children appearing out of nowhere. They'd follow for awhile, but once they realised they can't get anything out of you, they'd leave you and head on to the next tourist. No need to be rude, they're just trying their luck :)