The classic Angkor tour

Siem Reap Travel Blog

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Angkor Thom; Bayon faces

The Angkor complex is a MUST SEE. It's one of the top highlights in world heritage. Unbelievable that it wasn't elected as one of the seven today's world wonders.

It's hard to imagine that 1,000 years ago this was the biggest city on earth. On the other hand, the situation of the complex is vaste with many different locations of settlements. Houses and palaces were built with wood, temples were constructed with stone/brick. Hence, you'll only find the remainders of temples, some almost teared down and disappeared, others still gloriously standing and showing there astonishing forms.

Most famous and often (mis-)used as the name for the entire complex is the temple of Angkor Wat. Indeed, this is one of the mayor sights of the complex, but in my opinion not the most interesting pearl.

Angkor Thom south gate
It's a good start for the first visit of the complex, not recommended though. Angkor Wat can better be seen in the afternoon, when the sun is in the west and the sun rays light the west entrance of Angkor Wat and its five typical Cham towers with beautiful colours.

So we started with Angkor Thom. Coming from the village of Siem Reap, you pass Angkor Wat on the west side and enter Angkor Thom at the south gate. Wow, what an entrance: the bridge with the snakes and the statues and the gate with thte huge faces came right out of a fairy tale! After this first impression you enter through the gate and follow the main road. Soon you see the Bayon temple. Words cannot describe what your eyes see.

Angkor Thom Elephant's terrace
A jungle of big faces formed by gray/black stones with every time different perspectives. This is great!

Angkor Thom must have been the biggest town in the Angkor complex. Nowadays it still has a lot to offer. Don't miss the Elephant Terrace before leaving it at the east gate. By the way, the east gate looks  like the south gate, but is not so crowded. Better for pictures! The road through the east gate leads to Ta Phrom, passing a few minor sights like Ta Keo.

Fans of Lara Croft and Tomb Raiders have a deja vu while visiting Ta Prohm. When the Angkor complex was"rediscovered" the man made constructions were reclaimed by the jungle. It was decided not to change this situation too much for Ta Phrom.

Ta Phrom
 When you're walking through the ruined town of Ta Prohm between piles of stones, you see the trees strangling  the ruined buildings with their roots. A surrealistic picture!The temple-monastery features a set of concentric galleries with corner towers and gopuras, but with many other additional buildings and enclosures. The complexity of its lay out is increased by its partly collapsed and overgrown state. 

Before visiting Angkor Wat, we took the opportunity to have a view from the air. Close to the west entrance of Angkor Wat you can get airborn with a hot air balloon. This balloon is hooked on a long cable, so you know were the end of the flight is. The maximum altitude is 180 meters and the flight lasts about 10 minutes. From above you have a beautiful view on Angkor Wat and the surrounding landscape. The price for a flight is USD 15, so try it!

Angkor Wat; everybody has seen the extraordinary pictures of this world's largest religious monument. It's an architectural masterpiece in fine proportions and rich in detail. Walls are covered with narrative basreliefs.

The Angkor Wat "city" is entered on the west side by crossing the causeway over the moat. You can spend the entire afternoon wandering around. There's so much to see and discover!

Vanessa_Mun_Yee says:
I miss Seam Reap! The temple, the people but definitely not the heat!
Posted on: Dec 30, 2009
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Angkor Thom; Bayon faces
Angkor Thom; Bayon faces
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom Elephants terrace
Angkor Thom Elephant's terrace
Ta Phrom
Ta Phrom
To the temples
To the temples
The proper way to move around
The proper way to move around
Angkor balloon
Angkor balloon
Angkor balloon
Angkor balloon
Angkor balloon
Angkor balloon
Angkor balloon
Angkor balloon
Angkor balloon
Angkor balloon
Angkor balloon
Angkor balloon
Angkor balloon view
Angkor balloon view
Angkor balloon view
Angkor balloon view
Angkor balloon view
Angkor balloon view
Angkor balloon view
Angkor balloon view
Baphuon from balloon
Baphuon from balloon
Angkor Wat from balloon
Angkor Wat from balloon
Angkor Wat from balloon
Angkor Wat from balloon
Angkor Wat from balloon
Angkor Wat from balloon
Angkor Wat from balloon
Angkor Wat from balloon
Angkor Wat from balloon
Angkor Wat from balloon
Angkor Wat from balloon
Angkor Wat from balloon
Angkor Wat from balloon
Angkor Wat from balloon
Balloon from Angkor Wat
Balloon from Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat moat west entrance
Angkor Wat moat west entrance
Angkor Wat moat west entrance
Angkor Wat moat west entrance
Angkor Wat moat west entrance
Angkor Wat moat west entrance
Angkor Wat moat west entrance
Angkor Wat moat west entrance
Angkor Wat moat west entrance
Angkor Wat moat west entrance
Angkor Wat moat west entrance
Angkor Wat moat west entrance
Angkor Wat moat west entrance
Angkor Wat moat west entrance
Angkor Wat west entrance
Angkor Wat west entrance
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Angkor Wat east entrance
Angkor Wat east entrance
Angkor Wat eastern gate
Angkor Wat eastern gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Angkor Thom south gate
Bayon
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Bapuon
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Phimeanakas
Phimeanakas
Elephant Terrace
Elephant Terrace
Elephant Terrace
Elephant Terrace
Elephant Terrace
Elephant Terrace
Elephant Terrace
Elephant Terrace
Elephant Terrace
Elephant Terrace
Leper King Terrace
Leper King Terrace
Leper King Terrace
Leper King Terrace
Leper King Terrace
Leper King Terrace
Suor Prat Towers
Suor Prat Towers
Suor Prat Towers
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Suor Prat Towers
Ta Keo
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Ta Prohm
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Ta Prohm east gate
Ta Prohm east gate
Siem Reap
photo by: genetravelling