The classic Angkor tour
Siem Reap Travel Blog› entry 18 of 22 › view all entries
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.
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 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.
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!