For such a small country, Cambodia has emerged as one of the biggest travel draw-cards of South East Asia, namely due to Angkor Wat – the seventh wonder of the world. Unfortunately, we only had four days in Cambodia, which meant Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and a few country towns approximately one hour out of town was all we got to see. Either way, we had an amazing time and yes! this place lives up to all the hype.
We started at 4.30am on morning one – to catch the sun rise over the 900 year old Angkor Wat.
Tip #1: As you walk up the path of Angkor Wat you will notice everyone setting up their cameras infront of the left lake. We went to the right… no one else was there, until 5.30am when a few other travellers caught onto the fact (they could now see us) that there was a lake to the right too.
Tip #2: Bring a picnic blanket and some food or do what we did, and ask your hotel to arrange a breakfast basket.
Tip #3: Bring tropical grade mozzie spray – a must! Those blood suckers get under your clothes.
Tip #4: Knees and shoulders should not be exposed. If you plan to climb up the Angkor Wat tower, they will not let you up even if you have a shawl covering your shoulders.
Start by entering on the right hand side to avoid the crowds. This is your best chance to get photo’s without anyone else in them…
Next we moved onto the stunning (and probably my favourite of temples) Prah Khan to avoid the bus load of groups who go to Bayon (temple of smiling faces) directly after sunrise at Angkor. Oh and yes the above child was walking her pet frog!
Ta Prohm was next on our list, which was made famous by Angelina’s Tomb Raider movie. This place is a maze of paths and walkways in amongst Banyan trees & roots.
Bayon (the west entry) and on the roof of the temple the smiling faces…
Banteay Srey is approximately 45 minutes out of town, but is definitely worth the visit. Its rustic red/pink temples and pathways set it apart from the rest…
Siem Reap in a splash of colour. Your average tuk tuk driver will charge $1 US dollar per person (short distances). There are a myriad of markets, art centres etc selling silk, woven baskets & bags, woodwork, stone etc (be sure to bargain). The night life in and around pub street is fun…drinks are super cheap!
- A visa is required – you can do it at the airport or online prior (allow a few days for processing). Passport photo required.
- US currency is king.
- You’ll need to buy a temple pass (your driver will take you here first) One day pass – $20, 3 day pass – $40.
- Getting around is easy and cheap: tuk tuks cost about $15 – 20 US dollars for the day, a car approx $40 US.
- The big four temples that are considered a must include: Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Prohm & Banteay Srey.
- If you can… include: Preah Khan and Sras Srang (Royal Bath) and directly opposite Banteay Kdei. All are within 5 minutes of the big four.
- There are so many temples, don’t try and do them all – you can and will get templed out!
- Wear comfortable shoes and book a massage (so cheap) for the end of the day.
Cambodia has firmly cemented itself as one of my favourite destinations in SE Asia …not only because of its history (good & bad) but because of its people (the children are crazy cute!) the food (Must try local dish is Fish Amok), the relaxed nature of this place, Oh and the added bonus of it being so cheap!
In case your wondering what I’m wearing: Cotton on Shirt, Hat unkown, Forever 21 singlet, Witchery Pants, Coach Sneakers, DVF bag, D&G sunnies.