Angkor Wat, Siem Reap – former wonder of the world
Visiting Cambodia’s second largest city
“The Cambodian people are marking two decades of peace and wasting no time in celebrating and sharing their culture. It is this spirit that leaves an indelible imprint on the soul”. This quote really resonated with my Mum and I when travelling Cambodia in January 2019. At the time of writing, my Uncle came to Chiang Mai and subsequently visited Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. Therefore, I could offer him some insight as he had never been to Cambodia.
Day 1: First Impressions of Siem Reap
Arriving at the modern looking airport, we passed immigration swiftly with our prepaid E-Visas. We could have been forgiven for thinking that the country was developing as quickly as Thailand. Yet as we observed the city suburbs from our Grab taxi, we were struck by the comparably under developed infrastructure. We stayed at Palm Garden Lodge which was a basic yet endearing hostel just outside the city centre. At night we discovered ‘pub street’, heavily frequented by tourists, and several night markets including Siem Reap Art Center. Sampling local cuisine and Angkor Beer, the atmosphere was vibrant and welcoming with many interesting places to explore. We organised an Angkor Wat through the hostel for the following morning. The tour would give us a very friendly Tuk Tuk driver and guide.
Day 2: Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat’s spectacular nature, history and size is hard to put into words. The time it must have taken to construct the temples, when technology was far inferior, is hard to fathom. No surprise Angkor Wat is a former wonder of the world. Likewise, the fact that the complex spans a 40km radius is pretty mind blowing. The experience was fantastic; we witnessed the pagodas, stupas and famous gateway approach of Angkor Wat. In addition, we visited Ta Prohm, Bayon, Angkor Thom, Preah Ngok and other major temples. We opted for the one day tour, which I highly recommed, due to time constraints. However, you can choose a three day tour for more extensive exploration of the site. Once returning to the city, our day concluded with dinner at the market along the river.
Day 3: Temple visits
Our final hours were spent at Wat Damnak, Wat Preah Prom Rath and Wat Bo. The temples were some of the most ornate and enlightening I had witnessed to date. Moreover, the temples act as schools, an invaluable part of the education for young Cambodians. Reflecting on the trip, I realise that there is a staggering amount of history in Cambodia, much of which is heartbreaking. I feel particularly blessed to have been able to visit in the modern time. From Siem Reap we flew to Hanoi for the next leg of our trip.
[…] Siem Reap for two nights #5 CAMBODIA […]
[…] This huge stone sanctuary located on a mound was founded in the thirteenth century by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII, the ruler who constructed many of Angkor Wat’s most acclaimed temples and palaces. Like the majority of the shrines at Angkor Wat, (Phra) Prang Sam Yod was originally a Hindu temple before being converted to a Buddhist temple, with a brick viharn and some beautiful Buddha statues added, when the nearby kingdom of Ayutthaya rose to power. The compound comprises of three prangs (towers) linked by corridors. The monkeys love to climb on the statues and exterior structures of the temple compound, as well as power lines, overhead cabling and perches in the surround. You can read my experiences at Angkor Wat, Cambodia here. […]
[…] month of travel with my Mum in January 2019 started with a brief stay in Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia and then a week in Vietnam. Vietnam was somewhere my Mum had always wanted to visit. We focused on […]
[…] In January 2019 I collected documentation from the University before commencing a period of travel Cambodia and Vietnam, and then returning to the U.K. to submit this at the Royal Thai embassy in London. The […]
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