Siem Reap, Cambodia: My Travel Tips

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I lately traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia. I’m excited to share all my experiences and journey suggestions with you right here so you’ll be able to plan your journey higher prematurely. In this text, I’ll share particulars on issues to do in Siem Reap, locations to eat, the resort the place I stayed, and normal Cambodia journey suggestions. I may even present data for planning your journey to Angkor Wat, a metropolis of temples, what the The Guinness World Records considers the largest religious structure in the world. You gained’t need to miss this. UNESCO says, “Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia”. And I can inform you it’s definitely well worth the journey over there!

None of the locations I point out have been supplied to me so as facilitate overview and I solely point out locations I loved and would suggest to others.

General Cambodia Travel Tips

At this level, you’re in all probability pondering one in every of two issues. 1. Why go to Cambodia? or 2. Is that the place Tomb Raider was filmed? The reply is sure, it’s the place Tomb Raider was filmed. That superb advanced of temples that have been constructed by the Khmer Empire between the ninth to the fifteenth century is purpose sufficient to go to Cambodia. This nation is positioned between Thailand and Vietnam and it has lots to supply in addition to the Angkor Archaeological Park. Krong Siem Reap (Krong means metropolis or city in Khmer) has a model new airport for simple entry, a lovely countryside, and a lot historical past to study. It additionally has loads of low cost and good locations to eat and drink. In truth, Pub Street in Siem Reap is legendary for locations to hang around, a energetic evening market, and plenty of avenue meals.

Is it secure to journey to Cambodia?

I felt extraordinarily secure whereas in Cambodia. I’d at all times suggest taking the traditional security precautions of staying to properly lit areas and having a buddy. People will solicit you to return take a look at their retailers or their meals or to take a tuk-tuk experience (auto rickshaw). However, I used to be pleasantly stunned how secure I felt and I used to be by no means approached in a means that made me uncomfortable. There have been at all times plenty of individuals energetic out and about. They additionally had good public parks the place familes have been at all times figuring out or hanging out.

Siem Reap Cambodia

How To Get A Cambodia Visa

The present price for a single-entry vacationer (T) visa for a keep in Cambodia of as much as 30 days is USD $36. This price covers the processing cost (USD $6) and as soon as authorised, is legitimate to be used inside 3 months. Go to evisa.gov.kh. This is the one official authorities e-visa portal for Cambodia. Be conscious that there are different web sites that falsely declare to supply this service. After your software has been processed and authorised (normally inside three enterprise days), obtain your e-visa from the web portal. Print out your e-visa, and current it on arrival in Cambodia.

Currency Tips

Here is one thing actually cool. Almost all of the retailers, motels, and eating places settle for US Dollars or the Cambodia Riel. If truth, in most locations the whole on the money register will give each choices! They try to maneuver away from the US Dollars although and as a part of that they may NOT settle for barely torn, ripped, or soiled {dollars}. So have new, crisp payments or they gained’t take them. For actual, no black ink alongside the sting, no wrinkled up previous payments. I recommend you come ready with new American money in plenty of small denominations. However, you’ll be able to at all times use an ATM to withdraw money (some will give you the $ possibility and a few will give you the Riel possibility) and bear in mind that your financial institution and that financial institution will in all probability cost you a price of as much as $5 every for every ATM withdrawal.

When to Visit Cambodia?

The local weather in Cambodia is scorching and humid year-round. There are formally two seasons in Cambodia – moist and dry. November via May is the dry season so it’s typically really helpful as one of the best time of 12 months to go. I went in late October and it was scorching with just one afternoon bathe whereas I used to be there.

tree by baphoun Angkor Siem Reap

I included the above shot so you’ll be able to see a number of the superb timber in Cambodia. That specific tree was behind the Baphoun Temple and people are historical sandstone blocks ready to be restored to the temple.

Siem Reap Travel Tips

Visiting Asia is an unforgettable expertise and every nation has a lot mystique and historical past. When visiting Cambodia, Siem Reap a must-see vacation spot and serves as a base to delve into the fascinating historical past of the traditional Angkor Thom (Great City). From exploring high sights, visiting trendy temples, and indulging in native delicacies, you will discover this to be a fascinating little metropolis (inhabitants of 250K) in southeast Asia.

How many days in Siem Reap?

Well, my journey included 4 nights in Siem Reap. I’d say it was barely sufficient. However, for me it was the primary cease in an itinerary that included 3 extra stops in Vietnam so time was restricted. I loved it and we obtained see all the key issues. But, I may simply have spent twice that a lot time there attending to get pleasure from all the nice native hangouts.

Getting From Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport (SAI) To Hotel

In my youthful extra adventurous days, I’d have simply taken a taxi as soon as I arrived. However, I’ve kids ready on my to return house and being that I communicate no Cambodian and had by no means been there earlier than, I made a decision to play it secure. My pal and I booked a experience prematurely to and from the airport via a journey agent that used VIDOTOUR as their native contact. It was an amazing expertise with each a driver and a information who instructed us all concerning the space on the way in which to the resort.

Tara Angkor Hotel

Where To Stay In Siem Reap

We stayed at Hotel Tara Angkor in Siem Reap. It is a 4-Star Luxury HoteI and I completely beloved it. The resort rooms have been spotless and fairly, the courtyard was beautiful, and the pool (with a bar) was so good! The included breakfast was one thing I regarded ahead to every morning. It was wonderful high quality and so they had a Western part, a Cambodian part, and a Vegan part (which was largely Indian). They additionally had an on-site present store, spa, and restaurant. My bestie admitted that it was her favourite resort of our journey however she did say she wished it had been a more in-depth stroll to the Siem Reap Pub Street space.

What To Do In Siem Reap

Well, here’s what we did in Siem Reap.

Day 1

The first day we arrived and caught the switch to our resort in Siem Reap. We have been jet-lagged and wanted to refresh earlier than we set off to discover Siem Reap. For this purpose we determined to strive the resort restaurant Frangipani (named after a lovely native flower). We had a set menu and it was an amazing probability to strive genuine Khmer food. What an amazing meal- 5 stars out of 5 stars! You will discover misplaced of curries as a part of the Khmer delicacies in addition to ginger and lemongrass.

Then we did a bit enjoyable by the pool. Finally, we headed out to Pub Street which was a couple of 30 minute stroll. We may have taken a tuktuk however we needed to see all of the sights and get a really feel for the realm so we walked alongside Charles De Gaulle Street and obtained views of the Siem Reap river (photograph at high of put up) on our means.

Pub Street Siem Reap Cambodia

Pub Street Siem Reap Cambodia

This is strictly what it feels like, plus extra. Little Pub St is filled with pubs, bars, and eating places. It can also be stuffed with avenue distributors, avenue meals, and avenue music. There are retailers of all types and therapeutic massage parlors. There is kind of an evening life with heaps to see and do. We picked a bar with view and loved all of the hub bub.

Day 2

The subsequent day was our first full day and it was devoted to a tour of the Angkor Area.

Angkor Highlights

As I discussed earlier than, Angkor Archaeological Park is an unlimited space that encompasses many temples. You should purchase Agkor tickets (accessible as a 1 day move, a 3 day move, or a 7 day move). You should buy these on-line earlier than hand or at designated websites in Siem Reap. The one move covers all of the temples within the park. In 802 AD, King Jayavarman II unified the Kingdom of Khmer and commenced development of the capital. Further kings continued so as to add buildings to the advanced all the way in which into the 1400s when Thais invaded and it was largely deserted and hidden by the jungle. It was rediscovered to the world through the French colonial occasions in 1860.

Being that we solely had at some point to discover all of Angkor Thom, we obtained a tour information (from VIDO TOURS). It was a really sensible alternative. There is a lot to study every temple, to not point out figuring out which of them to go to, in what order, and find out how to get there. Plus, we have been spoiled to have a automobile available with AC to get us between sure temples. It was 100% price it.

Angkor Thom Southern Gate

Southern Gate

For our extraordinary journey that took us into the center of Cambodia’s historical wonders, we entered Southern Gate within the morning to discover the traditional metropolis. It was the right technique to enter and WOW.

There is a bridge that takes you over the moat and it’s lined with 54 big statues of gods (or Devas) on one facet and demons (or Asuras) on the opposite. The battle between good and evil is actual. Looking up into the faces of the Asuras made be really feel a bit unsettled.

They are all holding the physique of a seven headed serpent (or Naga) that’s on the entrance of every balustrade. It is one thing else to behold. All of the statues have been produced from sandstone and every one is particular person.

Photos don’t do it justice. And additionally, there is no such thing as a means I may embody anyplace close to the huge variety of photographs I took of so many superb issues to see whereas at Angkor.

Bayon and Ta Prohm Temple

Then we proceeded to go to the ruins of Bayon, which was constructed within the late twelfth or early thirteenth century.

Bayon featured a tremendous collection of bas-reliefs that depicted the whole lot from historic occasions to scenes from the on a regular basis life. They have been actually amazingly expert at stone carving. It was additionally a bit like strolling via a labyrinth and would lookup and see Buddha faces trying again at you- the 200 faces of Lokesvara.

Next, we visited Baphoun which regarded like an enormous pyramid. You may climb to the highest for a view or hang around with the sleeping buddha on the again facet. It is a three-tiered temple mountain that was constructed eleventh century with a protracted walkway.

Then we visited Phimeanakas, the Royal Palace, the Elephant Terrace, and the Leper King Terrace.

ta prohm temple

On the way in which again we swung by Ta Prohm Temple, which is the one enveloped by the jungle with large timber rising over components of the buildings. (Think Tomb Raider.)

ta phrom apsara

Here is an Easter Egg for you: In Ta Prohm Temple is the one apsara (angel or non secular being) in all of Angkor Thom that has solely half a skirt or sampot. You can see her within the above photograph on the suitable however can you discover her once you go to?

Angkor Wat

angkor wat rainbow

After breaking for lunch we went again to see Angkor Wat, which is a gigantic temple advanced occupying about 400 acres. Our information, Pip, was at all times mentioning one of the best angles for photos and telling us historic data. He was invaluable for explaining the meanings of the bas-relief carvings. The tour information additionally did his finest to fill us in on how the temples have been each Hindu and Buddhist through the years relying on the rulers. He stated many Khmer individuals to this present day truly honor each gods.

NCpedia put it in probably the most straightforward to know means that I may discover: “Although the Angkor Wat site originally was dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu and most of its images are from Hindu scriptures, the temple later became used as a shrine for Theravada Buddhists. Theravada Buddhism is the dominant religion among the contemporary Khmer people of Cambodia (as well as majorities in Thailand and Burma) although it is influenced by earlier local ideas and practices, as well as the Hindu antecedents of Buddhism.”

angkor wat hall of echos

Our information additionally identified cool tid bits just like the Hall of Echoes for good well being and good luck. In all of the bas-relief carvings at Angkor Wat, the apsaras are all smiling with tooth exhibiting. Except for one, (her photograph is under) so see if yow will discover her!

angkor wat apsara

So anyway, the thought was to have the ability to expertise sundown over Angkor Wat. We have been lucky sufficient to see wild macaque monkeys. Check out my Camboida highlight stories to see a monkey consuming milk out of a bottle! There was even a rainbow simply as we have been leaving Angkor Wat. It was attractive. We had simply seen a swarm of dragonflies whereas within the temple courtyard and our information stated which means a rainbow is coming. We have been too exhausted by the warmth to attend for the sundown. It was a giant day!

That night we ate once more on the Frangipani, it was so good. Then we loved a leisurely evening on the pool.

Day 3

In the morning, we walked right down to the Royal Independence Gardens and to Artisans Angkor.

Royal Independence Gardens

Siem Reap Royal Gardens

The Royal Independence backyard was straightforward to get to however, as soon as we obtained there we thought it was closed. Low and behold, we discovered a small facet gate open on the east facet. We went in for a stroll via the small however fairly gardens and loved trying on the cool structure and statues on the grounds.

Historical tid bit: “It was here that King Sihanouk and General Lon Nol plotted Cambodia’s independence from their French colonial overlords in the 1950s.” -source: justsiemreap.com

There can also be a customer heart simply exterior the royal backyard gates and so they had data pamphlets on cool issues to do like go just like the Cambodian circus, a dinner and Khmer dance show, and excursions of the floating villages on Tonle Sap lake. I’d have appreciated to suit all of these into my itinerary however no time!

Artisans Angkor

artisans d angkor

The Artisans d’Angkor was 100% well worth the journey. When you arrive you’ll be able to choose to take a look at the present store or get the tour first. The tour is superb. You can watch actual artisans working and the tour information exhibits you a bit about every course of from stone working to steel working to weaving and lacquer work. It was tremendous cool to watch the artists at work and study their course of. It is a authorities program meant to coach Cambodians within the arts and crafts in order that these proficient people don’t disappear. The Artisans d’Angkor are so proficient that UNESCO makes use of them to assist recreate a number of the lacking or broken sculptures for Angkor Thom.

Next, we had lunch at Chanrey Tree. It was scrumptious and the environment was stunning and so they had AC. It was steered to us by our tour information. He additionally steered just a few different locations we didn’t get to strive however I’ll point out since Chanrey Tree was so good: Cafe Indochine, Khmer Deurm Restaurant, Mahob Restaurant.

Wat Bo Pagoda

This 18th century pagoda was very present in comparison with the traditional temples we had seen the day earlier than. Obviously, it was an entire completely different expertise however it was additionally tremendous cool. The Wat Bo structure was so attention-grabbing. I may have simply stared at that for fairly a while. Wat Bo is a Buddhist temple and options a big assortment of Buddha statues. However, a lot of the imagery is Hindu. It has a number of completely different buildings to see and it’s possible you’ll occur to see monks worshipping on strolling throughout the pretty massive grounds for those who drop by on the proper time or arrange a tour.

Then we went again to our resort for a fast nap as that jet lag was nonetheless attending to us. For dinner, we tried a less expensive genuine Khmer option- Madame Moch. Open air and easy however good.

Then we went again to Pub Street and checked out extra retailers and a pub with a balcony.

Day 4

We began off our day strolling as much as Angkor Botanical Garden. It was a couple of 20 minute stroll from the Hotel Tara Angkor and it was properly price it.

Angkor Botanical Garden

angkor botanical garden

The Angkor Botanical Garden in Siem Reap Cambodia is presently free however they do settle for donations. It was fairly beautiful with a number of completely different themed plant areas, and even some cool animal displays similar to ostriches and turtles. They additionally had a big coy pond the place you could possibly feed the fish. There have been so many cool tropical flowers to get pleasure from. It rained off and of whereas we have been there however we simply used umbrellas and loved it anyway.

Go To A Spa

Next, we walked over to get pedicures at C-Nails Studio. The woman was tremendous candy, spoke pretty good English, and it was solely $10 every! No bank card accepted and crisp, clear payments solely. The charges for spa providers are so low in Cambodia in comparison with the USA, that I may have spent an entire week getting discounted massages, facials, and manicures, if I had time.

Then off we went for a scrumptious lunch on the Peace Cafe. Prices have been nice, ambiance was nice, and meals was nice. They have contemporary juices, wholesome vegetarian meals, a bakery, and a good commerce present store.

Wat Preah Prom Rath

This is kind of an attention grabbing Buddhist temple advanced with colourful pagodas, plenty of statues, an enormous wall across the advanced. This historical temple is completely different from all of the others on my checklist so be sure to cease by. It is a functioning monastery so you’ll seemingly see monks stroll by or worshipping.

For dinner we headed over to Sambo Khmer & Thai Restaurant. It was low cost and fairly good. The Noon Night Market is correct close by so we explored that a bit earlier than heading off to mattress for an early pickup the following morning. The Noon Night Market was very comparable and fairly near Little Pub Street however on the opposite facet of the Siem Reap River. Just take the Old Market Bridge.

The fact is there may be nonetheless a lot extra we may have explored in Siem Reap if we had stayed longer- from the Angkor National Museum to the Made in Cambodia Market and extra.

Conclusion

Siem Reap Cambodia ought to undoubtedly be in your journey locations bucket checklist. From enjoyable issues to across the small, welcoming metropolis itself to the completely superb Angkor Wat, a metropolis of historical temples, you should have a good time!

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