Following a fun stopover in Hong Kong, we made our way to Siem Reap, Cambodia! And more specifically Angkor Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is one of Asia’s top tourist destinations.
Angkor was the capital city of the Khmer Empire and flourished from the 9th to 15th centuries. During its height, the Angkor area contained more than a million people, the Khmer kings constructed elaborate temples and Angkor’s military, economic and cultural dominance held clout over now modern day SE Asia. Hinduism and eventually Buddhism as well, were present in the region and different temples reflect the stylings and philosophies of each religion.
The photos are not in any particular order, just a few (okay… many!) of my favorite captures from our 3 days in Angkor. Get ready for temples, temples and more temples!
Angkor Trip Tips and Comments:
Tuk Tuk vs Tour Guide? We experienced both during our visit!
-We hired a tour guide for 2 days and the experience was wonderful. Not only do you learn so much more about the history of the temples but our guide understood when to take us to certain places to avoid crowds. Absolutely invaluable during peak season! And having a car with AC waiting was awesome, especially in 95 degree weather.
-On day 3, we asked our hotel to arrange a tuk tuk to take us back into the complex. This was also fun and quite a bit cheaper! But tuk tuk drivers cannot go into any of the temples with you and communication may be a bit more limited. Also best to have your own itinerary ready! I can say I enjoyed our experience with the tour guide more.
Angkor Pass Recommendation buy your Angkor pass at the Ticket Office the day before you plan to visit, between 5:00-5:30pm. On that same evening, you can watch the sunset in Angkor Park for free and your pass will officially start the next day. And by having it already, you can plan to be at one of the more popular temples right when they open.
Sunrise at Angkor Wat, was worth it? Well… sort of. We had to leave our hotel at 4:45am to get a decent spot (sunrise was at 6:30a). All starts out well. But then the hoards of people arrive and it’s crazy busy. Rude people, shoving, using your head or shoulder as a tripod, the works. I came away with a nice photo and can now check it off my bucket list but I have no desire to ever go through that again.
Favorite Temples This is definitely a personal preference but the highlights for me were Preah Khan, Ta Prohm, Banteay Samré and Beng Mealea. We visited Preah Khan and Ta Prohm right at opening time, the morning light was beautiful and it was much quieter. Banteay Samré and Beng Mealea are a bit further out and don’t see as many visitors!
Be Prepared for Relentless Vendors, Everywhere! This is really true for all of Siem Reap. Tourism is the name of the game and for some families, selling souvenirs is their only means of income. Expect children in the mix as well.