For Chinese New Year of 2020, we decided to head to Siem Reap for a short family getaway, while we may not necessarily enjoyed the local food at the Old Market that much, one thing that did not disappoint was the visit to Angkor Wat.
For those who prefer moving pictures and some of my mumbling, the three minute video below shows our experience at Angkor Wat, though for the other four temples I’ve only taken photos in the interest of not having it overly long winded (that and who’s got time to edit all those clips!).
We pre-booked our tour earlier via many of the online website and asked for a tuktuk driver for a day. The package includes visit to five different temples and lasts some 6-7 hours (or until you give up due to heat).
As scheduled, our guide picked us up at 8 in the morning.
Our first destination was to the ticket counter building, some 20 minutes away from Siem Reap city center.
Ticket was at a cool USD $37 per pax for a day pass, $2 goes to some education fund apparently. We each had to have our pictures taken and printed on the ticket as their semi high tech way of ensuring tickets are not transferable. Fair enough.
Our tour includes the following temples:
- Angkor Wat
- Ba phuon
- Ta prohm
- Banteay kdei
Angkor Wat was obviously the most famous site, with the huge body of water surrounding it, you’ll need to walk through the temporary floating bridge to get to the temple. For those who wants to have those iconic sunrise/sunset photos, you’d have to book a separate type of tour instead, we obviously did not do that.
Bayon temple was our next destination. It was famous for having a lot of stone faces. Thank goodness that they are all smiling, otherwise this could make for an interesting night time visit on a daring mission (though unfortunately you can’t get there at night..)
Next up was Ba Phuon where we also encountered some monkeys, and a lot of really steep steps if you’re adventurous enough to get all the way up to the top. The view was not overly impressive, but a view nonetheless. What was more impressive though was the “sleeping buddha” made of stone blocks at one side of the temple, barely recognizable due to years of erosion.
Our guide then took us to this tourist trap of a lunch place called Banana Tree, where we had our first “amok fish”, a dish I could only described as someone trying to make otak-otak and gives up half way.
Food was again overly sweet, and too pricey for what we got. Didn’t blame the tuktuk driver much.. “cari makan” lor.
Next temple was a proper ruins made famous by Lara Croft & Tomb Raider. In fact, the guide just called it the Tomb Raider temple..
Trees growing out of crumbling stone buildings, do expect line of tourists all wanting to take photos at the same first tree spots. My advise is, walk a little deeper and there’ll be less of a wait.
Our last spot was Bantaey Kdei, and to be perfectly honest, things start to look a little bit like they’re repeating itself. Also, the afternoon heat on a dry season-day starts to take its toll.
To me, one day is just nice for touring Angkor and its temples unless you’re a hardcore history fan. If you do plan to go there, bring an umbrella, plenty of sunscreen, and water to drink.