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Amazing Angkor in Cambodia

The #1 top attraction of Cambodia.

When you are looking for what things to see in Cambodia it is probably impossible avoid being fascinated about the story of the temple ruins around Siem Reap. The ancient ruins of Angkor are the number 1 top attraction of Cambodia. My personal opinion is that Angkor is the number one attraction in all of South East Asia.

The ruins are the leftovers from a booming civilisation that once dominated this region like the Romans during the Roman Empire dominated Europe. For some reason the empire lost its power and no one has really been able to determine what happened. Try reading a book called The Judas Strain by author James Rollins. This book is giving a theory of what might have happened in a Dan Brown like story with lots of action and history combined with fiction. You will be able to recognize the places mentioned in the book when you visit the Angkor ruins around Siem Reap.

Path way to the amazing Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia

Path way to the amazing Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia

Another ruin in the area named Ta Prohm is famous for being the one Lara Croft in the movie Tomb Raid visits. Angelina Jolie has put her mark on the whole area for doing a lot of charity for the Cambodian people.

Fascinating picture from Ta Prohm temple

Fascinating picture from Ta Prohm temple

Siem Reap

Siem Reap is a perfect place for backpacking. I really loved being here. The quality level of hotels is high and you eat good food for a fair amount of money. The atmosphere is laid back and you can walk safely on the streets all day and night.  Siem Reap is the place to stay for visiting the ruins of Angkor.

Siem Reap is located 4 hours from Phnom Penh the capital of Cambodia. From the Aranyaprathet – Poipet border it is only 1½-2 hours drive.

Siem Reap has a restaurant area but I would recommend you try to go to the market and eat at the plastic table restaurants there or at some of the Coca Cola outdoor street tables instead of the fancy restaurants. I found out that the food is tastier these places and the atmosphere is much more authentic.

My hotel in Siem Reap was called Mekong Angkor Palace. This hotel was really nice and very good value for money. I paid 25 USD per night which is cheap considering the standard of the room and the central location. The Mekong Angkor Palace hotel also offers a swimming pool.

Find more information about Mekong Angkor Palace Hotel in Siem Reap.

Angkor Wat and other temples

Many I come across call the whole area for Angkor Wat. However the Angkor Wat temple is only one of many. For this reason you must give your self at least 3 days to explore all of the ruins. Visiting for only 1 day is not enough time. The big circle is 26 km’s going around exploring ruins. It is impossible (and boring to read) for me to describe all the ruins so I will just give you a few headlines of 4 main temples and ares. They are:

  • Angkor Wat
  • Angkor Thom
  • The Bayon
  • Ta Prohm

Angkor Wat

This is the main temple and the flagship of the whole area.  The temple is well preserved and has been rebuild so it is almost intact and not just some stone ruins. You can literally climb the temple and it is fascinating and beautiful.  The temple is the main symbol for Cambodia and is also the one printed on the Cambodian national flag. It was build by one of the old kings to demonstrate his power and to serve as his funeral temple. During his time the Khmer kingdom went as far as to Northern Thailand and Burma down to the Northern part of Malaysia.

Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia

Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia

When you walk around the area of Angkor Wat you will be able to notice the size of this temple. It is bigger than anything I have ever seen before and imagining the resources it has taken to build is impressive.

Inside the Angkor Wat temple area.

Inside the Angkor Wat temple area.

Walking towards the temple it looks so small in the beginning but when you are there it is actually 65 meters above the ground level. You can climb the Angkor Wat all the way to the top.

Angkor Wat from a distance. It looks small but is actually 65 meters tall.

Angkor Wat from a distance. It looks small but is actually 65 meters tall.

Angkor Thom

This is not the name of one temple but a name for the whole area of the main city. Here you can find several ruins and terraces. Imagine the kings sitting on the terrace looking down on his people and the entertainment down below. All the houses inside this city was build of wood and gone today but with a bit of imagination you can almost feel the life taking place. Angkor Thom was also hosting a temple called The Bayon.

The Bayon

The Bayon temple is the most fascinating and mystic of all the temples. This is a primary location for the book of James Rollins called The Judas Strain. When you visit this place you are not in doubt how come this temple is chosen. The feeling walking inside this temple is so awesome that you probably take a few extra pictures and take a rest to just memorize the moment. This will be your own personal adventure. 54 towers and 216 ancient faces carved into the towers will stare at you and around the world. Truly impressive.

Outside the Bayon. Imagine 54 towers.

Outside the Bayon. Imagine 54 towers.

The Bayon has 54 towers with faces carved but it was not possible for me to take a picture showing them all.

Standing inside the Bayon having climbed the temple.

Standing inside The Bayon having climbed the temple.

From a distance the faces might look at bit rough but when you are close up they are really detailed and maybe also a bit spooky.

Close up image of a carved face in one tower of The Bayon temple.

Close up image of a carved face in one tower of The Bayon temple.

Ta Prohm

Try imagine being in the Tomb Raider movie looking for ancient treasures. Look at the trees having grown large directly on top of the temple for hundreds of years. This is not the biggest of the temples but will still be one of those you remember in years to come. If you travel solo try bring a book and sit in the shade reading.  Angelina Jolie used this temple as scenery for the movie Tomb Raider.

The trees growing on top of the Ta  Prohm temple.

The trees growing on top of the Ta Prohm temple.

Getting around to all the temples can be done with any mean of transportation you like. You can rent a car with driver, use a bicycle or motor bike. Also you can join a guided tour being taken around by bus. My recommendation would be to go as light as possible and have your head in the nature, either by bicycle or by motorbike. The distances of the small (16 km) and big (26 km) are quite big so if you  choose a bicycle you should make sure to be in good shape.

Is it hard to imagine this tree in the Tomb Raider movie?

Is it hard to imagine this tree in the Tomb Raider movie? Ta Prohm temple.

Admission ticket prices to Angkor

Fees and number of days

1. One day US$ 20 (Photo required)
2. Three days visit per one week validity US$ 40 (Photo required)
3. Seven days visit per one month validity US$ 60 (Photo required)

Photographs have to be taken on location and tickets are not valid after the expiry date.

For more information about Angkor and ticket pass information

 

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