Siem Reap is one of the largest cities of Cambodia and certainly the most visited by tourists, because it is the closest place of the Angkor temples.
Located just over 5 kilometers north of Siem Reap is the area of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire. The temples are scattered around the town, so if you think you can do everything on foot, don’t foolish yourself, the distance between some temples is still large and in a day of intense sun, even worse.
Anyway, you always have to hire a guide or someone to transport you, because it is not allowed foreigners to drive in this area.
I hired a tuk tuk driver, who after some discussion, agreed to receive 18 USD for the day. I wanted to walk free by the temples, without having to have a guide to tell the story of every detail. But if you are a lover of history, a guide is the best option and you can easily hire one at the entrance of the temple of Angkor Wat.
At 4:30 a.m. he caught me at the hotel and took me to the line to buy entrance tickets for the temples. The box office opens at 5:00 a.m., but many are those who have rose early to get a good place in order to have a privileged view of the sunrise. It’s true, it is very touristy, but it’s a magic moment!
You have the option to buy a day pass for 20USD or 3 days per 40USD. Please note that the passes are non-transferable, because they have your name and a photo, which is taken at the purchase counter.
In my case I chose to do a one day visit, because I’m not the person to spend much time with details. Choose the most important temples, because the truth is that after a few hours, the temples beginning to seem me all the same… The intense heat did not help and let me impatient, rushing the visit. The temples are open from 05 a.m. to 06 p.m.
– Take a good shoe, to be able to walk at ease. You will have a lot to go up and down …
– It’s a sacred area, so respect and cover your shoulders and legs. You can take a scarf and only wear it at the entrance of temples.
– Hydrate yourself and take plenty of water. My tuk tuk driver took a portable fridge with water, which was already included in the agreed price.
– Put a lot of sunscreen.
– Take repellent, because in some areas there are lakes with huge mosquitoes.
WHAT TO VISIT:
There are more than 45 temples, so you should plan what you really want to see.
This is the main temple, and the highest point of the Khmer architectural style. Declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it is the largest religious structure ever built and still one of the archaeological treasures most important in the world.
The stones of the structure of the temples are from a city 50 kms away. The construction counted with the support of 6,000 elephants and the hand labor of 300,000 employees.
Curious is also the fact that the first Western visitor have been a Portuguese, the friar Antonio de Magdalena, in 1586.
This temple dates from the twelfth century and is known for the huge carved faces on the towers. There are 54 towers, with 4 faces in each. There are many other carved, amounting to over 11,000 figures.
This temple is from the middle of the eleventh century and was converted into a Buddhist temple in the fifteenth century.
THE TERRACE OF ELEPHANTS
This terrace had a very important role, because it was here that the king made public ceremonies.
This is the preferred temple of movie lovers “Tomb Raider” with Angelina Jolie, because the movie was filmed here. It is distinguished by the trees growing out of the ruins.
Despite the tiredness, it was one of the experiences that I wanted to live and worth without doubt the trip to Siem Reap.