Whenever people ask me which part of our trip to Indochina was my favorite, I always say, Siem Reap.
Why? Certainly not because of the 16-hour bus ride! I guess it’s the rich history, fascinating culture, and the breathtaking view. This is the country where I learned a lot, literally.
First, our hotel was too cute for words.
For our tour, we hired a guide named Dat. He charges USD55 per group, including a car with air-condition, and supply of drinking water. This rate doesn’t include the entrance to Angkor Wat though. The entrance fee is USD20 per head, but this already includes entry to the other temples in the area.
Dat picked us up from the hotel at around 5:30 AM. According to him, it’s better to go early to catch the sunrise, and this way, it won’t be too hot to stroll around.
Tourists head to the Angkor Wat even in the wee hours of the morning.
Our tour guide was right— it really gets hot once the sun is up! We were sweating all over. Good thing we have a supply of cold water.
Can you spot the birds?
The temple that I liked best was Angkor Thom— it is located near Angkor Wat. It was much hotter there, not to mention huge. It was exhausting to walk far, and directly under the sun.
The last site we visited was the temple where the movie Tomb Raider was filmed: Ta Prohm. What caught my attention there were the gigantic trees that grow on most of the rocks. The temple was more of a place of ruins instead of an actual temple, but it was also beautiful nonetheless.
After Ta Prohm, Dat dropped us off at the Old Market to do some shopping. We then went back to the hotel to swim at the pool and take a nap. We overslept, but we still went to Pub Street for dinner and the Night Market for some last minute shopping.
To conclude, I admire Siem Reap for being able to protect their heritage. Hands down to those countries who helped and are still helping in the rehabilitation of these temples.
Siem Reap has the perfect balance of progress and tradition— and that’s what I love most.