Cambodian trip: the temples of Angkor

One of the 216 faces of the Bayon

Hello dear readers! Happy Saturday, what are you up to this weekend? Write it down in the comments so that maybe I’ll get some inspiration. If you follow me on Instagram (@camyinwonderwblog) you’ll know that tomorrow new windows are coming and I’m quite happy and excited to see them.

But enough chatting now, here I am with the following chapter of the trip that my boyfriend Gabriele and I had in January. Maybe you have read my posts about Bangkok and Chiang Mai and the first from Siem Reap, Cambodia, already. If not you can find them in the category “My travels”.

“Cambogia”: it’s “Cambodia” in Italian, my mother tongue

On the second day in Siem Reap we started visiting the complex of Angkor’s temples (UNESCO World Heritage Site), one of the widest religious monuments in the world (162.6 hectares, as you can imagine we visited a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of the place). On our first evening we got a Grab from the town centre back to our hotel. Grab is an app which offers the same service as Uber, that is pre-booked taxi rides, but cheaper, and we discovered it in Bali. As the driver was quiet because he couldn’t speak English very well, but you could see from his eyes and his smile that he was a sweet person and really kind, we asked him if he could be our ride around Angkor on the following days. A tuk tuk was enough for us, we didn’t need a car with A/C! As I had searched a lot on the internet to have an idea about the costs, we arranged a price of 15 USD (in Cambodia they use Cambodian Riel and US Dollars) for the small circuit (there is the grand circuit or the small one). We would meet at 9am and visit the temples until 2pm. We were very happy of having found a tuk tuk by ourselves without having to use the super – expensive one from the hotel (of course, that would have been a car with A/C, maybe the driver would have also been a guide, so I don’t judge at all who wants to go that way!).

A little Google is always helpful

At 9.00 am our Grab arrived at the hotel and we went towards the temples, but before we had to buy the tickets. We bought the three-day tickets for 62 US Dollars per person (you can buy the one day ticket for 37 USD or the one week ticket for 72 USD). As we went to Cambodia just to see Angkor we obviously bought the three-day ticket because in one day you really don’t see anything.

The ticket is made just for you, so at the counter expect to be photographed and to receive your own beautiful personalised ticket with your face on it. It’s a great souvenir to bring back home and keep on the fridge. Ha!

Angkor Wat – not the best hour! It was too late and crowded already

Our first stop was at Angkor Wat (which means “capital of temples” and is located 5.5km from Siem Reap), unfortunately it was already too late and it was packed with huge groups of tourists and buses from the organised visits. As a matter of fact we stayed shortly because we would return for the sunrise. This is the most famous temple in Angkor, a classic example of Khmer architecture. We soon went to the Bayon, which is not far from there. Before visiting I was super confused because I really couldn’t understand which was the best time to visit it, by reading the Lonely Planet and on the internet. Sunrise and sunset are definitely not-to-miss (as a matter of fact we’ve seen both and it was breathtaking) but they are crowded. They say that the best time is slightly after the sunrise, when the groups go back to their hotels to have breakfast, and that’s what we’ve done. Instead of going back to the hotel to eat we remained there, hungry but happy. And we managed to go on the top of the temple (the stairs were so steep!), which we couldn’t do on the first day at 10.30am.

I loved the Bayon, it was quiet and peaceful because everybody was visiting Angkor Wat, I guess. It was 11.30am, more or less. The Bayon is a khmer temple from the 12th and 13th century and 216 (!) faces were carved into the stones. While walking around you constantly feel like someone is watching over you.

Can you spot the faces ? Try!
Myths
Offers

The heat was incredible and the stairs were tiring me so quickly that the temptation to go straight back to the hotel and have a dip in the pool was strong. But after the Bayon we didn’t stop and our tuk tuk headed towards the Ta Prohm, which I really liked. I think it was my favourite, along with one that we saw on our last day. You might think that vising one temple after another all day long might be boring, but it really isn’t because they are all very different. Some are flat and they develop in length while others are not that wide but they’re developed in height, so that you’ve got a beautiful view of the surroundings. I loved wondering how life was when Angkor was inhabited: kings, queens and maids… Wow! The same thing that I do when visiting castles. Shame that now I only fantasise about Game of Thrones when I’m in a castle…Ahah! It’s not a shame, obviously, I actually love it.

One of Lara Croft’s most famous scenes, with Angelina Jolie, was recorded in the spot above, as you can see from the endless queue to take a photo.

I loved the Ta Prohm because, except for other visitors, it was really like finding yourself in an “Indiana Jones” movie. The huge trees wrapping up the old buildings and becoming one whole thing. It was surreal to think that those walls, stairs, rooms were so old that secular trees (!) managed to grow around them.

Offers
What a lucky cat

For today this is it, people! I prefer to split the photos and the stories into more blogposts instead of writing a super long one that maybe would bore you. I will continue with the sunrise at Angkor Wat next time… What a magical morning.

I hope you are enjoying my chronicles from Asia (and if you follow me on my other channels…from Scotland, too!)

Have a great weekend!

xx

Camilla

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