What do you do when your next destination is 12 hours away? You make the most out of your time by internalising some of the experiences you’ve had throughout your travel. Some journal or write in their diaries, some make witty Instagram posts or some just scroll through their camera roll and just savour the photos.
In my case, I’m writing about the highlights of the second leg of a Tri-City tour I booked through Eon Travel and Tours. If you havent read the first part, you can read it here (Bangkok|Tri-City Tour). Coming to Cambodia as a first timer I pretty much did not have any expectations. I was only excited at the fact that I’d get to see the Angkor Wat. (Civilization nerd in me got excited). But there was something magical about this place. Something in there that left me with a feeling that I’d want to come back.
But before that, we took the 8 am bus from Bangkok at the Mo Chit Bus station. The time of travel took us 4 hours to get to the border. If you’re a Filipino passport holder, visas are not required to enter into Cambodia. Just show up with your passport and your adventurer spirit. From the border, it took another 4 hours to get to Siem Reap. We arrived at around 4 in the afternoon in Siem Reap at the bus stop, where we were picked up by the tour operator in the city.
Is my one word to describe the city that is Siem Reap. The place is a traveler’s oasis in the middle of the jungle. The combination of rich history + mesmerising structures + a lively nightlife scene+ the charm of a small town seemed to be the perfect formula for something magical.
The beauty of pre-arranged tour packages is somebody does all the ticket buying and arrangement of transportation to get you to all of your key destinations. And what is Cambodia most known for if not for the Angkor Wat. We begin the tour by making our way to a centralized ticketing area where all tourists are required to have a picture taken for their temple pass.
We made our way to Angkor Thom or the ancient city. All of which are around 30 or less minutes from the city. The entrance to Angkor Thom puts you at a bridge where statues of gods and demons are aligned up to the entrance of the ancient city.
As a side note: prepare yourself for hordes of tourists. You may find it a bit difficult to find spots for solo-shots and selfies with these magnificent structures. It will take a bit of patience and exploration to find your perfect shot.
Most of the images you will see inside Angkor Wat depict great battles between gods and demons.
The Khmer empire, an advanced civilisation showcased great architectural wonders as well as technology well advanced of its time. King Jayavarman II is credited for the construction of Angkor Thom. Today it is a city in ruin. When the population moved from Angkor to Phnom Penh, the place was practically deserted. The structures that have withstood the test of time were mostly the walls and the temples. These were mostly constructed with some stone material. Whereas the homes and palaces were made out of wood or other materials thus there are none that remain.
One of the temples that have survived the times. This temple is popular for its surviving 37 towers. Each tower has four faces. Said to represent the different provinces in the Khmer empire. The face of the tower would represent who the province worshipped.
Movies like Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones have made the Angkor Wat known around the world. If you’re like me, I’ve always dreamt about exploring some unknown ancient structure. Or you can just make pretend and act out your favorite scene from these adventure movies. Ta Phrom is another temple inside the Angkor Wat complex uniquely known for it’s structure being overtaken by Strangler Trees. After the complex was deserted, no one maintained these beautiful structures.
Being part of the tour, we were treated to lunch at a Khmer Restaurant featuring local dishes. ANGKOR WAT TEMPLE Breathtaking. To stand and look at one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Considered to be the largest religious site in the world. Constructed at the center of the Angkor Thom.
I would summarize walking through Angkor Wat as a time-travel experience. We are lucky that we live in the modern day where we as travelers get to experience places like this. As a place of worship, not many would have had access to these buildings. And not many foreigners in those days would have the opportunity lto see such marvel. It makes you think how many adventurers in the 12th century actually saw this place. We are truly lucky.
After Angkor Wat we were treated to a buffet dinner and a cultural show.
If you’re done with all the history and sightseeing, and looking to relax, hit up Pub Street. Getting there you can take a Tuk-tuk, their local form of transportation. Make sure you negotiate a good rate as they will take advantage of you if you have no idea how much it usually costs. The cost of a trip to Pub street will cost around 1-2$.
Check out the night market on Pub Street. Tip is to start haggling at 40% of their declared price. The currency accepted in Cambodia is US Dollar.
I absolutely enjoyed Siem Reap. It’s for the adventurer, the group of friends, the lovers. A city to enjoy in every way that you can. Its an experience for the mind, for the heart and for the soul all rolled into one little place in this big world.
Watch out vlog Coming Soon!
Our next stop is Ho Chi Minh City. Almost 12-14 Hours from Siem Reap. Ho Chi Minh|Tri-City Tour
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All photos took were taken using a Samsung Note 8.