Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day One in Angkor Archaeological Park (Angkor Wat)

Our hotel in Siem Reap, Golden Temple Villa (which I def recommend), had several day trips arranged for low prices. The tour for Day One included Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, and Banteay Kdei, not to mention a few other smaller temples in between those. This was called the "small tour" though it seemed to include the biggest sights. I guess it was called the small tour because it was less driving than the next day.

We woke up at 4:30 to leave at 5:00 to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat.

Once the sun came up, we started making the trek inside Angkor Wat. I didn't really realize before going to Cambodia, that when people talk about Angkor Wat, they mean all the many temples in Angkor Archaeological Park, but, really, Angkor Wat is only one (very big) temple within the park. It's probably one of, if not the best restored of the temples, but I didn't really feel it was the most impressive or interesting.

After going here, we ate breakfast at a nice little restaurant in front of Angkor Wat with our tuk-tuk driver. He was a nice young guy named How, who told us a little bit about himself. His family lives in the country and has a farm with cows and buffalo, he lives in Siem Reap and rents his tuk-tuk because his was stolen. Sounds like a hard life, being a tuk-tuk driver, but one upside is free food for tuk-tuk drivers at all the restaurants in Angkor Wat to attract them with their customers to their restaurants.

Next he took us to Angkor Thom, which is comprised of several different stops within the walls of the complex.

Here is the South Gate. It's quite famous for the faces carved into the rock. I heard that there was some dissagreement as to who's face it was in the rock. Some archologists say it's the king's head, while others say it is Buddha's face. Either way, it's pretty impressive.

The first temple within Angkor Thom is Bayon. Here, just like the South Gate, you'll see many many towers with these same faces on them.

From there we walked over to Baphuon, which you can walk up to, but due to construction you can't climb.

Then we climbed up Phimeanakas, which was a rather steep climb!

After this we headed out of Angkor Thom and on towards Ta Prohm, but we made a few stops on the way...

We stopped here at Thommanom, and Chau Say Thevoda across the street. Just small tempples where we spent about 10 minutes. Then to Ta Keo, which is one of the tallest temples, though unfinished because it has no carvings.

On to Ta Prohm, one of the most popular temples in Angkor for two reasons. First, for the trees which have made a home within the ruined temple and secondly because Tomb Raider was filmed here.

Yea, Ta Prohm was definitely high ranking on my list of cool temples...

A quick stop at Bantay Kdei and Prasat Kravan finished our day one adventure into Angkor Archaeological Park. That night we did some shopping in the markets in Siem Reap and caught a free Apsara dance at a restaurant called Temple Balcony.

Very beautiful dancing, but we were tired from waking up at 4:30 am so we only watched for about 20 minutes before we headed back to our hotel for a 3$ massage and bedtime.


  1. These pictures are really nice, and a few are quite excellent. I guess the one I like best has you sitting framed in a window with a large stone face seeming to be watching you carefully ...

    I'm feeling envious right now because I haven't been down to SE Asia for several years. :-(

  2. I love that pic. I have it as my facebook profile pic at the moment :-)