I’ve always been fascinated by Man-Made Wonders of the World that I promised myself to visit as many wonders as possible. I have great respect for ancient people who made these great Man-Made Wonders and I’ve always been bemused by their resourcefulness and creativity. I can’t help but think and wonder how they could’ve possibly built such colossal and magnificent structures without the use of modern technology. That has puzzled me to no end.
Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia is named as one of the Top Man-Made Wonders of the World and is now listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site, thus making the place a must-see for travelers. Imagine my excitement when I booked a flight to Cambodia to personally marvel the beauty of Angkor and explore the exotic nature of Cambodia. My wife and I booked a flight to Bangkok, Thailand and from Bangkok we took the bus to Siem Reap. The journey was almost nine hours long with only one stop-over not including the stop-over in the border, but we didn’t mind, not only because it is economical but also because we know it’s gonna be worth it.
We left Bangkok at 8am and we arrived in Siem Reap at 4 in the afternoon. Upon arrival, we purchased our return trip tickets to Bangkok and after, we hired a tuk-tuk that brought us to our hotel. We didn’t stay at a fancy hotel, as we always do, but the hostel was decent, clean and the staff were all friendly. We took a short rest before we headed to the city. The same tuk-tuk driver brought us to the “Pub Street” where tourists go and where the bars and restaurants were all situated. We had a very good Cambodian dish for dinner, the Khmer cuisine which is somewhat similar to Thai dishes, only with a little more coconut milk and less spicy. After the dinner, we went for a massage and souvenir shopping. At 10 pm, we decided to call it a night to prepare for the following “big exploration” day.
To explore Angkor, we were presented with two options, one was to hire a tuk-tuk with the driver being our tour guide and one is to hire a bicycle, we opted for the former. We had the same driver from the previous day and we only needed to pay him $20USD plus his lunch and snacks. The cost for one-day Angkor Wat tour is also $20USD and since we are only exploring Angkor for one day, we chose to go to the most famous and the best temples to make the most out of this very short trip.
It was love at first sight! Upon arrival at Angkor Wat we hardly noticed the horde of tourists for we were so engrossed by the magnificent beauty that was right in front of us. We didn’t mind the over 38 degrees temperature, we bravely crossed the long path to Angkor Wat temple.
It was even more beautiful inside, the architecture, the carvings, the ancient halls, it felt like we were transported back into another age and generation, if only we could wear the traditional Khmer costume, we would have totally forgotten that we’re from the present.
We weren’t allowed to go up the temple as it was under renovation, thus we contented ourselves with the view from below.
Ta Phrom is also commonly known as Tomb Raider temple. The place catapulted to stardom when Tomb Raider was shot there. It is widly popular for its Banyan Tree branching out of the structure. Compare to Angor Wat, Ta Phrom is much more cryptic and more jungle-y like.
Inside the temple, there are mazes that make the place more mysterious. The walls and the interior mirrored the Cambodian ancient cultures and religious beliefs.
The place was huge that we were fetched by our guide from the other side of the area. It was quite evident that Ta Phrom was a forrest until its discovery.
Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
The temple of many faces. Bayon temple can definitely match the beauty of Angkor Wat. From the entrance of Angkor Thom, we were already in awe of its structure up to the different temples that we passed by leading to the famous Bayon temple.
After Bayon Temple, we headed back to Angkor Wat to once more marvel on its beauty. We wanted to wait for the sunset before we capped the day but due to exhaustion, we decided to went back to the hotel bringing with us the memories and beauty of this creation.
There are no words to describe how beautiful Angkor Wat is, that after I saw the place I’ve become interested with its discovery, I’ve watched some documentaries about Angkor Wat and I still can’t believe that there is paradise on that part of the world. We will definitely be back.
- Watch the Sunrise. This is our biggest regret. We weren’t able to watch the sunrise and that is a must-see. But at least we have a reason to come back.
- If you will be touring Angkor for two days, buy the two-day entrance fee to save money.
- They do accept US dollars. All establishments, including restaurants, shops and stores accept US currency.
- Sunblock. Umbrella. Shades. Must haves.
- Bring plenty of water.
- Plan in advance the temples that you want to see.
- Bring extra clothes. It gets really hot and you’re gonna sweat big time.
- Take a rest during when the sun is on its highest, 12-2pm.
- Come here not only once.