Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Walk with ChaMike in Angkor Wat Siem Reap. 

Out of all the many temples in Siem Reap, Angkor Wat is the most famous. It was the only temple I knew before I did my research about Cambodia. It turns out there were A LOT! And if you are the type that would love to explore ALL the temples, you should spend several days in Siem Reap but if you would only like to explore the most prominent ones, one full day would be fine with Angkor Wat at the top your top list. 

Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. It is said to be one of the most important archeological sites in South East Asia as it was the center of the Khmer Kingdom. Tourists from different parts of the world travel to see the majestic ruins. It is also best viewed during sunrise. 

How to go to Angkor Wat
Almost all the hotels in Siem Reap offer tours/transportation going to the temples, in our case our hotel offers two options - via van or via tuk-tuk, we chose the latter as we wanted to try riding the local transportation plus it is way cheaper than renting a van as we were just two. 

Read: La Rose Blanche Boutique Hotel Siem Reap Cambodia

Because Mike and I wanted to finish all the temple exploration in one day, we availed of the following:

Sunrise in Angkor Wat
Small Tour -  Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm
Sunset at Phnom Bankeng

The entire tour cost $25 (Php 1,200++) only, included on this fare are side trips going back to our hotel,  going to Blossom Cafe and Cuisine Wat Damnak so it was really a good deal. I told you it's cheap here.

Temple map from
Because we were determined to witness the sunrise, we were scheduled to be picked up by 4:30 am as we had to buy tickets and a good spot is needed to fully enjoy it. Although we were on time our driver was late :( so we left our hotel at 5:00 am instead.

Entrance Fee
1 day - $20
3 days - $40

Our first stop was at the ticket office were we paid $20 (Php 960++) each for a one day exploration, one day was enough for us since we wanted to visit the main sites only. 

Ticket Booth
This ticket is the entrance fee for all the temples in Angkor Archeological Park.
A printed ticket with our pictures indicating the date

Sunrise in Angkor Wat
Because we were a bit late, the sun was already peeking by the time we got to the entrance of the temple. We hurriedly ran as if we were in Temple Run wishing it was not too late. Luckily we came just in time, although we didn't get to see the actually sun rising, I was enchanted to see the colorful cloudy sky and it was magical.

At the entrance of Angkor Wat
Long walk to go

Together with the flock of tourists, we stared at the temple until the sun rose. It was indeed a great start of the day.

Sunrise is best viewed in front of a swamp
Lost for words
Orange, purple and blue <3
No sun but the view is picturesque nonetheless
You have no idea how many shots Mike took for me to be able to have a decent back shot without any tourists on sight
Hello Mr Sun. Why so shy?
All sweaty
Expectation vs...
Wear the Proper Dress Code and Mind your Actions
Before you enter any of the temples, keep in mind that you are entering a sacred place so you have to wear the proper clothing attire - no short shorts and no revealing top. However, you can wear a sleeveless top provided that you have sarong to cover it like what I did. You also have to respect the place by following certain rules - they don't allow sitting on some areas.

My temple OOTD

Mike wearing a polo shirt and shorts
And when the sun was finally up, we started exploring Angkor Wat. It was HUGE! 

Out and about. Loving my sunnies btw -
Angkor Wat means 'Temple City', Angkor means city and Wat is temple in Khmer language. This temple is of course part of UNESCO World Heritage Site, the vast area is rectangular in shape that is surrounded by a moat and has a long pathway leading to the actual temple.

Long pathway leading to the temple
Angkor Wat built during the 12th century by the Khmer King Suryavarman II, originally was a Hindu temple which gradually became a Buddhist temple in the 13th century. They say that a million Cambodians and thousands of elephants helped in constructing this temple by bringing sandstones and lava stones from the mountains.

Angor Wat up close
The grandness of the temple still stood out even if it was built centuries ago. The architectural plan has a perfect symmetry and balance. 

Symmetrical columns leading to the heart of the temple
Can't believe we were standing on a century old landmark
Khmer architecture. Kinda reminded me of my trip to Ayuttaya, Thailand
They say that monks are the guardians of this temple, we saw a number of them inside. 

Always fascinated to see one
You can even approach them as they offer blessing and impart good luck, long life and happiness while they chant in their language. And afterwards they will give you a yarn bracelet as symbol that you where blessed by a monk.

Monk doing his ritual
It was not my first time seeing a monk, I saw a group of them when I visited Ayuttaya, Thailand but women were not allowed to go near them, so of course, I grabbed this opportunity for the sake of #fomo.

Blessing from a monk
All wet!
Chants on Cham
Charm on Cham
Mike decided for a photo opportunity instead.

Mike doing "Monk Business"
We also saw intricate stone carvings which dated centuries ago. These are called Devatas or female deities. 


These sculptures were everywhere
Hard to imagine that these sculptures were here hundred of years ago! 

I also saw other interesting carvings aside from the Devata that served as accents on the walls.  

No, not me. Look at the intricate carvings on top.
Apart from the carvings, stone statues are displayed in a parallel position of different forms and sizes some are even headless from the looting but most of them were covered in golden cloth. 

Buddhas of different forms
Another fascinating sighting was spotted in the temple, a male lad covered in blue clothing and eyewear. hehehe.

Hello there, handsome <3
Inside the temple there were stairs leading up a sacred tower and most of those passage were prohibited except for one, but the caretakers were strict. Tourists who wish to go up should wear proper clothing - no shorts, no sleeveless, no shades, no hat and since I was wearing a sleeveless top I wasn't allowed to enter. It was just okay for Mike and I since the stairs were too steep.

Prohibited pathway
Tourists going up the only allowed entrance
We just wandered around and appreciate the grandiose of the ruins. It was good timing that we decided to go here in the morning as the heat wasn't scorching. I suggest you also go here during this time to save you energy. It was also not as crowded as I expected.

Walk with Cham
Regular maintenance
The site was not as crowded as I imagined it to be
Swimsuit turned into a top and sunnies all from
I just have to tell you. Do not forget to put on sunblock!
After two hours and a half of roaming around we decided to go back to our Tuk-tuk. By the way, I also read in some of the blogs that getting a tour guide is also a good option for you to appreciate Angkor Wat's history, we decided to skip it but I kinda hoped we didn't to gain more knowledge about this great temple. Plus they will also recommend nice spots for picture taking. 

This concludes our adventure in Angkor Wat. What's next?
Next stop is at Angkor Thom where we visited Bayon Temple.

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