Cambodia – Ancient Charm

It was a land of mystic temples that made me fascinated since I was a little girl. These temples are like doors of great wonders. Up to now, I am still puzzled how early Khmers built these structures.

I spent 2 full days in Siem Reap to explore these marvels first hand. It was like eating your first piece of cake. The excitement is surreal. My first step in Angkor Wat made me cried..literally.

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I arrived nighttime at Siem Reap and heavy rain welcomed me. I pre-arranged my hostel to pick me up from the bus station but no one came. Thank God for tuktuk and $2! Though my hostel missed me at the bus station, my entire stay in Schein Guesthouse is purely relaxing.

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They have the best POS! Haha. The breakfast was extremely perfect!

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Every charges are arranged and calculated correctly. They helped me to arrange my tours and bus ride going back to HCMC.

Day 1

My first day of temple tour at Siem Reap is called the Big Tour. The hostel owner called it as Big Tour as temples are far away from each other that make the length of this tour longer and bigger in diameter. They arranged a tuktuk driver and he was the nicest and most patient! I can’t imagine how boring it is to wait for me all day after entering each temples. Bottles of water are included in this tour.

We paid entrance fee first before starting the tour. The queue is actually long yet there are many cashiers to accommodate you, it took me less than 10 minutes to get a 3-day pass for $40.

As I will enter the temples for 2 days, it will be better to pay $40 bucks than to wait for another queue the next day. Plus you will have your photo taken in your entrance pass! Cool!

We started the Big Tour at the farthest temple from the main city. My tuktuk driver is actually clever or should I say compassionate enough to his guests with regards to weather.

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Since I arrived last night with heavy rain, he assumed that it might rain again by afternoon. We decided to go to the farthest temple to the nearest ones. We also meet at the end of each gates to maximize our time.

Banteay Srey

This is the first temple I visited in Siem Reap. Each façade are carved to perfection. Every details are so intricate yet simplify beauty. Each monuments of monkeys and elephants are impressive to see.

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At the beginning, I am struck by the fact that this temple is made by ancient Khmers. How come? I bet, we don’t need answer. We just need to feel how magnificent their living before.

Preah Khan

This temple are accessible in North, South, East and West gates. Afar from Banteay Srey, this temple has it’s different marvels. The gate we entered is so grand! There were like statues holding a dragon.

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This temple is being restored when I visited it. Some blocks are on the floor ready to be reconstructed.

You will be amaze as well how these big trees hold each columns of the temple.

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Every gates were built like it was in a different temple.

Neak Pean. After lunch, we head to Neak Pean. This is one of the smallest temple in Siem Reap yet it’s land is vast.

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The way to the temple should be filled with water as it is beside a river. When I visited it the entire land is on drought. It will be very cool to see a temple in the middle of a water.

Ta Som. This is one of the jungle-feel like temple for me.

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It’s also one of the smallest temple that you can visit.

Eastern Mebon

This was the last temple we visited for Day 1 of my tour. They said that climbing this temple and staring at the sunset will be very pleasing to your eyes. Yet before the sun comes down, I asked my driver to go back to our hostel. Kill joy me 😀

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This place made me realize that my fear of heights (because of stairs) is not just like the normal fear. It was a fear of falling from the top because of my weight. The main staircase has no grills that can help you to go up. This was one of my concern then. My fear won at this point. But nevertheless, Eastern Mebon is something to stare upon to.

Day 2

It was an early sunny morning to visit the famous Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Ta Phrom! It was indeed a dream came true for me  to see how magnificent these places are. Everything is just magical.

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Angkor Wat

I was in tears when I see the famous cones of Angkor Wat. Definitely, this was something that every travelers bucket list. We arrived early in the morning to watch the astonishing sunrise. Every tourists and travelers were like ants and very busy to take good photos of the sunrise.

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And me, I am just staring at every corners of the temple. I just can’t believe that I witnessed how magical this place is.

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I guessed it took me more than 2 hours to see the Angkor Wat. It may not be enough but as time passes by, people are flocking and it gets harder to take photos of the entire temple. I actually found Angkor Wat as a relaxing place. The air is flowing continues and you can seat in everywhere just to rest for some time. It was lovely to see Angkor Wat.

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Each columns, façade, staircases and even roofs were carved effortlessly. Too much memories remain here and never be forgotten by Earth.

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Angkor Thom Gate

Arriving to this temple, you will be welcomed by different faces of Buddha.

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There are smiling, frowning, angry faces that can keep you wonder why they are made for or how they are made. But this is the magic of Angkor Thom to show you that life has different faces.

Bayon Temple

I never expected that I will love Bayon until today. From afar, this temple is very picturesque. It was like a wooden lego for me. Temple restoration was ongoing when I visited it, I guess until now.

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Still, the charm of this temple is never-ending. I love how and where the faces of Buddha were placed. It’s kinda mysterious for me. Tourists and travelers were posing for photos like they were kissing the faces, face to face angle and other hilarious poses.

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Bayon is indeed a historical place because of these faces, not just by the Buddha but also the people who visits it.

Terrace of the Leper King and Terrace of the Elephant

Since I don’t have a tour guide and can’t find any visitor information guide, I find these places as the same. At this time, I just want to relax and stay in any shades.

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I find the carvings of these temples very unique and elegant fit for a king. Each corners were delicately carved to perfection. The King on his time may be very pleased in this place.

Ta Phrom

Finally, it’s Angelina Jolie’s time! This is the famous Tomb Raider setting and definitely one of the best places to visit in Siem Reap.

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This temple is made special by these massive, huge trees. It’s like the temple is embraced by nature. You will be amazed how these trees can hold massive blocks as well.

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This temple truly define how nature can sustain life. Ta Phrom is also a perfect description of how old Khmers lived. It was truly a blessing to visit this incredible wonder.

My 2-day tour in Siem Reap was unbelievably sunny. I guessed, the Heaven favors in me that time. After leaving SR, it rain again. Typically normal for a tropical country. But nevertheless, it was not just the weather that made me fascinated in this place but it’s temple and people. Everyone was extremely warm and approachable. This ancient city is indeed a charm!

I will definitely be back in Siem Reap maybe with my family or friends next time. The best days of my solo travel!

 

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