It may only be a wish away but all wishes do come true if there’s perseverance and believing that, that can make it happen. I have a phantasm of Siem Reap ever since and fortunately I had made it to reality. The moment I stepped on the soil of Siem Reap, I definitely feel the playful ambiance of something spellbound. At the very first page, the thoughts of visiting Angkor Wat and the temples around it always makes me spark to anticipation.
On my very first day, of course who could not be totally excited, I woke up early in the morning to capture the magical sunrise in Angkor Wat. Waiting for my driver and his tuktuk that I used to booked the day before but unfortunately he didn’t showed up on me. I’m quite upset of what happened and nothings over that day instead I grabbed another tuktuk along the street near the hostel. Case solved! That’s the time I’ve met Tom, my cool, nice and silent driver that always smiling. He talked to me sometimes but not that very talkative. Good for me and thanks to him I was able to catch the fetching sunrise in Angkor Wat. From every corner of your eyes and to wherever how far your sight reaches, as expected tremendously, Angkor Wat is really vast and exceptionally beautiful.
Giant and tall trees, fresh wind, slightly bumpy road and a cool gate with big carved faces on it, those were the clear signals that I entered the ancient capital city of Angkor Thom. Yes! In this jungle woody place of somewhere, who could ever imagine that it was a capital city? Notably right at the center of it lays the Prasat Bayon temple, the heart of Angkor Thom and popularly known as “The Face Temple” having approximately 54 towers with 4 carved faces on each and there are about 200 smiling faces. The Baphuon temple, Phimeanakas in the royal palace enclosure and the Terrace of the Elephants is likewise just a distance from the Bayon.
Heading out the capital through the Victory gate, passed over the Siem Reap River, Tom dropped me off where Chau Say Thevoda and Thommanon temples are a couple of walk from the road. They’re beautiful pair of temples outside east of the capital and comely astounding in their scant appearances.
Meters ahead, there’s the mountain temple of Ta Keo that took my breath away. It’s the most exhausted experience I ever had. I climbed the temple’s two very steep stairways which I looked to be dangerous if you’re not careful enough when doing it. Take an extra precaution too when going down because there’s a great chance for you to fall down. No handrails!
After exploring Ta Keo temple, Tom brought me next to the jungle temple of Ta Prohm. Wait! Do you know that the 2001 movie Tomb Raider starring the beautiful Angelina Jolie have their scenes here? That’s why Ta Prohm also often called the “Tomb Raider temple” and it’s pretty impressive. What’s unique about this temple is the sprung of Tertrameles trees. Those giant trees are merging its roots on the temple’s structure. It’s like the trees are growing on it. Ta Prohm is one of the most visited temples around Angkor aside from the Bayon and the Angkor Wat. So, if you want to be in more wilderness and nature environment then there’s no reason to skip Ta Prohm.
Not far south from Ta Prohm is the Banteay Kdei, the citadel of chambers. It has gates with carved faces indistinguishable like Angkor Thom’s gates but here is bit smaller in size. Just like Ta Prohm, upon on my walk along the causeway I was sentimentalized greeted by the lushes’ green forest trees with the melodies of birds and the fresh breeze of the wind on my face. Looks like I’m picturing the enchanted forest here fictionally and do hope to see the seven dwarfs too. Just kidding. Moving on, Banteay Kdei is an interesting and certainly wonderful temple. There are a lot of stone bricks scattered everywhere and some ancient bas-reliefs on the walls. The temple is though quite smaller than Ta Prom and Ta Keo but it is not behind when it comes to natural fairness. Following the causeway going east is my route to exit and to the lovely pond of Srah Srang where Tom is waiting for me to pick me up.
I was really amazed on everything in Angkor. For me, I can say that this place is so far the best that I ever visited. I ended up my journey at the Banteay Kdei temple due to I’ve only got a one day admission ticket. In conclusion, I have a great day roaming around Angkor locale and all that came about were remarkably exhilarating to sweetly say that I was enchanted to meet the ravishing temples in Angkor site.
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How to get to Angkor
From Siem Reap town, hired a tuktuk is your best choice and the driver will serves as your tour guide automatically. Just don’t be shy to ask questions. $15 for a one day tour is generally the common hiring fee for tuktuks. For entry/admission/pass ticket to Angkor are available in three different types. Rate starts from $20(1 day), $40(3 days or times in one week period) and $60(7 days or times in one month period).
You can also do the “On your own escapades” where you can hire your own motorbike or bicycle going to the Angkor site.
What to bring
Very important is sunscreen to prevent you looking burned like a toasted bread. Bring water too to refreshen you all day long and an extra garments. Most tuktuks have bottle water and they can offer you one if you’re thirsty, just approach the driver. My driver Tom have it under my seat. Cool!
Where to eat
Every stop/temples have mini stores where you can buy something to eat and also souvenirs. Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Chau Say Thevoda and Thommanon, Ta Keo, Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, all of them have so don’t you worry. You can bring you own food too if you want.
Paying almost everything in Angkor accept US dollars. From buying the pass and to buying stuffs inside, it’s the common thing and better have some dollar bills for emergency. If you have Cambodian (Khmer) Riel with you it’s still not a problem. There’s no ATM machine in Angkor site