hANnaeYTHING

Siem Reap Small Circuit Tour

After a restful sleep, we woke up at 3:30 am the next day to prepare for another day at the temples. We will be taking the small circuit tour.

Shafie as always, was on time and very courteous. Our first stop was the Ticket Center where the staff will put a hole through a puncher on the day.

Temple Pass.

All tourists will do that to gain access to the temples plus there are separate checkers on most of the temples.

 

It was still dark when we arrived at Angkor Wat. Shafie took us to a short cut going to the bridge that will connect to Angkor Wat.

Check out the people behind me waiting for the sunrise. Our guide Shafie said that during peak season, thousands of tourists flock to watch the famous Angkor Wat sunrise.

JT and his photography skills.

Angkor Wat is an Indian temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world, with the site measuring 162.6 hectares. Angkor Archeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Angkor Wat, and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations. UNESCO has set up a wide-ranging programs to safeguard this symbolic site and its surroundings.

Angkor Wat sunrise

Witnessing the Angkor Wat sunrise is a part of my bucket list and on that day i was able to tick it off. I am amazed how the sky changes its colors behind the majestic Angkor Wat Temple.

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

 

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Shafie in action. He is bringing our camera the entire tour and takes really nice photos.

After witnessing the sunrise, we head towards the temple and another experience was about to unfold.

Lined up to get an entry pass to Bakan, the central sanctuary of Angkor Wat. Only 100 persons are allowed at the top at a time.

There are staff who will give you the pass and then you have to climb up the steep wooden stairs to reach Bakan.

My Bakan pass.

 

View from Bakan.

 

There is a monk stationed here that you can approach and he will pray for you. Donation is highly appreciated.

One of my favorite photos taken by Shafie.

 

Angkor Wat is so vast and it took us almost two hours to tour around the temple. Everything here is just awesome and unique. Truly world class and deserving to be on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It is amazing how they were able to preserve and maintain everything.

 

 

Intricate wall carvings at the Angkor Wat.

 

 

One of the hundreds of photos that Shafie took that i really like.

 

On our way out of the temple.

Makeshift rubber bridge is used because the original bridge is under repair.

 

Shafie and his spacious tuk tuk. The cooler is very accessible to us. We actually brought some soda and he is okay with that.

 

We went back to our villa to have brunch. Arrived at around 9am and i took the moment to enjoy my coffee in complete serenity at the pool side.

 

We rested for a while and around 10:30 am we went out to continue our temple hopping.

 

I was a bit tired from waking up early that day but i was not expecting that i have yet to see the most beautiful temple in Siem Reap.

 

Angkor Thom was the last and most enduring capital city of Khmer empire. There are 5 gates of Angkor Thom: North, East, West, Victory and the most famous, South Gate.

 

We passed again South Gate and took an opportunity to have another photo op.

The other day, i took the a photo at the other side.

Angkor Thom South Gate.

South Gate upclose.

awesome view at South Gate.

Our next stop was Bayon Temple.

It was the most beautiful and interesting temple i have ever seen.

It has distinctive and unique faces on the towers. It was one of the most amazing view from afar that i have seen. It has been described as “the most striking expression of the baroque style” of Khmer architecture as compared to the Angkor Wat Temple.

The Bayon was the last state temple to be built at Angkor and the only Angkorian state temple to be built primarily as a Mahayana Buddhist Shrine dedicated to Buddha.

Let me take you to a virtual photo tour around Bayon, the temple i consider to be the most beautiful temple in Siem Reap.

Here are cute photos directed by our tour guide Shafie.

 

Bayon Temple.

 

Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Our next stop was at the Terrace of the Elephants.

The Terrace of the Elephants is part of the walled city of Angkor Thom. The terrace was used by Angkor’s King Jayavarman VII as a platform from which to view his victorious returning army.

 

After a very quick stop at the Terrace of the Elephants, we head to Baphuon Temple.

It is a three-tiered temple mountain built as the state temple of Udayadityavarman II dedicated to the Hindu God, Shiva. It has a long walkway before entering into the temple.

I have to climb a steep wooden ladder to see the 9 meter tall by 70 meter long ststue of the reclining Buddha.

We passed around the royale palace as the temple adjoins its southern enclosure. There were old royal baths who were not properly maintained and a temple who is under preventive maintenance. It was a long walk going outside but it was shady since you will be passing around trees.

Our next stop was the famous Prasat Ta Phrom. This temple was used as a location in the film Tomb Raider which starred Angelina Jolie.

It is the capital of the Kingdom of Trees’. It has been left untouched by archeologists except for the clearing of a path for visitors and structural strengthening to save of further deterioration.

“Fig, Banyan and Kapok trees spread their gigantic roots over stones, probing walls and terraces apart, as their branches and leaves intertwine to form a roof over the structures. Trunks of trees twist amongst stone pillars. The strange, haunted charm of the place entwines itself about you as you go, as inescapably as the roots have wound themselves about the walls and towers”, wrote a visitor 40 years ago.

It is a beautiful, enchanted place marrying nature with architecture.

 

Ta Phrom has 3,140 villages. It took 79,365 people to  maintain the temple including 18 great priests, 2,740 officials, 2,202 assistants and 615 dancers. Among the property belonging to the temple was a set of golden dishes weighing more than 500 kilograms, 35 diamonds, 40,620 pearls, 4,540 precious stones, 876 veils from China, 512 silk beds and 523 parasols.

 

 

 

 

After an enchanting time at Ta Phrom, we then head to Bantaey Kdei.

It is a Buddhist Temple which means “A Citadel of Chambers”, also known as “Citadel of Monks’ cells”. It has been occupied by the monks over the centuries until 1960’s.

 

We passed by at Srah Srang-The Royal Bath. It is located across the road from the east entrance of Bantaey Kdei. One can enter and leave Srah Srang from the road.

It is a large lake (700 x 300 meters, 2,297 x 984 feet) with elegant landing terrace. One can find serenity and peace just by looking at this place.

According to a French archeologist, it offers at the last rays of the day, one of the most beautiful points to view the Park of Angkor.

The last temple we visited was Prasat Kravan Temple.

It is a small 10th century temple consisting of five reddish brick towers on a common terrace. A temple dedicated to Vishnu.

Stone wall carvings at the temple.

It was definitely a worthwhile experience. While temple hopping, the common sights that you can see on the road are students who were either walking or biking going to school or going back to their homes.

Also, at every entrance of each temple, it is a common sight to see souvenir shops and some food stalls. Remember to always haggle for the prices whenever you buy some shirts, pants and shawls. I honestly think they are the best pasalubong from Siem Reap.

Souvenir shops at the temple entrance.

We took a late lunch at a local restaurant,Try Me.

 

Cambodian Curry and Lok Lak.

Food was great and since it was already 3 pm, we were the only one dining at that time.

It was a sunny afternoon and to beat the heat, we visited Fresh Fruit Factory. They serve wide array of Cambodian fruit cuisine.

Mango Ice Mountain

 

This cafe is well-ventilated. It is a perfect place to relax.

They sell these cute cups and you have the option to leave it here and use it every time you order. This is great for locals who frequent this place.

 

Shafie took us to the airport at 6 am the next day. We paid him for his awesome service for two days when we arrived at the airport.

Our amazing temple hopping was made more memorable because we had an awesome driver and tour guide. I believe it is the key if you want to experience temple run in Siem Reap. While all the other tuk tuk drivers of the other tourists were just waiting at the temple entrance, our dear Shafie took us inside most of the temples, gave us information about the history of the temple and most of all took our photos like a pro.

Shafie.

We are off to another country to tick an item off in my bucket list!

Where to next?

 

The beautiful Cambodian designs at the walls of Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport.

Breakfast at Plaza Premium Lounge, Siem Reap International Airport

Here is a detailed summary of expenses incurred for the trip. Souvenir Items and Ref Magnets are optional.

Additional Expense of $15 for Shafie’s Tip for his extra ordinary service.

For comments and further inquiries about this trip, post it below or send me a message. ♥

I can’t wait to share my travel blog to the next country that i will explore!

 

 

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