Monday, March 8, 2010

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

Siem Reap has recently become one of the most exotic tourist hot spots. It is home to the most famous mother of all temples, Ankgor Wat, which was discovered in the early 1920s.  Thousands of tourists flock to this small town every year, thus, a multitude of hotels have sprung in the last 3 decades.

We decided to fly from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Siem Reap. The airport is small but very charming, clean and definitely exotic.
Our plane


A marble elephant stands guard at the entrance towards the immigration booths



 The exterior

*****

The ride to our hotel was fascinating. We saw a loooot of motor bikes, tuk-tuks, and locals walking on foot going about their business. And of course, rows and rows of hotels from the lowest to 5 stars with impressive driveways and fountains on their front lawns.



*****

Our hotel was simply breath-taking! My husband got a very good deal for this accommodation. Angkor Palace Resort & Spa 

 It was green everywhere



The best part was that there were not a lot of guests so I had the pool all to myself at certain times.



Our room was huge. The bed was too firm for my taste though.



It had a little porch that can take you straight to the pool. Nice!


*****
First thing we did was go to the Old Market. We rode a tuk-tuk and it was such a fun ride- all bumpy and dusty but who cares? It reminded me of my home town :) The market was crowded. You can buy anything there: clothes, jewelry, food, paintings, etc.

This reminds me of our wet market back home.


Can you guess what these are? 


*****
That night we went to Koulen Restaurant which is very famous for good Cambodian food and cultural dance shows (including Apsara dances).





Apsara dancer

*****
Siem Reap has so many temples and ruins that it was literally impossible for us to visit each and every one of them. So we decided to visit the Angkor Archeological Park near Siem Reap and chose 3 temples to visit. Angkor Archeological Park


Getting our tickets. $20 for a one-day pass


Entrance to the park. 


*****
Our first temple was the Bayon Temple. This temple is known for its huge stone faces of the smiling Avalokiteshvara. Also carved on the walls are apsaras and warriors.

Bayon Temple


Apsara


*****
We then walked to our next temple. Along the way we saw more ruins, interesting walls with beautiful carvings and elephants!
A huge wall with hundreds of carved images



Ride the elephant for $10. It was so much fun!


*****
Our next temple was called Ta Prohm. This temple is known for giant tree roots springing from the temple ruins. Oh and you can also see shots of the temple in The Tomb Raider. Close to the entrance of the temple was a group of handicapped men playing some Cambodian instruments. These men were tragic victims of landmines that were left by the Khmer Rouge. 

Please donate...



Look at those roots!



  
Some parts were being renovated


*****
Saving the best for last- Angkor Wat. It was built in the 1200s for Suryavarman II. It was originally a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu and later converted into a Buddhist temple. The temple has an outer wall surrounded by a moat, an inner wall that serves as a fortress then finally the temple itself.


The moat surrounds the walls



Angkor Wat. Some parts are being renovated



  
Galleries inside the temple



Buddha with lots of offerings



  
Rear courtyard



  
Monkeys around the temple walls



*****
Ancient architecture and archeology are 2 things that really fascinate me. This trip was definitely a very memorable one. It was hot as hell but I enjoyed every single minute of our stay in Siem Reap. We're thinking of making a second trip. Still have lots of temples left to see.....

4 comments:

  1. lovely pictures:-) i feel you had a grand time there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. yeah nice!! i love angkor wat very much...wanna go there again =p

    ReplyDelete