hallo Anteaders! it’ve been some time, i know… *weak smile*
so, i have just returned from a short getaway to Siem Reap, Cambodia with Kikilala (not real name). since i will take forever to edit photos so i thought i’d share some snapshots taken by trusty iBaby v3.0 (yeap my third iPhone) in chronological order.
KLIA 2 – Siem Reap International Airport – Retreat Villa Boutique & Spa – Night Market/Pub Street
it’s our second trip together after Hong Kong. and this time we didn’t really plan the itinerary cos we hired a guide (best decision ever) and 3 out of 5 days were well sorted out. we only had to take care the other two days.
we arrive at Siem Reap about 1+pm local time (GMT+7) and felt that we earned one hour due to the time difference. and upon touched down, the first phrase from Kikilala was, “wah this airport’s like Sandakan’s (a small town in Sabah)!” =_________= it’s my second backpack trip and i think i’m mastering the art of light packing. cos you can buy everything else locally lol.
the sky was pretty dramatic and we foresaw there’d be rain. true enough, it rained the next 1.5 days, a blessing in disguise, you’ll know why later.
this is the interior of the airport. yes it’s pretty muchy all. the custom is on the right while you collect baggage on the left.
there’ll be many drivers from hotels holding name cards awaiting the arrival of guests, we looked through the cards and don’t find Kikilala’s, pretty disappointed that our resort didn’t arrange the pick up, but it’s okay we have already prepared for it and proceeded to the counter and purchase a USD 5 tuk tuk ride to resort.
you may also buy the local sim card or exchange currency outside of the arrival hall. we didn’t buy any sim card cos it’s a holiday and the last thing i want is distraction from work XD i’m no sales or any top management that’s why i can be this 任性, it’s legit to not reply whatsapp on work phone.
arrived and were greeted by some welcome drinks and cold towel and some 漏风 titbit.
Kikilala booked us a room at Retreat Villa Boutique & Spa together with flight ticket via Air Asia. i didn’t really care muchy about accommodation to be honest, cos we’d be out most of the time and only get back to room at night, so accommodation is my least concern, i only care about the safety and convenience.
however if you’re all about comfort and luxury, there’s tons of posh hotel one after another along the way from airport to the city.
me enjoying a can of Cambodia beer after settling down. we ordered room service cos we’re famished and too lazy to get out. yet.
first Khmer meal! some minced pork with rice and amok fish. amok is a kind of curry, more santan-y than our ordinary curry which we really like.
took a USD 2 tuk tuk to the town.
Pub Street is the most happening at night while all the temples are in snooze mode. we explored and shopped a bit at night market. bought some pants and tanks to be worn during the trip. told you i was packing light, in order to shop more teehee. and then we called it a night and decided to rest early for tomorrow.
Angkor Thom – Bayon – Baphuon – Terrace of the Elephants – Terrace of the Leper King – Ta Prohm – Angkor Wat
the resort entrance and our dining area for the next three consecutive mornings.
we were supposed to get up at 4am to catch the morning rays, thanks (or no thanks) to the unpleasant weather, we got to sleep in a lil’ more.
we practically had the similar brekkie ala English style every day.
my travel companion and i looked forward to starting our day! our guide and tuk tuk picked us up at our resort and we’re so excited to temple-hopping!
we entered through Angkor Thom South Gate, the most well-known entrance.
the entrance is guarded by 54 demons and angels on each side, holding nage. most of the heads were stolen, smuggled and sold in black market. the newer ones are restored version.
we started off with Bayon, the four-faced temple.
i won’t be going in depth of the history behind each temple cos you can easily google it up and better still, make a trip here and get amazed.
almost all of the temples built with sandstone have bas reliefs on the wall, giving you insights of the ancient daily life, or the war condition.
the relief here, if i’m not mistaken, is about a war scene. yes ladies (the hair bun) were involved in war and this joker brought a turtle and it bit the butt of the guy in front her. LOL.
and then it started drizzling. whipped out my pinky umbrella and we marched on. don’t easily get annoyed over small things. the rain actually made the weather very pleasant for exploring, but not so for the photos. i think the temples would look muchy more magnificent contrasting with clear blue sky. oh well!
everyone told us Cambodia is HOT. so i skipped pilling on accessory and use temporary tattoo instead! i got mine from Wanderlust Things. easy to stick on and stay on quite well.
one more shot of the Bayon temple before moving on to Baphuon, Terrace of the Elephant and Terrace of the Leper King, which are within walking distance. no snapshots were taken at these temples as the rain got heavier and i kept iBaby in backpack. i did take some shots with Hugo (DSLR) so i’ll show you guys in future posts.
Ta Prohm is made popular by the movie Tomb Raider, where one of the scene was shot here.
the tree grows massively on the temple. it might seem destructive to the temple, but part of it actually acts as support, holding the blocks together.
evident 3D carvings are seen throughout the temples.
if we came here without guide, for sure we’d get lost in between the towers. we’re notorious for our lack of sense of direction. hehe.
this’s where the movie scene took place. we’re glad that we went during low-peak season due to rainy, imagine it’s jam packed with human, how to take a decent shot.
modeling in temple lol.
found cute dinosaur carving around Ta Prohm O.o
how did they know? dinosaur has already extinct for more than million years before these temples were built. there’s no facebook/twitter/google, how did they know? the king must be very knowledgeable huh?
pardon my jakun-ness guys.
while the temple is restored, most of the blocks were found lying around. it’s not easy to fix each puzzle block back to its original location.
our lunchy at some touristy restaurant. decent food at touristy price. typical.
then it’s time for Angkor Wat. we allocated the whole late noon to slowly wander through the world largest religious monument.
we LOVE our guide for knowing all the better spots for photography.
“you should take from here, to be able to see the reflection from the water”
too bad, it’s drizzling hence no still water.
Sarorn (our guide) walked us through the gallery, narrating tales from the reliefs.
showing our bestie T bought from Night Market yesterday!
steep stairs to the taller tower. the tread is actually very narrow, only about half a size of an adult’s sole. it’s made so, so that people would watch their steps, in a way bowing to show respect. and when you’re getting down, you’d have to turn around and walk down slowly with your butt facing outside, rather than facing to the god.
the right photo is the modified stairs for us to climb up, equally steep but secured with steel handles and wider tread.
views from the tallest building of Angkor Wat.
see what i mean by steep?
i hold on to the steel for dear life.
Sarorn told us we’re standing at the center of the universe (the red square thingy on the floor). i guess it means something powderful hence the pose XD
that’s the end of the temple tour for Day 2.
before going back to our resort, Sarorn dropped us at a local supermarket where we stocked up some titbits, fruit and beer. everything is priced in USD here, any change less than USD 1 will be in Riel.
we told ourselves, we’d shower first then head out for dinner. that didn’t happen as we had room service.
Pre Rup – Banteay Samre – Banteay Srei (Lady’s Temple) – Neak Pean – Preah Khan – Bakeng Temple – Dinner – Resort
we were supposed to catch sunrise at 5am, but the weather’s bad. so we took our time to get ready for Day 3 exploration.
managed to plank by the pool when the rain finally stopped. i love my firm arms.
first stop, Pre Rup!
built in 10th century, even older than the legendary Angkor Wat. what makes it stands out among gazillion temples is, it’s mostly built with bricks. i thought brick is a modern technique, manatau sand stone is even more modern! sand stone was later used in most of the temples structure because the surface can be carved on.
my striking blouse stood out from the architecture XD.
then a quick stop at Banteay Samre which the structure resembles muchy to the Angkor Wat.
“how to pose ar?” “wong fei hong?”
“nope, let’s be statues.” “okie!”
a long ride to our next destination.
Banteay Srei, or colloquially known as the Lady Temple.
why lady, because the carvings were so intricate and they believed only lady would be able to carve patiently.
the temple is built using red sandstone, something unusual that attracts tourists like us.
Lady Temple is another fav! The carvings are all very intricate that they believe only the ladies would be that patient to carve. And because the temple is dedicated for a 10yo prince hence the small entrance. It's the only temple that built using vary tone of sandstone, like pink! #antinsiemreap #banteaysrei
it’s also believed that the temple is built for the prince who’s only 10yo (then), hence the tiny entrance.
Neak Pean – a temple sits at the centre of a hand-dug reservoir. it serves as a hospital, where instead of medicine, the water cures illness!
meditating at Preah Khan
like Ta Prohm, there’s vegetation grows on the structure.
if i’m not mistaken, this is East Gate. unlike South Gate, most of the statues are restored. here, people don’t bother to cos it’s a less popular entrance.
we stopped at Angkor Wat to take a (pretty) nice shot of its reflection before dashing off to Bakeng Temple for sunset!
thanks to filters the sunset looks stunning, it’s just meh through Hugo’s lens (DSLR). it’s just me, i wasn’t familiar with the setting for sunset.
headed back to room after a scrumptious yet cheap dinner! and time for some pampering. our masks cute mou?
Sunrise at Angkor Wat – Resort – Bakong – Tonle Sap Lake – Old Market – Resort – Night Market/Pub Street – Resort
our last full day in Siem Reap.
we told Sarorn, rain or not, we’re waking up for sunrise! we got up at 4am and wish was granted!
went back to resort for brekkie and freshened up.
you may opt for brekkie box, most of the hotel prepares that.
last temple of our trip – Bakong.
it’s the first temple mountain in Siem Reap built with sandstone and shaped like a pyramid. there’s altogether 5 levels which from bottom is the Naga, Garuda, Demon, Human, and the top level is the Heaven.
the weather was mercilessly searing.
then we took a boat ride to Tonle Sap Lake which i think can forgo, unless you have the time (1 hour) and money ($20) to spare. there’s numerous still houses on the lake, and a few restaurants.
i was a lil’ adventurous when i told Sarorn to bring us to his usual lunchy spots (chapfan). to be honest, i was regretted when i looked at the dishes. the only food that i am familiar with was the grilled pork.
it was not that bad actually. we had this sour minced pork served with raw veggie, braised duck egg and pork, ikan bakar served with sour veggie and grilled pork!
Sarorn recommended us this ice cream place, The Blue Pumpkin for an hour rest. we totally needed it. unwind ourselves in air-conditioned. bliss.
there’s sleep bed where people lounge on. we opted normal seating as we’re questioning whether they change the sheet.
visited a monastery where they stored skulls in a stupa. there’s quite a number of such monastery in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. most of them were unreasonably killed during Khmer Rouge.
spent our last night at the buzzing Night Market and Pub Street trying local street food.
we had chocolate banana pancake which really was roti canai slathered with nutella and topped with banana rolled into a cylinder, some chicken sandwich which Kikilala said looked like roti john and a cup of dragon fruit shake!
then insects (spiders, snakes, grasshoppers and cicada) as dessert.
seized our last night while taking a stroll at Pub Street.
procrastinating packing with beer. time flies when you’re enjoying it.
Siem Reap International Airport – KLIA 2
morning tuk-tuk ride to airport when the city’s barely awake.
a ride back to reality.
that wraps up my short but sweet 5D4N in Siem Reap. you may be templed-out by the end of the trip, if you have limited time to explore, our top three temples are Bayon, Pre Rup and the Lady Temple (Banteay Srei). of course no any Siem Reap is complete without a trip to Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm. so there you have it, five must-visit temples in Siem Reap.
and for the budget part, here’s the breakdown of what we spent.
- RM 508 for flight ticket and accommodation for four nights /per person
- USD 35 for guide /per day
- USD 15 for tuk-tuk /per day
- USD 40* for Angkor entrance fee /per person
- USD 20 for boat ride (Tonle Sap) /per person
- USD 100 for food + shopping /per person (optional)
*3 types of day passes are available:
- 1 day for USD 20
- 3 days for USD 40
- 7 days for USD 60
3 days and 7 days passes valid for a week and a month respectively. in short, if you purchase 3 days pass, you may hop in and out Angkor for any 3 days within a week (not necessarily consecutive). do note that you have to keep the pass with you at all times as the guards will inspect whenever you enter a temple. and if you plan to buy the entrance pass for the next day, go at about 4ish pm so that you could catch the sunset at 5pm, in a way you get two hours extra 赚到.
we paid a total USD 175 for 3 full day of guide and tuk-tuk, do note that sunrise & sunset requires extra charges as well as tuk-tuk ride to Lady Temple as it’s located quite a distant from Angkor. if you don’t have the budget for guide, you may want to drop by the Angkor National Museum. the temples are just some run down stone temples if you don’t know the history behind them.
i brought about USD 280 and came home with USD 20, so i guess Siem Reap is certainly considered a budget place to visit!
i hope i don’t miss out anything. if you have any question, shoot me an email [firstname.lastname@example.org] i’ll try my best to get back to you. do let me know if you need Sarorn’s contact.