Siem Reap is a town situated in North West Cambodia, North of the Tonle Sap river. The town is best known for being the gateway to the ruins of Angkor, the seat of the Khmer kingdom from the 9th–15th centuries.
The Angkor complex houses myriad temples of various sizes, all between various states of rune and restoration. The most famous temple is Angkor Wat, so prestigious that it sits proudly in the centre of Cambodias national flag.
Our Trip: 14 – 16 August 2016
Our first day in Siem Reap we decided to take it slow – we woke up late and made it to our buffet breakfast at Bayan Leaf hotel a little before the 10.00 a.m. cut off time. The breakfast buffet was ok – a fairly random selection of food, but it was included in the room price so we enjoyed a small selection of what was on offer.
After breakfast we packed up a few kilos worth of laundry and took it to a laundry service a few doors down from our hotel – our hotel was charging US $3 per kilo, but this place was just US $0.50 per kilo – bargain!
We then took a walk about the area, walking in a loop through the Royal Park, alongside Siem Reap River and around various backstreets and alleys before stopping at a restaurant for a delicious lunch of beef loc lac and fried rice. The heat of the day was quite overbearing and so after lunch we headed back to the hotel and sat by the pool for a few hours, dipping in and out of the cool water between reading our books.
For dinner, we took a stroll down our street Taphul Road and decided on Siem Reap Bar & Restaurant, where we had a truly delicious Khmer Curry and Fish Amok dish – Eddie had a few beers but as it was happy hour I took advantage of the cocktail(s) offer – cheers!
Our second day in Siem Reap we had another late-ish start, ate our hotel buffet breakfast and then took our bikes on the short ride up to the Angkor ticket office – we decided on a 3 day pass, costing US $40 each. Our tickets had our faces printed on them, how fancy!
We then rode up another few kilometres to the infamous Angkor Wat temple and parked our bikes in the car park… Nobody asked us for a parking fee so we managed to avoid this payment, we’ve heard it’s usually around US $0.50 – $1.00.
We spent the afternoon walking around the magnificent grounds – the temple gardens are vast which allowed us to admire the iconic temple from afar. As we walked up to, in and around the temple we managed to avoid any large tourist groups, often finding ourselves in quiet pockets where we could admire the temple and stone carvings at our own pace.
When we left the temple we decided to come back the following morning to see it at sunrise.
It was getting late in the afternoon by the time we left, so after a quick stop at the Angkor Wat cafe for a 7-up sugar hit, we jumped back on our bikes and headed to another temple before they closed at 5.30 p.m.
It was a short ten minute ride to our last stop of the day, Ta Promh temple. As we walked around we saw this temple was mid- restoration with props against some of the walls and large tree roots making their home throughout the temple – in some cases it looked like the trees were also propping it up. This temple looked a little unsafe but we were allowed to roam freely around with only a few small sections corned off as no entry.
After roaming around the temple for an hour it was closing for the day, so we walked back to our bikes and headed towards our hotel.
We picked up our laundry and then spent the evening sat at our hotel bar by the pool, where we had a few drinks and some bar food, catching up on a few admin tasks and chatting to the bar man.
Angkor Temple Complex
Our last full day in Siem Reap, we got up super early 5.00 a.m. and raced straight to our bikes where we rode over to Angkor Wat to watch the sun rise. The ride over was very dark and the road was busy with other tourists who had the same idea as us – we raced past queues of tuk-tuk drivers all a little slower than us on our speedy bikes, ha ha.
We parked up and found a spot on the ledge of the first temple building and watched from afar as the sun rose over the temple.
We were a little tired from our early start, so after admiring the view we left the temple and wandered over to a parked coffee van and sat on a stool and enjoyed coffee and a Danish pastry.
Taking advantage of our early start, we hopped back on our bikes and spent the day riding in and around the rest of the temples of Ankor Wat, Angkor Thom and Preah Khan. It was a very pleasant ride as we stumbled across stunning temples and scenic views at every turn.
Our final night, we got back to our hotel a little wrecked, showered up and walked back down Taphul Road and into Siem Reap Bar & Restaurant, where we had eaten before – we enjoyed a great meal of Khmer curry and of course, I took advantage of the cocktail happy hour.