This was the second time I visited the Angkor Archeological Park, first in 2010 and now in 2016 December. I find it simply amazing and I feel lucky I had the opportunity to see it and also to show it to my mother 🙂
I think you can find many articles about the park if you write in the Google ‘angkor’. I Have found some useful web sites:
Some facts are: There are different 3 types of tickets, 1, 3, 7 day-tickets. The prices so far were 20$, 40$, 60$, but as fas as I know from February 2017 the prices will almost double, now the tickets will cost 37$/62$/72$ (I read it in the Telegraph).
I bought the 3-day-ticket each time. The park is open from early in the morning till late afternoon, you can plan your visits so.
The traditional routes are:
– The Small Circuit is 17 km long and it begins at Angkor Wat going to Angkor Thom (including Bayon, the Elephant Terrace, The Terrace of the Leper King, Baphuon, Phimeanakas) and Ta Keo, Ta Prohm and returns to Angkor Wat.
– The Grand Circuit is 26 kilometers long is an extension of the small one, taking Preah Khan, Neak Pean (one of the hospitals) to the Eastern Mebon and monuments like Ta Som (a Bayon-styled temple), Pre Rup, Banteay Kdei and returning to Angkow Wat.
I wish we had more time to see more temples, we managed to see the Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom including Bayon and some gates, Ta Phrom, Elephant Terrace and Bentley Srei. We rather went to see some in the remaining time some distant-special-jungle temples, the Kbal Spean and the Beng Mealea. They were fantastic too (in a later post I will write about them 🙂
My favourite one is Bayon but I also loved Ta Phrom and the most amazing is without question the Angkor Wat!!!
So what we did in 3 days:
Day 1. The small circle: We went to the Pub Street to have a proper breakfast there and we picked a tuk-tuk driver randomly from the crowd for 15$ to take us to the small circle during the day. I think the price is about so much everywhere (at hotels, at tour operators, at street tuk-tuk drivers), if you can bargain harder than me you are very good 🙂
The first stop was at the ticket office outside the park. After that in the park the Angkor Wat since it is the nearest one to the entrance.
I read in a book that it takes about 1-2 hours to discover Angkor Wat. It is correct, we also spent there at least 1 hour without noticing how fast the time passed. It is difficult to describe with words what you feel when you visit these ruins. When I was here in 2010 the temple was renovated from outside, it was a bit covered, so I couldn’t take really nice pictures there. Now I could 🙂
Some things to know about Angkor Wat: You arrive there, the parking of the tuk-tuks is a bit far from the bridge, which you have to cross. After crossing the bridge you arrive at a temple complex, which is also exciting looking but passing these buildings you arrive at a small road that leads you to the temple itself. The carvings inside take your breath away. Angkor Wat is included in the list of World Heritage Sites and serves as Cambodia’s national symbol.
Next temple was the Bayon in Angkor Thom. In the upper terrace you can find the “face towers” of the Bayon. There are about 200 smiling buddha faces, often called “the smile of Angkor.” To climb up is a bit difficult, the steps are really narrow and high. Try to take a picture with one of the faces while looking into his eyes/kissing him… It is fun 🙂
We stopped at the Elephant Terrace (in the ancient Khmer times the king received guests here) and at some gates.
After that we went to Ta Prohm, where giant tees grow round the temple walls. It was so crowded, my God, you could hardly take a picture without a lot of people in it. You have to find the proper time, we went in the afternoon, maybe it is not the best if you are disturbed by the crowd. We weren’t disturbed, simply pushed some away or asked them to get the hell out of our pictures 🙂 Of course in a polite way, you know me…
Day 2. The biggest challenge, the Kbal Spean trekking. Surprisingly it is not so popular among visitors, maybe because it is outside the park. It took for us 3 hours to walk to the carvings in the river bed and to go to the small waterfall there. After that we went to the Banteay Srei temple, the “Citadel of the Women”, legend says it must have been built by women, as the carvings are too fine for the hand of a man.
Day 3. was for the Jungle temple Beng Mealea, which is also pretty far from Siem Reap but while discovering it you would really feel like being Indiana Jones.
Here are some photos taken in the Angkor Park during these days, enjoy 🙂