Before Cambodia, the wonderful country was called the Khmer Empire first. As we went on a trip around Siem Reap, we felt traveling through time. The structures then were preserved, converted into tourist spots and maintained for the world to see.
After settling for a while, we went out , escorted again by Hong, the tuktuk driver who fetched us at the terminal. We had alot to see but the rain which had been pouring all throughout the days we arrived in Cambodia, hindered us. Not that it was raining still but upon seeing the outside, we were surprised how deep the flood was.
Yet, as eager travelers and having a persistent tuktuk driver like Hong, we insisted of traveling through the flood to see the Floating Village. Halfway through, we were stranded. Seems like the Floating Village came to us instead of we going there. Great.
Now the real adventure begins.
Seeing the battle of Hong maneuvering his tuktuk, MJ and I decided to lessen his load. We went down. YES, IT IS STILL FLOODED. We immersed our feet into the flooded streets. Mama was left at the tuktuk. We decided we have to go back. It’s not wise to proceed with the thought of getting stranded for hours.
Mj and I managed to walk through water and mud with laughter and calmness. But our laughs were saying, “Heck! We have never done this in the Philippines!”
We were full of eagerness. Upon arriving at Siem Reap Rooms, we took a short rest then got ready to tour the area.
- Night Market
We were able to have a look around the souvenirs, Siem Reap has to offer. In all honesty, it was not really “looking” but more of “shopping“. Their stalls varied from all sorts of unique products like bags, cloths, jewelry, souvenirs and a lot more. The good thing is that it ranges from as low as $1 to at least $100 for silks Just bear in mind that these stalls cater to tourists so you may still haggle the prices. There were also local food to try on. Again, we went there with a bit of rain so it was hard to move around.
- Angkor Wat
We could say this is the highlight of our Cambodia trip. And if one will be asked, it is probably a must to see the Angkor Wat. A trip to Cambodia is not complete without seeing the grandeur of Angkor Wat with your own eyes. Many travelers would recommend seeing Angkor Wat during sunrise, and so we did. We started our trip by 5 am. Upon arriving, there were hundreds of several tourists waiting to witness the beauty of Angkor Wat at dawn.
Before entering, one will be given an Angkor Pass which is an ID ( your photo will be taken) to reflect what kind of pass you have. For us we only took a One Day pass worth $20. There are 3 days and 7 days pass which means you can go back to explore this huge area that long.
As the clock ticks and everyone ready to see the sun…
rain started pouring….
So, yes, you guessed, our most awaited view of Angkor Wat at dawn will forever be embedded only on postcards and magazines. “Why?! Of all days and time!!”
Came 6:30am and all we saw was a gloomy Angkor Wat beneath our lenses. Yet, that did not stop us to admire and appreciate this amazing Angkor Wat through the rain.
The sun was still on our side as the rain weakens and we were able to wander through the amazing structure that is the Angkor Wat. There was so much excitement that was contained. As soon as the light beamed over us, we started the journey through the ancient walls around us.
- Ta Phrom
Who has not been aware of Tomb Raider and Ta Phrom?! Well, apparently me. Many tourists would plan their itineraries with Ta Phrom primarily because this was were Angelina Jolie strut some actions as Lara Croft. I was not aware until days before we got into Cambodia. I was mostly focused on seeing Angkor Wat. Little did I know that there is another gem waiting to be seen. Ta Phrom experience is slightly better as we were given some dry moments to explore the area. Everything was lush with green moss just covering every part of the ancient structures.
Something very nice about Ta Phrom and the whole area is that it comes in various structured design. Just like the above photo where I found somewhat a lifesized frame with detailed borders.
This is another spectacular sacred temple area to be visited. There are many temples with its own beauty and story. As we wander along Bayon, I discovered different temples housed in one complex with many still in good condition. Many of these are being carefully preserved which I admire the Cambodians for.
One of the highlights of the Bayon temple trip is our elephant ride. I have been eyeing this ride since the Bangkok trip we had. It was not possible during Thailand visit as the elephants were not quite near within the city. Therefore, in this Cambodia trip, I made a vow to ride an elephant and include it as part of the itinerary. These gentle giants are a must see for me!
Of course riding the elephant is not free. We paid a certain fee almost equivalent to the Angkor Wat pass,( around $15). Well… you gotta pay for something worth it. Before riding them, you will have to feed them. We were given pineapples and had to offer it. Little did I know that these elephants love the pineapples that they eat it in its form with skin! They just take out the leaves.
It was a well worth it ride as we have circled around the southgate of Bayon temple. They have a carpet like feel. The ride was obviously bit bumpy but nevertheless exciting.
- Back to the city
While we thought the tour at Bayon will be the last to see in Siem Reap, we were delighted to chance upon the city side of Siem reap and its offerings. I can call it a modernized Bayon Temple.
There were so much to talk and write about Siem Reap and Cambodia overall . Too many nice photos to post. However, being there and actually walking through the temples, meeting the people and getting to know the culture will make this post alive and much appreciated. Every step leads you to another amazing sight. Whether you come on a rainy or dry season, make the best out of your trip and you will surely feel everything was all worth it.