Temple Hopping: Angkor National Park

Visiting the Angkor Wat has been in my bucket list for the longest time and I feel very fortunate that I was able to visit it before the pandemic happened because Cambodia now imposes a travel charge of $3000.00 when you want to visit that country, and that I cannot afford ahahha.

I was fascinated by the structures of each temple we visited and as if I was transported back in time where the temples are still functional with kings and communities living in there. I just feel so blessed to be able to visit this place. If you plan to visit Siem Reap in the future, and you only have one day, below are the temples you must see and my recommended Itinerary.

4:00AM- We left the hostel, travelled to the ticketing office to purchase our tickets. We were the first ones there but it’s still closed. It opened at 5:00AM and we are lucky to be able to be in the first line as more and more people arrived before 5:00AM.

5:30AM- Catching the sunrise in Angkor Wat. There were hundreds of people. But since we got there early, we scored a great spot. We marveled at the sunrise as it reflected in the lake, took a few photos and then left. We march our way to Angkor Wat so we can get a few shots with no people in it as everyone was still taking photos of the sunrise.


6:00AM to 7:30AM – Exploring Angkor Wat. It’s a very big religious complex inside Angkor National Park. It served as the capital of the Khmer empire, which ruled the region at the time. The word “Angkor” means “capital city” in the Khmer language, while the word “Wat” means “temple.” (Learn more at history.com).

The complex is really big and there are a lot of stairs, so if you wanna truly enjoy the experience, where comfortable shoes so you can explore all the corners of the temple without hassle. There are a lot of tourists (don’t be fooled by my photos, we were just so good at looking for spots and angles) that sometimes we need to wait for a few minutes before we can take a photo of a certain spot. There are areas where you need to fall in line to climb up, but since I have vertigo, I did not go to higher places as it may trigger my vertigo and may cause an accident.


7:30Am to 8:00AM- We ate breakfast to a canteen inside the complex ( if I can remember it correctly it’s near Bayon temple which is our next destination). Tuktuk Drivers know where it is, just tell them you want to eat. Honestly, I think the food there is too overpriced. We paid 21 USD for three meals, although it has big servings (na hindi naman namin naubos kasi pang.Western servings ata yun) I feel that its not worth the prize. It would be better if you bring your own baon so you don’t have to buy inside. Please don’t forget to bring something for your driver as well.


8:00AM to 9:00AM- Bayon Temple is known as the ‘face temple’ thanks to its iconic visages, these huge heads glare down from every angle, exuding power and control with a hint of humanity. (Learn more about Bayon Temple via lonelyplanet.com)

PS. There are a lot of people here so it’s very hard to take a decent photo. You really need to be creative to get the right angle and patiently wait for the right moment to click the camera.


Baphuon Temple – Baphuon is a beautiful 11th century “temple-mountain” with steep stairs leading visitors to a terrace which offers one of the best views in the Angkor Archaeological Park. Archaeologists believe that this pyramid-style temple, located within the city of Angkor Thom, was probably among the most impressive of the Angkor temples in its day. ( Learn more about Baphuon via siemreap.net)


Thommanon Temple – Thommanon is one of a pair of Hindu temples built during the reign of Suryavarman II (from 1113–1150). Images of Devatas, the female divine carved figurines, are seen in profusion here, as in other Khmer temples. They are the centre of attraction in Thommanon.  (learn more at angkorfocus.com)


Ta Keo Temple – Ta Keo is one of the biggest temples built during the Khmer Empire and it was built a couple of hundred years before Angkor Wat temple. Construction of Ta Keo temple was started by King Jayavarman V in 975 AD. However, it wasn’t until nearly 25 years later that it was dedicated to Shiva. After Jayavarman’s death, construction of the temple stopped and Ta Keo was left unfinished. (Learn more at justsiemreap.com)


Ta Prohm Temple – is as popular as Angkor wat because it has been used as a filming location for Lara Croft Movie – Tomb Raider. The original name for Ta Prohm was Rajavihara which means Monastery of the King in English. Ta Prohm was originally built as a Buddhist monastery and university. It was home to 12,500 people, including nearly 20 high priests and over 600 dancers. The surrounding villages were home to 80,000 people who provided services and supplies for the people living in Ta Prohm. (Learn more at justsiemreap.com)

We were so tired at this point that we don’t have a lot of photos anymore. We just looked at the sites and marvel at its beauty, but also we were very tired we could not move.


ANGKOR WAT TIPS

  1. Rent a Tuktuk. The temples are far away from each other, you could not possibly walk, I mean you can but you’ll be very tired.
  2. Bring water, but don’t drink too much. Although there are public toilets and it’s clean for my standards, it would be better to avoid peeing in public toilets.
  3. Bring baon so you’ll not get hungry and to avoid expensive food inside the complex.
  4. Feed your driver as well, a little act of kindness goes a long way 🙂
  5. Wear clothes appropriate for a religious site. Yes, it can be hot but still it’s a temple.
  6. Be early, the sun is really hot from 11am onwards and it’s very draining. Atleast by then, you have already visited the major temples.
  7. Wear masks– aside from protection from covid, it’s also very dusty in their that it could trigger your asthma or if you have allergies.
  8. If you have more time you can spread out the temples for 3 days so you don’t get templed-out, that way you’ll be able to appreciate the uniqueness of each temple.
  9. If you are in a budget, follow my itinerary hehehe.
  10. Buy the ticket on the Ticketing Office-not online! Don’t be scammed.
  11. Get a guide- so you fully appreciate the experience ( we did not get a guide) or listen to other guides ( that’s what we did) so you get information. :p
  12. Take a lot of photos. Wait for the right moment, be patient to wait when no one is on the background.
  13. Be there. Feel the energy of the place, appreciate the beauty of the carvings and the architecture, smile to the people.

PS. Tuktuk Drivers love Manny Pacquiao too much eheheh. they’ll talk about him for hours.

Enjoy your trip!

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