Monday, December 01, 2008

Visiting the Angkor Wat temples? Here are some tips:

Banteay Srei, Angkor Wat, CambodiaA view from Banteay Srei.

I'm not actually intending to give a detailed account of how my two whole days in Siem Reap went. Simply put, those days were so packed that I would just end up posting a wordy entry that you might not want to read.

So I decided to just come up with several tips that you may find useful if you’re planning to check out the Angor Wat temples:

1. The Angkor Wat complex is so huge that it’s imposible to see all the temples in just one day. If you intend to check out all of them, plan a five-day stay at Siem Reap. But if you only want to check out the “must-see” temples, this can be done in just a day, while the other interesting ones can be seen for another day or two. The “must-see” temples, according to Tales of Asia, are the Angkor Wat (the “main” temple), Bayon (my personal favorite for the 200-or-so heads), and Ta Prohm (that Cambodian structure made famous by Tomb Raider) . Also note that there are other beautiful temples that are outside of the Angkor Wat complex that are worthy to be visited, particularly Banteay Srei and Kbal Splean. You just have to ask your tuktuk driver to take you there, of course for extra fee.

And maybe it's just me, that after checking one ruin after the other, I felt I was fed up. I haven't seen all of them temples but I think I've had enough with what I've seen.
Going to Siem Reap river to check out the floating river is also another story, but my driver didn’t ask for extra fee since I finished taking rounds of Angkor temples earlier than expected.
Angkor Wat templesThe back side of Angkor Wat.

2. If possible, bring a liter of water. There are food stalls inside the complex but everything’s just damn too expensive. Just to give you an idea, a bowl of noodles is $3, and a bottle of 8 ounces of mineral water is $1-2.

3. Bring spare batteries for your camera. And film as well, if you’re still into film cameras like me. Four pieces of Energizer AAs’ worth $8 at the gate of Angkor Wat. Haggle with the Khmers and that’ll go down to $6. Compare that with supermarket prices. Enough said.

4. Sweaty or not, bring extra shirt/s. I went to the Angkor temples during the peak of summer, and woah, I was so drenched in sweat after spending at least 30 minutes in each temple.

5. Caretakers and children running around the temples normally talk to tourists and they give insights of the place, give tips on where the nice carvings are, etc. They’re not for free. If you don’t have a dollar or two to spare, ignore them and pretend you don't understand English.

6. I just came across a seller of books on Angkor Wat temples while entering a temple. It’s some sort of a coffee table book with lots of beautiful pictures of Angkor temples. To other sellers within the complex, that book’s about $12. To others, it's only $1! I still regret not buying that book. If you're a book person, it’s definitely a good buy!

7. The Angkor Wat itself is so glorious at dawn. Both of my two whole days at Siem Reap started early in the morning. I think if you’ve already seen the sunrise, aim for the sunset the following day. I’ve read somewhere it’s nice to take pictures at Bayon late in the afternoon, and watch the sun set at one of those Greek structure-looking temple (I'll post the photo soon, I just forgot the name of the temple). Please note that Angkor Wat itself is best photoed during sunset as it faces west.

8. The tuktuk that will take you to various temples for an entire day costs about $15 — that is, if you booked the tuktuk driver through your hotel/guesthouse. This is actually a bit expensive because hotels/guesthouses get a cut for every booking that they make. You may save a dollar or two if you simply holler a tuktuk a day before your journey and ask the driver to pick you up in your hotel/guesthouse.
Terrace of the Elephants, Angkor Thom, CambodiaPathway at the Terrace of the Elephants, Angkor Thom.


very said...

hey ge, kahit n70 yun pangshoot mo. ganda!!!

very ulit said...

disregard the 1st comment.its for the casa rap photos im talking about. haha. sorry. pero ganda ng mga photos mow. ayus!

actorenescritor said...

Thanks Very! :D