Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Siem Reap - Day 1 (Part 1)

This post is going to be a super long post with plenty of pictures, as I promised to my other travelling companions, I am going to share our backpacking experiences in Siem Reap in details here.

Upon checking in the hotel, I sat down to discuss with our tour agency manager, Mr. Panha Ou from Amazing Angkor on the rest of the itinerary planned for us throughout our stay in Siem Reap. Managed to strike a reasonable rate for tour which inclusive of an English speaking tour guide, a driven van with supply of cold bottled water & wet towels. The rate given to us was USD55 inclusive of the above mentioned for a full day tour for 4 pax (pretty reasonable in my opinion).

We were given a map & full detailed itinerary from our tour guide, Mr. Borom and knowing that it is going to be a long high energy straining day, we requested a breakfast stop at the nearest local food stall. We were brought to a local restaurant where all patrons were of Cambodians, we looked like alien as we started snapping pictures in the run down wooden attap restaurant. Check out the menu, would not elaborate further on what we ate, let the pictures do the talking :) One thing I need to stress here, I tasted the best ever instant noodles in my whole entire life in this country :P

Taking orders

The menu

Beef noodle soup

Fried Pork w/rice

Beef Lok Lak

Fried Rice w/Pork

After the satisfying local breakfast, we were brought to the ticketing counter. Please note that our day tour fee is not inclusive of entrance fee. We opted for a 3-days visit pass that cost USD40. The pass will allow access to visit all temples in the Angkor surroundings.

3-Day Pass

The staff at the ticketing counter are really nice, greeting us with smiles and even offered us this some kind of fruit. I do not know what is it called in English, it tasted a bit like bamboo shoot, eaten with salt, sugar & chilli. Pretty tasty really. Something new.

There are hundreds of temples ranging from sizes, so our tour guide suggested us to visit the main temples in Siem Reap. The emergence of Angkor kingdom was traced back in the 8th century. We visited Preah Ko temple, the first project from the 3rd Angkor ruler, Indravarman I.

It is simply amazing just imagining the craftmanship of the Khmer's civilization of more than thousand years ago. We next visit the Lo Lei & Bakong temples, we can now differentiate the temples based on the stones that they used, from laterite to sandstone. Heavy restoration is being done mostly by the French & Japanese archeologists in most temples we visited.

In most temples' gates, we were greeted by Naga, a cobra lookalike statuettes. While carvings on most temples in the late 8th & 9th century were of Hinduism influences. We saw a lot of carvings of Vishnu & Siva (Hindus God) and also devattas (lady with head dress & necklaces).

A great country for photography enthusiast. A lot of small souvenir stalls are located outside the main temples. Scenes of monks meditating in the monastery and kids running around the temple area, trying their best to sell their souvenirs to the tourists.

From various angles, we can actually take fine captivating pictures, just like the below Bakong tower framed by the sandstone gate. Though tired, but it is indeed satisfying for us to see such amazing monuments. We really strecthed our digital camera to the maximum. After about 3 hours, we adjourned for lunch at a nearby Khmer restaurant.

It's been a super duper long post, I am a bit tired myself with my long winded travelogy. So what's installed next???



jane said...

Nice, really nice post. Waiting to read more. :D

mandelism said...

woow..the food looks cekap!
th fried pork rice reminds me of sumthing similar..forgot wehre i ate it :|

aaaaaa...whu wanna sponsor for my trip :(

Anonymous said...

Like your very detailed description and information.
Going to Siem Reap in Jan 08.

lovie said...

Wish I can go too. Hehe.

Seizhin said...

Wow so, you need a temple pass in order to go visit them?

That's actually a good idea to control the number of tourists.

gossip with david said...

Good write up... Wish to go one day!!

puvanan said...

Perhaps, you might want to share some tips on how much u spent the whole trip and important points about the overall traveling that one needs to take note of.. It might help those who wants to travel to Cambodia in the nearest future.

The food is very tempting and your other pictures describe Cambodia as a spiritual and peaceful place to visit. Anyone out there care to sponsor my flight? :)

sylvesteR said...

Whoa, nice place!! I wish I can visit angkor wat as well, but sigh, no money and no time. But what you can do to cheer me up a little is post more pictures of the angkor wat!! If that's possible la, cannot go but still can at least know how angkor wat looks like.

Michael Song said...

jane... will give u more...

mandelism... get ur banker to support ur trip lar :P

anonymous... enjoy ur trip ya...

lovie... go go go, it's cheap!!!

seizhin... ya we need the pass, it's good also, tourists controlled and the money will b used to restore the temples...

david... it's all fun & exotic!!!

puvannan... it is indeed a safe country, now i feel our country is more unsafe :P

sylvester... save money, MUST go!!!