Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Alighting at Siem Reap from Phnom Penh, there'll be plenty of tuktuks waiting for you to take you to your guesthouse, as per any other places in this part of the world. I got mine for 8 USD as I was staying pretty far away from the city (inside the Angkor Archaeological Park, to be exact).

Angkor Archaeological Park
Map of Angkor Archaeological Park
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992, the famed Angkor Archaeological Park is almost certainly on every traveller to Siem Reap's itinerary.

Of course, prior to the trip, I, like many other travellers here, would think that Angkor Wat was the only temple here in the Angkor Archaeological Park (as the name suggests), but I was wrong. There are so many more temples here and every one of them has a certain uniqueness to it.

At almost any guesthouse in Siem Reap, you'll be able to find tours to Angkor, be it for the sunrise, or a whole day tour (and yes, you really do need one full day to see all the temples in the Park). I got mine from my guesthouse for sunrise at 10 USD exclusive of the admission to the Archaeological Park, which costs 20 USD for a day pass, 40 USD for 3-day pass, and 60 USD for a 7-day pass. I mistakenly assumed that staying in the Archaeological Park meant that I wouldn't have to pay for the passes but I was wrong. To enter some temples, the passes would have to present or shown in order to gain admission.

The scores of tourists at Angkor Wat for sunrise
For sunrise, it's best to reach the area as early as possible although the ticket counters open only at 5AM and the sun doesn't technically rise till around 6.20AM, there will be a lot of people. In order to find the best spot or to choose your sweetest spot, you'll have to reach there earlier than the others. In fact, I've never seen a sunrise with that many people, to be honest.

It was still worth it, no doubt. The charm of the temple coupled with the sun rising in its background was nothing short of exhilarating. I cannot say the same for the crowd.

Other than sunrise, if you're able to get a tour from your guesthouse, do it, because the area is so damn huge. An alternative would be to rent a bicycle, which I did, and explore the temples at your own pace (Also, I didn't stay very far from the temples itself).
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Thom
Terrace of the Leper King
One thing I see a lot is the amount of tourists making weird and sometimes offensive poses with statues in the temples. The lack of respect is incomprehensible and disgusting. So please, if you're visiting here, please treat this place with basic courtesy. It is a place of worship for many and is considered sacred and holy, so any disrespect is nothing but distasteful.

I didn't get a chance to visit other parts of Siem Reap as I was running low on time and to be honest, I stayed pretty far from the city and the much talked about Pub Street and I didn't like the prospect of getting drunk with other backpackers, so I gave it a miss essentially.

And so I moved on to Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon to some, the former capital of Vietnam.
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