Written by Michael Zangerle on . Posted in Cambodia

Why is everybody just talking about Angkor Wat? Angkor Wat is just one out of many very beautiful temples of teh Khmer dynasty. Angkor Wat is the biggest building of all religious buildings in the world and the most know of the ruins in the Angkor area.

It impossible to find the right words for the art of building in the 8th century. The first temples are built in the 8th century, one of the last was the one which gave the name, Angkor Wat, about three hundred years later. Everybody saw pictures of Angkor Wat. But when you see this place live it takes your breath.

You could see different styles, both Hinduism and Buddhism, depends on the ruling king. That’s the reason why you have a special type of religion here. We booked a four day trip with our own Tuk Tuk. This was a good decision because the area is so big. With a bike like in Sukkothai it would not be possible.

We went to very beutiful ruins. The Bayon Temple impressed us a lot. 54 towers and 216 faces starred / smiled at you (each tower with 4 faces in each direction). Everywhere the same face. Scientists disagree to whom this face belongs - king Jayavarmann VII (builder) or Buddha or a mix.

Another highlight is T Phrom. Hugh trees and roots are covering walls and buildings. This gives a mystical touch. As if you just discover them right now… King Jayavarmann VII did build the temple to honor his mother.

The ruins and carvings were in different shape. There is many restauration work going on at the moment. So you know where your money goes. The Hinduism temples are more carved then the Buddhism. The entrance fee is 40 US for a three day ticket.

You need to turn off your ears outside of the temples. Many kids and women are trying to sell something or beg for some money. It is a bitter taste that you have to stand if three year old dirty kids begging for a dollar but did not take a candy. You should not give them anything. Most of the time adults are waiting collecting the money.

Second day we did the sunrise at Angkor Wat, 4.30 am….This is still not our time… Hundreds of people went to see the sunrise. Angkor is a big place so you don’t see all the people so much. It was cold and to be honest not that spectacular. We ended the day with sunset. And the sunset was much nicer.

The good part getting up so early is you are doing so much these days. To tel you one more great temple, it’s Preah Khan (56 hectares) This is a Buddhist temple but parts are honored to Shiva and Vishnu. This was also king Jayavarman VII. This complex was made for teaching monks, about 1000 at time.

We went up on a mountain to see another sunset on day three. Thousands others had the same idea at Phom Bakheng. After sunset all ran down the steep stairs. We were happy that nobody pushed…

We also saw the Rolous Group, temples from teh 8th century about 15 km away from Siem Reap. This is a nice trip, more quite less touristy. Happy kids made us happy because they all greeted us.

We wanted to see two places away from all the tourists. So we went to Chau Srei Vibol and Phnom Bok. The first one is just safe to go since December 2008 because the german FUND cleared that area from mines. We could walk 60.000 square meters safely. The Khmer Rouge hid there and let a lot of mines when they left. Unfortunately the Khmer Rouge destroyed a lot monuments.

Phnom Bok is on a mountain with 631 stairs. It was a wonderful view! But we still did not get why there are two artilleries up there especially if there is a Pagoda on the peak.

Day four started with the Angkor National Museum. Here you find loads of information about Angkor and the Khmer dynasty. The entrance fee knocks you off the feed, but it’s worth it. If you have time then go there before see Angkor Wat and the temples. Because you get so much information about religion, believe Khmer civilization and the great Khmer kings. One of the most important kings built hospitals and took care that that travelers had any 15 km a place to buy food and find a place to sleep. He made watering systems big houses and more. How comes that this all disappeared?

After all this we wanted to find out about the food in Cambodia. So we did a cooking class.

With Sophea we went to the market before we decided what we wanted to cook. This was so much fun!!! It was just the three of us and because of our teacher the food was real good. We recommend Amokfish. Yes, sounds funny, but it is so delicious.

We spend our last day in Siem Reap in our guesthouse at the terrace. This was just perfect because of the day before. We spend Christmas together with some guests and needed the chill out day… J Unfortunately we had to we had to plan the next steps of the trip. 

The temple we wanted to go (Preah Vihear Tempel) had the military there. So there were riots between the Thai and Cambodian army. Our government warned us to go there, so we didn’t. The temple is ON the border between the two countries. Both countries wanna have this temple to be in there own country.

In Vietnam we heart about another temple in Thailand, Ubod Ratchathani. But it was a little to stressful to get there. It’s not a classic route so it gets damn expensive to go this way. No bus, just private car 44 US for 110 km….

We decided to not do this temple, because we have seen enough temples. So let do Lao, but even Pakse should not work out. Question to be answered;: where do we want to celebrate New Years Eve?

So we decided to fly to Vientiane.

Accommodation: Jasmin Lodge

Price: US$ 13 incl. Breakfast

Comment: great stuff, very welcoming, clean rooms, good to chill out and meet people 
               plus free WIFI