Siem Reap & Angkor Wat Travel Guide A Vagabond Life
Siem Reap & Angkor Wat Travel Guide
Siem Reap is a popular tourist town and the jumping off point to the incredible Angkor Wat. The town has a plethora of accommodations at every price point along with great restaurants and some lively night life.
A visit to Pub Street is a must, we ate at the wonderful iViva – which while Mexican is a long way from authentic Cambodian after travelling rough for about a month and living on rice and noodles a taco & Margarita were just heaven.
Peak travel season is Dec–Mar. The weather is tropical, with a rainy season Jun–Oct and the hottest period Apr–May. Key events include the Giant Puppet Parade (Feb), Khmer New Year (Apr), and the Bon Om Touk Water Festival (Angkor, Nov), with longboat races, music and dancing.
Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world, on a site measuring 162.6 hectares It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, gradually transforming into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. It was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura, the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum.As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation.
Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple-mountain and the later galleried temple. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology: within a moat and an outer wall 3.6 kilometres long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this.
Ta Prohm is probably best known from the temple in the movie Tomb Raider. Built in the Bayon style in the late 12th and early 13th centuries it is located about one kilometre east of Angkor Thom and on the southern edge of the East Baray. It was founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university. Ta Prohm is in the same condition in which it was originally found with trees growing out of the ruins it was my favoutite temple we visited. In 1992 Ta Prohm on the World Heritage List by UNESCO. Today, it is one of the most visited complexes in Cambodia’s Angkor region.
Angkor Thom was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. It was established in the late twelfth century by King Jayavarman as the empires capital. It covers an area of 9 km², within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those established by Jayavarman and his successors. At the centre of the city is Jayavarman’s state temple, the Bayon, with the other major sites clustered around the Victory Square immediately to the north.
Banteay Srei dates from the 10th-century and is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The temple is on a hill 25 km north-east of the main group of temples that once belonged to the medieval capitals of Yasodharapura and Angkor Thom. Banteay Srei is built largely of red sandstone, and features decorative wall carvings from ancient times. The buildings are miniature in scale, which have made the temple extremely popular with tourists, and have led to its being widely praised as a jewel of Khmer art.
Beng Mealea is a temple in the Angkor Wat period located 40 km east of the main group of temples at Angkor, Cambodia and is on the ancient royal highway to Preah Khan Kompong Svay. It was built as a Hindu temple, however there are some carvings depicting Buddhist motifs. It built mainly from sandstone and has remained largely unrestored, with trees and thick brush growing within its towers and courtyard. The Beng Mealea temple is about 75km from Siem Reap.
How Much: Passes are sold in one-day ($37), three-day ($62) and seven-day ($72) blocks that must be used on consecutive days
Getting Around: I am not much of a tour person, in fact I go out of my way to avoid them. However this is one thing you have to do as a tour. Take a private tour where you can pick your sights and spend the time to explore this incredible place. We found an excellent guide through our hotel and most reputable hotels can assist with finding a good guide.
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