Angkor Wat, Cambodia and Around Siem Reap

I then head to Siem Reap to experience for myself the mysterious power of the ancient Angkor Wat Cambodia.

The Road to Siem Reap

Angkor Wat Cambodia, Cambodia Angkor Wat, Siem Reap Cambodia, Travel tips for Angkor Wat CambodiaWhere is the mighty Mekong?

Everywhere!

During the rainy season June – October the Mekong rises so dramatically that it actually causes the Tonle Sap river to reverse its flow into the Tonle Sap lake swelling it to 10 times its size and flooding the land for miles around.

It is said that during this time Cambodia appears to be one giant mud-puddle from the air.

The entire way from Phnom Pen to Siem Reap the bus ran along narrow strips of land with flooded rice paddies and stilted villages on either side.

Where to Stay in Siem Reap CambodiaAngkor Wat Cambodia, Cambodia Angkor Wat, Siem Reap Cambodia, Travel tips for Angkor Wat Cambodia

During this bus ride I met an Israeli-German couple… Shay and Lena.

Angkor Wat Cambodia, Cambodia Angkor Wat, Siem Reap Cambodia, Travel tips for Angkor Wat CambodiaWe went to stay at Golden Takeo in Siem Reap where I met up with Sarah again.

Golden Takeo – my favorite hotel so far!

Although it is not the cheapest place in town, $14/double, the incredibly sweet, more than helpful staff made staying here a true pleasure.

Garden Village Guesthouse (855) 12217373 gardenvillage@asia.com, where we stayed later, has dorm beds for $1/night!  –doubles for $6 and decent staff.

Angkor Wat Cambodia – A Highlight of Southeast Asia

The four of us rented a tuktuk the next day to take us around Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat Cambodia, Cambodia Angkor Wat, Siem Reap Cambodia, Travel tips for Angkor Wat Cambodia

WOW! 

Angkor Wat Cambodia (the area is actually named from this largest temple in the area) – so preserved, so magnificent, so touristy yet peaceful and vast – each new temple surprising you with its uniqueness.

Giant trees stand hundreds of meters tall, their ancient roots tangling around the crumbling ruins, and flowing over the walls like water.

Colorful mosses paint the stone walls and the surrounding jungly terrain alike.

Angkor Wat Cambodia, Cambodia Angkor Wat, Siem Reap Cambodia, Travel tips for Angkor Wat Cambodia

Information and tips for Angkor Wat:

1) Admission Fee

There is a $20/day admission fee ($40/2 or 3 days) – quite steep but I think worth it.

2) Bike Around

 If you have time – bicycle around = your own time, leisure and discovery.

3) What To Avoid

Do not do éç!’çé”!éç for sunset – beautiful birds-eye view of the surrounding area but at sunset itpacks out with tourist and the sunset is nothing special. I heard that sunset at the Angkor Wat Cambodia temple was also over crowded. 

Angkor Wat Cambodia, Cambodia Angkor Wat, Siem Reap Cambodia, Travel tips for Angkor Wat Cambodia

The only thing exciting for me here was sneaking up into the temple after they closed it off to further tourist at exactly 5:30pm.

My Advice:

Go somewhere less crowded for sunset where you can actually see the red glow on the ruins –

the bridge with the faces might be nice.

TukTuk around Siem Reap

The next day we rented another tuktuk to show us around Siem Reap Cambodia. 

Angkor Wat Cambodia, Cambodia Angkor Wat, Siem Reap Cambodia, Travel tips for Angkor Wat Cambodia

First we visited Jayavarmann VII Children’s Hospital started by Dr. Beats Richner a pediatrician and musician/performer from Switzerland.

The hospital is staffed entirely by Cambodian’s with foreign visiting doctors providing training.

It provides free health-care to all Cambodian children – which in a country where health-care is rare to nonexistent – it is truly appreciated. 

We then headed out to the surrounding villages.

I decided to get out and walk down the road we would be returning on.

Dinner with a Local Cambodian Family

I did not walk more than 10 meters before I was invited to play an intriguing shoe game with some children.

It was a family living in a small stilted house. One son in his early 20’s, Svan, spoke excellent english and his sister owned a beauty shop at the front of the house. Before I knew it I was getting my hair and nails done – first pedicure I think I have ever had.

I also enjoyed looking at family photo’s and eating a delicious meal cooked by their grandma. Their warmth and hospitality so generously shared.

Angkor Wat Cambodia, Cambodia Angkor Wat, Siem Reap Cambodia, Travel tips for Angkor Wat Cambodia

They invited me to come again, so Lena and I returned the following day.

We brought them some Cambodian-appropriate gifts and they insisted on making us dinner.

Sitting in their stilted home over the flooded Mekong:

A rain storm threatening over the water and eventually dumping its torrent on the tin roof above my head.

Delicious home-cooked food and smiles filling me up.

…these are the moments I live for.

 

 

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Comments

  1. That is really cool that the Jayavarmann VII Children’s Hospital provides children free health care. How do they get foreign doctors to go teach? -do they go for residency or just for a couple weeks?

    That’s a great story about you visiting that family -are all the people that friendly? Do they really have homes on stilts?

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