There is a common 3 day tour that I opted for after reading all the available info and chatting with some people in Cambodia. We mixed it and matched it with a few options, and I ended up with something REALLY good, if you ask me 😉
Also try and pick up the FREE Canby guide as soon as you get there, it’s updated every quarter. The latest edition I picked up was October 2005 – January 2006.
It looks like this:
Our 3-day tour was something like this:
- Day 1 : Morning – South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Baphuon and Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King. Lunch in front of Angkor Wat. After lunch Angkor Wat and Sunset at Phnom Bahkeng. Dinner at Guesthouse
- Day 2 :Morning – Long trip to Banteay Srei, Ta Som, Neak Pean, Preah Khan. Lunch in front of Angkor Wat. After lunch Ta Keo, Ta Prohm (The Tomb-Raider Tree-of-life), Bantey Kdei. Dinner at great Thai Restaurant
- Day 3 : Morning – The Roluos Group (Lolei, Bakong and Preah Ko) – Lunch back at the hotel and rest for a while. Afternoon tour of Tonle Sap and the floating village with Sunset there. Headed to the old market for dinner.
You’ll be sleeping early, as you need to leave about 7.30am, and don’t be a fat sack of unfit lard, as you’ll be walking around pretty much from 7.30am till sunset (around 5.45pm).
We headed out first thing on the first day, super excited, we were going to Angkor Wat, little did we know the variety of amazing things we were about to see. Be prepared for a visual feast. The pictures from before lunch aren’t that spectacular, as it’s pre-noon sun, but you’ll get the idea just fine 🙂
You’ll go through the main gate to the complex first, where you need to buy your pass for 1, 3 of 5 days depending on how long you are there. I opted for the 3 day pass which costs $40USD. The only annoying thing is you have to use it on concurrent days, you can’t spread it out a bit. Also note the pass is NON-transferable.
You need to show it every time before you go into any of the temples.
We got to the south-gate of Angkor Thom nice and early, Angkor Thom is in the Bayon style.
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 VII. It covers an area of 9 kmÂ², within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those established by Jayavarman and his sucessors. 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.
You can take an elephant ride from the South Gate to Bayon for $10USD.
It was a little foggy in the morning, but beautiful anyway, the road to the gate was lined demons on one side, buddhas on the other.
This is the famous South Gate of Angkor Thom.
It’s fantastic inside Bayon, with the intricate carvings of the Apsara (Celestial Dancers) everywhere.
Apsaras are the wives of the Gandharvas, court servants of Indra. They danced to the music made by their husbands, usually in the various gods’ palaces. One of their duties is to guide to paradise the heroes who fall in battle, whose wives they then become. They are distinguished as daivika (“divine”) or laukika (“worldly”).
To say the carvings on the walls are 800 years old…they are amazingly clear.
The whole place is rather strange in that it’s a mix of buddhist relics, hindu relics, hindu relics converted to buddhist and vice versa. Sometimes it’s quite confusing.
The famous Bayon style face.
This is Phimeanakas, where the legend states a serpent dwelled, a serpent that changed into a woman, the kings of Angkor had to make love to the serpent every night or the kingdom would be felled with a great disaster.
Then an amazing lunch in front of Angkor Wat, I’d heard bad things about the food there, but it was DELICIOUS, reasonably priced and clean.
We had the famous Amok again, this time served in a young coconut.
Some fantastic Pork and Ginger.
And of course…Angkor Beer!!one11
Beer is about $2.50USD for this large bottle, in the old market you can get it for about $2 or during happy hour (seems to be all night long) you can get draft for $0.75 a glass.
Next up, an afternoon in Angkor Wat!
Previously – Cambodia Day 1 – Leaving on a Jet Plane to Siem Reap