26 Oct Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Settled in northwestern Cambodia, Siem Reap is the authentic gateway to Angkor region, displaying a magnificent heritage in its royal line of ancient temples. Experience a cultural blast as you visit Cambodia’s most popular retreats, Siem Reap that depicts ethnicity in its Chinese Colonial architecture and the vivid expanse of the Old French Quarter. Whether you’re souvenir shopping or sightseeing the rice paddies, Siem Reap offers an exclusive peek inside an ancient culture.
Walk Down Memory Lane
Siem Reap has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia, owing to the presence of the Angkor Wat. Its history dates back to the 1500’s during the reign of King Ang Chan, who named the city Siem Reap. Siem which means ‘defeat of Siam’ refers to the historical conflict that existed between the Khmer and Siamese kingdoms. It is believed that King Ang Chan of Cambodia tried to gain control over Siam, while the city was undergoing internal conflicts.
In the midst of a royal procession, the usurper Worawongsathirat, Lady Sudachan and their newly born daughter were killed giving access to Prince Thianracha to claim the throne. While the Thai dynasty was dissolved in such chaotic internal affairs, King Ang Chan of Cambodia proceeded to throw upon an unexpected assault thus seizing the Siamese city in 1549. Ang Chan who had looted Prachin Buri and had refused to present the King with a white elephant soon faced the wrath of Prince Ong, sent to retrieve the Thai slaves and punish King Ang Chan.
In the heat of a furious battle, Ang Chan killed Prince Ong with a lucky musket shot, allowing the ruthless King to capture more than 10,000 Siamese soldiers. It was then to celebrate his victory it is traditionally believed that King Ang Chan named the battleground Siem Reap. However such folklore seems bleak against surviving historic sources that claim Angkor’s decline a century before. Around the 16th – 19th century, Siam and Vietnam came under a periodic domination by Cambodia’s most powerful royalties.
Major Attractions in Siem Reap
- Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Angkor Wat, which is the largest religious temple complex in the world, is a stunning exhibit of Siem Reap’s cultural memoirs, constructed in the 12th century. Angkor Wat invites visitors from all over the world to climb one of the most ancient stairs built in time. To climb up to the Angkor masterpiece, tourists have to make a steep ascent, walking past stone steps to ease the climb, a 47 step wooden trail has been developed that gives you access into UNESCO world heritage site, Angkor Archaeological Park which consists of some stunning remains of the Khmer Empire.
- Kompong Phluk Village, Flooded Forest. A visit to Tonle Sap, located about 16 km southeast of Siem Reap is a must on your tour especially when you get to see the beautiful setting of Kompong Phluk. The cluster of three villages consists of stilted houses built within the flood plains of the Tonle Sap. Around 3000 inhabitants are found living in a natural environment, blending their lifestyle around a mangrove stretch that is home to a large biodiversity. In order to reach the floating village, you can rent a boat that should cost you about 82,560 KHR ($20) and with the assistance of the local fishermen; you can tour past the watery expanse for a whole day.
- Cambodian Cultural Village. Siem Reap conserves a prestigious heritage that is exhibited through various art forms and the explicit array of ancient monasteries. CCV, a theme park in Sien Reap showcases a museum and miniature versions of historical buildings covering a total area of 210,000 square meters. Constructed back in 2001, the theme park was open to public in 2003 housing eleven traditional villages and nineteen groups having a distinct cultural background. Visitors can enjoy watching a popular ethnic performance also called the ‘Apsara Dance’ or engage in interactive sessions with the ethnic minorities from the north east of Cambodia. For a one day tour, entry fee is $9 for adults and free for children. Tourists can visit CCV anywhere between 8am to 7pm.
- Bakong. The first mountain temple carved from sandstone constructed by the rulers of Khmer dynasty in Siem Reap, Bakong is a beautiful heritage site that served as an official state temple of King Indravarman I. Shaped in the form of a stepped pyramid, with architectural details that are similar to the Borobudur temple in Java, Bakong is Siem Reap’s eternal masterpiece that is about 900 by 700 meters at stretch. With three concentric enclosures, the temple exhibits stone sculptures and dramatic scenes asuras’ of epic battles in Siem Reap.
- Angkor Silk Farm. Join a fascinating experience at the Angkor Silk Farm that displays the authentic process of silk making in Siem Reap. Present 20 minutes from the main square, Angkor Silk Farm covers an area of 8 hectares, 5 hectares of which are mulberry plantations. While the ethnic boutique shuts in the evening, you can still stroll through the farm and get a glimpse of various silk making practices like the ikat technique, cocoon unwinding and silk weaving.
What You Need to Know?
- Angkor Entry Fee. In order to visit Angkor Wat, you must have an admission pass (Angkor Pass) that gives you access to the circuit of temples in Siem Reap. Passes are made at the main entrance, on the road that leads you to Angkor Archaeological Park. Passes are sold in distinct day tours – for one day ($20), three days ($40) and seven days ($60). Depending upon your itinerary, you can always collect a pass that best suits your tour and visit a range of distinct temples within the Archaeological Park.
- Transport. One of the ideal forms of traveling in Siem Reap is by using the local transport system of Remork-motos (motorcycles) that are also known as tuk-tuks. Those on a budget can use this local carriage to get across many attraction sites in Siem Reap. A moto with a driver costs about $8-$10 depending upon the route you’re traveling. Boats that travel from Phnom Penh and Battambang are another form of travel in and around Siem Reap.
- Accommodation. Five days is ample amount of time for traveling in Siem Reap so reserve two days specifically for visiting Angkor Wat. While booking accommodation you can easily get a budget hotel costing around $30-$40, a 3 star property with pool and breakfast. Mandalay Inn is a recommended budget friendly hotel with an excellent location and cooperative staff. Old Market showcases few more budget friendly inns that travelers can find accommodation at.
- Sightseeing. A private guide is usually an ideal choice to explore the ruins at your own steady pace. If you want to save any additional costs, get a fish massage from a family retreat as part of an ethnic package that shouldn’t cost you more than $6-$10. One of the most important things to remember while visiting to Angkor Wat is that women must cover their legs before entering the temple sites.
For an interesting and cost effective tour, travelers who’re strictly following a budget can break down their expenses in Siem Reap:
- $40 – Angkor Pass (2 days)
- $20 – Tuk-tuk (visit 5 temples in Angkor Wat)
- $2 – Food (per meal of rice/noodles)
- $2 – Bike Rental (per day)
- $30 – Accommodation (per night)