Brought my wife to a long-overdue break in Siem Reap last month. This was after the hectic, yet fruitful 2nd Cobra -PDBF International Dragon Boat Club Crew Challenge in Bohol last April. And I gotta tell you, guys, you cannot go to Siem Reap and not be able to take loads of amazing pictures. It would simply be impossible. Even criminal!
Siem Reap is a provincial capital in Cambodia that should be the main revenue earner for the country today. It is the gateway to the ancient 11th century ruins of the Khmer empire in Angkor. At the height of their power, the Khmer society and culture was far more advanced than ours. And this showed in their architecture and design, their massive structures and engineering innovations, their advances in medicine, etc. The development of the city of Angkor – found north of Siem Reap – spanned more than three centuries, hence this favorite tourist destination has a wealth of fascinating millennium-old temples and ruins that a million pictures cannot give justice to.
The most frequently visited sites in Angkor are: Angkor Wat (best to welcome the sunrise there), Angkor Thom (the largest and the last capital of the great Angkorian empire), Ta Phrom (where the trees have practically grown through the massive stone ruins), Bakheng Hill (to view the sunset), and Bayon (perhaps the most photographed site with its enigmatic stone faces). There are of course a lot more interesting sites to see, but it would take a week – probably more – if one were to view Angkor’s numerous sights extensively.
Aside from the Angkor ruins, other fascinating spots to see there would have to be the Ton Le Sap Lake ( largest fresh water lake in South East Asia), the Aki Ra Landmine Museum (where Cambodia’s campaign to eradicate landmines continues), the War Museum (which featured the horrors of the genocidal war which annihilated millions in the ‘killing fields’ of Cambodia) and Siem Reap’s Night Market (good place to unwind).
For more on Angkor’s temples, visit: http://www.visit-mekong.com/cambodia/angkor-wat/angkor-wat-temples.htm. If you want to try Siem Reap on a tight budget, get in touch with me. I’d gladly give you some tips on how to do Siem Reap without getting bankrupt.