Siem Reap, Cambodia is land to majestical and mysterious temples from kingdom generation to generation. It is here where your mind will be put into a bed of imagination on how Cambodians back then worship their gods. Temples sprung like mountains in the desert. Add to that, each temple posses an intricate design that will surely mystify your eyes.
So what exactly to do in Siem Reap Cambodia? Of course, your visit here won’t be complete if you won’t do the fun yet rigorous and challenging temple hopping!
“Beauty comes with a price”, my perfect description of my Cambodia experience. Seeing those amazing artifacts and sand stone designs weren’t that easy, it could be tiring and draining too, since most of the time you will need to walk and bask under the sun before you can catch a glimpse of what Siem Reap has to offer. So let me give you some helpful tips if you’re planning a trip to this land where fusion of symbolism, symmetry and spirituality will take you to a trance…
Some helpful tips to guide you:
1. Get your self the Angkor Archeological Complex Map – this will help you have an overview on how big and scattered the temples are, it can guide you in deciding which area to visit. You can get free printed copies of this all over Cambodia starting from border exits, decent restaurants and establishment or you can ask one from the hotel where you’re staying. See online version http://www.canbypublications.com/siemreap/srtemples.htm
2. Bring lots of water and a face towel – experiencing the temples will take you a lot of walking and climbing under the heat of the sun. It is best that you secure yourself a cold jar of water so you avoid buying pricey bottled waters from the local stores, especially if you’re on a budget trip. I tell you! you will perspire a lot so bring a towel to wipe your wet face and body.
3. Wear proper shoes – a good walking or trekking shoes is advisable here. Not only it will protect your feet from the dusty road and walkways, you might find some of the temples worth exploring and find yourself climbing some. I did in Ta Prohm, I climb up this temple ruin to see a good view of the entire area, but you have to do it quick, climbing and making unnecessary temple exploration is prohibited. I got caught by a temple guard while climbing,I just pretended i didn’t hear him and went on… :p
4. Put on a sunblock – unless you want to fry your skin under the sun then that’s fine. 🙂
5. Make sure to have enough battery on your gadgets – you pretty much will be out the entire day temple hopping, there won’t be so many establishments that you can get electricity from, Siem Reap is nothing close to a metro living, it is really a very local town surrounded by all these temples, it’s not common that you see a power outlet in the temples.. 🙂
6. Optional umbrella – for the more sophisticated traveler, bringing an umbrella might be a thought you wanna consider
7. Don’t carry heavy loads – again lots of walking and climbing and running if you prefer
8. Try to read the story or background of the temple before entering – there’s a lot of Cambodian kids selling this book entitled “Ancient Anchor”, you can score a good clear copy for as low as $5, just know how to bargain. You might want to know the meaning of the symbols engraved in the temple walls, otherwise they will just be a plain drawing to you.
9. Hire A tuktuk driver or option to bike around the complex – hiring a tuktuk is much costly but you can ride this up to 4 person so each can cheap in, Bike is cheaper but is more tiring and rigorous. When availing service from a tuktuk driver, arrange your itinerary and make sure you agree with the time, normally you pay him for how long you will hire him not on how many temples you will visit. Another consideration is how far the particular temple is, he might charge additional for the gas
10. Decide how many days you would like to spend in Siem Reap temple hopping. And if price is a consideration for you, it might help that you know the local trading here when it comes to temple visitation. Passes are sold in one-day ($20), three-day ($40) and seven-day ($60) blocks that must be used on consecutive days. I took the 3-day pass.
There you have it, some tips that will help you have a wonderful time visiting the temples.