Siem Reap – Angkor
Siem Reap is very well connected by air with major metropoles of the region like Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. The airport is small but well maintained.
I recommend to rent a local guide who will not only bring you to the interesting places but also will tell you the interesting stories about the country’s history, the ancient and the more contemporary one.
We took the company Christina Tours which we found by recommendation of other travellers in internet and we were very happy about the quality of service.
The city itself is very busy with the local market placed in its center and the Pub Street offering evening entertainment to the tourists. Typical local products are bags, wallets and backpacks made of impregnated cement sacks. Sounds weird, looks nice and trendy. Tourists looking for more precious souvenirs can find products made of genuine crocodile leather (both from legal and illegal farms). These products are available at more attractive prices than in the neighbouring Thailand.
The biggest attraction of the city is the historic Angkor complex which was the capital city of Khmer Empire between the 9th and 15th centuries, when the Europeans were either still sitting on trees or were living in the primitive wooden houses at most.
Visit to Angkor which costs USD 20 starts 5 AM to observe the sunrise over Angkor Wat temple. After short break for a breakfast in your hotel, the tour continues to Angkor Thom forming the actual city substance of the old capital. Walking between the buildings that remember the ancient times allows your imagination to transfer you ages back to the flourishing Khmer Empire.
After some 3 hours spent in Angkor Thom the tour continued to Ta Prohm temple where the nature and the architecture created unique physical forms during the ages. Trees have grown into the buildings and make the current scenery truly magic, like from the childrens’ stories. The place is also known from the Tomb Raider movie with Angelina Jolie.
Our tour ended 3 PM and it has left the feeling of insufficiency as we were able to see just few places in the Angkor complex, be it the most famous ones. On the other side, the hot climate and the air humidity make the tour quite demanding in physical terms. When going there again we would decide to split it in two days to see more of it in a more relaxed way.