Khett Siem Reab Favorite Tips by mizzzthanggg
Khett Siem Reab General: 93 reviews and 230 photos
Favorite thing: Day 2
iii) Beng Mealea - u can visit this with Kbal Spean and Phnom Kulen or Banteay Srei but it'll be a loonnggg daytrip. This i think is my favourite place! Much more Lara Croft then Ta Prohm because there's very little restoration done and you can see how completely overcome by nature it is! U feel like a real adventurer climbing all over the stones and through the tunnels, but wear comfy pants!! And be prepared to slide and get moss all over your butt.
iv) Preah Khan - this is quite a big temple, also very much in the style of Ta Prohm but better condition, with a sculpture that had Roman pillars etc. which was cryptic, noone really knows why it's there. We were late to leave for here, if we had a very quick lunch we could've combined Preah Khan with Neak Pean and Ta Som (called The Grand Tour since it's furthest north of Angkor).
v) Every Saturday there's a free 7.15p.m. Cello Concert by SWISS SWISS SWISS!!! Dr. Beat Richner at the Angkor Children's Hospital. It lasted for about 1.5 hours and he gives a passionate speech about the injustices to Cambodia and the need for blood/money donations for the poor children. He's been doing this since 1975! Truly admirable although some will think his rhetoric a bit too heavy. I think he's justified.
Favorite thing: Day 3
vi) We did Balloon Angkor for sunrise! Which i wanted to do since my first trip. This is a 15-min hot air balloon ride (US$15 each) at sunrise (leave hotel at 5 a.m. but u'd be surprised to see how many people go out to the temples for this). We checked in at 5.48 because sunrise was at 5.57, they were bang on time! Very romantic and u can see buffalos in the fields bathing and stuff... nice!
vii) Quick speed through Angkor Wat - since we'd seen it before... again didn't manage to do proper Bas Relief storyline walk because was TOO hungry! Tip: Bring some snacks if you're going to do the sunrise thing!
viii) Psaa Leu Market (much more localised then the touristy Psaa Chaa, make sure u pass by the meat section for sights of peeled frogs, pigheads in all their glory, mashed fish guts, sausages hanging, squashed ducks and poultry, seeing chickens squawking and being slaughtered and even crabs trying to escape on the roads before being kicked by pedestrians... oohhh my faint heart!);
ix) Angkor Children's Hospital - because they really needed blood donations for infant tuberculosis meningitis. Especially Type B and AB;
x) Neak Pean - This is like the Khmer's spa baths in them ancient days of yore. Small site, half an hour will do. Engineers will be impressed with the technicalities of building the fountain!
xi) Ta Som - a little temple, only takes a half hour. What was so funny was that the book said it provided a delightful undisturbed visit, but since there were no guards like the other places, the street urchins follow you the whole length of the temple and back! in the end, i had to strike a deal with five of the little bandits that if they would be quiet and wait till the end of my exploring, there just might be something for them... it was so cute cos after that there were lots of little giggling and trying very hard to keep quiet, and they ended up posing for loads of photos and laughing at themselves when i showed them their faces on my camera screen ;O)
Fondest memory: xii) Preah Rup - this temple is wonderful to watch the sunset! we bypassed the Eastern Mebon temple and went straight here as it was getting darker. We spent a beautiful and much more peaceful undisturbed sunset here. I don't know why people go to Phnom Bakheng by the hordes (massive tour groups and all, maybe because they have elephant rides up and stuff there?). Preah Rup is in the middle of rice fields (previously there was a reservoir all around it) so you get a great unrestricted view of the surrounds, plus there weren't so many trees like at Phnom Bakheng where u can hardly even see the sun unless u're at the right spot! But this is the type of thing u want to keep to yourself... so shhhh ;-)
Okay, i'll expand a bit more on each site later with photos and stuff. I'm sorting them out right now. 2.04 GB worth of photos to go through! Thanks for your patience.
Favorite thing: This time round i think i had a much more satisfying trip, maybe cos i was more familiar with the orientations and i took time to read the guidebooks properly to understand how the temples were grouped, etc.
Plus i had a great, laid-back travel buddy so no rushing or wanting to see everything in one day. This is important, of course if it's your first trip, you will feel like you must stuff as much in as possible!
This time we bought a 3-day Pass (US$40, need photo but can take there instantly for free). This gave us the chance to visit the temples and sites further out of the city, so much less crowded and a lot more undiscovered, so much better! And it felt more Lara Crofty since we were most of the time by ourselves and made sure we went the opposite direction from others!
We went to:
i) Kbal Spean - this site means "Wellhead Rock". You go through jungles and dried riverbed trails for half an hour till a fork in the trail - go up to the river first and work your way down to the waterfall. There are amazing carvings of lingas and gods IN the river! lots of symbolism since this is the river that feeds siem reap, angkor etc. so u get a sense that the water passes over all these powerful manhood/fertility thing and then feeds the people in the villages, eventually making its way to Tonle Sap lake with its abundance of fish, food, water source etc.);
ii) Banteay Srei - "Citadel of the Women" - more explanations later, this is the lovely smaller terracotta coloured temple apparently carved by women 'cos workmanship was too fine to be done by men :-P;
Favorite thing: Of course we had to take in all the most famous places. So this trip as we were in a hurry (only had 3 days before moving down to Phnom Penh), we visited all the main, popular tourist must-see temples:
i) Phnom Bakheng for sunset on the eve (a US$20 1-day Pass bought after 5 p.m. allows u to enjoy this and the ticket will be valid the next day too);
ii) Angkor Wat
iii) Ta Prohm (yes... that Lara Croft one);
iv) Bayon (with the thousand faces of Buddha/Jayavarnam VII, essentially the "Donald Trump" of Ancient Angkor 'cos he was responsible for the building of all these huge megastructures).
All these temples are pretty crowded. For a break we went to the floating village on the Tonle Sap lake the next day. After that we were off to Phnom Penh.
Pix up soon!
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