Buy only imitation antique
Imitation antique looks close enough and much cheaper than original or "fakes".
I could see the dramatic heads along a bridge into Angkor Wat. Some are restored copies as the originals have been broken through wars or "sawn off" to smuggle out or sold to private collectors or overseas museums.
My opinion is that real historical antiquity should be left at their site for preservation and enjoyment by all, locals and tourists and those "looted or taken in the past" should be kept in public museums.
As tourists, we should not encourage destruction of historical sites by buying antiques for private collection. We can also donate any extra cash to UNESCO or other bodies for preservation of cultural relics.
Do not look without appreciating
If you are going without a tour guide, do read up before hand to appreciate the different bass reliefs on the walls depicting Khmer Kings, the wars and the local Khmer culture and daily lives. Otherwise, you will just walk through and everything after awhile look a like and you will miss the hilights of the historical documentation carved in stone.
If you are with a tour guide, do listen first to the wealth of information and ask questions. Then ask for free time to allow you to take photos or just look and appreciate.
Many friends who have visited Angkor have told me that it is "boring". Perhaps they have missed the finer details and were just walking through.
Watch your steps - do not trip
It is a feast to the eye when I walked through the gallery corridors of Angkor Wat temple.
The triangulated top and the pillars that allow sunshine to bask the walls to reveal the beautiful wall frieze. There are also many tourists and tour guides giving their commentaries.
In the midst of active tourism, beware of your steps. There are dividing beams across the flow to step over from one area to another. So while your eyes look up and left and right, do always look down. Stop and view or take photograph, do not try to video tape and trip over. It has happened and you do not want to spoil your holidays.
There are monkeys in several areas around the temples. You will see people feeding them and trying to pet them. Though they look cute and cuddly, I would not get too close. I saw people trying to pet them or tease them with food and the monkeys bare their teeth and try to bite. I wouldn't want one of them to clamp down on my hand... I kept a respectable distance as I would with any wild animal anywhere else in the world.
Do Not Give Money at all Time
Yes!!Poor Children, they look cute, innocent, helpless and you wish to adopt one as you may think Angelina Jolie may have did. Do not take out money at all times, and never ever try to give or donate or tip especially cambodian children (i know its sounds cruel) but once you give one then 10 will come, if not the children may have seen this as a common gesture from most tourist.
Do attempt to street seller, even if you been approached just say no once and thats it otherwise thousan of street seller especially children will follow you whereever you go till you managed to buy one.
- Road Trip
- Arts and Culture
Airport Departure Tax!
Be aware that if you take any flight at Siem Reap airport you will have to pay a tax on your departure it is 25USD for international flights, I'm sorry I don't remember the national flight, and is not included in your ticket and only payable in US Dollars, so before getting the airport check you have the amount!!
Mosquito-borne illnesses: malaria and dengue fever
The Angkor Wat complex is home to mosquitoes that could be carrying malaria or dengue fever. The World Health Organization warns about Malaria being present in the tourist areas. Carry some bug spray with you, especially if you will be out and about at dawn or after dark.
You can check out the following WHO website for up-to-date disease information for Cambodia and other countries.
- Historical Travel
Watch out on the stairs
The ancient temples of Angkor Wat are hundreds of years old and the buildings are left as they were when they were built. If you climb up and down the various temples watch out that you don't fall down. Also make sure that the stairs are solid, since some stairs are loose!
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Steep high steps are dangerous
At Angkor Wat, at the highest towers, local devotees come to praying with the monks.
It has an amazing 360 view but there is not much interior decor.
So do not climb up there unless you are fit and no fear of height. It can be petrifying climbing down, going up was OK. Just the sheer drop looking down. Go for the section where there was a railing to hang on to.
Many tourists climb up the steps where there are no railing. It can be dangerous and so exercise extreme caution because did not see any emergency medical clinic around.
Climbing down in darkness after sunrise
Do not wait until complete darkness to climb down from the popular hill where all the tourists gather to observe sunset. It is very crowded to tourists and there is no lighting and everyone has to clamber down the fairly steep slopes which is easy to do in the day and challenging if dark. So carry a torch light or come down earlier before dark and before the crowd start rushing down.
Alternatively, you can see sunset on a air balloon or on ground level to see the changing lights on the temples and over the moats.
Danger 4# Wildlife and Land Mines in Siem Reap
Be careful when you go treking in Siem Reap! While landmines are not a major problem in the Angkor region, they might be present in the jungle region around Kbal Spean and Beng Melea. Apart from those nasties, there is abundant wildlife too!
Try to stick on well-trodden paths when treking in Siem Reap. It doesn't pay if you get blown to smithereens or get bitten by a snake. You'll only give your travel mates a heart attack. One travel mate of mine gave me the fright of my life when she strayed off the path in Kbal Spean. Knowing that nagging wouldn't help, I told her that her travel insurance would only go so far and pointed to a luscious-looking lime green snake coiled in a tree. Mr Snake distracted her all right. She shuddered and obediently went back.
Be aware of the hands your money goes to.
I always give a donation to the small bands of land mine victims who are seated outside many of the temples inside the Angkor Wat complex. However, I was made aware that basically anyone who is inside the region and makes any kind of money for what they are doing, are there with the tolerance of the police, and expected to hand over some of the money.
I got a rush of blood and gave these guys a few US$ - and then realised the implications of the onlooker.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Don't be bullied by aggressive vendor children
One of these kids basically tried to bully us to buy from him, over 2 days - amazingly, he remembered us from one day to the next! Would have hoped that the sheer volume of people would give you some anonymity. Told me very clearly "you not buy from me yesterday - so you buy from me today!" - and stalked me through lunch, despite the multitude of other targets - and then back to the car. I told him "you are being rude - and I do not buy if you are rude or show no manners".
While you may have some other underlying feelings and sympathies, I think its important not to reward demanding impolite behaviour, as plenty of other tourists have to suffer the consequences of reinforcing this behaviour.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Warning - Beautiful Sunrise Attack!
A clear warning to anyone who enjoys a good Sunrise!
Angkor Wat provides one of the best sunrises in the world!
How to Prepare:
1. Pre-Book a Tuk tuk the night before
2. Wake up at 5am
3. Dont shower and head out
4. Go to lake in front of Angkor Wat
5. Fight for the BEST spot
6. Watch Sunrise for 1 hour.
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
Shopping delights at Angkor Wat! No browsing allowed - swallowed up by the sellers if your pace slows or you look sideways at their wares - all demanding explanations as to why they were not the chosen vendor! Persistence can pay off is the vendor motto! I ended up with more T-shirts and singlets from AW than I knew what to do with! Best advice is to grab what you want fast - on the run if you are decisive enough!
Kids tended to target my kids - and cajole with "you are so beautiful" - but if no purchase made - "you are not beautiful - you ugly!".
We had great laughs - and enjoyed this in the spirit of the location - and a situation where survival is the motivation - for them! The hunt of the shop is definitely a different ball game in Asia!
If you are not interested, and politely say no thanks, they will back off - eventually. There will always be another bus or van full of custom behind you. DO NOT tell them you will come back LATER - because they are blessed with excellent visual memories - and eye sight - and you will be spotted from amazing distances, and reminded of your "promise".
- Family Travel
- School Holidays