There is no need for you to grab a rock or a piece of Angkor home for souvenir. Generations of blunders and plunders had robbed the place of many of its treasures. Please be historically conscious and responsible by not grabbing a piece back home or buy anything remotely authentic from the black market. Some treasures should be kept for the next generation to appreciate.
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.
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.
While it seems a good idea to climb a temple to get an aerial view, it is not without risks. Some of these temples are a good 5-6storeys high and there are no railings to prevent you from falling. Just take a look at the picture and see some hare-brained folks sitting at the edge. It's a long way down, baby. So if you don't want to smashed flat like a pancake, I'd suggest you be careful when you're at the top.
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.
Heard of this bad joke? What do you call someone with an elephant on their head? Squashed! Well, if you think that's funny then try running amok with Hammie the hamster in an elephant's trail in Siem Reap . You might bump into them in Phnom Bakkeng or at the South Gate in Angkor Thom . But seriously folks, I'm just joking. Keep Hammie at home, it's no joke when Jumbo the elephant roll over you accidentally. Better to steer clear.
If you come here in monsoon, expect to have at least 1 or 2 hours of rain every day. This can be very inconvenient if you are in the middle of a temple visit and have nowhere to hide, or if you are riding a motorbike.So bring always with you a rain anorak or a little umbrella, just in case.
Rain usually falls in the afternoons...
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.
You need to watch out climbing up to the very centre of Angkor - the steps are really steep!
It wasn't until I was coming down I realised that there was a handrail installed on one of the sets of steps - on the right-hand-side as you come in. Even so you'd probably want to give this last climb a miss if it was raining, it's tricky enough in the dry...
Do not listen to anyone who wants to be your helper, guide or photographer or offers a ride or a drink to you. There are many scams and touts there so, stick to your plan and your official tour guide and just ignore these people if they approach you.
The last but very important tip! If you feel like going to the rest room then you should never go into the forest around the temples because there could be hidden undetected land mines as well as dangerous reptiles. So, when you leave from your room try to spend some more time in the rest room than usual ;-) so that u don’t have to run around the temples to find the real rest room.
Angkor is atttracting more and more tourists. Siem Reap airport is packed. Everybody seems to congregate at the main attractions in the early mornings and late afternoons. The only way to beat the crowds is to go there in the middle of the day, when it's very hot.
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.
For those who plan to go into Angkor Wat, using ground transportation, espsecially if you come in from Thailand, please be very careful when you cross the Thailand Cambodia border. The place is really like 'war zone'. When you arrive the custom or immigration check, please be very sure if you will need a visa to go in (you can check it in the internet, there are plenty of reliable sources). If your country permits a free entry, be very firm that you DO NOT need to pay any fees before the immigrations. I had the experience of being hassled by the police force(just before the immigrations check-up) demanding for a permit/visa fees. And when I said that Malaysian does not need a visa, he tried to quarantine me and said that I have to pay for a medical booklet. Luckily, I have read enough and insisted that Malaysian does not have to pay anything in order to get into Cambodia and I managed to pass through them without being further harrasted.
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.