Siem Reap Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Siem Reap

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    Beng Mealea (4)

    by rosequartzlover1 Written Mar 22, 2014

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    Here are pictures that I walked back again in the site for second round but this time I hired a local guide that hanging around at the entrance of the site .There are many of them dress in dark blue male and female.At the moment there's only 1 old man available ,he asked 10 $ for his service but I know that the price is only 5$ .You can give more if you like the service.Normally they don't allow to climb on the fallen rocks but there's always some exceptional..of course if pay ..it suddenly be possible.Guide will bring us to the place that is kind of "hidden corner" and need to climb up and down between rocks ,a little adventure..much less people and can see more of some thing that I didn't see or touch when I walked myself.Guide knows which area is better to take photo and show us good place to see.It's nice experience.He charged a group of tourist that climb on the rocks and not be able to climb down by themself!! He helped them down but charged 2,000 Riel. for penalty of climbing (without paying his service at the beginning!!)
    The second round walking I got picture without people which is much better.
    Pic 1,2,3 walk up, down and through between the rocks.
    5.Guide allowed me climb up and sitting on a branch that can be a good swing..,very enjoyable : )
    I spent time there about 2 and half hours ,good ..with guide service.After hot day walking, I drank some nice cold fresh coconut juice at the entrace area.There are many shops around..coconut size is quite big and cost 1 $. I love it.

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    Beng Mealea (3)

    by rosequartzlover1 Written Mar 19, 2014

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    To visit the site you can explore on your own along wooden walk way or pay some fare to get service from local guide.If you need to have picture without people then better go very early .After 10am there'll be too many tour group ,I can say too many..and they are very noisy.I have to wait patiently to get each picture.If some are interested in the place and need to see things slowly ,it can take 2-3 hours to explore ,depends...but if the tour group or someone who just need to walk past the ruins quickly and go back and tell people that "I've been there already " then ..30 minutes is enough.
    I did it 2 rounds ,the first round by myself walk along the wooden path counterclockwise through second and third enclosure.The second round I hired a local guide to explore the different route.Here are pic that taken when I walked first round along the prepared wooden path.
    1.The wooden path that pararell to the third (inner ) wall.I and the other 2 men in the pic were on top of the inner wall.
    2.When standing on the wall ,this is a picture that I like ,feeling like an anaconda just move above my head.
    3.The wall of second and third (inner) enclosure,between them is kind of ditch that use to fill with water (information from local guide )
    4.The corridor inside the second enclosure wall.It's quite dark inside.There's few small windows but quite high above the ground..(about 2 m. ) To see better in there you need some flash light.This pic taken with flash.
    5.One of the raised libraries of the outer enclosure.This one is on the north east.

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    Beng Mealea (2)

    by rosequartzlover1 Written Mar 19, 2014

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    South gate ,outer enclosure.
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    Beng Mealea was built in Angkor Wat style around middle of 12th century with some later additions in the reign of Suryavarman ll .The one who built this place still remain unknown.Beng mealea was built by blue sand stone from local quarries.There's no narrative bas -relief panels as at Angkor Wat but there's still some carving on walls,pilasters and few pediments.The carving showing legends of Vishnu,Shiva and Lord Buddha.The temple marked the center of a town,surrounded by a moat 1,025m by 875m and 45m wide.Four paved avenues lead via cruciform terraces to the entrances at the cardinal point and oriented to the east.East of complex is large baray,with a small island containing a shrine in its center.The plan is similar to Angkor wat but the difference is ..all was built at ground level with no temple mountain.There are 3 concentric enclosures,each one set back slightly to the west with the central shrine at the intersection of the axes.These enclosures are tied together with cruciform cloister just as at Angkor Wat,and in the north-east and south-east corners of the enclosures are small shrines of the kind known wrongly as "libraries"

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    Exploring The Bayon Temple inside and out

    by PandawitchElphie Written Mar 18, 2014

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    Bayon Temple
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    Personally, there are two temples that I'd say are my favorites. Ta Prohm and Bayon.
    Yes, ofcourse, Angkor Wat and Banteay Srei are icons but... it's Ta Prohm and Bayon, for me, that have the most personality and character.

    By now, you'd have heard of the Bayon faces. Youd've seen many pictures from others who have reviewed the place. Trust me when I say it's different when you see it in real life.

    Those faces are HUGE! And somehow--- their smiling faces makes you want to keep staring and looking. They give off a sense of peace, no matter how imposing their size is. We didn't take a tourguide here, which, on hindsight, was a wrong decision. It would've been nice to know more details. Oh well, when I go back. (and yes, I'm claiming that. I WILL go back to Siem Reap)(soon).

    We clambered in and out of chambers, halls, up and down the steep stairs... it's really a place to either take pictures or explore.

    We even found a green door!!! (Or at least I call it a door). Bet most of you haven't found this.
    And if ever you do... look up... you'll see carvings at the top which are almost gone from everywhere else in the temple. It was a find for us.

    This was my Panda's favorite temple. Somehow, I'm not surprised. It really gives off a masculine vibe.

    Don't just stay up top with the faces... meander around the area... appreciate the fallen rocks. There are nice bas reliefs of Apsara dancing on the pillars around the temple.

    Come here expecting to just take lots of pictures.
    Be prepared with lots of water.
    The stairs are narrow and steep-- so be warned and prepared. But don't be discouraged. DO climb. I know the not-so-young would balk at the steps but... I swear, go for it. Ask for assistance to climb up (bring a tourguide). The view near the faces is something you can't miss.

    **ladies... try not to wear shorts that are above 2 inches higher than your knee. Or heaven forbid, skirts. Unless your purpose is to give everyone a nice show from down below.
    **in fact, don't go to any of the temples in shorts/short skirts/or sleeveless...there are some temple where they won't let you climb up. Regardless of sarongs you can wrap around. Some stairs are so steep, a gust of wind can blow your sarong and in your hurry to keep it on-- you might slip from the very narrow stairs. My feet are size 6US and I find them narrow. What more normal-size feet?

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    Learning at the National Museum

    by PandawitchElphie Written Mar 18, 2014

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    The National Museum
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    We hit the National Museum on our second day (giving us a rest after the hike to Kbal Spean) and my boyfriend and I agreed that this should be the first stop for anyone entering Siem Reap. At least, for those who really want to learn about the history and the temples. You get to walk in relative comfort from gallery to gallery and learn about this or that carving, statue, the why's and who's (I'm not really into when's.... dates just sail past my head somehow).

    We figure, once you get acquainted with the statues and carvings... you'll get to appreciate the temples more. This is especially good for those who don't want a tour guide around. But if you're like us, we went to this AND took a tour guide to some of the temples. Which, I have to say, gave us a better appreciation of everything (instead of just taking selfies here and there).

    Entrance fee here is: $12. And if you were me, I'd swallow your budget and get the audioguide for an additional fee (I don't remember if it was $3 of $4). On hindsight-- I don't recall a rule saying you can't share. We got individual audioguides but I guess, you can take turns if you want-- there are only a few spots in each gallery where the audioguide is needed/can be used). You can actually just READ what is on the audioguide...it's on the displays but it adds to the fun. (too much data makes my eyes cross-eyed).

    You're not allowed to carry big bags into the museum. You have to check your bags at the reception and they'll give you a pouch where you can store your wallet/passports and other SMALL valuables. You're only allowed to take pictures outside the galleries which houses your collections. (makes sense, else no one would want to pay for things they can already see and learn about online).

    You start off with a short video presentation then meander your way from gallery to gallery.

    I enjoyed this stop-- for one thing, as I said earlier, it gives you more appreciation of the temples (some folks just go to the temples, take pictures and leave-- we liked learning stuff). Names of the Gods (which you'll recognize in the temples, their wives, nagas, and lingas).

    I'd say this is a good activity after breakfast and before lunch.... then after lunch, go hit one or two temples.

    From pubstreet (breakfast) it only cost us $2 to get here.

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    Hiking to Kbal Spean and the 1000 Lingas

    by PandawitchElphie Written Mar 18, 2014

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    Me and my Panda
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    First of all...there aren't 1000 lingas. They say 1000... but it's actually "uncountable". At least that's what our guide has told us.

    If you don't like hikes, or clambering over boulders and rocks... this is NOT the place for you to go to. I have to admit, my boyfriend and I kept on stopping every 5 minutes to pant, rest, pant some more, drink water and look hopelessly at the path ahead. I have to admit, I ended up laughing and giggling my way up. My poor lovey... suffering just for me. We are definitely not physically fit enough for this hike....but we survived!

    ** Bring water. Don't mind the weight...trust me, you'll NEED the water.

    But of course, we doggedly continued on until we finally reached our destination. The carvings on the riverbed.

    **I honestly recommend you take a guide. For one thing, he can tell you what the lingas are, where the carvings are AND most importantly, help you up over the rocks.

    After you reach the carvings... you'll end up following the water to the waterfalls. Given a choice, I'd love to be able to jump right in. I would've, if kids hadn't beaten me to it. In the end, we settled for getting our feet wet and splashing around. Be careful though, the moss makes everything very slippery.

    **bring a towel/sarong to wipe your feet afterwards.

    On this trip, points of interest would be:
    The carvings.
    A "mushroom" rock. It's a giant boulder being held up by a giant termite mound. They say, if you lay sticks underneath it, it'll give you good luck. We nerdy pandas say... the sticks are there to feed the termites so the mound grows bigger and the rock stays up. LOL!

    Now, to be honest, do I recommend going there just to see the carvings under the water? Not really. They're just little 'dots'. (see pics) I mean, I wouldn't trade my experience because I was with my lovey and we were having fun (though it was physically exhausting and definitely, my lovey was suffering). But will I ever go back to this place? Personally, no.

    So if you only have a couple of days to spend in Siem Reap-- don't waste it here. BUT!!! If you have a week.... then yes, come here. Especially if you like to take pictures, hiking and look forward to the possibility of butterflies at the waterfalls.

    Because yes, there were MANY butterflies flying around as we lingered at the base of the small waterfalls. :) I brought our toy pandas to do our toyphotography and those butterflies were curious indeed!


    You can honestly appreciate this place more from pictures. Or until they find a way to get Elephants to bring you up there. Remember, it's a loooong hike up and a loooong hike down.

    **Last tip: before you go here... email ahead/ask your tourguide/hotel if there's the river water is a high or not. Because if it's too high... you won't even get to see the carvings. So stay away during the rainy months.

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    • Backpacking
    • Archeology

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    Ta Prohm explorations

    by PandawitchElphie Updated Mar 18, 2014

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    Exploring the Ruins
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    If you're the type of tourist who is not in a hurry to go from one temple to another, plan to stay here for half a day. After lunch would do. WHen the sun is at its hottest, you're going to love the canopy of the trees. THIS is the shadiest temple to go to. And, if you take your time, you get to see Ta Prohm when it's being bathed by the golden afternoon sun.

    We took the EAST ENTRANCE, and we went reverse of the crowd. Usually, the crowd likes to enter the temples from the front. We, on the other hand took the left side entrance... taking us past areas where we got lucky and there were no tourists (oh yeah-- happy dance!).

    This was MY favorite temple. My reason for going to Siem Reap in the first place. The trees!!! The glorious trees! The giant trees that are trying to take back what man stole from them thousands of years ago.

    (actually, they're parasite trees-- giant vines that grow over and around actual real trees and slowly kill the original tree--leaving giant fragile trees in its place).

    We basically explored the place and took our time because we like to take pictures. No, we're not professional photographers but we still had tons of fun with our tripods. On my next visit here (and yes, there WILL be a next visit), I'm taking a tourguide. Mr. Chet probably. So I can learn about the things we just walked by.

    THAT's the thing-- you can appreciate the beauty of the temples...but it takes a tourguide to actually tell you that that weird sculpture is actually a symbol of 'sex' or that the carving on your left is the image of the world being created.

    There's not a lot of statues or carvings here-- it's a pretty bare temple. The main attraction would be the trees or the fact that it is a temple being surrounded by the jungle.

    Tip:
    Again, take water.
    Enter the temple areas and search for the trees.
    Make sure you have your picture taken with the Tomb Raider tree.

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    • Photography

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    Visit to Angkor Wat

    by PandawitchElphie Written Mar 18, 2014

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    Proud VT at Angkor Wat
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    Nobody goes to Siem Reap without going to Angkor Wat.

    Our tuktuk driver picked us up at 430am, brought us to buy our pass and advised us on how to enter the temple. (If I were you, I'd ask to be picked up even earlier-- to get the best seat) (next time I go, I want to be picked up at 330am)

    BRING FLASHLIGHTS! There is NO electricity/lights in Angkor Wat.
    I enjoyed the ghostly walk into the temple grounds, complete darkness except for the occasional bobbing of a fellow flashlight as you and your fellow tourists hurry to get the best spot on the left pond bank, facing the temple.

    Tip: STAY AS LEFT AS YOU CAN, FACING THE TEMPLE.
    This way you can get the best angle of the temple and it's reflection on the pool.
    We didn't stay on the left... we stayed on the right-- so I can tell you, LEFT is the best place.

    Bring a sarong or a very small towel to lay on the ground so you can sit on it AND reserve a little private place around you. The ground has reddish soil-- so if you don't want to have a red butt while you walk around afterwards-- a sarong is good. You can even ask your hotel/hostel to pack you breakfast or bring your own snack so you can munch while you wait. Though there is a small stall inside selling coffee and such (funny to see that actually).

    PRAY FOR CLEAR SKIES. Any cloud, or haze won't let the sun paint the sky with the colors you want.

    Heck, I need to mention the HORDES of tourists. They insist on going to the front of the pond, thereby ruining your shot so... be prepared to erase them using your photo programs. You can't avoid them. They'll be there... they'll be everywhere.

    We made a mistake-- we got up from our spot too early-- (which is probably why I want to go back). So here's a tip: ASK your driver/hotel what time the sun comes up. Be prepared to wait in your spot for a couple of hours. So yes, bring a snack. Oh and....

    Another tip? For night/sunrise shots? Bring a tripod. :)

    After the sunrise, you have a few options... to continue on and tour the temple and the grounds while it's still cool or go and have breakfast. We had breakfast in one of the many restos at the front of Angkor Wat. Then we went to Bayon Temple and stayed there until lunch.
    Late afternoon brought us back to Angkor Wat at around 3pm and we stayed there, happily exploring until sunset.

    If you do go back to Angkor Wat during the day... here's my personal tip.
    When you walk into Angkor wat, over the bridge.... DO NOT ENTER THE MAIN ENtRANCE. Instead, go to the right. Take the next entrance on the right. It'll show you the giant buddha statue that, if you'd seen it before on the internet and wanted to find it, you'd have missed it if you didn't enter there. After this, look and spot the dirt road/path on the right side. Take that and take a leisurely stroll under the canopy of the trees, whilst you grin at the poor tourist baking on the main walkway to the temple. You can always take the center shots of the temples later when the sunset paints the temples a glorious orange. This way, you can save yourself from the relentless sun and you get to spend your energy walking and strolling the temples minus the heatstroke.

    Practical tips:
    **Always bring water-- carry one or two bottles (or more). It's really, REALLY hot. Wear a wide-brim hat. And... go to the bathrooms before you enter any temple... there are no toilets inside temple grounds.

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    Beng Mealea (1)

    by rosequartzlover1 Written Mar 12, 2014

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    The entrance.
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    Beng mealea mean "lotus pond" The pronunciation sounds similar to my Thai languge that pronounce "beung mala" with similar meaning as well = " flower pond" I chose this place to be the must see if I should be in Siem reap.It used to be something like "off the beaten path" ,that's a reason why I wanted to go and the site looks so charming that I'd like to see in real.Beng Mealea was abandoned for long period ot time, nature took its course and the site has been overrun by the trees. We'll see trees grow out of stone, the vines are wrapped around the temple, and roots stretched through moss- covered stone walls. The temple have collapsed from neglect,never been renovated nor preserved, it made this site are very charming rustic ruins.After visitting the place ,many people love this place even said to be the most fantastic place of all the temple in Siem reap.
    To get there we have to pay 5 $ for the entrance.You can not use the Angor pass for this place , even you carry the multi -day Angor pass or not ,you have to buy ticket at the ticket booth before arriving the site anyway.Here's the pic of the ticket booth(second pic) it's about 1 km before arriving the site.Firts pic is 7 head nagas at the entrance.
    Third pic is a long path from entrance to the main site.Forth pic is the moat that surround the site 1025 m by 875 m large and 45 m wide.We don't see any beautiful lotus anymore in the pond ,actually it's very easy to reintroduce them back into to the pond to make more atmosphere.Sadly ,no one want to renovate anything.Last pic ,some thing to sell along the path.
    Because there are many thing to share so I'll write more review about this place ...to be continue...

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    A brief history study on Angkor

    by divecat1978 Written Feb 3, 2014
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    We started our day with a visit to the National Musuem.
    The musuem do not allow us to carry any big bags into the musuem. Only small waist pouch I carried.
    It was air-conidtioned in the exhibit halls. There are so many information you can find on the empire kingdom, architectual history and exhibits.

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    Starts with small temple visits

    by divecat1978 Written Feb 3, 2014
    Entrance to Angkor Thom
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    We started our journey with buying the ticket for 3 days - USD 40. The crowd was huge and there were so many buses, tuk-tuk, bicycles, mini buses I ever seen.
    We had to use another route to avoid the crowd by starting Preah Khan. Then, slowly, we moved into Angkor Thom.
    If you can cycle, it will take you a while to visit each and every site. Every temple has a certain architectual structure, which we found out the information of the National Musuem was really useful.

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    Phnom Kulen

    by leigh767 Written Jan 16, 2014
    Taken at the base of the waterfall.

    Phnom Kulen, also known as Kulen Mountain, is a favourite amongst locals and receives far fewer foreign tourists than many other sites around Siem Reap. This actually makes it an ideal destination if you're looking to take a break from the Angkor temples.

    It's about 1.5 hours' drive away and is along a bumpy road. But the ride actually isn't as bad as it seems because, if you're like my group, you would have been exhausted from the temple visits and simply napped those 1.5 hours away.

    Once there, take the time to enjoy the slower pace of life (great way to take in the REAL Cambodia and how Khmers like to unwind), and to explore the surrounding areas which has a beautiful waterfall (accessible through a long flight of wooden stairs), carvings of fertility symbols on the river bed itself, and a giant sleeping Buddha. All in all, Phnom Kulen was a great surprise for me as I wasn't expecting to come away having such a good time there but I most certainly did. Bring a swimsuit if you plan on taking a dip by the waterfall!

    Bonus tip: It's best to combine Phnom Kulen with other further-out destinations. My group's itinerary was Banteay Srei in the morning, Phnom Kulen in the early afternoon and late afternoon in Beng Melea. It fit a whole day nicely - we got back to Siem Reap just in time for dinner and drinks.

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    Angkor wat

    by cris2984 Updated Aug 26, 2013

    We went 5 people for to see the temples. For buy the tickets you have to choose between 1 day or 3 days for to see everything, they didn't give you 2 days anymore. and you have to pay 20 or 40 dollars...it is really expensive!!!
    like you don't know how many time you need for walk around, you will buy for 3 days!!!!
    don't do it!!! becuase in only one day is possible to see everything!!!! of course you will have to wake up early in the morning....if you want also to avoid the chinese people...you must to do it.
    For me the more beautiful temples were Angkor, taphron and bayon.

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    WAX MUSEUM

    by balhannah Updated Jul 19, 2013

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    Army General in the 16th Century
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    The Wax Museum is located in the Cambodian Cultural Village. This Museum, showcases famous Cambodian people from the first century up to the present. The Museum also gave a good insight of the lifestyle of Khmer people during the Angkor Period.
    There are over 30 different wax statues, all very well done, and with a description of what they are.

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    Cambodian Cultural village

    by balhannah Updated Jul 19, 2013

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    Dance performance
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    The Cultural Village is about 6kms from the centre of Siem Reap town on the way to the Airport.
    The Village covers quite a large area, so be sure to leave plenty of time to see everything.

    First of all, I had a look at the wax figure museum, then went into the gardens where cultural shows were held.
    I watched the Khmer Traditional music and the Khmer Wedding ceremony, both were excellent.

    I SUGGEST COMING HERE AFTER THE LUNCH BREAK, as I couldn't find much to do after the wedding ceremony finished at 11.25am. LUNCH BREAK IS LONG before more shows begin at 2.30pm
    It was very hot the day I was there, so I didn't stick around.

    At 2.30pm is the "charming scarf show,"3.10pm only on fri, sat, sun Tonle sap heritage dancing, 3.55pm, chinese traditional dancing, 4.25pm Peacock dancing, 5.00pm, choosing fiance, 5.40pm, My beautiful village, 6.15pm, rice praying, and only on fri, sat, sun The greatest king jayavarman 7 show at 7.30pm.

    I always enjoy these villages and this one I found extra good because of the shows.
    There weren't many Europeans there, so I guess they don't know.

    ADMISSION IS $15

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