Before you visit the Angkor Wat and other sides, you need to possess an admission pass. You can purchased the passes at the main entrance on the road to Angkor Wat.
Passess are sold in one day (US$20),
3 days (US$40) valid for 1 week.
7 days (US$60) valid for 1 month.
Your face will be scanned and printed on the admission pass.
Always carry your pass/ticket when visiting the temples in Siem Reap. It will be checked upon each park enter and temples. Don't want to get arrested entry without a pass/ticket.
If you visit Phnom Kulen, Koh Ker or Beng Melea, separate entrance fees of USD20, 10 and 5, respectively..
The Bantea Srei temple is much smaller than Angkor Wat. It was built in 967 from pink sandstone. Nobody knew it was there until 1914, because it was buried in the jungle by a giant termite mound. Bless those termites! Because the temple was protected from the elements for so long, the carvings are in great shape—some are like new.
Banteay Srei became well known in 1923 when Andre Malraux, the author, was arrested for stealing apsara carvings from its temple. He was broke, and planning to finance his Asian trip by selling them. Except for having to return the carvings, he didn’t face much in the way of consequences—he seems to have avoided jail, and he eventually went on to be De Gaulle’s Minister of Culture in France.
Before 1998 you couldn’t visit Banteay Srei because of the danger of land mines planted by the Khmer Rouge. Now the mines are gone, and there is a good road. Most of the tourists are gone by mid-afternoon, so it's a good time to visit.
Sunrise at angkor wat is just beautiful. I have never seen such a red sky, it was stunning. Walk into the temple, nobody tells you this, this is where you get the reflections in a small pond, I missed out on this, only got nice photos when the sun was up.
Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in SE Asia, and it is unusual: its flow changes direction twice a year, and the portion that forms the lake expands and shrinks with the seasons. It goes from 850 square miles in the spring to 3,200 square miles in the fall. In the dry season, the Tonlé Sap drains into the Mekong River, but when the rainy season begins, the Tonlé Sap backs up to form an enormous lake. The flow actually changes direction twice a year.
There are about 160 floating villages on Tonle Sap, and some of them are fairly large. The villages move every season—they go to the flood plain when the water rises, and then move back when it lowers again.
Houses in the floating villages are on rafts. There is usually a separate building beside it for the kitchen, and they may have floating gardens nearby with vegetables or small fruit trees. Other families may have an attached fish farm or a shed with animals. We saw several floating pigpens!
The villages have no electricity—they use car batteries for power and send them to a charging station (also floating) every few days. They cook with charcoal.
Elementary school children go by boat to a floating school, but the high school is further away on land. There are floating stores also, selling groceries and gas. There are even a few floating restaurants.
It's worth finding a boat to take you out there.
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
Wat Bo is a serene place on the quiet east side of Siem Reap within walking distance of the Old Market area. It is one of the oldest (1780's) Theravada Buddhist monasteries in Siem Reap. There are beautiful gardens and stupas surrounding it. Stepping through the gate was like going into another world after being in the busy Old Market area. Wat Bo was deserted (I only saw one other person who was not a monk) and quiet except for the music from the primary school across the street that was having a festival. I appreciated it then but little did I know how much more I would appreciate it while among the crowds in the Angkor temple complex.
The sanctuary (vihara) of Wat Bo has unique wall paintings from the late 1800's that depict the Reamker, a Cambodian poem based on India's Ramayana epic. There are also many scenes from the late 19th century that show ordinary colonial life, including a funny one of a Chinese merchant smoking opium, a French officer at the market, and French soldiers watching traditional Cambodian dancing. There are also interesting pottery displays, including prehistoric funerary pottery, and 9th - 10th century Khmer ceramics. See also a travelogue and three videoclips.
The Royal Residence is used by the King as a holiday Palace. Infront are gardens, which just look like a park, no fences. BEWARE! You cannot walk in, I started to, and suddenly a guard with gun appeared and shooed me out. There weren't any signs that I could see.
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.
A browse around the local markets is enjoyable and in Cambodia you can look without being hassled much at all. The people are friendly and nice, and understand that you just want to look, or get out of the sun. There are several markets here. The "Old Market" starts near the Old Market Bridge and is on the corner of Pokombor Avenue, it takes up the whole square. There is also the "centre market" which is quite big and located on Sivatha Blvde, and a Night & Noon market, I didn't get to the latter two. Both Markets were within walking distance from my Hotel, or if I was lazy, it cost $1us for a tuk-tuk.
If you have a look at the website, it gives you a map with all the locations of markets, etc. on it.
The balloon ride near Angkor Wat, I thought was a big disappointment. You go up in a tethered balloon, this is fine. The view, because of the smog is not the best, you could hardly make out Angkor wat. Perhaps the best time would be early morning or late afternoon. On a smog free day it would be excellent. Choose your day and time. The cost for 10mins was $15, which in comparison with other countries is cheap.
What is now called the Killing Fields were a number of sites in Cambodia where large numbers of people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge, who ruled the country they called Democratic Kampuchea from 1975-1979. Their atrocities were only stopped when Communist Vietnam invaded the country to end the massacres. Estimates of the number of victims range from 1.7 to 2.3 million out of an original population of about 7 million. There are many sites in Cambodia commemorating the victims of this horrible genocide. The memorial stupa at Wat Thmey is one of the small ones. These bones were found in a nearby well and on a nearby battlefield, and could not be identified. They can now be seen inside the stupa through the glass windows and help us never forget what happened. I found a very interesting masters thesis by Aafke Sanders called The Evil Within that documents those horrible times and the survivors' memories of them.
What can I say…. It’s one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been! I know that almost everyone has a background of what Angkor Wat is so I will just be telling you the actual experience my friends and I had.
We woke up at 4am and from the tuk-tuk we hired from our hostel; we left at 5am. Angkor Wat is a little bit far from where we stayed. We arrived in the Angkor Wat vicinity at 530am and paid the entrance ticket.
Entrance: 20USD - 1 day visit, 40USD- 3 days visit in a week and 60USD- visit for 7 consecutive days
Children below 12 yrs old are free
Visiting Hours: daily at 530am-530pm
The ticket is valid to enter all the temples surrounding the Ankor Wat except the “Kulen” mountain and “Bengmealba” temple (as far as I can remember). Please correct me if I’m wrong.
I like how the ticket is processed since you’ll have your face in it. You will be asked to stand straight and face the small camera. Yeah, I almost forgot, always bring your passport. Before we purchased the ticket, the staff asked for it.
It was almost sunrise when we arrived in the temple and a lot of tourists were already prepared for their cameras. Most of the tourists were in the pond, waiting for the sun’s brightness. At first, I didn’t know what they do there until I lately realized that they want to get a shot of the temple’s reflection in the pond. Well, there’s never too late for someone who really wants it… I tried to have one too, before lunchtime, wehe.
Our tuk-tuk driver advised us not to buy anything outside the temple, like food or any souvenir because anything being sold is expensive. Make sure to bring a lot of bottled water and snacks (biscuits or cookies) will do in case you get hungry while touring.
Angkor Wat covered 16 hectares of land, very big and amazing! We were able to walk around the entire temple. There were only abandoned temples that are usually in ruins around the main attraction. At the back of it, we found a small cemetery and a house that we believe is where the caretakers of the temple stay. We also went up in the tower to get a better view of the surrounding area. I’m a bit scary of heights but I always try to face it since it’s the only opportunity that I have and I don’t want to waste it.
It was very hot during that day, good thing we had sunblock since using the umbrella is prohibited while going upstairs. Make sure to not to wear sleeveless, shorts or skirts above the knee because you will not be allowed to go up in the tower. We have seen a lot of tourists that weren’t allowed to go up even they have this blanket or scarf around their waists/shoulders. Just remember that, we have to respect other’s traditions especially that this place is a temple. Visitors are allowed to go up at 730am.
We were on our way to exit when we saw small cemetery with the houses where the monks live and a line of souvenir stores at the left side. The shops sell various kinds of souvenir shirts, paintings, key chains, silks, displays, clothes, etc. I bought some souvenir shirts, 3 for 5 USD (ask for a bargain). The vendors may not agree with you at first but once you walk out of their store, they’ll eventually agree with the price you offer… just be patient if you want to get a discount.
We were able to finish the sightseeing of Angkor Wat at 12nn. We were so exhausted and hungry but at the same time, very satisfied of the experience we had:)
Wat Preah Prohm Rath is relatively new, having been founded in 1915. The main vihara was constructed in 1945. The wat was built in honor of Preah Ang Chang-han Hoy, who lived from 1358 until 1456. He used to travel across Tonle Sap Lake every morning to collect alms at Longwek and would return to Siem Reap to have lunch. One day he was in the middle of the lake when "his boat was cut by shark;" however, by some miracle the two pieces did not sink. One is at Wat Boribo and replaced a standing Buddha; the other is at Wat Preah Prohm Rath and replaced a reclining Buddha. A replica of the boat was built in 2007. The the wat grounds also hold two large cannons said to have belonged to the larger-than-life 20th century warlord, Dap Chhoun. Wat Preah Prohm Rath is a very pretty, quiet place near downtown Siem Reap. See also a videoclip.
As I wandered around the Bayon, I came across a group of Dancers. They were only there for photo shoots. You could have your photo taken with them, or, them on their own, with your camera for $1. They were in traditional costume, and looked really good. (see photo)
Northwest of the Old Market is a rectangular block that some call the Passage. To me it is more appropriately called the Passages. Canby Publications has one of the better maps of the Old Market area. Hospital Street is the northeast boundary. Pub Street runs southwest to northeast along the northwest side. Pub Street Alley runs down the middle parallel to Pub Street. The southeast boundary is the Old Market. Street 11 is the southwest boundary. Perpendicular to Pub Street Alley are three equally-spaced "passages." Although most of the passages are actually open-air, the whole complex seems more like an indoor mall filled with restaurants, bars, shops, galleries and couple of hotels.