Siem Reap Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Siem Reap

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    Phnom Kulen

    by Cathy&Gary Written Mar 7, 2014

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    Phnom Kulen is where the 500 year long Age of Angkor began; it is the mountain on which Jayavarman II initiated the royal God of the King linga cult in 802AD. This declared a unified and independent Khmer Empire under a single ruler and began what would become the Age of Angkor.

    There are several minor ruins, waterfalls and hundreds of linga stands in the Siem Reap River. There is also an active Pagoda, with lots of stairs but well worth the climb to the top to see the huge reclining stone Buddha. This area is extremely popular with the Khmers for picnics etc as there are beautiful waterfalls and swimming areas.

    It is a little bit of a trek to get down to the main waterfall and once again there are more slippery, rickety and difficult stairs, but it is very beautiful once you are there. We went to Phnom Kulen with Marom, his sister and her 2 children as they had never been before (Marom has many times) so it was very exciting for them as well. Marom also bought along an esky full of beer, he knows how to look after us.

    Phnom Kulen is only just over 50 kilometers from Siem Reap but it takes about 90 minutes to drive there and nearly one hour of that is spent on a terrible pot holed dirt road that climbs up the mountain.

    We had a fantastic day here, got caught in a couple of tropical rainstorms, went swimming, had Cambodian racing chickens for lunch, so called due to the small amount of meat on them. It was a 7.5 hour day and we all came back wet, tired and happy. There is also a $20 entry fee to Phnom Kulen.

    Phnom Kulen Phnom Kulen Phnom Kulen Phnom Kulen Phnom Kulen
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    TA PHROM

    by ancient_traveler Written Apr 6, 2012

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    Intentionally left partially unrestored, massive fig and silk-cotton trees grow from the towers and corridors offering some of the best ‘tree-in-temple’ photo opportunities at Angkor. Flocks of noisy parrots flit from tree to tree adding to the jungle atmosphere. Ta Prohm is well worth an extended exploration of its dark corridors and open plazas. This temple was one of Jayavarman VII's first major temple projects. Ta Prohm was dedicated to his mother. (Preah Khan, built shortly after Ta Prohm in the same general style, was dedicated to Jayavarman VII’s father.) Ta Prohm was originally constructed as a Buddhist monastery and was enormously wealthy in its time, boasting of control over 3000 villages, thousands of support staff and vast stores of jewels and gold. Of the monastic complex style temples, Ta Prohm is a superior example and should be included in almost any temple itinerary.

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    PREAH KHAN

    by ancient_traveler Written Apr 6, 2012

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    Preah Khan is a huge, highly explorable monastic complex. Full of carvings, passages and photo opportunities. It originally served as a Buddhist monastery and school, engaging over 1000 monks. For a short period it was also the residence of King Jayavarman VII during the reconstruction of his permanent home in Angkor Thom. Preah Khan means 'sacred sword.’ In harmony with the architecturally similar Ta Prohm, which was dedicated to Jayavarman VII's mother, Preah Khan is dedicated to his father. Features of note: like most of Jayavarman VII's monuments, the Buddha images were vandalized in the later Hindu resurgence. Some Buddha carvings in the central corridor have been crudely carved over with Bodhisattvas, and in a couple of odd cases, a lotus flower and a linga. Also note the cylindrical columns on the building west of the main temple. It is one of the only examples of round columns and may be from a later period.

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    ANGKOR WAT

    by ancient_traveler Updated Mar 28, 2012

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    Angkor Wat is surrounded by a moat and an exterior wall measuring 1300 meters x 1500 meters. The temple itself is 1 km square and consists of three levels surmounted by a central tower. The walls of the temple are covered inside and out with bas-reliefs and carvings. Nearly 2000 distinctively rendered apsara carvings adorn the walls throughout the temple and represent some of the finest examples of apsara carvings in Angkorian era art. But it is the exterior walls of the lower level that display the most extraordinary bas-reliefs, depicting stories and characters from Hindu mythology and the historical wars of Suryavarman II.

    The northern reflecting pool in front is the most popular sunrise location. For sunrise, arrive very early, well before sunrise begins. The sun will rise behind Angkor Wat providing a silhouette of Angkor’s distinctively shaped towers against a colored sunrise sky.

    sunrise sunset
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    BANTEAY SREY

    by ancient_traveler Updated Mar 28, 2012

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    Banteay Srey loosely translates to ‘citadel of the women,’ but this is a modern appellation that probably refers to the delicate beauty of the carvings. Built at a time when the Khmer Empire was gaining significant power and territory, the temple was constructed by a Brahmin counselor under a powerful king, Rajendravarman and later under Jayavarman V. Banteay Srey displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art. The walls are densely covered with some of the most beautiful, deep and intricate carvings of any Angkorian temple. The temple's relatively small size, pink sandstone construction and ornate design give it a fairyland ambiance. The colors are best before 10:30 AM and after 2:00 PM, but there are fewer tourists in the afternoon. This temple was discovered by French archaeologists relatively late, in 1914. The temple area closes at 5:00 PM.

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    Garden Decoration

    by Mikebb Updated Mar 29, 2015

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    We decided to cross over the river and walk the other bank as we had seen some interesting buildings with nice gardens. This one, most probably a guesthouse had a beautifully restored rickshaw on display.

    Garden Decor - Guesthouse Accommodation
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    Pub Street - Restaurants & Nightlife

    by Mikebb Written Apr 5, 2015

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    For those travellers who enjoy a night out, Pub Street is the ideal place to visit.

    A colourful street full of people, neon lights, bars and restaurants you should be able to enjoy a good drink or maybe a nice restaurant for dinner.

    Approximately 16 from our group decided to visit just after 8pm, easily transported by Tuk Tuks located outside our hotel. A most enjoyable and sometimes exciting method of transport.

    Most of our group stayed for dinner, a few for a drink or two and one couple decided it was not the place for them.

    We loved our visit and recommend Pub Street as a "Must Visit".

    Pub Street Restaurants on Pub Street
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    Long Walk To Temples - Moat First Sight

    by Mikebb Updated Apr 10, 2015

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    The bus was soon parked and we commenced a 10 minute walk towards Angkor Wat ruins.

    The first impression was of locals wanting to sell us books, souvenirs, drinks etc etc and then we came to a vast expanse of water.

    We were informed this was the moat that surrounded Angkor Wat and was man made. It took 75 years of hard manual labour, we were not informed of how many thousands of people employed on the task.

    Impressive!

    Moat - Angkor Wat
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    Angkor Wat - Our First Ruin

    by Mikebb Updated Apr 10, 2015

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    This was the first Angkor Wat building we saw on our walk, approx. 10 minutes walk from the where the bus was parked.

    A close up introduction of buildings that had not had any or little renovation in modern times.

    Amazing to see how the stonework was put together, in particular the arched ceiling.

    Be careful when walking through these ruins as they are very unsafe in places, particularly steps and ledges. There are no guide rails.

    Ruin - Name Unknown Ruin - Close Up of windows Ruin - Curved Ceiling - Unsupported Ruin - Walking Inside Close Up of Entry - Uneven Steps.
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    Uneven Steps & Pathways - Always be Aware

    by Mikebb Updated Apr 10, 2015

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    The huge Angkor Wat complex is a wonder of the world. Be aware that much of the complex has not been restored and danger can experienced frequently when walking through the ruins with uneven surface, steps which are not uniform in size, some steps seriously worn.

    Most steps do not have a safety guide rail, so be aware.

    The steps are often crowded and you may be bumped by a passing tour group.

    Any fall could have serious consequences.

    Dangerous Uneven Steps - Angkor Wat Complex Struggle to Reach Top of Steps  Angkor Wat Complex steep Steps- No Rails - Angkor wat
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    Our First View of Angkor Wat

    by Mikebb Updated Apr 11, 2015

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    We had walked for 20 minutes before our first sighting of the Angkor Wat complex, from the distance my first impression was that it looked compact. This impression was soon dismissed when we entered the complex.

    Angkor Wat is enclosed by a moat and outer wall extending for 3.4 km. It was only when we entered the complex and commenced walking through the temples and courtyards that we appreciated how massive the buildings were, the size of the stone blocks, the complex architecture and the engineering skills required.

    Many of the buildings and temples have experienced some restoration over the years, it is easy to see the skill of the original tradesmen of the 12th century.

    We most probably spent 3 hours within the complex, most enjoyable but very tiring with all the steps involved.

    First View of Angkor Wat Complex Angkor Wat - A Massive Complex
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    Royal Palace - Angkor Archaelogical Park

    by Cathy&Gary Updated Apr 2, 2013

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    The Royal Palace is in the centre of the city of Angkor Thom and is distinguished by 2 terraces that are parallel to the road.

    Only the stone substructure is left so it is difficult to imagine the scale and layout of the original complex. The residences of the King and people who worked in the palace were made of wood and so have totally disintegrated.

    Allow approx. 15 minutes to see the Royal Palace.

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    Thommanon Temple

    by theguardianangel Written Nov 13, 2012

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    Thommanon Temple is found adjacent to Chau Say Tevoda temple. The temples are like twins that were constructed between 11th to 12th century. This temple as well as the Chau Say Tevoda temple wasn’t as popular like the other temples such as Angkor Wat and Banteay Samre but through them, the styles and the forms of these more famous landmarks became more evident.

    There’s nothing much special in this place but it’s good to know where the other famous temples gained their style and structure.

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    Marom Hem - Fantastic tuk tuk driver

    by Cathy&Gary Updated Mar 8, 2014

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    Many months before our first trip to Siem Reap I had been reading about Marom Hem on the Tales of Asia site. All the comments on him were excellent so I sent him an email. We corresponded for a few months before our trip and booked Marom for all our tours in Siem Reap, including picking us up from the airport.

    That was back in 2006, we have been back many times since and we always use Marom for our visits to Siem Reap, I would not think of booking anyone else! Every place you can see on my website that we have been to in Siem Reap over the last 8 years has been with Marom.

    I don’t know if any of you know how the numbers on the back of the tuk tuk drivers work but Marom's number is 61. Back in the early 1990’s when all drivers had to be registered in Siem Reap the numbers for some strange reason started from 45 instead of 1.

    So Marom was in the first 20 registered tuk tuk drivers in Seam Reap. He knows all the good out of the way places without tourists, we just love him and he is a good friend. His rates are standard, he never expects more, he is a very safe driver, extremely knowledgeable, well spoken and trustworthy.

    We highly recommend contacting Marom if you are looking for a tuk tuk driver in Siem Reap.
    Another reason we liked being with Marom is not once did he try to pressure us to go to various shops etc so he could get petrol vouchers, commissions etc. He was there for us and that was it. He does not rush you and we feel extremely comfortable with him at all times.

    So if you are looking for one of the nicest, safest, friendliest tuk-tuk drivers in Siem Reap who has been around for a long time and knows all the good places to see, then contact Marom at:
    maromtuktuk1@gmail.com or emailmarom@yahoo.com
    You can also call him on:
    (855)12994285

    He checks his emails quite regularly so it should not be long before you hear back from him!

    Contact Marom for his current rates as I am not sure if the ones below have changed.
    Day Rates for Marom's tuk-tuk which seats 2 comfortably are:
    Angkor Archaeological Park $15
    Banteay Srey $22
    Kbal Spean $30
    Beng Mealea $40
    ($45 To Bantey Srey and Beng Mealea)
    Lake Trips
    Kompong Phluk (wet season only)
    1 - 3 people $70
    4 - 6 people $90
    Kompong Khleang
    1 - 3 people $80
    4 - 6 people $100

    Countryside tours are $25 - $35 depending on the distance traveled.
    Phnom Kulen cannot be accessed by tuk-tuk but Marom can take you there on his moto or organize a car etc.

    Marom Hem - Fantastic tuk tuk driver Marom Hem - Fantastic tuk tuk driver Marom Hem - Fantastic tuk tuk driver Marom Hem with his parents and brother in law Marom Hem - Fantastic tuk tuk driver
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    Phimeanakas

    by rosequartzlover1 Updated Apr 24, 2014

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    I didn't have time to visit Phimeanakas thoroughly.I just had a quick look of it's east area.Phimeanakas was built in Khleang style and some parts are in Bakheng and Bayon style,built in the reign of Jayavarman V and Udayadityavarman I and Suuryavarman I onwards,which dated from 11th -end of 16th centyry.This royal palace was continued in use almost uninterruptedly.The area underwent many transformations and restorations.
    The area that I visitted was right next to Elephant terrace ,it's the first group of Phimeanakas 's buldings,built by Suryavarman I,was surrounded by a moat of which some trace remain as you can see from pictures.
    pic 1. You can see Phimeanakas at far end in the picture.
    pic 2 .Standing on the platform ,and from that platform we can see Elephant Terrace next to this place.(pic 3)
    pic.4 The first group of buildings ,same one as I was standing on pic 2,3.

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