Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Angkor Wat and Siem Reap

Siem Reap is a beautiful city, with plenty of French architecture and lots of luxuries, clean cafes targetted at the 2.2 million tourists that past through Siem Reap last year alone. They come for a good reason though... to see the famous Angkor Archaeological Park, home to Angkor Wat.

We can thank the Angkorian empire for delivering facinating architecture, a unique history, and a beautiful blend of Buddhist and Hindu culture. It is IMPRESSIVE.

Leigh and I spent the first day with a new friend from the Phillipines as we shared a tuk-tuk around the major temples, including Bayon and sunrise at Angkor Wat. The next day we tumbled through the Siem Reap markets and soaked up the atmousphere of the city, preparing ourselves for a LONG bike ride to the Angkorian temples ony accessible by pushbike. The ridiculous heat, the blasting sun, and the constant threat of being caught in a sudden monsoon puts most people off hiring a pushbike, not to mention the amount of time it takes to get between temples. Since we had a 3 day pass, plenty of enthusiasm and an intrepid spirit, we spent $1 hiring awfully basic bikes and had many of these difficult-to-reach temples to ourselves. The final day was spent in a tuk-tuk visiting temples even further outlaying, but not impossible to reach by tuk-tuk.

For anyone in South East Asia, visiting Angkor Wat is a MUST. I have seen plenty of historical must-sees in my life... the colleseum, the parthenon, the Pyramids, Teothuican... and I would say that Angkor Archaeological park ranks right up there in the top few. DO IT.

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