Life has too many goals, but the goals which are set and are to be executed for the first time in your life are challenge in itself. When you attain these goals with challenges you feel proud of yourself and that's the feeling I am getting today. Since long time I was planning for an international trip and finally I could plan one this year with my friends to Cambodia which was on my bucket list . Though I have many countries to visit in my bucket list, I chose Cambodia for the sole reason i.e "Angkor Wat".
For the people who aren't aware of Cambodia as a country let me tell you that this is a small country near Vietnam and Thailand located in South East Asia. The country’s traditions date many centuries back, and the combination of Buddhist and Hindu customs create unique rituals that are distinctly Cambodian. Cambodia has stunning historical monuments and thought-provoking history of Hindu Buddhism and Khmer. Though this nation had gained Independence in 1953, the Cambodians were going through the pain till 1979 i.e till the end of Khmer Rouge regime. When almost all nations in the world were independent, Cambodian people were facing civil. Each place in Cambodia has a story concomitant with it.
Only people intent in history and seeing historical monuments will like this place to visit, for others it would just be a placed with distorted buildings.
Ways to reach Cambodia:
Book the flight to Siem Reap or Phnom Penh which has layover in Malaysia or Thailand. (If you are not going out of the Malaysia or Thailand airport no transit visa is required)
Book the flight to Thailand and then from Thailand take the bus to Siem Reap. Regular buses ply between Thailand and Siem Reap. This is the cheapest option but you need Thailand Visa for this which you can apply at the airport itself for the countries which are listed for Visa on arrival. Visa fees is 30USD/1000 Baht.
Book flight from India to Thailand and from Thailand to Siem Reap.
Last option is to club with the Vietnam or Laos. This is possible if your agenda is to cover only eminent places in 3 nations. If you want to explore all these countries, would recommend separate trips to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam
Visa on arrival process in Cambodia is very easy and fast. Just submit the filled forms, passport and pay the Visa fee, your visa goes for stamping to the next desk. Within 15-20 mins you get the passport back with the visa.
For accommodation you can use Agoda.com or Booking.com where you can get the cheapest accommodation options.
Internal transfers and sightseeing;
We booked a cab from Day 1 to Day 10 for 775USD for a group of 5.Contact details below:
Chan -+855 17 653 429
This was the best quote for 5 people. But he quoted us 835USD if we were a group of 6.
During my research i also found few more contacts which can be useful for people who would like to visit Cambodia;
Davuth- +855 12 686 743 (He quoted us 800USD for 5 or 6 people)
Jose- +855 12 881 943
Chhatra - : +855 70 999 965
We all were excited like a kid and waiting for our Driver to pick us from hotel. Driver came on time at 9.00 AM. The first thing to do was to take Angkor Pass. Passes for Angkor are available near the Angkor museum which is about 3 kms from city center.
Types of passes;
There are 3 types of passes available at Angkor . Each pass is categorized based on their validity which is in no of days.
1 Day pass: 37USD is the fee for one day pass. Tourist can utilize this pass only for a single day to see temples in the Angkor area
3 Day pass: 62USD is for 3 day pass. This pass is recommended to see all the important temples in Angkor for which you at least need 3 days to visit.
7 Day pass: 75USD is for 7 day pass. The tourist who wants to visit each and every temple in Angkor can opt for the 7 day pass.
We bought 3 days pass for Angkor. 3 days pass is enough to cover utmost places in Angkor. As the itinerary was already shared with the Driver, he was well aware of the places we wanted to visit on our first day. The first place we visited was Kbal spean which is about 50kms from Siem Reap city centre.
Kbal Spean is commonly known as River of Thousand Lingas . It is based in deep forest to the Northwest of Angkor. Sahasra Linga i.e Thousand Lingas are elaborately carved in the riverbed alongwith images of Hindu dieties which were discovered in 1969.
The way to kbal spean is a 30 mins uphill walk . On the way there are interesting boulders and huge Banyan trees with aerial prop roots on which you can swing.
The area near the Lingas and the carved images is roped to protect them from distruction. To explore kbal spean at its best, start with the river carvings and walk down to the waterfall where you can see carvings of Vishnu, other Hindu dieties and animal.