Angkor Wat 1/53 by Tripoto
Mimansa Popat
The people of Cambodia are called Khmer and so is their language. Their empire, obviously called Khmer Empire in the early 8th century adopted Hinduism and has the most magnificent and well preserved temples depicting key events in Hinduism and Buddhism. The main temple called the Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world built in the 12th century and is surrounded by the most fascinating monuments you will ever witness. Tomb Raider was famously shot in one of these temples. Long forgotten with no human contact, nature steadily worked its magic on these ruins. Plants and time claimed these structures with multitude of species calling it home and us, paid visitors. Situated in the province of Siam Reap, Angkor is a must on every travellers map. The sun rising above the Angor Wat is a sight many throng to see.
Anuj Tikku
I was surprised to see Shiva in Cambodia during my visit to the Angkor Wat temples. Huge statues of Shiva reside in the galleries of the Angkor Wat temple. A soothsayer sat me down and read my future from old Pali scriptures written on barks and leaves. The ancient culture resides in the city of Siem Reap in Cambodia and Shiva was a part of it. Ever smiling and pleasing, he stands tall and benevolent.
Explore the Angkor Complex
Nidhi Jakhodia
Angkor Wat is the largest temple in Angkor, built in early 12th century and dedicated to Lord Vishnu (all other Hindu temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva). The temple is grand and gorgeous - it is made of grey sandstone, has five towers, numerous courtyards and galleries. A guide is definitely required to understand the layout and its significance. Just north of Angkor is Bayon temple. It is a Buddhist temple built in late 12th century by a tolerant Hindu ruler . It is built in the centre of Angkor Thom city. The temple is famous for its four faced Buddhas - giant sculptures adorning its towers. Ta Phrom is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Parts of the temple have been overtaken by jungle which actually enhance its beauty and so the archeologists have left the temple alone in its state of ruin.We made brief stops at three more temples on the short circuit - Thommanom , Chau Say Tevoda and Ta Keo.After that I came to the hotel for lunch and to rest for some time. At 4:30 the guide picked me up to take me to Phnom Bakheng temple for sunset. Dedicated to Shiva, Phnom Bakheng was built in late 9th to early 10th century. It was located in Yasodharapura, an earlier capital city of Khmer Empire. Located on top of a small hill, it is a popular tourist spot for watching sunset. It took us about 20 minutes to climb up to reach the entrance of the temple. There was a very long queue to get in. The officials allow only a limited number of tourists to enter the temple. As and when tourists exit the temple, equal number of tourists are allowed to go in. As the timing of sunset approached the number of tourists coming out trickled down and it looked like I was going to miss the sunset. Luckily I made it just in time.My guide told me later that guards allow tourists to stay up in the temple only for 15 min at a time. So it is important to reach there at the the right time - one can't be too early either.My guide then dropped me to see an Apsara Dance show at 7pm. Entrance fee was USD 6, and food/drinks as per actuals. The dance show was ok, nothing great but good enough to fill an evening if you have time on hand.After the show I walked down 2km to the Pub Street (tuktuks are readily available if you want one), browsed the souvenir shops in Old Market for some time, had dinner at a nice Italian restaurant on Pub Street, and then back to the hotel.Day 15: Siem ReapThe guide picked me up at 5am to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat. I had informed my hotel in advance and they had packed breakfast for me. There was a huge crowd at the temple to see the sunrise. While some tourists were going inside the temple, my guide informed me that best location to see sunrise is from outside across the moat. Many people were sitting there already. I comfortably sat facing the temple and waited for the sunrise. As the sun started coming up, the sky and its changing colors looked gorgeous. My guide told me that on Equinox days , the sun comes up directly behind the central tower of Angkor Wat. That must be some sight to behold.After watching the sunrise we headed to Banteay Srei temple, located 35km away. The temple was built in 10th century. It is much smaller than others, but considered one of the most beautiful with its extremely delicate carvings. It is made of pink sandstone and very well preserved.On the way back we made a short stop at Pre Rup temple built in 10th century.We returned to the main city, and then drove 15km South-East of Siem Reap town to see the oldest temples of Khmer Empire -Bakong and Preah Ko. The temples were built in city of Hariharalaya, the first capital city of Khmer Empire. Hariharalaya means city of 'Harihara' - God who is half Vishnu half Shiva. Bakongbuilt in 881 AD, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is made up of grey sandstone in the style of Angkor Wat temple. Few tourists visit Bakong , probably because its outside the main circuits. I found the temple absolutely beautiful and would highly recommend to include it in your tour of Angkor Temples. Preah Ko, built in 879 AD is the oldest Khmer Temple. Preah Ko means 'sacred bull'. There are three sandstone statues of Nandi, the bull in front of the temple.With this I finished the Angkor temples tour, and returned to my hotel for a late lunch. After resting for a couple of hours, I headed out to Angkor Night Market located not more than 200m from my hotel. Very similar to the other tourist markets in Cambodia/Vietnam.Day 16: Fly back to MumbaiThe hotel provided a complimentary drop to the Siem Reap International Airport by tuktuk. It took me about 20 min to reach the airport. Check in and immigration was very smooth. Airport is small with a few souvenir shops and some food kiosks, but no vegetarian option.Some Other Suggestions/Tips:1. Reduce a day in Hanoi and add it to Hoi An visit. You can probably skip visit to the West Lake in Hanoi or reduce shopping time. There is not much to do/see in Hoi An but we loved strolling around/cycling in its charming streets.2. If you are not too interested in Khmer Rouge history, then skip Phnom Penh and spend extra two days in Vietnam exploring town of Nha Trang. We didn't go there but as per my friends who have been there it is a beautiful sea-side town. There are many direct flights between Ho Chi Min and Siem Reap.3. If you have only one day for visiting Siem Reap temples then this is what I suggest - do sunrise at Angkor Wat, then visit Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Prohm. Now based on the time in hand either visit Banteay Srei (35km away) or Bakong (15km) away. Have lunch and by 4:30pm head out to Phnom Bakheng to see the sunset (I went in off season, the queue maybe longer in peak season so check with your guide).4. Vietnam is the second biggest producer of coffee. We bought 'Trung Nguyen' coffee as per our guide's recommendation. You can also pick up a Vietnamese filter. A variety of coffee beans commonly available in tourist shops is 'Kopi Luwak' or 'Weasel Coffee' - before you buy it you should know that the coffee beans of Weasel coffee are picked out from droppings of a hamster. It is actually one of the most expensive coffee in the world.5. In typical Vietnamese cafes, coffee is served with 'condensed milk' which makes it very sweet. You may want to specify that you want normal milk and not condensed milk.When to visit Vietnam/Cambodia :Weather wise best time to visit Vietnam/Cambodia is from November to March when it is cool and dry. Of course most of the tourists visit during this period so hotel/tour prices will also be higher. Happy journey!This trip was originally published on Nidhi On Road.
Nidhi Jakhodia
I had booked a two day guided tour for Angkor Wat Temples. There are nearly 5000 licensed guides in Siem Reap. I could not find any group tours - all sites were offering private tours. I finally selected a guide basis Tripadvisor reviews - Mr Tep Nat (his email id tep_nat_2007@yahoo.com ) . Turned out to be a great choice - good english, knowledgeable, and knew all the right angles/positions for taking pictures. He charged USD 125 for two day tour including tuktuk service. Entrance fee was extra. A one day pass for the temples costs USD 20 and a three day pass costs USD 40. After getting quotes from multiple websites, the economics that I could work out were as such : USD 40 per day for the guide, USD 15 per day for the tuktuk, USD 15 extra for visiting Banteay Srei temples (located 40km away), USD 5 for sunrise and USD 5 for sunset.Angkor Thom used to be the capital city of the powerful Hindu Khmer Empire from 11th-15th century. They built many temples, the grandest being Angkor Wat. We left the hotel at 8am, and decided to first do the short circuit consisting of three most important temples - Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Prohm.
ashwathram
My Angkor wat Archaelogical Site Tour Itenerary :Day One -Short Circuit order of Visit :Round Distance: 19 Km1. Angkor Wat2. Bahkeng3. Angkor Thom Gate4. Giant Bayon Temple5. Phimeanakas6. Baphuon7. Terrace of Leper Kings8. Terrace of Elephants9. Royal Palace Grounds10. Banteay Kedi11. Chau Say Tevoda12. Ta Kaeo13. Ta PhromDay 2 Big Tour order of Visit: Round distance: 39 Km1. Preah Khan2. Prasat Prei3. Neak Pean4. Ta Som
Sumedha Bharpilania
The drawcard of Cambodia, Angkor Wat is a gorgeous mirror reflecting an inspiring and glorious past. Located in the Angkor Archaeological Park, this ancient temple site has five towers that rise like lotuses, going as high as 65 metres towards the sky. Originally a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Angkor Wat is a wonderful example of classical Khmer architecture and has gradually morphed into a Buddhist shrine. Some 3 kilometres away from the city of Siem Reap, these prodigious ruins of the Khmer empire have rightfully been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Watching the complex at sunrise, with a perfectly pinky-blue sky acting like a canopy over its dark silhouette is like viewing the most beautiful painting in the world. The sublime image will stay with you forever.
Tamshuk
Touted as one of the most visited destinations in the world, the ruins of this ancient city is hugely popular owing to the magnanimous Angkor Wat and the mythical ruins of Ta Prohm temples. A paradise for architecture and history buffs, this huge ancient city complex is spread across the jungles in the outskirts of Siem Reap. Each and every stone of its structures signify the importance of these monuments to Cambodian that relates back from the ancient bygone era of the Cambodian kingdom to the more recent turmoil of the Khmer Rouge. Mesmerizing at dawn and dusk, with the sheer audacity of the huge structures to its minutest intricate details, this place commands the awe and admiration like the Pyramids of Giza or Machu Picchu.
Ayan Das
Shruti Rane Gupta
Possibly one of the oldest Indian temples and the most visited wonder.
Cambodia’s fields are littered with landmines in it’s post civil war era but as a traveler and runner you can help raise funds for landmine victims by participating in the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon. Each December this half marathon is held in the Angkor Wat temple complex, world’s largest religious monument! For those needing more distance the Angkor Empire Marathon is a full 26.1 open for runners each August.
Angkor Wat temple or the city temple is the main attraction. As we approach the temple from Siem Reap, the first sight is of the giant moat and the temple walls. But this is just the opening act. Across the moat is the main gate leading to the temple. The sheer scale of the temple humbles any onlookers. Built by Suryavarman as a path to heaven in order to atone for usurping his uncle's throne (or so goes the legend), the temple was built replicating mount meru. When the Khmer empire fell, the entire city was abandoned along with the many temples. But Buddhist monks have managed to salvage the temple and it is now a buddhist pilgrimage spot. Also of interest is the fact that the Khmer did not use any mortar to build the temple. The entire complex is built one stone on top of the other perfectly aligned and has stood the test of time.
Sumedha Bharpilania
The largest Hindu and now Buddhist temple in the world, Angkor Wat is one of the most easily recognizable places and probably one of the major reasons why people even know about the existence of Cambodia. With its never-ending, complex structure and intricate carvings, it is an illustration of how our roots, our cultures are essentially the same. Watching the sun rise over the temple and the water below reflecting the spectacular religious center is a fascinating experience. If getting lost was ever pleasurable, Angkor Wat is the place for you to go astray and then find yourself.
Kim Buenafe
The majestic Angkor Wat deserves all the raves it's been getting ever since. It's the largest religious monument in the world and was built as a tribute to Vishnu. A symbol of Cambodia and Khmer architecture, the Angkor Wat, with its five towers protruding from the massive three-tiered pyramid base, is the country's prime attraction for tourists. The whole complex is highly preserved to maintain its ancient beauty and ornate details. You can either bike around the temple complex or rent a tuktuk, whichever you prefer. Just don't forget to catch the famous sunrise at the temple.
Nidhi Rani
Beautiful architecture
Deepti Asthana
There are basically two tours for the temple town- small tour and grand tour. So Angkor comes on small tour and it is the main temple. One of the days I planned for early morning sunrise at Angkor Wat. First day better to hore Tuk-tuk so that you may have an idea about whereabouts. But Its must to have a tour on your own to repeat the temples you liked. So go as per their itinerary to cover small tour and big tour for two days and then one day for the far aways temple Banaty Sarei.
Mike
Words simply do not do these temples justice, which are carved out of heavy stone, in the Jungle.
Shereen & Dylan
It is worth getting up at 05:00 hrs for this. Hire a tuk tuk from your hotel's reception to drive you through the Angor complex. There is more than one temple you should be circling on your map to see whilst here and the standard route the tuk tuk's take you are a pretty good reflection of it. The tour takes you about 4 hours and you shouldn't be paying more than $18.00 for 2 people. The tuk tuk driver takes you directly to Angor Wat in the early hours of 05:30 / 06:00 hrs, where you will see a swarm of people walking towards the temple. Stand and wait till 06:30 hrs when the sun rises from behind the temples and enjoy a most spiritual moment in silence with the crowds. Unfortunately, we had a bit of trouble with the weather as there were some clouds in the way, but this didn't tarnish the moment we had with the other 400 people standing by the lake watching. Then enjoy wandering through the temple, admiring the amazing architecture without the crowds of people you will find later on in the day. The tuk tuk driver then takes you to the Bayon temple of king Jayavarman VII. Enjoy exploring the ruins of this temple to see all 54 gothic towers famously decorated with 216 huge faces of Avalokiteshvara. The tour continues to various other temples within the complex, but we decided to head straight to Ta Prohm, the "Tomb Raider" temple, where you can see how nature has engulfed the ruins and the iconic tree roots grounded within the stones.
Lydia C. Lee
If you are in Siem Reap, you're visiting Angkor Wat. So pick a guide that has a link with an orphanage. Many do. We used Happy Angkor Wat Tour, so part of our costs went into an orphanage, and we also took some art supplies to give to them. Our guide also had advice on what to do (or not do), his aim to see the street kids in school. We were advised not to give them sweets as they didn't have toothbrushes and lose their teeth and he made many other asides which gave a real insight into aspects of daily life that I hadn't really thought of.
Aprajita Virmani
Angkor Wat was first a Hindu, then subsequently a Buddhist, temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world. The temple was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura, the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum.