Top Attractions in Cambodia

Me exploring Angkor Thom

Originally posted: November 19, 2014

First visit: January 2010
Places visited: Siem Reap
Photography by Arthur Jeciel

In late December of 2009, Mike and I were visiting Vietnam and decided we would also spend a few days in Siem Reap, Cambodia to fulfill our dreams of seeing one of the most beautiful monuments in the world, the Angkor Wat. First, we spent our Christmas and New Year in the lovely island of Phu Quoc and then flew to Siem Reap. Here's our 3 day itinerary in Siem Reap which pretty much covers the top sights in this magnificent city with countless temples.

Siem Reap International Airport, Cambodia

The terminal building has a very interesting design that somehow tells you that you have indeed arrived in Cambodia.

Cultural dance show

It was our first night in Siem Reap and our itinerary included a buffet dinner at a restaurant close to the hotel we were staying. The food reminded me of the same food we have in the Philippines specially their desserts. So good!! Of course, there was also a cultural dance show which Mike and I both enjoyed.

South Gate, Angkor Thom

The following day, our guide met us at the hotel lobby for our morning tour, a visit to the temples of Angkor Thom. The south gate is a 20-meter high gate crowned by four stone faces.

Located in the center of Angkor Thom is the Bayon Temple. This Khmer temple which was built around 1190AD is famous for its huge stone faces of bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.

Bas-relief showing a Khmer army on the march

Close up of the bas-relief

Bayon, Angkor Thom

Bayon, Angkor Thom

Me and Mike with the stone faces in the Bayon

Bayon, Angkor Thom

Terrace of the Elephants, part of the walled city of Angkor Thom

After visiting the Bayon Temple in the morning, our guide decided we would have a lunch break and then late in afternoon, visit the monument which was actually the highlight of our tour, the famous Angkor Wat.

The entrance to the world famous Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world with the whole site measuring 162 hectares.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is considered as one of the most beautiful monuments in the world. It was a Hindu temple first before it became a Buddhist temple.

Angkor Wat with its reflection in the water

Bas-relief scene from the Mahabharata war

One of the towers of Angkor Wat

A closer view of one of the towers of Angkor Wat

There was so much to understand while doing our visit here but our guide did his best to give us a basic history of this temple. Needless to say, we were so ecstatic after this tour and couldn't thank our guide enough for his knowledge and patience.

Ending our second day in Cambodia watching the beautiful sunset

Inside the Banteay Srei

The following day, we visited the Banteay Srei known for its rose pink temples. It is a 10th century Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The modern name Banteay Srei means "Citadel of Women".

One of the beautifully designed walls inside the Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei

The temple is built mostly of red sandstones

Ta Prohm Temple

We felt like we did not have enough time as there were a lot to see inside the Banteay Srei Temple with all its details but we had to move on and go to our next stop, the Ta Prohm Temple. This temple became even more famous when some scenes from the movie Tomb Raider featuring Angelina Jolie were filmed here.

The Ta Prohm Temple ruins did not undergo much restoration unlike the other famous temples in Angkor

Ta Prohm Temple

Ta Prohm Temple

This famous tree growing in the Ta Prohm Temple is known as the Tetrameles nudiflora

The roots of the Tetrameles nudiflora inside the Ta Prohm Temple

The huge trees engulfing the Ta Prohm Temple with their roots.

Inside a handicraft store

Our day had been very interesting and fruitful again and on our last day in Siem Reap, we visited a handicraft store.

Inside a handicraft store

Saying goodbye to our extraordinary guide and chauffeur

After visiting Siem Reap, Mike and I both agreed that we have just spent one of our most memorable vacations in the world right here in Siem Reap, Cambodia. To our guide and driver who spent three days with us showing the beauty and richness of their culture, "Arkoun"! And to all of you who haven't visited the Angkor Wat yet, please do so. You will definitely enjoy every single moment of it!

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