One of the highlights of my still-short-but-absolutely-rockin’ travel life is visiting the City of Temples last August 2011. Angkor Wat in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia is beautiful and awe-inspiring in the truest sense of the words.
Just outside the city of Siem Reap, in northern Cambodia, lies a vast complex of ancient temples so breathtaking they’ve become a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a national symbol. In the 1960s, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy ventured here despite the Vietnam War raging across the border just to see the site; more recently, portions of Angelina Jolie’s first Tomb Raider movie was filmed in one of its tangled, tree-filled ruins. The main “city temple” is a 12th-century structure that began as a homage to the Hindu god Vishnu, then switched to a Buddhist sanctuary in the 16th century. An example of Cambodian Khmer architecture—with three rectangular galleries, central towers, a moat, and elaborate bas-relief carvings illustrating scenes from Indian mythology—Angkor Wat is the best-preserved of the region’s temple complexes and has been in fairly regular use since its creation. –
To fully experience and take in the beauty of Angkor Wat, here are my basic, quick tips:
1. If it’s your first time to travel to Angkor Wat, research is the key. Check out travel sites like Tripadvisor to have the “feel” of the place. Previous visitors usually post their Angkor Wat experiences so you can learn a thing or two from them.
2. Nothing beats a good guide and driver to help you navigate the place. You may pre-book a tour guide online or hire one with the help of the hostel/inn/hotel you’re going to stay in. My friend and I opted to pre-book a guide, which turned out to be a good decision.
If you don’t wish to hire a guide, talking to one can still help you a lot since guides know the ins and outs of the Temple City. So don’t hesitate to ask questions.
3. Aside from your beloved camera, you need to bring WATER during the tour. Cambodia is a tropical country so expect the scorching sun, especially if you start your tour mid-morning. A hat is also a necessity, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you wish to wear shorts or tank tops, just make sure that you bring a shawl or cover-up.
4. Take it all in. Don’t rush from one architecture site to another just so you can do your photo-op. Listen to what your guide is saying about the history of the place. Take time to see, feel and touch – you can’t capture everything with your camera.
5. Needless to say, but still worth mentioning, ENJOY.
Love and Light to all! X