Thursday, February 2, 2012

Siem Reap and the magnificent temples of Ankor Wat, Cambodia

Siem Reap is the capital city of Siem Real Province in northwestern Cambodia, and is the gateway to Ankor region. We visited Siem Reap in July 2009 on the second leg of our honeymoon and stayed in the very beautiful La Residence d'Ankor hotel. Today, Siem Reap is Cambodia's fastest growing city and serves as a small charming gateway town to the world famous heritage site of the Angkor temples.

We explored the market we found a couple of blocks from the hotel. Full of colour, hustle and bustle, you'll find every possible souvenir you can dream of to remember your trip to Cambodia. Be ready for some good natured banter with the stall owners.

It's worth visiting the Koulen II Buffet & Aspara Dance Show. With over 650 seats this huge restaurant offers a vast buffet with Khmer, Chinese and European Food. The highlight of the evening is the traditional dance show, which was worth seeing even though some of the performers looked a little on the bored side.

The main reason for our visit to Siem Reap, was of course to seem the temples and in particular, Ankor Wat. Angkor Wat (Wat temple) is the central feature of the Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site containing the magnificent remains of the Khmer civilization. Angkor Wat's rising series of five towers culminates in an impressive central tower that symbolizes mythical Mount Meru. Thousands of feet of wall space are covered with intricate carving depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. Ankor and the other temples in the area are simply breathtaking and a must to add to your Bucket List.

 One very different aspect of life that you see when travelling in Asia and in particular Camobodia and Vietnam is that of villages of people who spend most of their life living on water. Below are a few pictures to show you exactly what I mean.

 We had a fantastic time visiting Siem Reap, as in Vietnam the people were friendly and welcoming, the food was delicious and the countryside simply beautiful. We ended our visit to the area with a visit to the Artisans D'Ankor workshop, where many of the souvenirs you see on sale are made. 

Having had a great few days in Siem Reap, our next destination was the Maldives, time  to relax on the beach after our adventures in Vietnam and Cambodia.