Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm Temples… Day 1
First one thing I neglected to state on my last post is that everything is done in US Dollars and they can easily be obtained at any ATM.
There are many places and cities to see in Cambodia. The reason I traveled to Cambodia and specifically Siem Reap was to visit and photograph Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples.
I had always heard of the Angkor Wat Temple and it had always been a “Bucket List” item for me to visit to photograph. Learning there were actually numerous temples was just a bonus.
The Angkor Wat Temples are located in Cambodia. They are one of Southeast Asia’s most important archaeological sites and protected by the UNESCO World Heritage Center.
There are numerous books and websites explaining in detail the history of Angkor Wat. I am only going to touch on its beginning briefly.
The Angkor Wat complex is the largest religious monument in the world. It was designed and constructed in the first half to the 12th century and dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu. In the late 12thcentury Angkor Wat transformed from a Hindu cultural center to one of Buddhism and it remains so to the present day.
Visiting Angkor Wat depends on where you are staying in Siem Reap. From most hotels it is a 30 minute ride by tuk tuk maybe more. From Theray’s it was 30 minutes and $10 round trip.
There are several itineraries ranging from approximately $20 for the “Small Circuit” to close to $30 for the “Large Circuit”. I believe the prices to be fair and depending on which you take it will either be a half day to full day.
Your first day you will need to decide how many times you want to visit the temples. The first stop along the way is the government Angkor Wat ticket office. For one day the cost is $37, 3 days is $62 which must be done in a one week period. Being in Seam Reap for 10 days I opted for the 7 day pass which was $72 and could be used over a one month period.
Day One I wanted to see and photograph the sunset at Angkor Wat. Leaving my hotel around 11am gave me plenty of time to explore not only the Angkor Wat temple but Ta Prohm.
The first stop was the Angkor Wat Temple. To reach the temple you cross a pontoon footbridge that crosses a moat. I spent the majority of time walking around the outside of the temple. I found this to have best photographic opportunities.
One warning do not leave your purse, backpacks or food on the ground. They will immediately become the property of one of the numerous monkeys.
Do not leave them on the temple either as I saw monkeys climb the walls, grab the booty and scale the wall back to the ground. You will never get your items back so consider yourself forewarned.
I did enter the inner temple but personally was not as impressed. Others may have a different opinion, I can only offer mine.
After visiting Angkor Wat, I ate lunch at one of the many small restaurants that are adjacent to the temple located near the parking lot. I found the food to be very good and reasonably priced.
I then took a 20 minute walk, you may take a tuk tuk to a Hot Air Balloon Ride. The balloon is tethered and rises for 400-600 feet above the ground depending on weather conditions. I found it to be well worth the $15 to see the temple and surrounding area from this vantage point.
After the balloon I took a $5 tuk tuk ride to the Ta Prohm Temple. It is best known as the temple where Laura Croft Tomb Raider was filmed.
One of my favorite photographs is of a large tree in the middle of temple surrounded by the ruins.
Occasionally you may be joined by a Buddhist Monk that is also enjoying the temple. You should always ask a Monk permission to take his photograph first and never touch a Monk unless they take your hand and bless you. This has happened to me a couple of times. After this photograph the Monk asked me to email the photograph to him which I was more then happy to do.
It was an amazing temple and the grounds are quite large with many passage ways, engraved rock walls and ruins to explore.
It may take you less time however I spent about two hours exploring the temple and taking photographs.
By the time I finished exploring Ta Prohm it was getting close to sunset. I headed back to the Angkor Wat Temple for my final photographs of the day.
On the way back to the hotel I had my tuk tuk driver take me to Pub Street for dinner. By doing so I saved the additional time and money as it was on the way back.