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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Journey Back in Time - Mystical Angkor. 5Days 4Nights Travel Itinerary in Siem Reap, Cambodia (Big Circle)

Our journey continued on the second day of our trip by exploring the big circle complexes.

It was another early start. We woke up as early as 4.00am to catch sunrise at Angkor Wat. Pros Bou picked us up at the hotel around 4.45am and we make our way to the lake in front of Angkor Wat. That time, the place was already packed and filled with travelers all hoping to capture the magnificent sunrise view at Angkor Wat.

Of course, a trip to Siem Reap is never complete without visiting the grand Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is one of the many temples built by the Khmer Empire (9th-15th century). The place was abandoned in the 15th century when the Khmer empire moved its capital to Phnom Penh. Thought to be the largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat is considered the most visible symbol of the Khmer’s national pride. We spent some quiet time exploring the temple and watching sunrise by the lake.   

I have to say: getting here early is worth it! The morning glow was so magical! Check out my photos!  
Angkor Wat waking up in the morning
Angkor Wat waking up in the morning
Angkor Wat waking up in the morning
Angkor Wat waking up in the morning
A ray of light, a ray of hope. Sunrise at Angkor Wat. Photograph courtesy of Bhavani
As soon as the sun illuminated, the crowds turned minimal and we decided to stay on to explore the temple's bas reliefs and photographs session. 

Carvings of sensual Apsaras in Angkor Wat
Detailed carvings on the walls of Angkor Wat
Several scenes that features images of brave, weapon bearing warriors engaged in furious combat
Bas-reliefs of Suryavarman II in Angkor Wat seated on his throne, surrounded by courtiers with fans and parasols
Detailed carvings on the inner walls of the central sanctuary
** Best spot to watch the sunrise: The West and East sides are recommended. The East side is wonderful to watch the sun rise away from the massive crowd. The West side of course is magnificent with the stunning classic silhouette of Angkor Wat and reflection of the lotus pond.
**Be prepared for a lot of walking and clambering up and down steep stairs.
Aerial view of Angkor Wat. Every aspect of Angkor is rich with meaning
Chengy at Angkor Wat complex
One for the album
 Central Sanctuary of Angkor Wat
Within the Angkor Wat complex

After that, Pros Bou brought us back to the hotel for our morning breakfast. After breakfast, we continued our journey exploring Preah Khan Temple, Neak Pean Temple,  East Mebon and Pre Roup Temple.
Preah Khan Temple guarded by lions
Preah Khan - The City of Glory
Sandstone carvings in Preah Khan
Centre stupa inside Preah Khan
The sacred stone of "linga” (male) and “yoni” (female) in the centre of Preah Khan
A Devada with a missing head in Preah Khan
A headless Buddha statue guarding the entrance to the Preah Khan Temple
Preah Khan temple is one mega-temple that is really huge with much to see! Preah Khan, means “sacred sword”, was built in 1191 A.D. King Jayavarman VII dedicated it to His father. During the reconstruction of his permanent home in Angkor Thom, the King lived there. The temple also functioned as a Buddhist University. There were many overgrown large trees surrounding the area.  

**Tips:  The best way to visit Preah Khan is through the East West gate which will allow you to see the temple in the correct sequence.
Neak Pean were used to heal devotees
After Preah Khan Temple, we stopped by Neak Pean Temple, an interesting small temple is situated on an artificial island surrounded by water. Neak Pean means “coiled serpents”, which encircled the temple. Neak Pean was originally constructed for medical purposes, a form of a hospital, the water believed to have healing properties. 
Towering lotus-shaped structures in Pre Rup
Dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva, Pre Rup has five lotus shaped towers
Our next stop was Pre Rup Temple, located in the mountain side and built by King Rajendravarman as his state temple.  Pre Rup means “turn the body”, which translates as common funeral ritual. The temple was unique to us because it has five lotus-shaped towers and was built from bricks with nicely decorated entrance ways.  
There are three levels that are topped by five towers in East Mebon
East Mebon features amazing door carvings and spectacular free standing stone lions
Continuing on the big circle was East Mebon, which has a similar design as Pre Rup Temple. The temple has several levels and large elephant and lion statues on the corners.
Lion statue in East Mebon Temple
On the road to our next location. 

Our next stop was Ta Som, a 12th century temple that appeared to be falling apart. It is a small temple built by King Jayavarman VII for his father, Dharanindravarman II. Some part of the structures are starting to fall apart.
Delicate stone carvings on a wall inside Ta Som
Delicate stone carvings on a wall inside Ta Som
Some part of the structures in Ta Som are starting to fall apart
We had our lunch at Angkor Flower Restaurant along the way to the next temple. Camel had the Khmer style fried yellow noodle meanwhile Chengy ordered Chicken Pandan with Fried Rice.  Each meal cost us approx. US$7-8/pax inclusive of drinks (mango shake). 

Our precious last hour for the day had been reserved for Phnom Bakheng (for sunset viewing), a Hindu and Buddhist temple in the form of a temple mountain. Dedicated to Hindu God Shiva, it was built at the end of the 9th century, during the reign of King Yasovarman (889-910). Located atop a hill, this place is a famous spot for sunset views of Angkor Wat. There are two ways of going up to Phnom Bakheng: (i) the easy way is to take the elephant ride and (ii) hike up the hill yourself. Of course, we went the cheap way up, by foot.  
Elephant ride anyone? US$20/ride to top of Phnom Bakheng
We arrived at the foot of the hill a little bit early to beat the crowds around 3.30p.m. The hike can be really tiring and it took us approx. 20 minutes to reach the peak and the view was really pretty. So peaceful and you can actually take shots of the whole 360 degrees view up there. We waited for nearly an hour till we were told that most likely we are unable to catch sunset for today. So, sunset or no sunset, Phnom Bakheng is indeed a cool place to be!

◊ Wear comfy shoes
◊ Be there by 4.00p.m. and spare at least 20-25 minutes to hike up to the temple 
◊ Wear proper attire (particularly for ladies – no shorts and wear shirts with proper sleeve) 

Dinner was at Triangle BBQ Bar Restaurant, near the pub street area. This restaurant, a TripAdvisor recommended eatery spot serves good food (Khmer & International cuisine) at a reasonable price. We ordered the pork ribs and don’t forget to try the fresh river bar fish. Tasted superb and highly recommended. The meal cost us approx. USD$4.5-5.0/pax (inclusive of drinks) 
**Triangle BBQ Bar Restaurant recommended menu: Pork ribs (US$2.50), Fresh river bar fish (US$2.50), Chicken Leg (US$2.50), Baked potato (US$1.00), Stir-fried rice with beef, chicken, pork, seafood (US$2.50), Steamed river fish Amok (US$5.00), Fruit juices and shakes (US$1.50-3.00) 
A meal to remember
After dinner, we crossed the street and walk along the old market & pub street where vendors were selling local food and goods.  **Must-try  street-eats: Banana Egg Milk Pancakes (US$1.00), Pineapple & Mango Shakes (US$1.00), Crocodile meat burger (US$15.00), Sea coconut fruits  
Banana egg milk pancake anyone?
Be sure not to miss out the Pineapple / Mango Shake when you're in Siem Reap

Day 1: 22 May 2015 
Penang International Airport (PEN) Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) 
Capsule by Container Hotel at KLIA 2 (3 hr stay)

Day 2: 23 May 2015 
Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) Siem Reap International Airport (REP) 
Small Circle 
Morning: Angkor Thom South Gate (Bayon Temple, Baphuon, Phimeanakas) - Terrace of the Elephants - Terrace of the Leper King - Chaosay Tevoda – Thomanon - Ta Keo 
Afternoon: Ta Prohm - Banteay Kdei -  Srah Srang – Angkor Wat (Sunset) – Preah Palilay –
Tep Pranam – Prasat Suor Prat  
L/D: Krousar Khmer Restaurant / Angkor Village Apsara Theatre Khmer Set Dinner 

Day 3: 24 May 2015 
Big Circle 
Morning: Angkor Wat (Sunrise) – Return to Hotel for morning breakfast - Preah Khan
Temple - Neak Pean Temple    
Afternoon: Ta Som Temple - East Mebon - Pre Rup Temple - Phnom Bakheng (for sunset viewing)
B/L/D: Continental Breakfast at Malika d'Angkor Boutique Hotel / Angkor Flower Restaurant / Triangle BBQ Bar Restaurant (Pub Street) 

Day 4: 25 May 2015 
Outside Circle 
Morning: Banteay Samre - Banteay Srey - Beang Mealea 
Afternoon: Kompong Phluk (Tonle Sap Lake)
B/L/D: Continental Breakfast at Malika d'Angkor Boutique Hotel / Red Piano Restaurant / Blue Pumpkin Restaurant (Pub Street) 

Day 5: 26 May 2015 
Siem Reap International Airport (REP) → Kuala Lumpur International Airport
2 (KLIA 2) → Penang International Airport (PEN) 
B: Continental Breakfast at Malika d'Angkor Boutique Hotel

Places of Interest / Suggested time spent / Entrance Ticket(s): 

Places of Interest
Suggested Duration (hour/minutes)
Entrance Ticket Fee(s) in USD
Small Circle Tour
Angkor Thom South Gate
10 – 15 minutes

Included in the 3-day Angkor Pass (USD40/pax)
Bayon Temple
2 hour
30 minutes
15 minutes
Terrace of the Elephants
10 - 15 minutes
Terrace of the Leper King
10 - 15 minutes
Chaosay Tevoda
2 hour
15 minutes
Ta Keo
45 minutes
Ta Prohm
2 hour
Banteay Kdei
30 minutes
Srah Srang
10 – 15 minutes
**Angkor Wat (Sunset) at Phnom Bakheng
1 - 2 hour
Preah Palilay
10 – 15 minutes
Tep Pranam
10 – 15 minutes
Prasat Suor Prat
15 minutes
Big Circle Tour
Angkor Wat (Sunrise)
**wake up early!
1 - 2 hour

Included in the 3-day Angkor Pass
Preah Khan Temple
1 - 2 hour
Neak Pean Temple
45 minutes
Ta Som Temple
45 minutes
East Mebon
15 – 30 minutes
Pre Rup Temple
1 hour
Prasat Kravan
30 minutes
Outside Circle Tour
Banteay Samre
     15 – 20 minutes
3-day Angkor Pass
Banteay Srey
     20 – 30 minutes
Beang Mealea
        1 – 1.5 hour
Kompong Phluk (Tonle Sap Lake)
        1 - 2 hour
USD15 / pax for boat ride to Kampong Phluk
** Phnom Bakheng Temple (for sunset view) – proper attire (no shorts, no shirts without sleeve)

What to see / buy:
Angkor Night Market
Jewelry, cloths, accessories, paintings, souvenirs and decorative items, etc.
Angkor Old Market
Jewelry, cloths, accessories, paintings, souvenirs and decorative items, etc.
Siem Reap Art Center Night Market
Jewelry, cloths, accessories, paintings, souvenirs and decorative items, etc.
Angkor Pub Street
Bistros, cafes, pubs, restaurants, souvenir shops and street vendors

Air Itinerary Details: 
AirAsia: Penang – Kuala Lumpur (KLIA2) – Siem Reap / Siem Reap – Kuala Lumpur (KLIA2) – Penang 
From             To                 Flight           Date           Dep           Arr  
Penang           KLIA 2           AK6121           22 May        2320         0020 
KLIA 2           Siem Reap     AirAsia 542   23 May        0650          0750 
Siem Reap     KLIA 2           AirAsia 543   26 May        0835          1135  
KLIA 2           Penang           AK6114           26 May       1435           1530

Travel Package (AirAsiaGo – inclusive of return tickets and hotel):
◊Two return tickets from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) → Siem Reap (REP)
◊Deluxe Room for 2 person at Malika d'Angkor Boutique Hotel (inclusive daily breakfast) = RM730 nett (inclusive of taxes & other charges) = RM365nett/person

Malika d'Angkor Boutique Hotel
Address: Krom 7, Phoum Sala Kanseng,  Khum Svay Dangkum,  Siem Reap
Website: http://malikadangkor.com/
e-mail: book@malikadangkor.com
Telephone: 855 (063) 767 789
Fax: 855 (063) 761 405
Room Type: Deluxe Room (inclusive of (i) daily continental breakfast, (ii) free wireless internet, (iii) free one-way airport transfer  

Local Transportation:  
Car / Tuk Tuk Driver(s): Pros Bou
Telephone: (+855) 12 733075, (+855) 93 733075
WeChat ID: boup936
LINE ID: prosbou
Facebook: Siem Reap tour & Sightseeing
e-mail: prostuktuk@gmail.com 
Rate: USD135/6 person(s) = USD22.5/pax. Inclusive of wet tissue, petrol, daily cool
drinking water, headset , return airport pick-up service.
Types of package(s):
◊Tour via Tuk tuk: USD12 (small circle), USD15 (big circle), USD70 (outside circle via van)
◊ Tour via air-conditioned van USD30 (small circle), USD35 (big circle), USD70 (outside circle)

Entrance Pass/Fee(s): 
Angkor Pass (entrance ticket to all the Angkor temples and monuments in the Siem Reap area)
USD40 / 3-days visit per one week validity (photo required)
USD20 / 1 day validity (photo required)
Please click here for more information  

Angkor Village Apsara Theater Dinner 
Menu: Khmer Set
Price: US$27/pax
Time: 19h30 to 21h30
Address: Angkor Village Resort, Phum Traeng, Siem Reap , Kingdom of Cambodia
Tel: 855-63-963561
Fax: 855-63-963363
Mobile: 855-89-555263
Skype: mithuna.tep
e-mail: welcome@angkorvillage.com (Ms. Mithuna TEP) 
Website: www.angkorvillage.com  
**Read more about our travel experiences @ Siem Reap: 

“You lose sight of things… and when you travel, everything balances out” – Daranna Gidel

Note: All entrance / transportation fees and accommodation rates/charges listed on this post are based on our (chengywong.blogspot.com) travel dates (2015) and therefore subject to change(s). ©chengywong.blogspot.com is not responsible for content on external web sites.

Welcome to Small World! This blog is not a travel agency, but rather a personal site which allows us to share our past travel experiences in a straightforward and far-reaching way. We often made great use of other peoples travel blogs and sites every time we plan for our travel itinerary as they often contained most updated information and invaluable resources from their past travel experiences.  We hope that you will find every piece of information & images contained within our blog handy and useful. Thank you very much for reading our post(s). If you find this blog worth a read, please feel free to leave a comment/testimonial or click "Like/Share" if you love reading them all. xoxo Both Chengy & Camel are passionate travelers who enjoys speaking to young keen travelers about the freedom to get cultured and to taste the fullness of life. Feel free to contact them if you need any travel advice, guidance or tips or if you have any burning questions with regards to your upcoming trip(s)/ journey
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