Tour of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and Ta Phrom Temples

This is a Review of the tour we took in Cambodia to see Siem Reap and its ancient Temples.

I have learned to appreciate the benefits of taking an upgraded approach to traveling so we enthusiastically signed up for the Siem Reap 4 day tour. Arriving at the airport in Siem Reap, seeing the sign with our name on it, the friendly smile, accompanied by a helping hand for luggage handling and 1 minute later, we are in the air conditioned car being driven to our hotel, what a nice start. Airport pick up, love it!

This tour is very affordable, under $200 per person including the airport pick up and drop off as well as guided tour chauffeuring services for the next 3 days, so good value right there, but it did not include the cost of our hotel, which was fine, people can book whatever they want as we did on Agoda.com.  The tour guide talked to us about our plan for the next few days, we made a few changes to the itinerary while on route to the Residence Blanc Hotel in Siem Reap with a plan for pick up the next morning to see our first temple, Ta Phrom. Angkor Wat and Ta Phrom are 2 of the worlds most interesting and famous Temples and for good reason,  but it wasn’t just  Angelina Jolie of Tomb Raider fame who put Ta Phrom on the map. Tempting as it is, that’s not what this post is about. I am reviewing the 4 day Siem Reap Tour that we took for the benefit of travelers who are in the planning stages of going to Cambodia.

Ta Phrom Temple (of Tomb Raider fame)

Considering you are standing there, looking at a temple that was designed and built in the years 1181 to 1186 by King Jayavarman, its a remarkable feat of the ancient world. The temple was dedicated to the King’s mother according to Buddhists faith. The artwork, architecture and preservation at Ta Phrom is amazing.  I cannot begin to upload enough pics in a blog post but this is a start:

Ta Phrom, remarkable preservation of ancient art

Ta Phrom, remarkable preservation of ancient art

art and architecture is the theme for this blog post.

art and architecture is the theme for this blog post.

Apsara dancers, a deep tradition in Cambodia

Apsara dancers, a deep tradition in Cambodia

I should say more about Ta Phrom because I liked it the most of all the temples we saw, however, on to the next temple. Its older, smaller and its called Pre Rup temple and it was built by king Rajandravarman II in the years 944 to 968 and it was dedicated to Siva Hindhu god at the time. One thing about the Hindu and Buddhists faiths, the coexist pretty well, over the years, temples in Cambodia which started out as Hindu temples switched to Buddhist temples.

Pre Rup temple over 1000 years old

Pre Rup temple over 1000 years old

A jungle setting to give you perspective.

set in a jungle

set in a jungle

Amazing well  preserved art built into the architecture.

amazing well preserved ar

amazing well preserved ar

An awe inspiring half day at Angkor Wat

Ancient architecture and art continues with as we spend an awe inspiring half day at Angkor Wat. Starting at sunrise to view the amazing and the largest religious structure in the world today and it was built in 1113 to 1150, best estimates are that it time took about  only 35 years to build by the all powerful King Suryavarman 2. The temple was dedicated god Vishnu Hindhu and you can see reference and symbols of mountain Meru. Although Angkor Wat receives a lot of daily tourist visits, we lost the crowds quite easily as we spent half day combing around Angkor Wat and at times, we were completely alone. Its truly monolithic in scale and proportion. We went our own way and explored all the treasures that Angkor Wat has to offer in peace and quiet. It was great!

Angkor Wat standing tall and proud in the jungles of Cambodia

Angkor Wat standing tall and proud in the jungles of Cambodia

hundreds of meters long?

hundreds of meters long?

Compelling wall sandstone carvings at Angkor Tom. The temple contain 54 towers with 216 faces of Budha and the last one in Angkor period of Khmer empire was built by the great King Jayavarman 7.

a small glance into the life of a soldier 900 years ago

a small glance into the life of a soldier 900 years ago

Depicting ancients scenes of human life. What has changed?

what looks like a child birth scene

what looks like a child birth scene

Other tour highlights

We enjoyed the tour guides leadership and knowledge transfer as we were meandering through the large temple complexes.  Looking at all the wall carvings, its so easy to miss important details but a tour guide changes all that. We were able to go fast or slow when we wanted and  we were not exhausted at the end of each day so we could enjoy our nights out in Siem Reap and we took in an excellent Apsara dance show. It really was very well done and it was included in the tour!

Apsara dancers in Siem Reap

Apsara dancers in Siem Reap

After enough temple sight seeing we changed our itinerary and we rented bicycles (extra cost) of $60 USD for 3 bikes) and the tour guide took us on a 3 hour mountain bike ride through the rural farming countryside. It was relaxing and a really good chance for us to get a taste of the real Cambodia before we boarded a local boat to visit a floating fishing village on Tonle Sap which  was already included in the tour. The tour also included 2 dinners and 2 lunches and the Apsara dance show. We also enjoyed our fun evening checking out the not too rambunctious Pub Street for for the cheapest beer I have ever had.

All in all, we feel we received great value for our money and it was definitely worth the booking this tour. We had a few extra expenses due to our changes but the guide was great, the driving was comfortable, we saw more than you otherwise would and we learned way more. How to book? You can find this tour right here on TourChoice, here is the url.  http://www.tourchoice.com/tour/siem-reap-in-4-days-by-guided-tour/  

fishing village on Tonle Sap (lake)

fishing village on Tonle Sap (lake)

A 50 cent beer. It does exist!

A 50 cent beer. It does exist!

 

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