8 Steps to Survive the Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia
STORY: One of the reasons, if not the only reason why people go to Siem Reap, is to visit the Angkor Wat Temples. To tell you honestly, i am bad at Asian history. I didn't listen to my college professor then. I just wish i did. To tell you i have very little idea of Angkor Wat is such an understatement. But i did my research before i left, and i was told that the Angkor Wat is such a vast, huge complex with over a hundred temples littered across its vast expanse.
People who go to Siem Reap book tours to the Angkor Wat Complex. It's fast and efficient, and most of the details will be arranged and finalized within your hotel or hostel. Although I don't think it's necessary to arrange a tour prior to your visit because the travel agency might charge you for a higher price. If you're considering doing it on your own, and walking at that, good luck. The Angkor Wat Complex is so huge, even with a tuk-tuk, it still takes too long.
In order to help you plan out your expedition a la Lara Croft, here are 8 steps to remember so you can survive the great Angkor Wat.
Step 1. Talk to the concierge at your hotel. Ask for possible tours going to Angkor Wat. You will be asked to choose one of the many options. There's a 1 day tour, there's three days, and there's a week if you are the Indiana Jones type. I chose the one day tour. You can do it the next day but be prepared with good enough sleep.
Step 2. The concierge will ask you if you want a tuk-tuk driver which is really necessary since you're going from temple to temple. Minus the hassle, the tuk-tuk driver will take you to any temple you like and will wait for you once you're done. Just make sure you clear with him where he will be waiting for you or you're not going see each other anymore. Schedule for a pick-up early in the morning at your hotel. Tuk-tuks for one day tour cost about $10-15 depends on your bargaining skills.
Step 3. Prepare. For someone who drank too much the night before, for someone who lacked sleep, for someone who had very little breakfast, for someone who was carrying a huge backpack, this is a nightmare for me. So, i suggest the following so you won't have the same nightmare as i had.
Step 4: Get enough sleep. If you're in Siem Reap, skip a night out before you are scheduled to visit the Angkor, and save it after once you're done with Angkor Wat. You'll feel nauseous with no sleep, climbing the steep stairs, walking non-stop from temple to temple, under the heat of the sun. Everything is arranged where you're heading but still, it's not as easy as it looks like.
Step 5: Wear comfortable clothing. Most people wear shirts, shorts and sandals or rubber shoes. You will surely become uncomfortable once you start sweating, so wear something light and breezy.
Step 6: Carry a small backpack. Just bring the essentials.
a. Angkor Wat map
b. Liters upon liters of H20 (depends how much you need, i gulped three liters)
c. A face towel. Because you'll be sweating like a pig.
d. Extra shirt. You might consider changing along the way, it's gonna be dripping wet.
e. Sunglasses. because you're gonna be under the sun the whole time so you might as well protect your eyes.
f. A camera fully charged with extra battery, if possible. I took about three hundred photos, and about a hundred on my phone because my Canon digital camera got drained just before the Angkor Wat.
g. Mosquito repellent. Because once you start walking uphill and to the mountains, mosquitoes are everywhere.
h. Bring candies and gum. It helps you for some easy sugar replenishment. There's a restaurant after the Elephant Terraces, if that's your route, so you can make a quick stop. You're gonna be so hungry by then. I don't know why, but they gave us discount. They might charge you a little high for a plate of rice so just ask for a lower price. You can shop also around the markets. My friend always has something bought in every stop.
Step 7. On your way to the Angkor complex, there's one stop-over where you will go to pay for your ticket. Have your photo taken, and keep your ID with you all the time. For 1 day tour, it costs around $20. You will get the ID with a 1-day pass. Make a sort of itinerary. Our route to follow is Angkor Thom, Bayon, Elephant Terrace, Ta Prohm, and the mighty Angkor Wat. Go for the Angkor Wat the last as it's best seen during sunset. Really peaceful out there.
Step 8. Admire at the beauty of the Angkor Wat. Its majesty. Its history. Some attempt to climb the stairs, it's closed. A guy i saw was able to do that put he paid a few dollars to the guard. And don't forget to take hundreds of photos. It's a once in a lifetime journey. Also keep in mind that rains do occur. Cambodia is a tropical country. Bring with you always the $1 plastic raincoat you can buy anywhere in Siem Reap.
Angkor Thom holds the following sites:
Built in the latter part of the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII, Bayon is one of the most widely recognised temples in Siem Reap because of the giant stone faces that adorn the towers of Bayon. There are 54 towers of four faces each, totaling 216 faces. There is still a debate as to who is being depicted in the faces. It could be Avalokiteshvara, Mahayana Buddhism's compassionate Bodhisattva, or perhaps a combination of King Jayavarman VII and Buddha.
This is one of the most popular temples along with Angkor Wat and the Bayon because of the beautiful combination of wood and stone. Black and white film photographers especially love this site, all with Angkor's trees in the back ground. Pop culture fans, on the other hand, may recognize a few scenes from Angelina Jolie's Tomb Raider, here.
While the temple is very popular, most visitors follow a central route and the sides of the complex can be surprisingly quiet. Note that large sections of the temple are unstable with rubbles and have been cordoned off, as they are in real danger to collapse anytime.
Located six kilometers north of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat is one of the largest of Khmer monuments. Built around the first half of 12th century by King Suryavarman II, the temple's balance, composition and beauty make it one of the finest monuments in the world.
Though 'Wat' is the Khmer (Cambodian) word for temple, the westward orientation of the structure is atypical of temples. Scholars believe that the architecture and sculptures are that of a temple where Lord Vishnu was worshiped but it was also built as a mausoleum for the king after his death.
So there, have a safe trip!. Enjoy as much as you can exploring the Angkor Wat. We started at 8AM and at about 12NN, i was really, really tired already. We had lunch and made a couple of breaks before we headed straight to the Angkor Wat. We roamed around the huge temple till 5PM, just in time for happy hour to celebrate. Yerp!
History provided by http://wikitravel.org/en/Angkor_Archaeological_Park