Siem Reap 2013: Temples

We had our first family trip outside the country last month thanks to Cebu Pacific’s seat sale. It was last May when we learned about the promo and since we’ve been wanting to go on a family vacation abroad, we booked tickets immediately. We were very happy to have James, my brother from another mother, on board.

We wanted to see the Angkor Wat sunrise on our first day but since it was raining cats and dogs, it wasn’t possible. We left the hotel at 9 in the morning and made our way to the temples, a must-see when you’re in Siem Reap. We went to Bayon Temple (the temple with many faces) first.

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Guardians at the Bayon Temple
Drizzle
Drizzle
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Angkor Wat South Gate

IMG_0276After the Bayon Temple, we walked to the Baphuon Temple to see the reclining Buddha. It was a good thing that we were wearing comfortable footwear because this temple is popular for its height. Visitors have to climb up a very steep ladder to reach the top. It’s scary, but fulfilling once you reach the peak.

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Baphuon Temple
Restoration in progress
Restoration in progress
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Reclining Buddha
Reminds me of The Secret Garden
Reminds me of The Secret Garden

Ta Prohm, also known as the Tomb Raider Temple, is breathtaking. I like how there are trees that wrapped its roots around some sections in the temple, and how they managed to stand tall and strong while resting on top of blocks of concrete that were just stacked without cement. Unfortunately, a huge part of Ta Prohm was undergoing restoration so we were given limited access. Nonetheless, we still had a great time.

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We then made our way to Angkor Wat. We wanted to shoot the sunset, but since it was too cloudy, we decided to walk around and take pictures inside the temple. I remember crying during my first visit because I was in awe of the beauty that was in front of me. One year later and I’m still amazed.

Angkor Wat at 4:30 PM
Angkor Wat at 4:30 PM
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The Ramhayana
Little furry friend joined us in appreciating the scenery.
Little furry friend joined us in appreciating the scenery.

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Little furry friend’s friend was busy doing something else.

I guess my mom really wanted to see how beautiful the sunrise is in Angkor Wat that she requested that we go back on our last day in Siem Reap. I decided to accompany her because I wanted her to experience what I experienced. My mom and I went to Angkor Wat at 4:30 in the morning and patiently waited for the gates to open. We were allowed to buy tickets at 5 in the morning. My mom and I were surprised when we arrived at the lake because there were a lot of people already. We managed to find a good spot. We went trigger happy when we saw the sky change color from black, to dark blue with hints of pink and yellow.

I watch in wonder.

Gone fishing.
Gone fishing.

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We ran into another Filipino who happened to be a photojournalist. He told us about the laughing Apsara dancer in one of the walls just before the temple exit. Since my mom and I were up for the challenge, we looked for her and we found her proudly showing her teeth. According to the photojournalist, she’s the only laughing dancer among the thousands carved in the temple’s walls.

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Some tips:

1) There are three ways for you to get to Angkor Wat. You can rent a bike, Tuk-tuk, or a taxi. A Tuk-tuk costs $20 whole day while a taxi costs $30. If there are four of you, the taxi is cheaper.

2) Wear comfortable footwear because trust me, you will be doing a lot of walking.

3) Some temples don’t allow hats, sleeveless/tube tops, and shorts/skirts that are above the knee.

4) Bring an umbrella.

5) Wear sunblock.

6) It’s good to go early because you get to see the sunrise plus, you don’t have to worry about running into huge tourist groups.

7) If a local offers you an incense stick and asks for $10, say NO.

8) Bring water.

9) Make sure that your camera is fully charged and you have an extra SD card.

10) Have fun!

 

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