We arrived in Siem Reap, Cambodia at 12am in the morning after a horrific flight delay out of Shanghai. I wholeheartedly recommend booking a driver from your hotel to pick you up from the airport. The lack of academic research paper reliable taxi services at Siem Reap airport was clearly evident at 12am in the morning and to be honest I would not want to be caught out or ripped off trying to get out of the airport to the city.
We stayed at the Shinta Mani Resort, which was voted number 1 on Trip Advisor this year. The staff were extremely courteous and friendly.
We decided on the early morning session tour of the temples to catch the sunrise. We were only in Siem Reap for one and half days so we wanted to make the most of our time. At 4am we were up and on our way to Angkor Wat. Our tour guide was a seasoned professional. He knew the best spot to watch the sunrise and boy were we blown away! We were lucky enough to witness one of the most stunning sunrises in the past few weeks.
Angor Wat was first a Hindu, then subsequently a Buddhist temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world. The modern name, Angkor Wat, means “Temple City” or “City of Temples” . It is truly a sight to behold and deservedly one of the Seven Wonders of the World!
After Angkor Wat we journeyed a short way to The Bayon temple. The temple is beautifully decorated by 216 serene stone faces which are definitely the highlight of the temple. The temples have undergone a large amount of restoration work commissioned by Japanese Government and this has preserved the beauty and allowed this amazing place to continue to be shared with the world.
Ta Prohm was the last on our list temples during our short stay in Cambodia. It is one of the most visited temples in the temple complex of Siem Reap and is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Ta Prohm is also more recently famous for being featured in the Tomb Raider movie featuring Angelina Jolie! The temple does have the same eerie feel as the film and I could imagine myself jumping out from the buildings facing multitudes of bad guys in the forest.
The most distinctive and unique feature of Ta Prohm are the trees and its roots intertwined with the temple. The trees have penetrated the very stones of the ruins, starting in the form of small seeds falling through the stones, growing strong thick roots which push and destroy the stone foundations around them.