The first part of my two days exploring Angkor Archaeological Park…
I managed to visit 12 temples over two days with the help of my trusty tuk-tuk driver, well located street food sellers and gallons of water. Starting early we first headed to the visitor centre to buy a pass, the passes are valid for wither one-three (valid for use within a week or 7 days (for use within one month).
1. Banteay Srei
A little way off the ‘Grand Circuit’ but well worth a visit, the journey to the temple takes you across beautiful Khmer farmland and through small villages.
The temple is compact but intricate and despite arriving before 8am it was heaving with visitors. Surrounding the temple there are numerous pathways through the surrounding jungle which are tour group free and offer views of the temple from outside looking in and walks alongside water meadows.
Beautifully carved pink sandstone
2. Preah Khan
A large complex surrounded by a moat and 3 enclosing walls, it was once the sight of a monastery, Temple and a University and a good place to get lost in.
3. Neak Pean
The water temple, after crossing a long causeway surrounded by partially submerged trees you arrive at the small temple of Neak Pean which sits in a beautiful pool. There is not much exploring to do but finding a shady spot under the trees for a few minutes is a must. Look out for hawkers selling coconut ice cream, these can take the edge of the searing heat as you cross the shade free causeway!
4. Ta Som
One of my favourite temples, despite its small size. It was deserted when I visited and it gives you an insight of how it must have felt like to discover temples hidden away by nature.
5 & 6 East Mebon and Pre Rup
Both temples are on the quieter side and are best apprechated from below, but are great to clamber about on if you have a head for heights.
Once surrounded by water, East Mebon is an imposing pyramid like temple that has unfortunately been badly damaged and doesn’t have the detailed carvings of some of the previous temples. It does have life sized elephants positioned at the corners
Pre Rup offers great views across the Khmer countryside and is an interesting scramble to get to the upper levels.
For day 2 of my itinerary which includes Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Prohm click here
How I did it..
My base for exploring the Archaeological park was the Green Leaf Boutique Hotel in Siem Reap, they helped me arrange my itinerary and organised a Tuk-Tuk driver for me. An amazing hotel run ‘not for profit’ to support local charities including a local orphanage.