Visiting Angkor Archaeological Park

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Siem Reap was next on our agenda, and it was where a bucket list activity was going to happen; visiting Angkor Archaeological Park and we couldn’t wait to get out and about exploring!

Travel
With no train lines running between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap we booked another bus journey via 12 Go Asia with Giant Ibis. Having been impressed with our previous trip with them we knew the journey would be fine, and it was, although longer than advertised (quite normal in this region is appears).

On arrival into the Siem Reap bus station, a plethora of tuk tuks were waiting to transport passengers to the numerous accommodations around town. As with most stations you are swarmed with drivers as soon as you set foot off the bus or train but we knew this would be the case and had become accustomed to it by this point. As long as we weren’t going to be ripped off we didn’t mind, and in this case the price was reasonable and we were well on our way to our hostel in no time.

Accommodation
Onederz Siem Reap was where we were to lay our heads for our five night stay, and with its central location it proved a great decision. There are technically two buildings, one for dorms where all the main facilities are, and one just across the road for private rooms where we were staying. Both buildings have their own pools but if you are in the private one you can use all of the facilities in the main building. Our room was a double with private bathroom, and it was perfect.

Activities
As everyone knows, the main reason for visiting Siem Reap is Angkor Archaeological Park, but that isn’t the only thing to do in this town and I couldn’t wait to explore. We arrived into Siem Reap in the late afternoon so after check in and a change we made for the night market and picked up a bite to eat ready to fully begin exploring the next day.

Day One
After a lie in (who said travelling has to be exhausting!) we wandered around for a while to spot a good brunch spot before finding Sister Srey Cafe, a social enterprise and  supportive space to educate and empower Cambodians, and in addition it supports APOPO. If those reasons alone can’t justify spending some money here, then just wait until you’ve seen their menu and tasted some food! I also hear the coffee is top notch, but as one of those (almost) non-coffee drinkers I can’t clarify that point.

For the rest of the day we wondered around the numerous markets, spent time in our hostel social areas catching up on blogging and planning, eating (of course), and not to mention saying “no thank you” a thousand times to tuk-tuk drivers looking for their next fare.

Day Two
Today would be our first day visiting the world famous Angkor Archaeological Park and excitement levels were sky high. We decided to book a sunset tour via Onederz and were pleasantly surprised when it was just us in the tuk-tuk and therefore we had a private tour which firstly took us to the ticket office.

Everyone must have an entry ticket for the park, and these get checked regularly so ensure this is kept on you at all times in the Angkor vicinity. After that our ruins tour began, starting at Preah Khan and then Neak Poam soon followed by Ta Som, East Mebon and finally Pre Rup where we saw the sunset; it was pretty cloudy so it wasn’t overly spectacular but still a pretty cool experience nonetheless.

Later on we took to the centre of Siem Reap for dinner and cocktails and to reminisce on an incredible day in the Angkor Archaeological Park.

Day Three
A day back in Siem Reap town called for another brunch, this time at The Little Red Fox Espresso which is located in the French Quarter in the very quaint and picturesque Kandal Village. The food here is divine and they are making a real effort to lower their carbon footprint and have a real ethos about going green which is fabulous to see in Cambodia.

We then spent the afternoon checking out more markets and having some down time. Tomorrow we’d be doing the sunrise tour, which means an early night!

Day Four
Our final day of four days in Siem Reap called for the pièce de résistance; the sunrise tour, again was booked via Onederz and again we had a tuk-tuk to ourselves. First up on the schedule was sunrise at world famous Angkor Wat which despite being overcast was still worth the early start, and to my surprise it wasn’t as packed with other tourists as we had expected.

Next we visited Bayon and Ta Prohm followed by Banteay Kdei to finish off a wonderful morning exploring the park further.

In the evening we set about to find somewhere to eat, and thankfully came across the incredible Tevy’s Place. Tevy is a courageous survivor from the Cambodian genocide in the 1970s, and her empowerment of women alongside delicious food is enough to persuade any visitor to Siem Reap to visit this restaurant!

Siem Reap is a special place, and the chance to visit Angkor Archaeological Park was a dream come true, and I have a feeling this won’t be my last trip there!

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