After a lovely morning spent exploring Angkor Wat, it was time to make the most of my (fricking expensive) ticket and see even more ancient Khmer temples!
I had hired a tuk tuk driver for the day (with a new friend to save a bit of moolah) and this was an awesome way of getting between all of the temple complexes. I did see a few people cycling between sites, but if you only have one day to see Angkor Wat, this really is not the most effective use of your precious time!
Angkor Thom & Bayon
First up was a visit to the most famous temple in Angkor Thom – Bayon.
Famous for the several thousand faces carved into the rocks, Bayon is easily one of the most well known and popular temples in all of Angkor – and for good reason.
For whatever reason, I just hadn’t expected a whole lot from this temple, but it ended up being one of the most interesting and wondrous things I saw during all my time in Cambodia.
Honestly, I found Bayon to be more intriguing than Angkor Wat! It may be a touristy temple, but believe me, you will not want to miss it.
Terrace of the Elephants
This 350 metre long terrace is not in as good condition as many of the other structures in Angkor, but the carvings of many elephants can still be quite clearly seen.
This temple is a bit of a beast to climb (the pictures do not show just how steep those steps truly are) but it is absolutely worth the effort!
To be honest, I had no issues going up, but I certainly had to take my time when coming back down. It wouldn’t hard to lose your footing, and it is a long (and fricking bumpy) way to fall!
Once you get to the top, you will be rewarded with some incredibly views of a temple that appears much more minimalist in style than many of the other temples in Angkor.
This was probably the only temple that left me feeling a bit underwhelmed.
Ta Prohm is famous for being used as a set location for one of the Lara Croft films, and as a result, is commonly referred to as simply ‘the Lara Croft temple’.
The temple itself is absolutely gorgeous, and it is amazing to see how when given enough time and space, nature can just completely take over; but Ta Prohm is simply too small to accommodate the enormous tourist numbers that it draws.
The entire site of Angkor is filled each day with thousands of travellers, but even at the biggest and most famous temples (Angkor Wat and Bayon) these huge crowds didn’t have any negative effect on my overall experience.
I cannot say the same for Ta Prohm.
Do I regret taking the time to visit Ta Prohm? Absolutely not! But the experience could be vastly improved if there were limits to how many people could be inside the site at any one time.
Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Phrom and Phnom Bakheng are the most famous stops on the Angkor small circuit, but they are just a tiny taste of the truly massive number of temples that there are to explore.
If you plan to visit Angkor and want to visit a specific batch of temples, be aware that you will need to negotiate this with your tuk tuk driver in advance and they may request that you pay a little extra for the trouble of straying from one of the standard ‘circuits’.
Thanks for reading, and as always, happy solo travelling! xx
Getting to Siem Reap: Siem Reap is well connected by bus, as well as domestic and international flights
The Siem Reap Hostel: Quite possibly one of the best hostels in SEA, dorm beds start at $8/night
Angkor Wat: Tickets are sold for 1, 3 or 7 day trips and cannot be bought online
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2/8 lens
Remember: Take copious amounts of water and sunscreen, you will be paying a huge premium to purchase them from within Angkor