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
28 thoughts on “A Little More Angkor!”
Love your details here, especially on negotiations and insights into tourist control at Ta Prohm. I am in awe of the work there…it is too detailed to be passed over for whatever reason.
Thank you! I absolutely agree, Angkor is definitely worth braving the crowds.
There’s a lot of Life Adventure over there! Great jungle
Oh yeah definitely!
Thank you for the stunning photos! I may have to put Cambodia back on my list. If you ever visit China, and want to see amazing stone carvings go to Luoyang for the Longmen Grottoes. I was blown away by the ancient majesty of them and it seems Angkor Wat has the same draw.
I will definitely add that to my list!
Wow, very beautiful collection of Angkor Wat pictures. One great thing about Angkor Wat is the collection of 108 small Shivaligams at the site. I do not know if you could discover them or not. reminds me of the movie ‘Two Brothers’ which was shot here. Would love to be there exploring this temple some time soon.
Bayon was maybe my favorite of the temples within the Angkor Wat complex — I loved all the different expressions on the faces! And I completely agree with you on Ta Prohm — it is a beautiful setting, but there were too many – inconsiderate – tourists, which was frankly an issue I had throughout all of the temples, but that’s a story for another day. Lovely photos! xx
I feel like the number of people allowed into Ta Prohm at any one time should be limited…
I love this place! Have been there about 9 years ago. Unfortunately my hard disc crashed and I don’t have many photos left.
Traveling a phantastic way of living!
That is such a shame – not much worse for a traveller than losing photos!
It’s likely that, if I have the good fortune to get the Cambodian authorities to give me the time I’d want, my tuk tuk driver would make a fine roll of cash from my visit. I tend to be a very comprehensive visitor.
I have no doubts about that!
Excellent as usual! Your photos are just amazing. I really appreciate the way you document your trips. As I have said before, I always feel that I am just standing or walking next to you on the tours. Thanks again!
Aww shucks thanks Tim! <3
Nice shots! We visited a few days ago and loved all of these temples. Bayon was amazing, but Ta Prohm was our favourite. I agree with you, I’d have loved to see it without the hordes of tourists, but it is what it is. What was your #1 temple at Angkor?
Bayon was definitely my favourite!
Beautiful faces. And finally Lara Croft turned up for real.
Ha! I actually don’t think I’ve ever seen that movie in full… maybe I should?
Neither of the Angelina Jolie ones can be described as good. She filmed some of the China scenes down the road from me…when I was living in North Wales! The new film got bad reviews too. One day they’ll make a good one.
I just came back from Siem Reap!
How did you like it?!
I loved the place. Though the time I went it was super hot and super crowded
Same here, the heat can be intense!