Oversea, Travel

Siem Reap Day 1: Angkor Temples – Preah Khan & South Gate & North Gate of Angkor Thom (Part 2)

continuation from Siem Reap Day 1: Khmer Kitchen Restaurant & Artisans d’Angkor (Part 1)

Note: Super LONG post. Read at your own risk. Hehe

I actually plan to visit the temples right after Artisan d’Angkor but the scorching heat made me head back to Zzzzz. πŸ˜›

Around 3.30pm we head out to purchase our 3 days Angkor Temples pass that cost US$40 ($$ fly away). There’s also the choice of 1 day pass @ US$20 or 7 days pass @ US$60. When you purchase the pass, you need to inform which date you’re visiting the temples because the operator will print the visiting dates on the pass. Also they will take your photo with web cam. Your picture will be printed on the pass. All this is done in less than 2 minutes. Yup that fast. And because of this I forgot to take some photos at the counter. Aiyak.

For those who have been to the temples surely you must be questioning me right now. Why get the pass before 5pm? Yes the day itself will be counted as 1 day. If I get the pass after 5pm, I can enter the temples after 5pm for free which means I have sort of like 1 hour free because ticket issued after 5pm is valid for next day. But nah… I don’t like this deal. Haha

Btw the temple pass is made of paper. So be careful ya. Once the pass is torn you need to get another ticket. More $$ fly away. Anyway we came prepared. We bring plastic card case from home so that we can keep our pass in there. So every time when we were asked to show our admission ticket, we just flash our plastic. Haha Or you can get them laminated at the counter office (somewhere).

Our first temple destination is Preah Khan. To go there we must first pass-by Angkor Wat… ahh what a sight! I had goose-bumps as we neared Angkor Wat.

Said to myself that “I’m finally here!”

Then we entered Angkor Thom through South Gate, passed by Bayon… wohooo. We stopped for toilet because there’s no toilet near Preah Khan but I forgot where. It’s very dark in the toilet. FOC when you show them the temple pass.

Then off we went through the North Gate. Then everything look so quite. It was 4pm. The road is deserted.

Here’s how the road looks like…

I find it quite scary lo. Nobody nobody but you… hehe

Anyway once we reached Preah Khan my tuk-tuk driver asked me a very scary question.

Tuk-tuk driver: “Where should I meet you?”

Me: “Not here?”

Tuk-tuk driver: “This temple has 4 gates/exits. I meet you at east gate ok?”

Me: “Where is east gate?”

Tuk-tuk driver: “The other side. This place is very big.”

Me: “No! NO! You stay here. We come back here. We don’t know where is east gate. You stay ar.”

He must be thinking we’re crazy. Does anybody do that? Do you enter one gate and exit the other or you exit the same point you entered? Tell me. I’m really eager to know.

So here’s Preah Khan… the main facade.

If look through the middle of the photo above, you can see that there’s quite a bit of walking to do still. Thank God for the crowds. The road is very dusty. I wore my Crocs throughout this trip. And this is the dustiest I’ve ever got.

Garuda holding naga… according to Wiki, but I see no naga. πŸ˜›

One of the archway at the main facade of Preah Khan.

Ahead of us are a group of Japanese tourists. Yeah for the crowds. Imagine it’s just me and the temple. I’m not that brave. I know the adventurous lot would wish for no tourist. It’s just them and the temples. But not me. I’m a scary-cat. Okay?

Look at the carving especially the wheels. Simply A.M.A.Z.I.N.G yeah?
Preah Khan was constructed in the late 12th century C.E. That was like 800 years ago. And for the carvings to stand the testament of time, weather & human greed is simply WOW. That is why the whole of Angkor Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Just a random tourist… so that I don’t have to pose like her. That’s a must posing area. Haha

Look at the ceiling of the temple. That’s how they stack ’em. You will see the same thing in Angkor Wat. How on earth did they do that? I HAVE NOT IDEA. SUPER Genius!!!

Another must-pose area. Is she a Japanese tourist? Hehe

Well, that’s all about Preah Khan. We didn’t went further into the temple. We’ve got no courage of Indiana Jones that day. Plus it was veli HOT! Plus I’m a scary-cat. πŸ™‚ Plus I’m templed out. πŸ™

Yeah I know so many excuse. Haha

Even the Japanese tourist did not venture further in. Hehe

One the way out walking along the dusty road again we purchased some mangoes from this Khmer lady. 2 mangoes @ US$1. Love the mangoes. Very sweet. πŸ™‚

Notice the purple fruit? That’s Khmer fruit as the lady told us. Also known as milk fruit (source from internet).

Since we have some time left, we stop at the North Gate for some photos.

This is the North Gate of Angkor Thom. Only 1 vehicle can fit through the gate. While passing by, trying look up. You will wonder whether this gate will fall on you! Because the ceiling is being supported by wood beams.

This is the other side of North Gate. This view is more stunning. The trees and dusk lights gave the gate an aura of yesteryear.

If you view the above picture on larger scale, you will notice 2 long thingy jutting out on both side of the gate. They are the elephant trunks. I guess the gate is shaped this way for the elephants to pass through during the Khmer Empire.

The South Gate of Angkor Thom is the busiest entrance/exit point.

In short, the whole of Angkor Archaeological Park is like a big kampung (village). There’s the monuments and then there’s also Khmers settlements located randomly in the park. The Khmers still live in the park as were their ancestor who built Angkor Wat more than a thousand years ago. Angkor Wat after all means City Temple.

After exiting South Gate we passed by Phnom Bakheng (Bakheng Hill), the no. 1 sunset spot. Saw a very large crowds and the climb up Phnom Bakheng is damn scary. It was very steep. Like 89 degree vertical from my point of view from the tuk-tuk… hahaha No plans to go up there.

With still a little time left, we decided to have a sneak peak of Angkor Wat.

Along the moat banks… a place to relax and chill on the sight of Angkor Wat.

The long walk up the sandstone causeway. Moat on both side of causeway.
It was 5pm. The sun is setting. Perfect time for long walks. Very crowded… a far cry from Preah Khan.

Sighted along the causeway of Angkor Wat. Can dogs read? Hmm

The west gate of Angkor Wat. This is the main entrance (the most famous gate) of Angkor Wat.

Our sneak peak ended at the other side of west gate. No more walking for us today as our stomach is growling for food.

Half an hour later, we found ourself at Khmer Kitchen Restaurant again! Hahaha

This time we sat outside the restaurant which is along Pub Street Alley.

Nice color ya? That’s why I came back. Haha

We had French omelette @ US$2.50 and sweet sour chicken (I think) @ US$3.00. No drinks.
Didn’t take the food picture as I wasn’t feeling alright. If you remembered, I wasn’t feeling well prior to my Siem Reap trip. Well the bug is coming back again. Thankfully I had my medicine with me.

That’s all for my Siem Reap day 1 travelogue. Day 2 coming soon.

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  • Reply London Caller March 29, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    The milk fruits look interesting.
    Did you try them?

  • Reply tekkaus March 29, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Wow….all those relics are so…stunning! πŸ˜€

  • Reply Dawn March 29, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Hahaha, sick of temples…that’s how I felt when I went to China – this temple is don’t know how many thousands years old, that temple too..but I love the stone carvings in Angkor.

  • Reply alexallied March 29, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    STunning photos and a great trip there! Must be enjoying your life!

  • Reply Che-Cheh March 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    London Caller, nope we didn’t try them because we have no idea how to eat the fruit.

    Tekkaus, you should go there one day with your wifey. πŸ™‚

    Dawn, I’m even more lost at China compared to Angkor because I’m a banana there. Haha

    Alexallied, sikit-sikit enjoy aje because the HOT weather kinda spoil it. I would choose after raining season if/when I’m going there again.

  • Reply Bengbeng March 30, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    i am so enjoying watching this place thru yr eyes ‘camera’

  • Reply Che-Cheh March 31, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Bengbeng, come back for more ya. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Cecil Lee April 2, 2010 at 12:04 am

    I’m interested to see how Pub Street Alley looks like at night hours…. it must be full of actions. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Che-Cheh April 2, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Cecil Lee, I took some pictures of Pub Street Alley at night but they came out blur because I was on the go. Didn’t have time to really stop and took it. Haha The night life is interesting there. Many ang mohs coming out drinking.

  • Reply lechua April 4, 2010 at 2:33 am

    i didn’t get a chance to stop at preah khan. the carvings remind me banteay srei. and the gates of angkor thom are great.. the wall of statues! ur time of visit must have been even hotter than when i went in december.

  • Reply Che-Cheh April 4, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Lechua, Oh I thought you visited Preah Khan. How many days did you spent at Angkor park? Yes Jan-May are the hottest months.

  • Reply foongpc April 6, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Wow! Very intrestinglah! I can’t wait to go there! I wonder Angkor Wat is haunted or not? If I am alone there with no tourists around, wonder how it feels like!

  • Reply foongpc April 6, 2010 at 2:02 am

    Oh, you gave me a very useful tip – bring along plastic card to keep the temple pass! Why they make it so easy to tear? So they can charge you for a new one? Clever also! haha!

  • Reply foongpc April 6, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Isn’t it better to have a guide to be with you and explain to you about the structures and temples? Oh, I know – you’ve mentioned this is a leisure trip. So you are coming back again next time for a more serious study of the place? : )

  • Reply foongpc April 6, 2010 at 2:12 am

    What time is the place closed to visitors? At 6pm? Since you said you only have 1 hour after 5pm?

    The deserted road looks quite scary! That’s why better to have a guide with you! Haha! Luckily there are crowds!

    Since it’s such a huge place, will you get lost in there?

    You didn’t go further into the temple? But you flew all the way there – surely it would be a waste not to visit every corner?

    Climbing up the Phnom Bakheng is scary? What happens if someone climbs and falls to his death? Too bad?

    Hey, you didn’t mention why you got stomach ache in the previous post. What happened after that? Was it the carrot drink?

  • Reply Che-Cheh April 7, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Foongpc, In certain parts of Angkor Wat we were alone… the feeling? Kinda spooky. Keep positive and everything will be fine.

    If I go to Angkor again, I might hire a guide for the sake of my travel partner who is a ‘information buff’. Me? I don’t think I need one. I can read everything in the web. Haha Of course there are certain infos that you can’t find in www but I think all you gotta do is mingle with the locals and you got yourself more information than you need. Plus I don’t think I will remember all the information the guide provide as there are so many temples in Angkor.

    Visiting hour for the temples: 5.30am to 5.30pm (printed in the ticket pass). I asked the local and they say they usually allow visitors up to 6pm.

    Hey I have my tuk-tuk driver to protect us. No need another bodyguard la. Haha

    Yes for some temples, you might get lost in there. So when you are lost just ask around or follow the crowd. This is after all an exploration! πŸ˜›

    Nope I didn’t think my time is wasted for not visiting every nooks and corners of the temples. Traveling for me is not ‘must see this, must see that’, it’s about experiencing the culture. πŸ™‚

    I didn’t climb Phnom Bakheng but from my view in the tuk-tuk, it looks scary. There were a couple of fatal accidents over the years at the temples (especially Angkor Wat and another one I’ve forgotten)… due to the steep steps. So be careful.

    Yeah the stomach ache is due to the carrot drinks. When buying mineral water, we have to be careful too.

  • Reply jam April 8, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    This is one very big temple complex. I will need more days to explore the place.

  • Reply jam April 8, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Now I am confused. Is Preah Khan within Angkor Thom?

  • Reply Che-Cheh April 9, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Jam, more than 1 day? wah wah

    Preah Khan is not within Angkor Thom. It’s outside of Angkor Thom but to go there we must pass Angkor Thom. Angkor Thom is like a small city with north, south, east and west gate.

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