One of my aims since last summer was to visit a few more of the incredible places that are right on our doorstep. Hanoi in September blew me away so when we had another long weekend in October we hopped on a plane to Cambodia (flying time, just over an hour from Bangkok) to visit somewhere that has long been on my bucket list, Angkor Wat.
Angkor is actually a huge temple complex near Siem Reap in Cambodia and is the largest religious monument in the world. Its most famous temple, Angkor Wat is famed for its sunrises so having booked our tour through our hotel we dutifully piled into a mini bus with our guide at 4:50am to head to the iconic landmark stopping in at the main entrance to pick up a one-day ticket ($37). Of course, we didn’t get the spectacular sunset adorning so many of the guidebooks and postcards touted at you by the locals but we did get a moody, atmospheric start to our day so we didn’t complain!
We visited a wide range of temples over the course of the day, hats off to our guide who was very thorough and spoke fantastic English but by temple number four I think he sensed we were a little saturated by culture and instead told us the more obscure and entertaining things about each place which perked us all up a bit! We were seriously flagging by 3pm as the day grew much warmer and the crowds denser so we called it a day after the temple made famous by Tomb Raider and headed for a much needed dip in the hotel pool. Read my review of our hotel, Hillocks Hotel & Spa here.
I know some people spend days exploring Angkor Wat and its many temples that are thought to span over 400 square kilometres, but the taste that we got during our jam packed day was perfect. If you have longer, consider getting the 3-day ticket and do a little every day, also I would recommend getting a guide so you don’t miss anything. However you do Angkor Wat, you will have an incredible time!
As well as Angkor, Siem Reap is a really great little town with lots of lovely artisan shops, restaurants and bars to relax in after a busy day temple-hopping! We particularly enjoyed Nest for dinner and Blue Pumpkin for their amazing salted caramel ice-cream. Plus check out Bodia for their gorgeous natural body products (I highly recommend their Jasmine and Rose Body Scrub)!