How to get there:
The flight from Manila with Cebu Pacific Airline took about 2 hours and 45 min.
What to see:
We had an organized package tour which we already booked in Vienna. We had a personal driver and tourist guide everyday with us, who could speak English and a bit of German. The most beautiful and interesting temples were picked out and the ones we enjoyed the most will be featured here. (We visited at least 10, if you are interested in the other ones just ask me in a comment!)
The most famous and most visited temple of Siem Reap is the largest and best preserved. And by large I mean huge!
We had a sunrise tour at Angor Wat which felt a bit magical with the changing colours of the sky.
In the end a lot of people left already so I could get nice shots of the temple :)
A lot of Buddha faces and statues were destroyed by Hindus and during the Khmer Rouge time.
Angkor Thom has a lot of popular sights and is another must visit! I think this temple has the most Buddha heads and it is popular to pose with them.
Banteay Srei is made out of pink sandstone and just looks amazing! The size is quite small but you can see the detailed handiwork of the Khmer artists and you just can’t believe that everything is made out of stone.
Ta Prohm is a very popular attraction due to it being in the jungle and appearing to look like nobody has stumbled upon those temples before you. If you can blend out all other people that is ;) it is also famous because Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones have been filmed at this location. It was really such a magical place to me and definitely one of my favourite temples.
This tree somehow reminds me of a creature that could appear in a Ghibli movie, like Princess Mononoke!
That looked like a cute little dinosaur, don’t you think?
What to eat and drink:
The food in Cambodia reminded me of Thai food but it is not spicy and perfect for people who can’t handle heat of chilli. I loved the fragrance of Cambodian cuisine and definitely will try to make some Cambodian curry at home. Meat, especially beef can be a bit though here but their favourite “meat” would be fish and seafood.
Where to shop:
We did not do a lot of shopping in the city centre, we just went to a local market and bought a lot of souvenirs there.
As in most Asian countries, haggling is a part of the buying process so don’t be shy about it!
At the temples and tourists spots there will be many people, especially children selling souvenirs and they can be very persistent.
The kids would often say that one should purchase from them that they can go to school but the government is providing that and the children have morning or afternoon classes, which explains why they are selling during the day.
You can apply for your Visa online which I would recommend since the airport was really busy when we landed and we had to wait at least 30 min in line. Also they call out your name but it is a bit hard to understand with their pronunciation so get yourself a nice passport cover so you can recognize it from afar!
We exchanged Euro into the local currency but you can just as easily pay with US Dollars. Funnily enough, we would always get Dollars back when we paid with Riel and left with more Dollars then we came. Which was a good deal anyway. People have the exchange rate in their head and don’t try to screw you over while converting.
Also we experienced Cambodia as very safe, my dad forgot his camera twice and we always got it back without any problems.
Monks should not be touched by women so respect this custom and especially refrain from touching peoples (and children’s) heads.
The ideal time to visit is between December and March, when the humidity and temperatures are low.
Which means about 23-25°C, warm enough :)
What I loved:
- the ancient temples
- the tasty food
- how friendly and happy the people were
What I didn’t like:
- the traffic can be a bit intimidating and people on motorcycles drive like crazy (they don’t need a license for those)
- the people selling at tourist spots can be very persistent and will follow you but stay friendly and resolute
We stayed at the Navutu Dreams Resort which is approximately 5min away from the city centre and located in between rice paddies.
The hotel was beautiful and the staff was very friendly. When we had our sunrise tour and left at 5 in the morning and could not attend breakfast, they packed us a pick-nick basket, full of goodies to enjoy later.
The wonderful view from our hotel room!
I just loved the fresh lotus flowers at the reception!
What to pack:
Don’t forget to cover your shoulders and legs when visiting temples so do bring a scarf and long pants or skirts.
So that was my final post about my Asia trip and I will now be back to good old Vienna related posts :)