Cambodia

How to Make the Most of One Day in Siem Reap

Make the most of the time you've got!

angkor wat sunrise morning light ruinsAngkor Wat | Sunrise | Cambodia

Sometimes, we just have to make the most of the time we’ve got, and that was 1 day in Siem Reap during a volunteer project in Cambodia. We were based in Phnom Penh for the project, but adventured on a weekend trip to Siem Reap.

TIP: If you’re travelling between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, if you’ve got time make sure you go by bus! Yes, this adds on many more hours of bumpy and uncomfortable travel, but you get to see a whole new side to this fascinating country go by right outside your window.

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THE SUNRISE TEMPLE…

Siem Reap is such an amazing place – it has a very relaxed vibe and it’s a great place to be! If you’ve only got one day, don’t miss setting the alarm for 4am and making your way to Angkor Wat for sunrise. This is a bucket list experience that will be shared with hundreds of other people, so get there early to secure a good photo spot! The sun quickly rises as reflections develop in the pond, and that desired photo opportunity is quickly over, so watch you don’t miss it!

angkor wat sunrise early morning photo spot
Angkor Wat | Sunrise | Cambodia

As the crowd slowly disappears and makes their way back for breakfast, this is the perfect time to get in and explore Angkor, as the crowd isn’t thick and you’ll get the morning light highlighting the Temple. Make sure you take your time and really take in the amazing site your seeing – the largest religious monument in the world!

angkor wat sunrise morning light ruins
Angkor Wat | Sunrise | Cambodia

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THE JUNGLE TEMPLE…

After a quick breakfast at Angkor we drove 9km to Ta Phohm, best known as Jungle Temple or Tomb Raider Temple (as it featured in the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie). This was the temple I was most looking forward to, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Make sure you find time to visit this temple, as it’s absolutely incredible! While there think about the incredible history of not only the Temples but the tree roots that wrap around them. These trees left the deserted temples undiscovered for around 400 years!

Jungle Temple Cambodia Trees Roots Ruins
Jungle Temple | Cambodia
Jungle Temple Cambodia Trees Roots Ruins Sky Clouds
Jungle Temple | Cambodia

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THE FLOATING VILLAGE…

Between temples we made a quick visit to Chong Kneas Floating Village where we boarded a small wooden boat to view the floating village community. This was an eye-opening experience that allowed us to see a totally different way of living. I was blown away by this young girl, no older than four, who was out paddling her boat on her own.

Chong Kneas Floating Village Cambodia Water Boat Young Child Row
Chong Kneas Floating Village | Cambodia
Chong Kneas Floating Village Cambodia Water
Chong Kneas Floating Village | Cambodia

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THE DETAILED TEMPLE… (my favourite)

We then move outside of Siem Reap to a temple of Banteay Srei. This incredible temple was completed in 967 and was one of the only not built for the King. When visiting this temple, I was amazed by the detail in every single section. The picture below shows a tiny part of the temple entrance, but this is the kind of detail carved into the entire temple. Banteay Srei actually means ‘Citadel of Women’ as it’s believed that the delicacies of the carving could only have been done by the hand of a woman.

Banteay Srei Temple Cambodia Detail Carving
Banteay Srei Temple | Cambodia

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THE SMILING TEMPLE…

The last temple visit for the day was Bayon Temple – a gothic temple covered with smiling Buddha faces. This temple is very different from the other temples and is definitely worth a visit. In the right season this temple can be surrounded by water and lush green grass. You’ll walk around with a smile to mirror the Buddha faces the entire time… 😀

Bayon Temple Cambodia Trees Grass Green Sky Clouds
Bayon Temple | Cambodia

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To top of a massive day, we dined at Friends (https://friends-international.org), a restaurant which takes kids off the street and trains them to be amazing cooks. This was a fantastic experience and very simple way to support the community. Handmade local souvenirs can also be found at the restaurant. If you’re visiting the capital, there is also a Friends in Phnom Penh.

A visit to Siem Reap wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through the night markets to finish off an unforgettable day!

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Have you been to Cambodia or have an upcoming trip booked? We’d love to hear about your adventures! 
hello@atobtravel.com.au

 

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