Places to visit in Angkor

When you travel to Angkor, you will love to visit popular tourist spots and enjoy the local culture. Amongst other Things to do in Angkor, you can surely explore some of the best things to do in Angkor to make your trip a fulfilling one. On a trip to Angkor things to do can include exploring Angkor attractions and visiting the places of interest.

The ancient capital of Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat, the largest religious site, are located in close proximity to each other. Apart from the large temple built next to it, the capital also houses temples such as Bayon, Baphuon and Angkor’s first temple mountain, Phnom Bakheng, which is famous for its sunset. These temples appear to have relics belonging to both faiths of Hinduism and Buddhism. Apart from the temples, one can visit other sites like the Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King, the Five Entrance Gates, and the Victory Gate.
 
The Little Circuit gained popularity with the shooting of the film ‘Tomb Raider’ that took place in the Ta Prohm temple here. On the Little Circuit route, one would also come across the temples of Ta Keo and PrasatKravan. SrahSrang, which is a terrace leading to a pond, also falls on the same route.

Big circuit–The Ta Som complex is similar to the Ta Prohm, which is currently under renovation. However, it is far less crowded than the latter. NeakPean makes for an interesting visit with its artistic construction of ponds. While on the big circuit and if one has time on hand, a trip can be made to Preah Khan, East Mebon and Pre Rup. Although they are similar in structure to the monuments visited earlier, their different locations make them unique in their own way.
 
The Roluos group of temples consist of ruins that are present from before the Angkor period. The significant one is at the five-terraced pyramid, Bakong.
 
The outlying temples are slightly far from the main Angkor Thom. As a result, they are largely peaceful and quiet and have remained free from human intervention causing the ruins to be in their most natural form. The dense forests in these areas require the visitors to climb on rocks and trees to visit the site. However, the extra effort only increases the appeal of the place and makes it even more beautiful.

The areas of Siem Reap and Angkor have many wildlife preservation parks which are a major attraction for children. The PrekToal bird sanctuary is the last stronghold of big breeding water birds in South East Asia.

Phare, the Cambodian circus troupe performs shows that uniquely depict Cambodian stories. They also attempt to spread awareness regarding PharePonleuSelpak, an NGO working for the upliftment of the Cambodian youth. Their performance is excellent entertainment for kids of all ages and also spreads awareness.

A place with such a rich historical background is bound to have museums to showcase it. Angkor does not disappoint in this regard.

The Cambodian Landmine museum tells the story of Aki Ra, the founder of the museum. It aims to spread awareness about the number of landmines that remain unexploded after years of conflict, and how they continue to wreak havoc even in the present day.

Angkor National Museum houses thousands artefacts that were recovered from Angkor temples. With an entrance fee of US $12, the Angkor National museum gives a wonderful insight into the Khmer civilisation.

With magnificent structures surrounded by lush green forests, a visit to Angkor gives one the unique opportunity to connect with nature learn about the mesmerising history of the place. However, one can always take time out from the numerous archaeological sites to visit the wildlife preservation parks through Osmose and SamVeasnaCenter, which endeavour to protect the endangered species of Cambodia.

Visiting the villages within the park itself is a great way to familiarise oneself with the local culture. However, with increasing tourism over the years, many villages have had their culture and tradition diluted. One place which is free from the influence of tourism and has been able to retain the Khmer way of living is the Kampong Phluk, a small fishing village located 13 miles from Siem Reap.

Taking a hot air balloon ride over the Angkor Wat temple is another fun-filled experience for tourists. This ride enables you to appreciate the might of the temple from a height.

For those who wish to try Cambodian food but want to give the street joints a pass, Le Meridien Angkor serves appetising and authentic dishes from various parts of Cambodia.

A very unique and tasty dish in Angkor is the ‘Medicine soup’. It is prepared with chicken and shrimp and is locally known as Nam Yaa. Cambodian staple food is rice and they produce over 2,000 varieties of it. Their usual diet thus consists of rice served with pork, chicken, fish or vegetable curry. 

If one is searching for a place which plays good music, the SiemReap’s Temple bar is a good option. Apart from great food and generous happy-hour discounts, they also have a DJ playing catchy tunes. 

As a tourist, one can begin at the ‘Phsar Chas’, popularly known as old market, as this is the hub for all traditional items and souvenirs. The Angkor Night Market and the Pub Street are the other famous shopping haunts.

One of the traditional souvenirs of Angkor is the silver areca containers which are hand crafted using traditional techniques and styles.

The Angkor Shopping Centre and Outlets is a two-storied and fully air-conditioned shopping centre. A variety of products such as gems, Cambodian silk, statues and food items are available for sale.

BambouIndochine is a store which aims to cater to modern clothing. They offer 100 percent cotton hand-printed t-shirts which are available in a variety of sizes and colours.

Traditional rice bags have been recycled and designed to make laptop bags, women’s purses, etc. and are available at AngkorRecycled, at the Angkor Night Market. It is also a good idea to invest in unique Cambodian fashion which gives traditional Khmer designs and patterns a slight twist and aligns them with current fashion trends.

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