Cycling Around Angkor Wat, The Sacred Temples Of Cambodia
Arriving in Siem Reap you will be greeting by a city that is run by tuk-tuks, they are everywhere and they will do anything to get your business, which is fair enough in a poor country and in the grand scale of things they are very affordable. But when you have just forked out $60 for a 3 day pass to visit the Angkor Wat temples, a $15 tuk-tuk for the day can be a bit heavy (especially if your a backpacker on a budget).
This is your typical tuk-tuk in Siem Reap. One of the things I love about SEAsia is the variety of tuk-tuks from town to town, they all have their own styles.
By choosing to cycle yourself around the temples you will not only save a lot of money, but you will also have free reign of what you want to see and how long you want to stay places. I spent $1 a day on my bike!
An elder monk sat with a young apprentice, they were both talking when I spotted them and saw the epic framing that was just asking to be photographed! Its always polite to ask for a photo as some monks do not want to be photographed.
The sun rising behind the temples, this is one of the most popular spots to watch sunrise and if you hate crowds you will hate this. It is an incredibly beautiful spot though with the crystal clear reflection pool.
I arrived at the temple that everyone visits during sunrise at about midday and found the place empty, I almost had the temple to myself apart from 3/4 people!! Considering the 1000's of people visiting daily this was the thing that convinced me that taking a bike was truly the best option.
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The sunset at Phnom Bakheng temple, this place sits on top of a large hill that will take you about 10/15 minutes to walk up, but the views from the top a definitely worth it! It is a very popular spot and they only allow 300 people up onto the temple at a time so make sure you get there in advance!
On the road towards Angkor Thom you will be surrounded by jungle, if you're lucky you might spot a group of monkeys hanging out on one of the grass banks. Keep an eye out for people stopped on the side of the road, this usually means their feeding the monkeys.
If you do head to Angkor Wat for sunrise then you may be in for a treat, a parade of monks walking in a long line around the temple in their bright orange robes. Truly a once in a lifetime experience!
This is the big reservoir called Jayatataka that surrounds Neak Pean , this is one of the furthest temple you can go to and will definitely test you if your on a bicycle! I turned up just before sunset and had some really nice views, but then I had to cycle the 2 hour trip back as it got darker and darker..
Make sure to take a big ol' bottle of water with you, but don't worry about running out as there are plenty of stalls on the sides of the roads offering ice cooled drinks for $1 or less (depending on your bartering skills).
This is the sunset at Prae Roup Temple, another top spot to watch from as it has a high platform at the top with nice views. Beware though that the guards close this temple as soon as the sun hits the horizon, so the most beautiful sunsets will have to be watched from down at the entrance (that's where this photo was taken).
This is a truly must see collection of temples and although the entrance price can be steep there are ways of making the whole experience a lot cheaper.
Angkor Wat entrance fee: 1/3/7 day pass - $37/$62/$72 USD.
Bike hire: $1 to $2 a day.
Tuk-tuk hire: $15 to $25 a day.
Accommodation: $2 to $5 for a bunk in a hostel dorm room.
Thanks for reading!
Taran here, owner of Nomad'er How Far. I'm fond of psychedelic rock, photography & videography, anything to do with space and I'm also partial to the odd gaming session. Oh and I love to travel :P Get to know me here!
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