The City of Temples

Kingdom of Cambodia has been very famous to the world due to its rich culture, history and traditions. The country is called the Land of Temples and Towers due to the abundance of these magnificent wat/temples which are scattered all over the land. The most popular of these temples is the Angkor Wat which is in the centre of the Cambodian geography. Angkor Wat is located in Siem Reap. Due to this, Siem Reap has been claimed the world’s fourth best city for tourists by TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Award for 2014. Since I was in Cambodia, so, I never miss going there and besides most travelers traveled to this country to see the well-known wat/ temple.

I stayed in Putheavatei Boutique Hotel and Spa which was located just 5 minutes from the Angkor Wat. I woke up early and have arranged a one-day tour with the hotel’s tuktuk service. The plan was to explore all the wonderful temples in Siem Reap and we even talked about going to Banteay Srei and Banteay Samre which were an hour ride from the centre of Siem Reap. First, I had breakfast and then headed to the itinerary of the day. When we got there, there were tons of tourists. Buses parked here and there. Queues were long to get an Angkor Pass. Of course, it should be long. Angkor Wat is one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites. So, I followed the queue and it was actually fast. Within 2 minutes, I was already in the counter. For Angkor Pass, it was for USD20. Yes, it is expensive but you can visit all the temples just present this pass and the payment will also help in maintaining and restoring the temples. The pass is non-transferable. They will take picture of you and have it printed in your pass just like this.

Angkor Pass

Angkor Pass

Information for Tourists

Information for Tourists

So, with the ticket with me and riding the tuktuk, the journey started. We first went to the prominent temple, Angkor Wat. As advised by most people and even the tuktuk driver, it is better to come to Angkor Wat during the afternoon to fully see the great view of the temples. It is due to the direction of the sun rays that you can’t really admire it during the morning. Too shame, I could only take these photos. But it was really magnificent. I spent about an hour roaming around the temple. Too bad, I didn’t hire any tour guide but even though I only knew a little what this temple has gone through for years, I could say that it made wonders in the world and put Cambodia in the map as well as Hinduism and Buddhism as a big-name religions of the past. I can still remember from my Asian Civilization class during my secondary years at school that Angkor Wat is the largest Hinduism temple complex in the world. It has become a symbol of Cambodia as it appears in their national flag.

On the way to Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat from afar

Angkor Wat

Inside the Angkor Wat grounds

Monkeys on the roof

Amazing Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat grounds and tourists

The APSARA dancers

Steep climb to get a better view of Angkor Wat

Bakan regulations

Angkor Wat

It was scorching hot strolling around this temple. Good enough that the tuktuk driver also provided me umbrella and a bottled water. We passed by Phnom Bakheng and Baksei Chamkrong because it was not in the plan in the first place. We headed to Angkor Thom and Bayon temple. Bayon temple is also amazing to look at. Since the temple’s most distinct feature is the multitude of serene and massive stone faces on the many towers. It’s really hard to capture a decent photo in this type of location wherein it was jam-packed with numerous tourists. But, I got some good ones.

On our way to Angkor Thom

Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple view

Bayon Temple view

Stone face

Stone face

Stone faces in Bayon Temple

Stone faces in Bayon Temple

Wall designs

Wall designs

Buddha in Bayon Temple

Buddha in Bayon Temple

Rear view of Bayon Temple

Rear view of Bayon Temple

Next attraction was Baphoun Temple. I walked from Bayon temple to get there. This temple looked different as well. It has a unique design. It is a 3-tiered temple mountain built as a state temple. Here I needed to catch some breath since you need to climb the steep stairway to get to the top. The view on top of the temple was great but it was still hot. Not that I complained a lot of the weather being too sunny that day.

Going to Baphoun Temple

Going to Baphoun Temple

Baphoun Temple

Three-tiered Baphoun Temple

Baphoun temple ground

Baphoun temple ground

Baphoun Temple

Baphoun Temple

View on top of Baphoun Temple

View on 2nd floor of Baphoun Temple

Another stairs to see the view on top of Baphoun Temple

Another stairs to see the view on top of Baphoun Temple

Baphoun Temple ground

Baphoun Temple ground

Third floor of Baphoun Temple

Third floor of Baphoun Temple

Angkor Thom Map

Angkor Thom Map

Then I got down and out of Baphoun temple. I was about to go to the Terrace of the Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King but I was exhausted already. Maybe a gallon of water has evaporated from me body. It was also my fault since I refused to take another bottle of water and the umbrella the tuktuk driver offered to me. So, I just told him to go to a nearest restaurant to eat since it was also time to have lunch.

Tourist's Coaster, Vans and Buses

Tourist’s Coaster, Vans and Buses

On our way to the restaurant, I saw these views.

Random shots

Random shots

Random shots

Random shots

Ta Keo Temple

Ta Keo Temple

He brought me to Ta Prohm Khmer Food, the price of the foods was a little bit expensive maybe due to its location since all tourists go there to get some munchies and meals. Here, I ordered Fried Noodle with Pork and vegetables. It was delicious. The service was OK, too.

IMG_1379 IMG_1380 IMG_1381 IMG_1382 IMG_1383 IMG_1384

Back to the journey, we went to Ta Prohm. This temple has been known since it was also the same location shot in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider which was starred by Angelina Jolie. Ta Prohm has this photogenic and atmospheric effect with combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings making it one of the most famous Angkor temples visited by tourists. Too sad, it has been neglected and needed much restoration. But so far, it was also an amazing place to wander since the air was cool and there were a lot of trees to find shades from the glaring sun.

Ta Prohm Tourist Flow

Ta Prohm Temple Complex

IMG_1389 IMG_1393

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

There were still places to visit but I called it a day. I miss so much of other attractions in Siem Reap but my body just can’t handle traveling with so intense heat. I have failed to see Preah Khan, Neak Poan Temple, Ta Som temple, Pre Rup, Banteay Srei, Banteay Samre and Bakong Temple. Maybe next time, I can go back there with someone special. Well anyway, I went back to the hotel and took some rest.

By 1900H, I hailed my personal tuktuk driver to send me to the Angkor Night Market. I did shopping and bought some souvenirs and other stuff. You can haggle to the price you can afford and save a lot.

Angkor Night Market

Angkor Night Market

As a wrap up, my experience in the City of Temples was truly worth remembering. I can tell it to my friends and families. I will definitely advise them to go there and see it for themselves and be mesmerized.

Be a traveler not just once but all the time.

Advertisements

Putheavatei Boutique Hotel and Spa, A Home Away from Home

I’ve been away from home for a long time and I can’t remember how it feels like to be at home. Then suddenly, I found a hotel which I felt like I’m at home. I considered Putheavatie Boutique Hotel and Spa, a home away from home.

Putheavatei Boutique Hotel and Spa

Putheavatei Boutique Hotel and Spa

I was in Siem Reap and I traveled far from Phnom Penh wherein I took an 8-hour bus trip just to get there. With what I have been through, a sure and relaxing abode should be most rewarding. I found Putheavatei Boutique Hotel and Spa via Booking.com before my Southeast Asian trip. I paid for USD63 for a Triple Room which was good for 2 nights.

Triple Room

Triple Room

Putheavatei Boutique Hotel and Spa is located in Sangkat Slorkram in Siem Reap which is just 5-min drive to the most famous tourist attraction in Siem Reap. The hotel offered free wi-fi connection, a bicycle rental, a one-way shuttle service to Old Town, free pick-up service from either the airport, boating dock, or bus station. I had mine picked me up at Mekong Express Limousine Bus station. They arranged it ahead of time. After I booked a room, they sent an e-mail message to me regarding on the details of my arrival. When I arrived in Siem Reap, the tuktuk driver was there with my name on a paper waved. From the bus station to the hotel was about 15-minute travel.

When I got to the hotel, the hotel staff got my bags and brought it to my room. That was amazing. Everything was arranged already even my room. I haven’t talked to the receptionist or even gave my check-in details to them yet. When Mr. Phirun Heng approached the reception area, he told me that everything was arranged already and I was surprised. Mr. Phirun Heng is the owner of the hotel and he is a good person with such humility. He was the one who has been sending me e-mail messages asking about the details of my stay in Siem Reap. I was thankful enough for everything he has done. He even offered me a personal tuktuk driver for me to arrange my tour in the temples and transportation going to and from the Old Town. That made me feel like royalty.

Well I gave this hotel a high praise. From the lobby, it looked clean and welcoming.
IMG_1231 IMG_1232 IMG_1233 IMG_1234
The room was equipped with a television, a fridge, a percolator with tea and coffee available, as well as slippers. It has a balcony, too. They provided free toiletries and towels.

IMG_1238view from the balcony

In addition to that, they also provided breakfast to customers with freshly brewed coffee.

Dining Area

Dining Area

So far, the reason it was hard for me to leave Siem Reap was because of the best treatment I got from Putheavatei Boutique Hotel and Spa. I was welcomed warmly like a family member and treated my stay like I was at home. The facilities they have maybe of mediocre but it has been well compensated with the services and hospitality the staff showed and provided. If I were to come back in Siem Reap, I’ll definitely come back in Putheavatei Boutique Hotel and Spa.

If you want to contact them, here is their calling card.call cardcall card1

Trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Having said that I love Phnom Penh, it only signifies that I need to see the other side of the Kingdom of Cambodia. And what better place to explore in this country than the most famous temple in Southeast Asia which is in Siem Reap. When I arrived in Phnom Penh via Mekong Express Limousine Bus, I was dropped in their bus station. Hence, I took the liberty to get a ticket for a trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. I paid USD13 for the fare for a 6-7 hours trip. I chose the 0830H departure time for me to see the views on the way there.

Bus Trip Schedules

Bus Trip Schedules

Bus Ticket

Bus Ticket

The day came for my trip. I was staying in Cozyna Hotel and according to the staff whom I talked to when I bought the ticket, they will pick me up since it is included in their service. They picked up passengers if they are staying near Sisowath Quay. I woke up early at 0600H to prepare everything and to have some decent breakfast since it will be a long ride. I waited for my pick-up service at the lobby of the hotel. They came at 0800H and we went to the bus station. In the bus station, same procedure was done when I had my border crossing trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh. They took my luggage and put a claim tag to it that indicates my bus seat number. After all the passengers have settled down in the bus, the bus left and headed to our destination at exactly 0830H. I’m so impressed, they follow time schedules.

Bus Station in Khan Russey Keo

Bus Station in Khan Russey Keo

Tagging Baggage

Tagging Baggage

Queue going inside the bus

Queue going inside the bus

Space between seats is wide

Space between seats is wide

Our bus attendant

Our bus attendant

Fellow Passengers, most of them are Cambodians

Fellow Passengers, most of them are Cambodians

About an hour, the staff handed to us some snacks, a bottle of juice and water. Inside the snack box were two different foods, sweet cupcakes and the other one is a pastry filled with meat yet a little spicy. But all were delicious.20141116_111726

Cupcakes and a Pastry

Cupcakes and a Pastry

The view changes on every provinces we passed by. When we were almost out of Phnom Penh, the sights were mostly temples.

Temple somewhere in the outskirts of Phnom Penh

Temple somewhere in the outskirts of Phnom Penh

Temple somewhere in the outskirts of Phnom Penh

Temple somewhere in the outskirts of Phnom Penh

Then we were in Kandal, the view changed to more of rivers. The province features two of the biggest rivers in the country which are Bassac and Mekong.

Kandal Province

Kandal Province

Kandal Province

Kandal Province

Kandal Province

Kandal Province

Few hours later, the bus was in Kampong Cham. It is a lowland of the Mekong River. Here you will still see the river but now with amazing view of green rice fields with blue sky and red soil.

Kampong Cham

Kampong Cham

Kampong Cham village

Kampong Cham village

Kampong Cham

Kampong Cham

Rice field in Kampong Cham

Rice field in Kampong Cham

Temple in Kampong Cham

Temple in Kampong Cham

Mekong River in Kampong Cham

Mekong River in Kampong Cham

Same as what I saw in Kampong Cham, Santuk also has a great view of rice paddies but this place is just a district of a big province.

Rice Paddies in Santuk District

Rice Paddies in Santuk District

Santuk District's Redland

Santuk District’s Redland

A House in Santuk District

A House in Santuk District

In Kampong Thom, we had our bus stopped at Stung Sen Restaurant which is a place for passengers to have their lunch. Upon arriving there, it was full and we can hardly make an order coz the waiters and waitresses just flew here and there. I ended not having lunch at all and just settled with some junk foods.

Kampong Thom

Kampong Thom

Bus Stopover in Stung Sen Restaurant in Kampong Thom

Bus Stopover in Stung Sen Restaurant in Kampong Thom

Stung Sen Restaurant in Kampong Thom

Stung Sen Restaurant in Kampong Thom

Stung Sen Restaurant in Kampong Thom

Stung Sen Restaurant in Kampong Thom

After everyone has come back to the bus, we continued our journey to Siem Reap. At 1630H, we arrived in Siem Reap. I was waiting for my pick-up service since I arranged it with the hotel. The tuktuk was there and then we headed to the hotel. I checked in Putheavatei Boutique Hotel and Spa and went out to have some dinner. The owner of the hotel offered me a tuktuk driver/ tour guide/ adviser. His name is Ray and he speaks Khmer and Thai. Ray suggested to go to Khmer BarbeQ to dine there, so, we went there.IMG_1247 IMG_1248 IMG_1249 IMG_1250 IMG_1252 IMG_1253 IMG_1254 IMG_1255

Khmer BarbeQ Contact Details

Khmer BarbeQ Contact Details

Khmer BarbeQ on TripAdvisor

Khmer BarbeQ on TripAdvisor

Khmer BarbeQ Restaurant offered a wide range of food selections. They serve pork, beef, chicken, even crocodiles and many more. The place has a great ambience and it made me feel luxurious yet the foods were affordable and the services were good. All in all, the dining experience was great. After my tummy was full, I put myself to bed to rest. That is how my trip goes. It was exhausting but enjoyable.

Now, it’s your time to have a trip and have fun.

An Outline of Captivating Cambodia

After I visited the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, I went to another country which is also in my bucket list for the countries that I would love to visit. It is listed as number six.

List of Countries that I Would Love to Visit

List of Countries that I Would Love to Visit

Yes, I went to the Kingdom of Cambodia. It was exhausting traveling by land and crossing borders yet rewarding to see the Land of Temples and Towers. I made sure that I’ll be visiting Cambodia before the year ends. I added it on my itinerary to visit the capital city of Phnom Penh and the province of the famous temple and one of UNESCO world heritage sites in the country which is Siem Reap.

In Phnom Penh, after I settled down on the guesthouse I was staying, I took my first step in exploring Cambodia and I felt in love. Phnom Penh is the capital but it is not a bustling city. It is relaxing and somehow slow paced. Here, I felt at home. Loving the lake breeze from Tonle Sap, watching the people walking on streets, enjoying sightseeing on temples, riding the tuktuk, smelling the freshly baked and cooked Khmer dishes are the things that I love the most. I stayed in Phnom Penh for quite some time and It has a laid-back and stress free life. Here are the places I’ve visited when I was in Phnom Penh.

Wat Phnom

Central Market of Phnom Penh

Wat Ounalom

Wat Ounalom

Royal Palace

Neak Banh Teuk Park

Independence Monument

Wat Langka

Wat Botum Vattey

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Phnom Penh Night Market

Phnom Penh Night Market

National Museum of Cambodia

Sisowath Quay

Then, I went to Siem Reap. If you happen to visit the Kingdom of Cambodia, make sure not to miss the famous temples of Angkor Wat, Bayon, Angkor Thom, Baphoun and Ta Prohm. There are also other temples worth visiting but the problem was I had less time to see all of them. Thus, only those temples mentioned above are the sights I can talk about.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Bayon Temple view

Bayon Temple view

Stone face

Stone face

Three- tiered Baphoun Temple

Three- tiered Baphoun Temple

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Angkor Night Market

Angkor Night Market

It sure was a captivating adventure I had in the Kingdom of Cambodia. I had fun and I will truly remember everything I have experienced in this beautiful land.

Follow me on my Southeast Asian journey for more stories.