. the final day in Siem Reap .

So, I’ve taken a long break from completing the travelogue for our not-too-recent trip to Cambodia. Was just too bogged down by work and the monotony of life, I call it the “Quarter Life Crisis” but this would warrant a whole different post altogether. Back to the topic, there’s a high possibility that we will be making a return trip to Cambodia to visit the kids sometime in the next quarter! 🙂

Considering that the Angkor temples are synonymous with a visit to Cambodia, we thus engaged a tuk-tuk driver to bring us to the remaining Angkor temples located in the grand circuit. Temples located in the grand circuit are slightly further from the heart of the city as compared to the more popular temples within the small circuit (Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm) hence they tend to be less crowded. Good for us!
.

Preah Khan
Constructed: 12th Century C.E.
Reign: King Jayavarman VII
Religion: Buddhist
Style: Bayon

“Preah Khan is a huge, highly explorable monastic complex. It originally served as a Buddhist monastery and school, engaging over 1000 monks. Preah Khan was also used as a residence for King Jayavarman VII during the reconstruction of his permanent home in Angkor Thom. It means “Sacred Sword” and is dedicated to King Jayavarman VII’s father.” *

Must visit factor: ****/ 5 stars

* Info from Siem Reap Angkor Visitors’ Guide




Having visited many temples during my stay in Siem Reap, it thus doesn’t come as a surprise to hear that we were pretty templed-out and were less than fascinated by some of the temples (some  started looking the same after awhile!). Nonetheless, Preah Khan is certainly 1 of the monastic temple complex that stood out. Its relatively massive size gave us the opportunity to explore the surroundings and discover the many nooks and crannies at our own pace. Best to visit early in the morning when it ain’t too crowded with tourists.





Neak Pean
Constructed: Late 12th Century C.E.
Reign: Jayavarman VII
Religion: Buddhism
Style: Bayon

“A small island temple located in the middle of the last baray to be constructed by a Khmer king in the Angkor area. The central temple sits at the axis of a cross or lotus pattern of eight pools. Four connected pools symbolises Water, Fire, Earth and Wind. Neak Pean may have served as absolution function, and the waters were thought to have healing properties.” *

Must visit factor: ***/5 stars





Ta Som
Constructed: Late 12th Century C.E.
Reign: King Jayavarman VII
Religion: Buddhism
Style: Bayon

“Small, classic Bayon-style monastic complex consisting of a relatively flat enclosure, face tower gopuras and cruciform interior sanctuaries much like  a miniature version of Ta Prohm. Many of the carvings are in good condition and display particularly fine execution for late 12th Century works.” *

Must visit factor: ***/ 5 stars


A smaller-scale version of Ta Prohm, Ta Som is often considered the less-visited “cousin”. Nevertheless, the intricate and well-preserved carvings and details, along with the huge trees within the complex, have made the temple extremely photogenic.





East Mebon
Constructed: Late 10th Century C.E.
Reign: King Rajendravarman II
Religion: Hindu
Style: Pre Rup

“East Mebon is a large temple-mountain-like ruin, rising 3 levels and crowned by 5 towers. The temple is dedicated to Shiva, in honor of the king’s parents. Inscriptions also indicate that it was also built to establish the continuity of kingship at Angkor in ligt of the interruption that occurred when the seat of power has been moved to Koh Ker.” *

Must visit factor: ***/ 5 stars



Pre Rup
Constructed: Late 10th Century C.E.
Reign: King Rajendravarman II
Religion: Hindu
Style: Pre Rup

“Architectually and artistically superior temple-mountain. Traditionally believed to be a funerary temple, but in fact the state temple of King Rajendravarman II. Historically important in that it was the second temple built after Khmer capital was returned to Angkor after a period of political upheaval when the capital moved to Koh Ker. The artistically similar East Mebon was the first to be constructed after the return to Angkor, less than a decade earlier.” *

Must visit factor: ***/ 5 stars



Psar Chaa

Similar to the many open-air markets in Thailand, the items sold in Psar Chaa (Old Market) caters to both locals (who get their basic necessities and groceries) and foreigners (souvenirs and pirated copies of travel guides, duh). Decided to take a stroll along the winding and narrow lanes since we had some time to kill in the afternoon. A great place to window-shop (enjoy the myriad of colours) and people-watch although those who love to shop will find Psar Chaa an ideal place where you can put your bargaining skills to a test!





“Bag Karma” shop operated by the social enterprise, Friends International. It sells an array of handmade and eco-friendly products, e.g. bags/passport holders/purses made of recycled materials. One of the shops that I must visit whenever I’m in Cambodia. You can also find a branch in the Russian Market in Phnom Penh.


ACODO Orphanage, Siem Reap

I first heard about ACODO when I was doing my research in Trip Advisor. Known for its free khmer dance performance that is held every evening, ACODO has certainly came a long way since it was first founded by Mr Hengchhea back in 2008. Other than providing the children with the chance to interact with tourists from all walks of life, this initiative was also started, in hopes to raise awareness of ACODO on an international level and donations to support its cause. True indeed, the Khmer performances have been attracting its fair share of raves as it has been reviewed not only by tourists, but also by big players such as Lonely Planet and Wikitravel.

What a small world! During our short stay in Cambodia, we actually met 2 groups of volunteer students from Singapore, one of whom was attached to ACODO for a short volunteer stint. In comparison to my “era”, there are certainly many more schools that are getting their students involved in such overseas service trips these days. A good platform for the children to be more exposed to the development of our neighbouring countries and also, to keep them humble.

Our simple home-cooked dinner at ACODO. 🙂



A memorable night to end our stay in Siem Reap


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