We both had our hesitations about moving away from the cool waters of the Mekong River in Laos to the hot city of Siem Reap, our first stop in Cambodia. Knowing little to nothing about the country or its cities, we headed into it with a slight trepidation. Apart from Bangkok, it was going to be the first town where we weren’t in the immediate vicinity of a large body of water. That coupled with the fact that the average daily high is over 90′F year-round was a little unnerving. Fortunately, the hotels around town are well aware of this and you’d be hard pressed to find any hostel or hotel that doesn’t boast about it’s swimming pool. The quality and price of accommodation was some of the best in Asia of our travels to date. With just a minimal amount of searching, you can find the equivalent of a 4-star hotel at the cost of about $8 USD per night.
The second hesitation about Siem Reap was, “What are we even going here for?” We’ve described in previous posts the “temple fatigue” that a traveler throughout SE Asia can easily acquire. The only attraction we knew about in this area was the nearby Angkor region – an area that once comprised of over 1,000 temples in approximately 150 square miles.
With our worries about heat exhaustion squashed by our comfortable air-conditioned hotels and their refreshing pools, we took off to explore the main temples of Angkor. If pictures are worth a thousand words, then we’ll just let you take a look at the gallery below. In reality, although we tried, these photos do no justice to the size, details, and sheer awesomeness that Angkor truly is. Temple fatigue does not not apply to this amazing display of the ancient Khmer civilization’s architectural prowess.
In direct contrast to the history and antiquity of Angkor is the city of Siem Reap, a mere 30-minute tuk-tuk ride away. The center of this city is as cosmopolitan as they come in this region of the world. The cafes, bars, and restaurants lining the alleys and streets could all easily rival any you could find in the hippest neighborhoods in NYC.