Posts Tagged With: Angkor Wat

Top 10 Historical Destinations You Must Visit


If you are looking to travel and want to go back in time here are ten great historic travel destinations for the history buff on the go. From Castles to Great Walls to Pyramids here you will find 10 Historical destinations that everyone should visit. Do you have any places in mind that are both historic and a travel destination? Please leave a comment and name the place.

10. European Castles


Dotted all throughout Europe there are thousands of Medieval and Baroque castles that conjure up images of fairytale princesses and chivalrous knights. They were not only built as protective fortresses but also as the homes of feudal lords and kings that showed their wealth and status. Some of the most impressive examples include Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle, France’s Palace of Versailles, Ireland’s Blarney Castle, Sintra Palace in Portugal, Turkey’s Topkapi Palace, Prague Castle in the Czech Republic and Leeds Castle in England. Photo by ZeHawk

9. Stonehenge


While there are several theories around the functionality of this Neolithic monument, no one can argue that within minutes of arriving you find yourself pondering the mystery of Stonehenge. The major rivaling theories are that it was either built as an astronomical observatory or religious site while others believe that the bluestones were thought to have healing powers. Construction first began around 3000 BC and was carried out in three separate stages hundreds of years apart. Photo by LuluP

8. Angkor Wat


Angkor Wat is easily the most recognizable temple in Cambodia as well as one of the most beautiful. It was built in the early 12th century by King Suryavarman II to act as his state temple and capital city. The best example of Khmer architecture, which includes many bas-reliefs and devatas, Angkor Wat is unique in that it is the only such temple that is oriented towards the west. Photo by Stuck in Customs

7. The Great Wall of China


One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall is an impressive feat of engineering. The Wall is the product of 21 centuries of building and rebuilding that began in the 5th century BC, and was used to protect the Empire of China from Xiongnu attacks. Although sections of the current wall, which dates back to the Ming Dynasty, are in total disrepair, near tourist centers it has been well preserved and even reconstructed to give visitors a glimpse of its former glory. Photo by DragonWoman

6. Machu Picchu


Machu Picchu, known to many as “The Lost City of the Incas”, is the most impressive remainder of the Incan Empire. It was built in 1462 AD and abandoned only a hundred years later, which saved it from plunder and destruction at the hands of Spanish conquistadors, who were unaware of its location. American historian Hiram Bingham rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. The three primary structures are the Temple of the Sun, the Room of the Three Windows and the Intihuatana Stone, an astronomical clock or calendar that has been dubbed “The Hitching Point of the Sun”. Photo by szeke

5. The Parthenon


The Parthenon is an elegantly crafted symbol, not only of Ancient Greece, but also of the very roots of democracy. The current building was built Pericles in the mid-5th century BC as a Doric temple to the goddess Athena and also as a treasury for the Delian League. Many of the sculptures, referred to as the marbles, have been removed and now reside in the British Museum, the Louvre and other museums despite efforts by the Greek government to return them to their proper place. Photo by by wallyg

4. The Taj Mahal


The Taj Mahal is one of the most stunning structures in the world and the story behind its construction is just as beautiful. The Taj was built between 1632 and 1653 by Emperor Shah Jahan to serve as a mausoleum and monument to his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It was constructed by twenty thousand workers from marble and inlayed with twenty-eight different kinds of precious and semi-precious stones from across India and Asia. Photo by by betta design

3. Petra


The ancient Nabataean capital of Petra was built around 100 BC and was a site where many ancient trade routes converged making its residents very wealthy. Some of the major attractions are the Theatre and the Monastery, but the most recognizable is the Al Khazneh, commonly referred to as the Treasury, that’s use was a mystery until a recant excavation found that the Khazneh is really a tomb, probably of the royal family. Photo by by ChrisYunker

2. Rome


The Eternal City is filled with some of the most stunning and iconic architecture in the world. Layers of Ancient Roman, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque buildings are to be seen at almost every turn. However, no trip to Rome is complete without taking in the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, the Circus Maximus, the Arch of Constantine, Fontana di Trevi and at least one of the many historic piazzas throughout the city. Photo by: by Al?na Romanenko

1. Egypt


Egypt is one of the most culturally rich countries in the world and one of the most ancient tourist spots in the world having played host to many visitors from ancient Greece and Rome. Of course the site that is most synonymous with the image of Egypt is the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx at Giza. Other must see sights include the Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel, the Egyptian Museum, Saqqara, Luxor and Karnak, all of which will make you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time to the lands of Ancient Egypt. Photo by Mrs Logic

Categories: Top 10, Travel Article | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

10-step guide to Siem Reap


You can’t visit Siem Reap and not see Angkor Wat. But nor should you neglect the other parts of town, which do so much to add to the charm and allure of this historical area.

From jungle adventures to vibrant culture to legendary nightlife, here are 10 of Siem Reap‘s essential experiences, besides the famous temple.

1. Visit the Angkor temples

Angkor Wat reflection

Doubtless, one of the world’s greatest monuments.

The templesare what everyone’s here for, and Angkor doesn’t disappoint. Whether you’re a hardcore shutterbug or just want to see the temples at their best, a photography tour will make sure you don’t miss the hidden highlights.

The best time for photos is sunrise — go in April to see the sun crest the horizon immediately behind the main shrine’s dome and to maximize your chances of a haze-free day.

Or, if you don’t mind sweating, rent a White Bicycle at any of the stands in town (your US$2 daily rental fee helps support local NGOs) and spend the day seeing the main temple circuit — Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm — at your own pace.

Either option gives you plenty of time to see the big three, any smaller temples that catch your eye, and still make it to Phnom Bakeng for the best sunset views.

Go early to snag a spot, and be sure to make it up before access to the temple-top viewing area closes at 5:30 p.m. Grab a pâté sandwich from any of the roadside vendors and picnic while you wait for the evening show.

Peace of Angkor Tours; +855 63 760 475;;

White Bicycles; +855 92 332 730;

Also on CNNGo: 12 stylish boutique hotels in Cambodia

2. Visit the other temples

Alternative Angkor temples

Angkor — perfect to find your inner Indiana.

Siem Reap has more than just Angkor Wat when it comes to temples. If you fancy yourself as a Cambodian Indiana Jones, visit Beng Mealea, where you can see what the temples would look like if left to nature.

Full-day tours typically combine with a trip to Koh Ker, an ancient capital city, or stop at Banteay Srey 2, a rarely visited temple and working monastery where you can hear monks chanting.

If you’re after a taste of the “real” Cambodia, sign up for a tour of the Tonle Sap fishing villages, where you can see traditional stilt architecture, floating rice paddies and talk to local fishermen who might invite you home for a very freshly caught lunch.

It’s worth the extra time to venture farther afield — the nearest village, Chong Khneas, is swamped with tourists and feels like a human zoo. To make it a full day, choose a tour that also visits the bird sanctuary or any of several nearby NGO projects.

Beyond Unique Escapes (+855 77 562 565;; offers tours of the main temples, remote temples, Tonle Sap Lake and more.

Osmose Tours (+855 12 832 812;; organizes tours of Tonle Sap Lake villages, the Prek Toal bird sanctuary and local NGO projects.

Also on CNNGo: 10 Cambodian dishes you’ve got to try

3. Hire a tuk-tuk tour guide

Tuk-tuk tour guide

Smash! Bash! Kapow! Hopefully not the sounds of your maiden trip.

Even tuk-tuk fans will quickly understand why every market stall offers T-shirts emblazoned with: “No tuk-tuk. Not today. Not tomorrow,” but don’t let the aggressive hawkers intimidate you into missing out on a quintessentially Cambodian ride.

Tuk-tuks are the local taxis, and the easiest way to get around Siem Reap. You can get anywhere in the main city for US$2, while good negotiators should be able to talk drivers down to a dollar. Tip the driver well and you’ll have a friend for life, plus an eager tour guide who will show you the best of Siem Reap. Bonus points if you can find the “VIP Batman” tuk-tuk.

Tuk-tuk tour guides:

Angkor Wat Tuk Tuk Tours: 855 92 465-282,,

Siem Reap Tuk Tuk Driver: 855 17 839-140,,

Both offer tours of Angkor’s small circuit temples for US$15 but can arrange tours anywhere in the area.

Within the city:

You can find a tuk-tuk for quick trips in Siem Reap anywhere. Be sure to negotiate a price up front, most trips within the city are US$1-3.

4. Eat bugs at the Old Market

Siem Reap old market

You get fed, the streets get de-bugged.

At Phsar Chas, the Old Market, you can get a feel for a real Cambodian market.

Baskets of spices, multicolored arrays of fresh produce, crispy fried tarantulas and meats from octopus to chicken feet create a bizarre foodie circus.

If you’re looking for something a little tamer, there are hawkers selling fried banana kebabs, roasted corn on the cob, or banana-chocolate pancakes (the vendor at the corner closest to Warehouse has a loyal following).

If you’re too busy temple-touring during the day, you can still get the market experience at the Angkor Night Market.

Old Market Area; 5 a.m.–6 p.m. for most vendors, between Street 9, Street 11, 2 Thmou St. and Pokombor Avenue

Angkor Night Market; 4 p.m.–12 a.m.; Old Market Area; 855 92 654 315;

Also on CNNGo:  Last of the elephant riders

5. Get a fishy foot massage

fishy foot clean

The only time sticking your feet into a bunch of fish makes them cleaner.

After a long day of temple-trekking, give your worn-out feet a little TLC to prepare for the next day’s adventures.

Spas offering reflexology, massages and more can be found at any hotel,but the independent Frangipani also gets consistently high marks and Spa Indochine’s traditional treatments are freshly prepared with local ingredients each day.

If you’re not looking to splurge, the area around Pub Street is lined with dozens of shops. A half-hour reflexology treatment runs about US$5, or try a “fish massage” — tiny fish will nibble dead skin from your toes. The going rate is US$1 for 15 minutes or US$3 for 20 minutes and a can of Angkor.

Frangipani Spa; +855 12 9820 062;

Spa Indochine (Hotel de la Paix); +855 63 966 000;

Also on CNNGo: Cambodia: No longer a one-temple pony

6. People-watch on Pub Street

pub street siem reap

Want a pub? This is where to go.

Pub Street is Siem Reap’s party hub, so grab a drink (or a scoop of Siem Reap’s best ice cream at Blue Pumpkin) and soak it all up.

Start your evening at Red Piano, on the corner. The French cuisine is good, but it’s best known as Angelina Jolie’s haunt while filming “Tomb Raider.”

Try her favorite cocktail — Cointreau, lime and tonic — now named for the movie, and if you’re the lucky 10th buyer, it’s on the house.

Continue down the road to find a spot for dinner. All the restaurants offer reasonably priced Western and local food, but Soup Dragon’s eponymous fare always brings a crowd, and just two doors down is “Angkor What?” bar.

Inscriptions on the walls and tables attest to this old favorite’s popularity, and it’s always one of the last to close.

If you’re not quite digging the backpacker vibe, duck down a small side street in search of Miss Wong, a classy cocktail bar that will transport you back to 1930s Shanghai and a good refuge from the madness one street over.

Angkor What?: Pub Street, Siem Reap; +855 12 490 755

Blue Pumpkin: 563 Mondol 1, Siem Reap; +855 63 963 574;

Miss Wong: The Lane, Siem Reap; +855 92 428 332

Red Piano: 341 Mondol 1, Siem Reap; +855 63 963 240;,

Soup Dragon 2 Thnou St.; +855 63 964 933

7. Watch a traditional Apsara dance

Apsara performance

The elegance of history, today.

If your taste in nightlife is a little more highbrow than Pub Street’s manic antics, get a look at more traditional Cambodian culture with a Khmer dance show named for the “heavenly dancers” adorning the Angkor temples.

Most tourists opt for a dinner and performance combo offered at any of a number of local hotels and restaurants, but get a recommendation as cost and quality vary widely.

Apsara Terrace at the Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor is known for its impressive classical dance and martial arts performances and delectable barbecue buffet on Monday/Wednesday/Friday , but be prepared for fine dining prices.

Angkor Village Hotel’s Apsara Theater offers a more reasonable dinner show every day at 8 p.m., but it’s relatively pricey with average sights and tastes.

If you want the culture without blowing your budget, Temple Balcony offers a free Apsara performance. You’ll have to buy a mediocre dinner, but sometimes you get what you pay for.

Apsara Terrace, Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor; 1 Vithei Charles De Gaulle Khum Svay Dang Kum, Siem Reap; +855 63 963 888;

Apsara Theater, Angkor Village Hotel; Wat Bo Road, Siem Reap; +855 63 963 531;

Temple Balcony; On Pub Street, Siem Reap; +855 12 234 565 / 730 930

Also on CNNGo: 10 Cambodian dishes you’ve got to try

8. Give back

Green Star Restaurant

The tastiest way to help local kids.

Responsible tourism is a Siem Reap buzzword, and the many NGOs who have set up shop make getting involved easy.

Get in touch with the folks at ConCERT Cambodia, who can connect you with any of Siem Reap’s organizations and help you choose an activity that fits with your interests and schedule.

Even if you don’t volunteer, don’t miss out on the easiest (and tastiest) way to support local kids: dinner at one of Siem Reap’s teaching restaurants. Your taste buds will thank you, too — the food is some of the best authentic Khmer you’ll find.

Green Star’s fried corn is legendary, and Sala Bai and Jardin des Delices get standout reviews as well.

ConCERT Cambodia; +855 63 963-511;;

Green Star; South end of Wat Bo Road, Siem Reap; +855 92 255 241;

Le Jardin des Délices; Ecole Paul Dubrule, Airport Road, Siem Reap; +855 63 963-673;; Reservations recommended

Sala Bai; 155 Phum Tapoul, Siem Reap; +855 63 963 329;

9. Take on a Khmer cooking class

Khmer cuisine

It’s always shame to devour food that looks this good.

If you’re hooked on Cambodia’s delicious curries, take in a traditional cooking class and you’ll be able to satisfy your cravings after leaving Siem Reap.

Khmer chef instructors will guide you through local markets and identify all the mysterious ingredients you’ll need to create your culinary masterpiece. Then don your apron and chef’s hat and prepare two dishes of your choice at Le Tigre de Papier.

The fish amok, Cambodia’s national dish, is a must try, as are the green mango salad and fresh spring rolls — plus a sticky rice dessert.

You can buy a cookbook whose proceeds support a local NGO.

Cooks ‘N Tuk Tuks; 113 Mondul 111 Phoum Treang, Siem Reap; +855 63 963 400;;

Le Tigre de Papier; On Pub Street, Siem Reap; +855 12 265 811;;

10. Find the perfect souvenir

Artisans d

Bespoke shoes for US$12? We’ll take six.

Clearly, some of the souvenirs on sale are tacky and irrelevant. But in a country admired for its traditional handicrafts it’s definitely worth a splurge (by Cambodian standards, anyway) on a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

Angkor Making Shoes will craft bespoke kicks for just US$12, with a swift turnaround time to suit travelers’ schedules. Looking for silks? Try Samatoa, offering customized silk clothes in under 24 hours with free delivery to your hotel.

If you’re short on time, head to Artisans d’Angkor. Prices are higher than you’d find elsewhere, but so is the quality, whether you’re after classic Cambodian checkered scarves, luxurious silk and sculptures, or premixed spice packets to help you bring the flavors of Cambodia black home.

Categories: Cambodia, Top 10 | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: