The main reason why people come to Siem Reap is to visit the nearby temples of Angkor.
While most people think that the whole complex is called Angkor Wat, that is actually only one of the temples from the Angkorian period.
I decided to opt for the 3 day pass (although I only ended up going two days - I was a bit templed out by the end) since it was the same price as the two day.
We started off at Angkor Wat, the magnificent temple complex surrounded by a huge moat.
We decided to get a tour guide here and I'm glad that we did - it gave us a good idea of the history of all of the temples that followed as well.
Our guide was awesome, and even got us to take a selfie.
We got up bright and early our second day to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat, but it was unfortunately super cloudy so it was a bit of a bust.
Angkor Thom and Bayon Temple
Angkor Thom is the old capital city, and is quite a large complex. It has a wall around the whole area, which takes a while to drive through.
At the center is Bayon temple, one of my faves.
It has a ton of Angkorian faces that are still intact.
All of the Buddha and Singha (lion) statues were defaced during the 12-13th century when a new king came into power and decided to change the national religion from Buddhism to Hinduism.
Since one of the Hindu gods also ha four faces, he decided to leave this temple more or les untouched.
It was amazing to climb up the temple and see all of the huge faces all around.
Phnom Bakheng Temple
At the end of our first day, we saw the sunset on Phnom Bakheng temple.
It is quite tall, so you have a great view overlooking the surrounding forest.
It also gives a beautiful hue to the ruins.
Hands down my fave temple here, Ta Prohm is one of the only temples that has been taken over by the jungle.
It is so wonderfully mysterious to see the mossy temple with huge tree roots climbing over the walls.
We wandered around the complex for about an hour before anyone else arrived - one of those rare tourist-free moments at the temples of Angkor ;)
Gotta love those trunks.
We made the trek out to Banteay Srai, which is 37km away from the rest of the temples.
It is one of the most intricately carved temples, with the details still intact.
There were mobs of people when we arrived, but we were still able to appreciate the grandeur thanks to the roped off sections ;)
People seriously have zero concept of takin your turn to take a picture and then carry on for someone else to take a snapshot. Boggles my mind.
Overall, my time spent at the temples of Angkor was wonderful. It is an amazing snapshot into the past.
I was a bit burnt out by the end of the second day since I had already been to a bunch of old temples the two previous days, but I can understand how people can spend about a week seeing all of the temples.
It gets ridiculously hot (I mean, HAWT!) at midday, so it's best to go early in the morning, return to Siem Reap for lunch, and come back at around 3pm.
If you can handle it, the crowds are a bit sparser at midday, so if you're looking for a more intimate time with ze temples, that's the time to go!
However, the temples are always busy, so I wouldn't get your hopes up too much ;)
One thing that I found a bit difficult to deal with was the hordes of children selling things like bracelets, guide books, bongos, postcards and magnets. Their wares were usually pretty cheap, so I felt guilty not buying anything, but it's that awkward feeling of not wanting to perpetuate them staying out of school when they can make so much money off of tourists this way.
'Okay lady, you buy four for one dollar. Okay lady, you buy four for one dollar. Okay lady...'
It's a bit exhausting. I ended up buying some stuff, but I didn't really know how to feel about it.
Anywho, obviously the temples themselves are amazing as one of the wonders of the world ;)
Definitely a must-see!