Crossing Borders: Cambodia Itinerary (Day 1)

Young monks taking rest in Angkor Wat

Backpacking Cambodia is a famous bucket list destination of many world travelers. This Southeast Asian country is famous for having the world's largest religious monument, the historical grandeur of Angkor Wat - made even more famous by Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie (ever watched Tomb Raider?)

It took us a long 16 hour cross border bus trip from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. When we arrived in the bus terminal of Siem Reap, it was almost midnight. Good thing our chosen accommodation in Cambodia offers free pick up service. We settled in our rooms and rested immediately.

Bou Savy Guesthouse, a TripAdvisor favorite

Bou Savy Guesthouse

Of all the guesthouses in Cambodia I decided to push through with Bou Savy Guesthouse mainly because of the many positive reviews at TripAdvisor - affordable rate, friendly staff, strategic location, good food and an available pool.

Click here to book at Bou Savy Guesthouse

Each of us paid $40 for this Cambodia tour covering out 3 nights accommodation with triple air-conditioned room with free wifi, daily breakfast, one time buffet dinner with Aspara Show, sightseeing tour with Tuk Tuk, complimentary drinking water for the trip, pick up and transfer services. 

We are all excited for the day's tour, the highlight of our Cambodia trip - exploring the majestic Angkor Wat Complex!

$20 one day Angkor Pass

We decided to just secure a one day pass. They will take a photo of you during the payment process, making our tickets great souvenir gems.

The tuk-tuk went with us inside the gates of the complex. Along the way, we can see a lot of backpackers riding on bicycles. But the most used means of transportation are the ever reliable tuk-tuk ride of Cambodia. 

Tuk-tuks are like tricycles in the Philippines and pretty similar with Thailand's tuktuk. But I love Cambodia's design more, they are more spacious, comfy and airy.

Our Tuktuk ride inside Angkor Wat Complex

Angkor Archaeological Park is a massive UNESCO World Heritage site located in the northern province of Siem Reap and the number 1 reason why travelers visit Cambodia. But more than its scenic beauty lies the many hidden wonders of Angkor Wat.

8 Good Reasons Why You Need to Visit Cambodia's Angkor Wat?

1. Khmer Empire

The Angkor Wat Complex bears testimony to the 9th to 13th centuries Khmer Empire's immense power and wealth, impressive art and culture, architectural technique and aesthetics achievements, as well as the variety of belief systems that it patronized over time.

2. Discover the many temples and historic buildings inside Angkor Archeological Park

In front of the Historic and famous Angkor Wat

Baphoun Temple

The many faces of Bayon Temple

Elephant Terrace

Ta Prom

Ta Prom

Cambodia's Ancient Library

3. Discover the stories how these temples were built

Our guide showing us Angkor's ancient pool 

Visitors are not required to hire a tour guide, but if you want to have a better understanding of the complexities of Angkor, you may want to hire one, like we did. There are many guides available who speaks many different languages. Our guide is a local and was really helpful making us feel comfortable and entertained throughout the tour. He feeds us with so much information, tips, mystery stories and was really kind to take our group photos to some areas where we wouldn't have known to hold so much religious importance.

4. Hot air balloons

I'm not really sure how you can take a ride on a hot air balloon. What I believe is, Angkor Wat complex would be breathtaking to see its grandness from above.

5. Architectural past

Be mesmerize with the ancient beauty of Angkor and its bas relief full of Apsara carvings. It's huge Archaeological Park spanning across 4000 sq km. It's like Disney to those who's into Ancient Architecture (or even UFO believers).

The complex has undergone many significant renovation due to its religious past.

6. Religion

Monks walking in Angkor Wat complex

Angkor Wat is originally a Hindu temple but became a Buddhist temple in the 14th century when Buddhism became a dominant religion. The temple was built as a mausoleum dedicated to the god Vishnu.

7. Discover the People of Angkor

Our friendly tour guide who can speak three languages 

young monks interacting with visitors

Khmer in Apsara csotumes

8. Native and Wild Animals

Elephants touring the visitors

Since elephants played a huge role in helping build the vast and unbelievable structures of the complex, these friendly creatures are now showing tourists their predecessors works of art.

A scorpion found in Angkor grounds

One travel tip: We traveled on the month of March, almost summer but it's already hot. Tourists have tendencies to wear sleeveless tops, and this is allowed...for most parts of the Angkor Archaeological Park. However, when we are about to enter Angkor Wat, the main highlight of this tour, our guide asked me and my cousin to change our tops. And so we bought a simple cotton shirt from a nearby souvenir shop inside the complex, expensive of course...So ladies, bring an extra shirt with sleeves.

In between tours, we took our scrumptious lunch at a restaurant somewhere inside complex and had a tasty fried pork rib with honey.

yummy Cambodian plate

After our temple filled tour, our tuktuk driver dropped us at a shop filled with gems and other luxury accessories. Sorry kuya, di namin trip ang mga alahas. Lol!

Eto ang trip namin...

Eto magandang combination - expectorant + Angkor Beer!

Night Out in Cambodia 

Cambodia's Pub Street

I was sweating a lot during our Indochina tour, I started to cough . So before my asthmatic bronchitis takes its full toll, better treat it asap. And the best place to get this treatment? Pub Street!!!

Siem Reap's Pub Street is pretty much the city's answer to Bangkok's Khao San Road. Both areas welcome travelers with lights, bars, loud music and that Asian chill out vibes where you will find a  lot of backpackers from all over the world. But I like Pub Street better, it's more "friendly" in my opinion.

After a full day of temple hopping, treat yourself to a good Asian massage

If you ever found anyone wearing these style of pants, chances are they've been to Thailand or Cambodia

We weren't really there to go through clubs and party but we had a great time just checking out shops after shops and of course didn't go home without getting a taste of Angkor beer. The sights of people, lights and music was enough to satisfy our curious selves.

Lakwatsarah with my auntie and Vietnam tee


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