Siem Reap in Cambodia is a very well known place , world wide as it is famous for the biggest Hindu temple , the temple of Angkor Wat. There are some wonderful architecture and history present in Angkor Wat temple and the other temples around it. When you visit this place , you would actually travel to prehistoric times , time of Khmer Kingdom and grand temples and wonderful carvings. The trees in the Ta Prohm temple tell us a story with each of its root spreading over the temple columns and structures. So come trot Siem reap with me with this blog-‘Siem Reap itinerary, 2 days in Siem Reap.
A similar place we visit with historical temples was Yogyakarta in Indonesia and you can read about that one here What to do in Yogyakarta? An interesting adventurous itinerary Jogja!
Travel from Singapore to Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
We were four of us travelling from Singapore, and direct flight to Siem Reap was expensive compared to the flights to Phnom Phen. We took the 2 hour direct flight to Phnom Phen, from where we had already booked the Car which would take us to Siem Reap. On the airport itself, we bought some food and a local sim card for ease of use.
The travel time from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is around 5-6 hours and is quite a comfortable journey. However the point to note is that there are not many food stops or restaurants on the way. Only very limited cafes. Hence the suggestion is to carry / pack food and bring for this journey.We had some yummy home made food, which helped us to survive the journey.
The first day of the Siem Reap itinerary ended by just reaching our hotel and calling it a night. We had plans of going to the floating village the next day.
Where to stay in Siem Reap.
Please be careful while choosing your accommodation and go with Boutique hotels and known hotel chains. We had booked a villa and felt we made a wrong decision as the place was not well maintained and also it was situated in not the main areas of Siem Reap. I suggest you book international hotels as the price is very less and for 40 USD you would get an amazing experience. Book your hotels here
Floating village on the first day of 2 days in Siem Reap.
Floating village is on the freshwater Tonle Sap lake. The lake is 120 Kms long and meets the Mekong river. The lake is fed by rainwater and so during the dry seasons it does not contain much water. when we visited the lake, and the floating village it was the dry season. Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast asia.
You can visit the floating village by travelling through a boat to the village. There are four mains village for you to choose from: Chong Kneas, Kampong Phluk, Kampong Khleang and Mechrey. Each village has its own beauty, But here are some tips for you to decide.
Chong Kneas is the closest village to Siem Reap (about 16 km), so if you have limited time, you should add this village to your Siem Reap itinerary The village has many floating houses that usually move due to the water level. In recent years, this village has has “earned” the bad reputation for tourist traps and scams. each village has its school, shpoitals, church etc. The floating village showcases the importance of the Tonle Sap lake.We went to this one as we were short in time and it seems like a good way to experience the floating village and not tire ourselves out.
Kampong Phluk is second to none when it comes to for experiencing the culture and floating village. Located within the floodplains of Tonle Sap, Kampong Phluk is famous for its flooded mangrove forest which surrounds the village itself. Kampong Phluk is actually a combination of three smaller towns, this floating village is about 30 km from Siem Reap which makes it a perfect destination for a half day tour or one day tour.
Kampong Khleang means “harbor warehouse”, which is perfect for a fishing village! This village has both stilled houses and floating houses, as well as other building types. This is the furthest village out of the four villages in this list from Siem Reap.on the way to Kampong Khleang, you will have a lot of chances to explore wildlife in Siem Reap day trip.
Exploring Pub street on our 2 days in Siem Reap tour.
Pub street is an amazing colorful place with lots of bars and restaurants. It feels more amazing because in the morning you visit places of Siem Reap which are historic in nature and then pub street is so well nestled with everything of our times. The street is commonly known as street 8 and provides a place to hang out after the beauty of the temple have been conquered.
Pub street is located at the south end of the central Siem Reap very close to the night market and old market. You get a lot of local cuisines along the Pub street , but you have fusion foods available as well. We had Mexican food and it was delicious. The walk around the pub street , with vendors selling juices and a lot of cake shops was an amazing experience. Fried Ice cream is also a must try.
We had bought the tickets to Angkor Wat on the first day, as that would give us entrance to the temple to see the sunset and get a feel of what awaits the next day when we go exploring the other temples. Prices of admission for foreign visitors to Angkor Wat are now set at $37 for a single day pass, $62 for a three-day pass and $72 for a weeklong pass. A picture of you is taken and is printed on the ticket to ensure only you can visit the temples and also for security purposes.
Sunset at Pre Rup- First night on our Siem reap itinerary.
There are a lot of places where you can view the sunset from,some place need the Temple visit pass and one of the places where our toto driver took us was Pre Rup temple. This temple mountain’s name, translated as ‘turn the body’ led people to believe it may have once been a mortuary temple, used for funeral ceremonies.
However, Pre Rup was King Rajendravarman II’s state temple. It was the second temple to be built at Angkor after the capital was relocated there, from Koh Ker, in the late 9th Century. A challenging climb to the top of the temple offers a sweeping view of the surrounding rice fields and jungle, making it the ideal spot to enjoy a sunset spectacle. The temple was beautiful but was a difficult climb to the top , the sunset was magical.
Visiting the breathtaking temples on the second day of 2 days in Siem Reap.
Every Siem Reap itinerary is made around these wonderful, majestic and archeological marvel temples around the aea. People end up spending weeks exploring the temple and knowing the history related to them. Some are happy to explore the temples in a day to feel and experience the history and the beauty. We spent our second day of the 2 days in Siem Reap exploring the below temples
Angkor Wat temple visit – Siem Reap Itinerary
A little history of Angkor Wat-
Angkor Wat was built in the early 12th century as a Hindu temple and it spreads around 400 acres. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. Its name means “temple city” in the Khmer language of the region, references the fact it was built by Emperor Suryavarman II, who ruled the region from 1113 to 1150, as the state temple and political center of his empire. Angkor Wat has remained to be an architectural marvel unlike anything else. It was “rediscovered” in 1840s by the French explorer Henri Mouhot, who wrote that the site was “grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome.”
The compliments and increasing visits to this place can likely be attributed to the temple’s design, which is supposed to represent Mount Meru, the home of the gods, according to tenets of both the Hindu and Buddhist faiths. Its five towers are intended to recreate the five peaks of Mount Meru, while the walls and moat below honor the surrounding mountain ranges and the sea.In 1992, it was named a Unesco World Heritage Site.Although visitors to Angkor Wat numbered in just the few thousands at the time, the landmark now welcomes some 500,000 visitors each year.
A little about our tour at Angkor Wat
We went for the sunrise tour as it is a little less crowded and the sun creates magic on this old beautiful structure lighting up all its towers. For the sunrise tour you need to wake up around 4:30 and be at the temple at the earliest. The reflection of the temple in the lotus lake is magnificent in view.
Please hire a local guide as they tell you about the history of the temple like the facts about the different entrance to the temple, how elephants helped get the stones during the construction, the different materials used, the wonderful reliefs on the walls etc and many more such wonderful stories which will help you really appreciate the beauty of the place. It is huge and it take quite some time to explore the place. The crowds are a little less, and you can hear the soothing sound of birds during your tour.
Bayon temple visit – Siem Reap Itinerary
This is far by the best temple we visited. The 216 faces carved into the temple is architectural brilliance and makes it a surreal experience. It feel the structures can speak. It is believed that faces bear a close resemblance to Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, and hence you walk across the stone labyrinth you get a feeling that someone is watching you.
There are many details to the temple and to the faces especially the smile on the face which looks enigmatic but bordering at creepy. The Bayon is a Buddhist site but Hindu elements can still be seen in its architecture. Imagine 54 big towers having around 216 faces Who the faces belong to is still a debate and it could be do Lord Buddha as well.
The gate of Angkor Thom and the terrace of elephants- Siem Reap Itinerary
What a site it is to watch. Mostly your tuktuk driver will stop right in front of the figure of serpent heads that formed a fan. There were queues of massive statues skirting both edges of a causeway that led to a spectacular 23-m tall, three-towered, four-faced gate.This is ta the South gate of Angkor Thom.
The five gates are:
- South Gate – connects Bayon to Angkor Wat
- North Gate
- West Gate
- Victory Gate – connects Bayon to Ta Prohm and Thommanon
- East Gate – also known as Gate of the Dead
We noticed that the statues on the right side of the causeway were all looking furious. Apparently, they are supposed to be demons, and those on the left are gods. Both rows of mythical beings are pulling a nine-headed naga (serpent) on what looks like a game of tug-o-war. The demons are all looking mad, while the gods wear a more peaceful expression. Both sets have headdresses but those on the gods are cone-shaped. Many of the figures are missing their heads and other parts of their bodies.
Baphuon Temple- Siem Reap Itinerary
This temple is still currently being put back together, which is why you’ll see the yard in front of it covered with mismatched bricks.Built in the mid-11th century, it is a three-tiered temple mountain built as the state temple of Udayadityavarman II dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva.The name translates to “temple-mountain”. It got this name because of its steep stairs which are taking the visitors right to the terrace which is offering breathtaking views of the Angkor Archaeological Park. For a real thrill, climb the stairs in the back — it’s the steepest, scariest staircase I’ve ever seen. I’m still shocked I made it down unscathed! But the feeling of achievement after climbing to the top is pretty unbelievable.
Separated from the gopura of the temple there is a long duplex road length of 200 m On both sides of the road preserved natural ponds, and closer to the temple on the North side is an artificial pool filled with water. In the middle of the road there is a cross-shaped pavilion with two entrances-exits, served, apparently, down to the small ponds and the pool.The gopura dome shape resembles a Lotus Bud.
Ta Prohm or the tomb-raider temple- Siem Reap Itinerary.
Ta Prohm ruins are in a state of beauty and the place is mysteriously magical. It is definitely very crowded because of the fame it got from the movie Tomb Raider. So it is nearly impossible to find it empty for good photographs or peaceful exploration. The temple is held together and has grown with the roots of the old trees. It seems both of them have grown stronger in each other’s shadows. It is an other-world experience to visit this place and we were lost in its beauty.
Ta Prohm is a temple of towers, closed courtyards and narrow corridors. Many of the corridors are impassable, clogged with jumbled piles of delicately carved stone blocks dislodged by the roots of long-decayed trees. Bas-reliefs on bulging walls are carpeted with lichen, moss and creeping plants, and shrubs sprout from the roofs of monumental porches. Trees, hundreds of years old, tower overhead, their leaves filtering the sunlight and casting a greenish pall over the whole scene.
After this you would be mostly templed out for the day and would want a relaxed evening of massage and shopping.
Best place to get a massage and one thing you must buy.
Highly recommended from a personal experience, one of the the best massage place in Siem reap is Muditha Spa. It is very clean and a beauty , reasonable priced for the feel and experience you get here. Highly recommended place for a massage.
Please do buy a painting whatever size you prefer. They are prices reasonable and they are so artistic and beautiful, you get a lot of options but I brought one of the Bayon Temple and when I see the one I bought it brings back the peace and memory of a what a great time we have in 2 days in Siem Reap.