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Siem Reap

Siem Reap or Siem Riep is the most famous tourism city of Cambodia. It is a small city as Hue city of Vietnam with many green trees. Siem Reap is also the name of a small river which flows through the city centre and then meets Tonle Sap.  Yearly, Siem Reap welcomes millions of tourists all over the world to visit and explore the unique of Angkow Wat Temple. Angkor Wat is the historical site of Suryavarman II Reign in the beginning of 12th Century.

Today Siem Reap has the large network of big hotels, restaurants, bars, stores and shopping malls as well as mini hotels and guesthouses. Besides, visit Siem Reap and discover ancient temples, you can enjoy Apsara dance as traditionally of Cambodia girls or make a boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake, fishing village.

You can travel to Siem Reap by road, river or plane. In the end of 1992, UNESCO recognized Angkor is a World Heritage Site. You should choose hotel near Old Market once you visit Siem Reap for easy to travel around. The Old Market is the place which most of tourists gather at night to wander around, buy souvenir gifts, and have a coffee.

There are many transports in Siem Reap by bicycle, electric bicycle, motorbike, tuk tuk, car/van, helicopter and hot air ballon. And the most convenient transport to travel around Siem Reap is electric bicycle to visit Angkor. There is direction maps show how to visit Angkor clearly. Must see sites in Siem Reap are Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm, Phnom Bakheng, Banteay Srei, Preah Khan…

Angkor Wat is a great construction with in detail curves and uniquely, however, it is needed to preserve before the damage of nature and human. On the first time to see Angkor Wat among jungle of Cambodia, the adventurer of French name Henri Mouhot was surprise at the great historical site without knowing it is true and in dream.

Angkor consists of 259 temples on the area of forest 40 km2 surrounding town in North of Siem Reap. After the peace, this land has been well known to tourists for 30 years. On the first since 1970s hotels, guesthouses were full on Lunar New Year when it is the holiday of Asia.

Once you come Angkor you can see the secret and unique as seeing Chichen Itza of Ancient Maya in Mexico. Thanks to the amount of tourists come Cambodia and Siem Reap as a result there are daily flights from Bangkok airport to Siem Reap for having more convenient to visit this site.  Although the number of tourists to Angkor is increasing more and more, it gives out the concern about of the preservation Angkor. UNESCO sent a plan for government about the environment policy and stressed the important of “tourism control”. UNESCO isnot the only association to worry about this, there are many other foreign organizations are efforting to support the preservation and conservation this world heritage site such as Japan, German, Italy.

Angkor Wat is about 20 km from Phnom Penh Capital built under the reign of Suriyawarman II King. Angkor Wat was to worship Visnu God of Indian at first but later when Khmer dynasty promoted Buddhism, Angkor Wat became the temple where worshipped Buddhist. Angkor Wat was forgotten after the reign of Khmer moved to Phnom Penh in 15th century. It was rediscovered in 1860 by Herri Mouhot

With the area of 200 hecta, Angkor Wat is the only mountain temple in Cambodia has the main entrance at the west, the direction of the sun sets. The Temple has four floors, when you walk higher; it is narrower and expresses the image of Meru Mountain cosmic of India. Visnu was worshipped here with the main temple has 398 rooms and the art of curved stones in the ceiling, terraces…to show the power and the skill of ancient Khmer people. The design of the temple has the harmony and beauty with a big scale. Angkor Wat is one of the must see and attracts more and more people come here and visit its beauties.

Angkor Thom is a famous temple in Angkor Wat. Angkor Thom has the meaning is great city which was built by Jayavarna VII after Angkor Wat 100 years covered by stone wall and canal 3km and was the last capital of Angkor Empire. After King Jayavarman VII, there are five entrances with four directions which the centre is Bayon Temple. The summit of each entrance fee is called Gopuras is the four big faces curved in the stone with the dim eyes look over 4 directions. South Gate is one of the symbols of Angkor.

Two entrances on the long road lead to Gopuras are stone statuses with each line of 54 statuses. God is in the left and monter is in the right which created 108 legend characters who protected and preserved the gate. All gods and monsters keep snack body of Laga on their knee which last with the statue on the long road to Gopuras.

Angkor Thom has the attraction as Angkor Wat. In the ruin scenery and walk around the big stones on Bayon Temple, it is very easy to see human head statues with a secret smile when you look every direction. There are total 256 stone faces on 54 towers look from Bayon Temple. The entrance fee to Angkor Thom is very impressive with two sides of god status and seven heads snack with the length of hundreds meters

The centre of Angkor Thom is Bayon Temple with four gates as four directions. Phimeanakas Palace is next to Bayon to the Northwest. From here there is a road to the East has a gate called Victory. Therefore, Angkor Thom has two centers that show two different history periods. Now, Angkor Thom is a ruin remain and inside is the jungle with high trees, vines everywhere so it is difficult for you to see a city, ancient temples and palaces.

Bayon Tower is in the centre of Angkor Thom with towers 04 faces secretly. At first, Bayon had only 49 towers or more than 54 towers with total 216 faces by big stones with the similar point of secret faces. However, today you only see 37 towers remain as original. Bayon smile is a big secret with people. There are three hypotheses for this smile. First is the face of Loksvara – a God of Mahayana Buddhism. Second is the combination of Buddha portrait and Jayavarman VII King. Third is the combination of Vishnu’s God statue and Jayavarman VII King. However, it may be the combination of three statues of Vishnu, smile of Buddha and the face of Jayavarman VII King. 

Ta Prohm Temple is about 1km to the East of Angkor Thom on the south bank of Baray Dong Lake. As history book, this is the first temple which Jayavarman VII built from the end of XII century to the beginning of XIII century with the area of 650,000 sqm as the style of Bayon. This is also the mausoleum of the Queen Jayarajachidamani – mother of Jayavarman VII King and the teacher of the King is Jayamangalartha.

The original for the name of Rajavihara means Royal Temple. On the peak time of the Reign there were more than 12,500 habitants with the rich life, a lot of materials such as gold, pearl and cloths. After Angkor Reign destroyed, Ta Prohm Temple was forgotten until the beginning of XX century while the reborn of Angkor, Ta Prohm Temple gradually is well known. Among Tung and Konia tree’s roots as the big hand covers towers, big stones and different shapes of tree’s roots created an impressive in the feeling of tourists. In front of the beauty and the attraction from all direction of this construction, Ta Prohm becomes the attraction and impression for tourists all over the world thanks to the Tomb Raider

Phnom Bakheng is the ideal place to enjoy sunset over the mountain. The sunset can see everywhere, however, enjoy it from the summit of a high mountain is a great minute. Belong to Angkor, Phnom Baheng is the temple of Hindu built on the high hill at the end of IX century during the reign of Yasovarman King. It is on the wonderful location to catch sun lights hidden over the hill summit and disappear. To get on the summit tourist must overcome by walking and trekking through curve road, stones everywhere and your wish will come after the distance of 200m with difficult to walk for enjoying the sunset. The temple welcomes with the ruins, destroyed scence as other temples. Many stones, steps which have been faded by the time. The foundation of the temple was made by big stones arranged step by step straightly as original under the moss cover around. The architecture of the temple was built as pyramic consists of seven floors with the distance of 4km canal surrounding and the heigh 200m. The temple is as the main point of the complex for stones with all sizes as a wall. To trek up the summit tourist must trek to one side, bow and cling to slipper moss-covered rocks. Once put your step on the summit it will give you a different feeling without saying by word, the wind and air is very fresh, cloud and the light as the harmorny plus human to enjoy the nature beauty. The sunset of each day is different from each other so once you get here you will have a different scenery of sunset over the mountain. It will never repeat, a strange light from the sky with a new feeling as the afternoon is falling and the sunlight as a bright in a corner of sky.  A peaceful life associated with wonderful minutes of nature give you unforgettable time.

Ta Keo temple is the rarely known in Angkor. This is the big temple and very little tourists visit it which was built from 10th Century until it was finished forgotten. As the tale, when the temple was almost finished, it was destroy by lightning, it was considered a bad omen because God was angry. As a result this temple didn’t continue building. Ta Keo has been a ruin since it wasnot finished yet. It will be great to enjoy the panorama of Angkor complex from the highest floors of the temple.

Preah Khan is a big stone temple of Angkor and a must see destination in Siem Reap. In 1911, 10 years later of being a King, Jayavarma VII built this temple to present for his father is Dharanindra in the harmony with Ta Prohm Temple. Preah Khan is one of the monuments of Angkor which still remains as original. The archaeological inscriptions were written by Sanskrit and reveal the name of temple was Jayasri. So, two names Jayasri and Preah Khan mean God Sword. Built as Bayon style, Preah Khan was a big monastery at first with 1000 monsks studied and trained. It was a real city with the whole habitants which was managed and divided into many different areas as their functions. Preah Khan was also a place of Jayavarma VII lived temporary during the time building the Palace at Angkor Thom.  To welcome tourists at the front gate is two stone statue lines, it symbolizes for good and bad each side. Each statue line hold in hand Naga snake with seven heads hundred meters with most of the statues don’t have the head. At the end of a large stone yard is the gate of temple built as Bayon typical style but very simple because there are no smile faces.

The right gate is the only entrance to walk inside the first wall. The distance between two gates is about 1 meter but it is very dark and makes people hurry to follow people ahead. To get into the main temple you must walk through a soil road with two sides are convolve forest quietly. The main gate of the temple has two stone statues in two sides without head with Apsara dancer on the walls. Preah Khan has a glorious beauty and unbelievable with dense constructions, in details and complex.

Bakong is a temple built since 09th century, the scenery at Bakong is very quiet and has a canal surrounding. There are many trees in the temple and it is very different from other temples. There isn’t much tourists visit this temple, just small group of 2 or 3 people and discover its beauty.

Pre Rupis the ancient Khmer temple with the symbol of pyramidal shape in the middle which was known as the Gods’ house as the concept of Hindu cosmology. Pre Rup is the temple which only for funeral so the architecture is the most beautiful with mountain towers of three floors by sandstone, with meticulously carved doors. Although it was destroyed, it was restored by French so the beauty of the temple can see when the sun is setting late afternoon.

Banteay Kdeiis in the Eastsouth of Ta Prohm and the west of Angkor Thom was built at the end of 12th century and the beginning of 13th century. This is the temple as Buddhism style as Ta Prohm and Preah Khan.

Neak Peanis a small temple which before lied in the middle of handmade pool called Jayatataka. This is an old handmade pool which was from Siem Reap River and old Angkor people used to manufacture their soil but it was completely dry and disappeared.

In the middle of the pool is a small islet and a tower with Naga Snake. It has four small rooms surrounding the islet. Each has a sprinkler and with the picture of elephant, lion, horse and man. From these sprinklers the water is very pure which is thought that for Pilgrims to wash their sims.

Boeung Tonle Sap Lake is a system in the combination between river and lake with the important role in Cambodia. This is the sweet lake which is biggest in South East Asia and it was recognized as World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1997. During year the Lake is very narrow and shallow only 1m and the area of 2,700 sqkm. In winter season from August to November, Tonle Sap Lake leads the water from Mekong River inside and make the water level of this lake higher and has the area of 16,000 sqkm with the dept is 9m as well as cause the flood for fields and forest surrounding the lake. The Lake is the residence of fish and has the diversity system with the largest amount of fish in the world. It creates the earning living for 3 millions people and supply 75% fish amount and 60% protein for Cambodian. The Lake plays the important role for regulating the water amount of Mekong River. Thanks Tonle Sap Lake, the amount of water in Nine Dragon Rivers of Vietnam is regulated in rainy season to limit flood and support water in dry season reasonably. The habitants on the Lake is typical because most of them are Vietnamese immigrated here since the first 20th century without studying and hard working and their lives depend on the lake. People live on floating houses, when the water level rises, they move along the water and near Siem Reap town. When the water level is down, they move far away as the water. It attracts tourists for its unique when they create floating village which everything can be purchased by boat. Nowadays, the service on the lake is developing day by day, many human associations raise fund and build school, church, pagoda for local people. There are also some ecology tourism services serve fresh foods in the middle of the lake.

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