Thursday, 8 September 2011

Lots to do in Siem Reap

We have just returned from a 5-day trip to Siem Reap, a province located in northwestern Cambodia, on the shores of the Tonle Sap lake.

Siem Reap is also the gateway to Angkor region. Naturally, the main attraction here is the Angkor Wat, a temple complex of the Angkor built for the king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city.

We arrived bleary-eyed at 5.30am to witness the sun rising over the five towering gopuras.

We left Angkor Wat just as the morning sun was casting a golden glow on the building, to continue exploring the many other temples nearby.

Besides visiting temples, you must also make a trip to Tonlé Sap, the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. It is an amazingly huge floodplain that is home to many communities living in floating villages around the lake. We went on a sunset cruise one evening to catch the dramatic sunset.

We also took a half-day boat-trip to witness the thriving village built on stilts.

Another must-do is to take a ride on the ubiquitous tuk-tuk. They are a cheap and fun way to move around but they do kick up quite a lot of dust. I have many pimples on my face now.

You must also try the local Khmer food! There is no shortage of restaurants in the city but we ate at Khmer Kitchen twice because the food here is good and clean.

You might also enjoy the Khmer cultural show especially the elegant Apsara dance.

The highlight of our trip was a visit to Savong Orphan Centre. When our friends told us about the orphanage, we decided to make it part of our trip.

The children here are well looked after by Mr Savong, an admirable young man who not only set up the orphanage, he also provides free education and scholarships for the older village children and offers free healthcare for the villagers nearby.

We brought bags of clothes, books and gifts for the kids. And we spent the morning teaching and playing with them. Thanks to Savong, these inquisitive and energetic kids have a place to stay and obtain some education.

Happy kids in their new clothes and shoes.

Stay tuned. I'll be blogging more about the trip.


Wen-ai said...

Very nice! I've always wanted to go siem Reap but somehow just didnt have the chance... ... Gotta make a point to go. When Beanie is bigger then.

Anonymous said...

A meaningful trip! Good for you!

Malar said...

So beautiful sunrise pictures!
I miss the sunset at Angkor during my trip as it was gloomy day!

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