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  • Writer's pictureBriana Compean

Temple Run: Siem Reap

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I heard a lot about Siem Reap, specifically the ancient temples that are known around the world. After talking to backpackers who visited Cambodia, they suggested I book a hostel in the quiet town of Siem Reap as opposed to the craziness of Phnom Penh. To be honest Cambodia was a quick stop for me, there wasn’t anything I really wanted to do besides visit the infamous Angkor Wat temples. I took their advice and found a nice backpacker hostel. I was lucky enough for my friend Ploy in Thailand, to hook me up with my own personal tour guide for the time I was there. She knew this guy from her 3 trips to Cambodia and assured me he was a good person to give me a tour. My first day in Siem Reap he picked me up from my hostel and to my surprise took me to see the sunset at Angkor Wat.

The beauty of the main temple was breath taking, the way the sun hit the walls gave it a golden color, I wish the sun took longer to set because that hour before sundown was not enough. There was also less people around that time, which made the whole experience even better. I managed to roam around for an hour taking pictures before it closed. It was a perfect way to begin my Cambodian adventure. Afterwards I went back to my hostel and made a list of all that I wanted to experience.

The next day I headed for Angkor Wat again, the amount of people that were already there was a little intimidating. One of the cool things about the entrance is the bridge going across the lake, walking on it was almost like walking on a floating bounce house. Once I got to the front steps of Angkor Wat, I began my journey through the largest religious grounds in the world. I’m still amazed how people almost a thousand years ago created such an enormous structure. The carvings on the wall were so detailed I stayed to admire them longer.

The next famous temple was Bayon Temple known for its many faces. It’s definitely one of the popular ones, everyone seemed to rush over to get a selfie with a face. The whole temple was not very large, it took me 20 mins to look around, take pictures and admire the beauty, It is still worth it to see Bayon for yourself.

Ta Prohm most commonly known as ‘the tomb raider temple’ thanks to the Hollywood movie. Although I’ve never seen it I still thought it was cool to walk the grounds Angelina Jolie once did. The jungle surrounding Ta Prohm is now a part of the ruins themselves. You can see tree trunks consuming the roof of one temple, it’s like a scene out of Jumangi. The Cambodian government is trying to preserve the sacred temple, however, within a few years I wouldn’t be surprised if the jungle took over.

My first official day was a long one but very much worth it, for someone who likes history I loved being able to walk at my own pace taking in as much as possible. I consider my time here a once in a lifetime experience and the highlight of my time in Cambodia.

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