We spent most of our time in Siem Reap at Angkor Wat wandering through the ruins. It’s the largest religious site in the world covering over 402 acres. It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple of the God Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, gradually transforming into a Buddhist temple toward the end of the 12th century. Our tuk tuk driver, Mr Vung, drove us around the entire complex for two days and I still don’t think we saw all of it! Ta Prohm, one of the more popular ruins, was actually where Tomb Raider was filmed! Kinda cool!
Here is what we learned and some tips for Siem Reap!
- I would recommend spending two days at Angkor Wat. We planned for three but we really didn’t need it!
- Adhere to the dress code! No bare bellies or short shorts! Women will need to cover their shoulders when entering any sacred temple.
- Hire a tuk tuk driver for your time at Angkor Wat. You will need it to get around the huge area! A tour guide isn’t necessary (we didn’t use one) but is helpful for more information about the history.
- Pack water and snacks! There are some little shops for food but often they are overpriced.
- Stay in an Airbnb! We stayed in this one and LOVED it! It included an airport pick up as well as breakfast and complimentary water! The tuk tuk driver ended up being our main driver the entire stay! We loved him!
- Get a massage! Carson and I splurged at Mudita Spa for a day and it was super affordable for a couples package!
- We spent a few hours our last day at the Silk Factory and that is a great place for kids too! Spend some time learning about the Cambodian history and meet some locals!
- Another fun spot we LOVED for dinner was Pub Street and the night markets!
Our time in Cambodia taught me two things. One, it takes very little to be happy. The people of Cambodia are living on basically nothing and yet happy. We had some conversations with Mr Vung about Cambodia’s history and it really but things in perspective. The genocide and continuous struggle seemed so far away in my history books, but being there made it real. Secondly, I learned it’s our responsibility to do our part to take care of the world. Once we have the means to support ourselves, look outside and find ways to support others!
Thank you Cambodia for opening your culture to us! We will never forget our time there!