This is a third installment of a 4-part blog post of our Laos and Cambodia trip. If you haven’t read a previous post, you may read it here [Exploring Laos and Cambodia (Part 2) — Vang Vieng to the Four Thousands Islands Region].
It was David’s and my second time in Siem Reap to visit Angkor Archeological Park. I had written a post about our first visit here. Despite having been here before, I was still looking forward to seeing the Angkor again. And I wasn’t disappointed.
The literal translation of Angkor Thom or Nokor Thom is the Great City. The ancient city of the Khmer Empire is located on the west bank of the Siem Reap River. Built some time in the late 12th century AD, Angkor Thom is thought to have been populated by up to 150,000 people. The city was abandoned some time prior to 1609. [Wikipedia]
Ta Prohm Temple
Ta Prohm Temple is probably one of the most recognizable temples in the Angkor Archeological Park. It was used as a location in the film Tomb Raider, which was released in 2001. It is interesting to see how the restoration of the temple is being done to stabilize the ruins while preserving the presence of the trees that are actively overtaking the ruins.
Built in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992. In my opinion, it rivals that of Ancient Greece and Rome. Add it to your bucket list of things to see.
The temple of Banteay Srei was built in the 10th century. It features intricate red sandstone carvings that resembles carving in wood. Seeing it the second time didn’t make it any less mind-blowing. It’s one of the must-see sites in the Angkor Archeological Park.
Visited new sites
During our second visit to the Angkor Archeological Park, we visited several sites that we had seen before, like Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and its Bayon Temple, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei. However, we also got an opportunity to visit three temples we haven’t visited in our first trip. There are always something new to see and they are equally amazing.
It had been ten years since our first visit to Siem Reap. It was clear that the town has become even more popular with visitors. There are a lot of business popping up to serve the booming tourism. One thing we found we didn’t like was many relentless souvenir sellers in front of the archeological sites, which we didn’t see during our first time. Despite that, we found that Siem Reap town, even with the increasing number of tuk-tuk drivers and street vendors, managed to remain its gentle and charming vibe. Good to see.
Both of our trips to Siem Reap, we visited the town in February, which is a dry season and peak season for tourism. Our tour guide suggested that, to avoid crowds, we should consider visiting the Angkor in June or first half of July. Although there is some rain, it doesn’t rain all day. Not only it’s less busy, but it’s also not as hot. I have seen pictures of some of the temples in the rainy season, I think if we get a chance to come back again, I want to come in the rainy season.