The Angkor Wat temple complex is among the most photographed spots in the world, with its distinctive structure enough to tell anyone you’ve been to Cambodia. However, the temple isn’t the only thing worth dropping by.
Before we go any further, be informed that Cambodia’s Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat temple complex can get very hot depending on the time of year visited. Whilst this maybe irrelevant if you are lounging by the pool at your handpicked boutique hotel, it’s certainly relevant if you are exploring temples. The general rule of thumb when visiting Angkor Wat is to start early (preferably at sunrise) and finish early. It will leave you with enough time to virtually do a full-day exploration in the temple complex even if you leave at lunchtime.
Image Source: Pixabay
When it comes to accommodation in Siem Reap, you really are spoilt for choice. There are a few big-name chain hotels in town. If you prefer smaller hotels with a more personal touch, the best Siem Reap luxury boutique hotels are best booked with the help of a specialist Cambodia tour operator. These specialist tour operators can take care of everything, from your hotel booking, to Angkor Wat entrance fee, to guided tour and can also provide you with a wealth of information about optional cultural activities that you may or may not be interested in.
Please see below for a few of the gems that might not usually make the itinerary of the average visitor to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat.
Some of the elements listed below may be known to some people.
1. Preah Vihear
This temple in the north of Cambodia is around a 4-hour drive from Siem Reap and Cambodia’s only other UNESCO World Heritage Site aside from Angkor Wat. In recent years access to this temple has been restricted due to an ongoing conflict with Thailand who also claimed the temple as their own. (The temple is accessible from both Thailand and Cambodia at the time of writing) Preah Vihear has now been declared safe for visitors.
2. Beng Mealea
Approximately a 90-minute drive from Siem Reap, Beng Mealea is slowly being reclaimed by nature. With a few rudimentary props and walkways installed, you can see Beng Mealea in almost the same way as when it was discovered. Although not totally devoid of other tourists, Beng Mealea is a great place to really get into explorer mode.
Image Source: Unsplash
3. Banteay Srei
One of the many outlying temples in the Angkor complex, it is located approximately 45 minutes’ drive from Siem Reap and is said to be amongst the beautiful of Angkorian temples. With far fewer visitors that centrally located sights, Banteay Srei is a perfect place to reflect and admire the near flawless carvings that adorn this magnificent structure.
The hidden delights detailed above don’t even scratch the surface of Cambodia’s ancient history. Your specialist Cambodia tour operator will be able to help you design a bespoke itinerary that meets with your interests and schedule.
1st Image Source: Unsplash
Disclaimer: This article is published in partnership with Mediabuzzer.
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