Angkor Wat, Siem Reap: Real Life Temple Run in Cambodia

Angkor Wat is considered as one of the most significant archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. It is located around 5 kms away from the town proper. Prior to our arrival, I’ve already contacted Sam Tuktuk for our tour in Siem Reap. I decided to book Mr. Sam because he has a lot of good reviews in Tripadvisor. 
on our way to Angkor Wat
I am a budget traveler but for this trip, I decided to hire a tour guide. That’s so not me I know! But there are three reasons why I hired a tour guide: First, Maki and I are first timers in Siem Reap so I thought a local guide can provide us tips on how to travel cheaply in their country. Second, being a history buff, I want to learn the history of this ancient city. There are so many things you won’t pick up from travel blogs or books about Siem Reap and lastly to support local tourism. 
that’s or tour guide Nhev
On our way to Angkor Wat, Nhev our tour guide, discussed some interesting things about Cambodia’s most famous ancient temple. Contrary to popular belief that Europeans discovered Angkor, the Khmers never forgot the existence of their monuments. In fact, Nhev was a former resident of Angkor! It was only after 1990 that they were relocated because the researchers found out that a presence of a community inside Angkor can lead to its breakdown. 
not a fortune teller

Upon entering the complex, I initially noticed the intricate stone carvings on the walls. They are covered with carved reliefs that illustrate Hindu mythology, story about gods, Hindu epics, wars and battles of the Kings and so much more. Some parts do not allow touching of these carvings, but some part allows it. The photo below is an apsara or female spirit of the clouds. 

The stairs to the upper level of the temple are immensely steep. It’s impossible to climb it without these wooden stairs. Nhev said it was built that way because reaching the kingdom of the gods is no easy task. 

thanks to this wooden stairs

Another interesting sight in Angkor Wat is the gigantic moat surrounding the temple complex. I initially thought it was built for aesthetic purposes but learned it was created as a reservoir. Nhev said its primary purpose is to collect water from monsoon rain and store it for the dry months.
aerial view of Angkor Wat
photo source

Building a complicated irrigation system seems a little odd to me because Angkor Wat is located on the edge of Tonle Sap which is Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake. They could have just built a simple canal from the lake to the Ancient city. But according to Nhev, Tonle Sap’s elavation is lower than the city and it was impossible to make the water run uphill. Instead, they created impressive canals, dams and reservoirs that will provide water all year-round. Who could have imagined this type of technology existed hundreds of years ago! Whoever designed this ancient mega structure must have a serious case of OCD.

my favorite!

Before I knew it, we were already in our Tuk tuk driving our way back to town. Time passes by too fast on each visit to these temples. There is just too much things to see and discover that you will feel it’s never enough. I always hear people had temple overload in Siem Reap, but for me it was not the case. Here, each temple has a different story to tell. From the pages of my history books to real life, Angkor Wat wins in the WOW department.  It is definitely a place you should visit before you die. And oh! If you ever find yourself in Siem Reap, do not miss to try out their de facto national dish Amok


  1. Hello BaChi!
    Tuktuk tour for one day costs $10. If you will hire a tour guide it will cost you more, If I am not mistaken we paid $20 for the tour guide (for one day only). Temple pass for three days costs $40 (per person). Ergo, the number of people traveling affects the total cost so if you are a solo traveler, you have to allot $70 for the tour for three days. Hoe this helps! 🙂

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