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visit to the temples: please help us decide the itinerary

Zurich
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visit to the temples: please help us decide the itinerary

Dear all,

we are going to Siem Reap to visit the temples in November this year. We are deciding our itinerary, we have extensively read this forum but I need some help from people who have been there. This is our plan:

Day 1 (7th Nov): Visit Siem Reap: the Angkor National Museum, the landmine museum, the old market (Psar Chaa).

Buy ticket to the temples for 1 week ($60).

Day 2 (8th Nov):Petite Circuit Counter Clockwise (7am-6pm). Angkor Wat, Prasat Kravan , Banteay Kdei , Sras Srang, Ta Keo, Ta Nei, Lunch, Angkor Thom, Phnom Bakheng, do 1 hour Koh Khear gondola around Angkor Thom moat (US$12?)

Day 3 (9th Nov): Angkor Wat Sunrise & Grand Circuit Counter-Clockwise (5am-4pm), Angkor Wat Sunrise – 5am-6:30am, Ta Prohm, Pre-Rup, Banteay Samre, Banteay Srei , Lunch, East Mebon, Ta Som, Neak Pean, Preah Khan. Evening: night market

Day 4 (10 Nov): Roluos Group and villages. Roluos, Preah Ko, Stone carving workshop across from Preah Ko, Bakong, Lolei. Trip through Kompong Khleang (about 45 km - 50 km from Siem Reap. ) and Kompong Phluk: This is about 25 - 30 km from Siem Reap (Floating villages). At this location is what's called the flooded forest in addition to the stilted village. About $45 for the boats (2 adults) plus another $10-15 for the ride out and back, makes about $60.

Time for the static balloon tethered near Angkor, ( $15 for about 15 mins) (not sure it is worth it, should we book it? How?). Pickup for Aspara Show at Angkor Mondial restaurant (buffet and show is US$12). Show is 1 hour from 730-830pm: is it interesting?

Day 5 (11 Nov): Beng Melea – Koh Ker. Possible in 1 day? Cost for 2 people? What time should we leave Siem Reap?

Day 6 (12 Nov) Preah Vihear Temple (there is no entrance fee, a passport is needed to register at the base. Also it costs $25 to hire a 4WD from the base to the temple.) Day tour is- USD$82 per pax for a 4wheel drive over 3hrs and up the mountain to get to preah vihear temple.

Day 7 (13 Nov) Trip to trip to Kampung Thom and take a trip to Sambor pre Kuk temples (with guide). One day trip. Really possible? What time should we leave SR? How much will it cost?

Day 8 (14 Nov)

Relax at hotel, late check out.

My questions:

Is our plan feasible?

Especially Day 7 to Sambor Pre Kuk, is it possible in 1 day?

I read we should dedicate a whole day to the trip to Koh Ker, but I would definetly like to see Beng Malea. Do you have suggestions on how to improve our plan?

Is the trip to Kompong Khleang and Kompong Phluk worth it? Should we visit only one village?

Money is not a big issue, I mean, we are not going to SR for a long time so we would like to see as much as possible in this trip. We are 40 yo and normally fit (not extremely fit!), please if you have any suggestions let me know!

Best,

Kay

sydney
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1. Re: visit to the temples: please help us decide the itinerary

I would scrap Phnom Bakheng for sunset - it s a total zoo up there as people jostle for the best spot to take their photos - for alternatives check out www.angkorsunset.com This is a very long day and I fear the heat and humidity will be very sapping for you - where are you coming from immediately before SR - will you have acclimatised to the SE Asian weather? or are you coming straight from the early part of a European winter?

I would also reverse day 3 .. sunrise at AW then head straight for Preah Khan - stop enroute at North Gate for some photos (more beautiful than south gate) PK is sublime in the early light before the bus hoards get there - and if you get there early you can stay ahead of the buses all day.

Day 5 - it is possible to visit Koh Ker and Beng Melea in the one day - but it will be a long one - its about 2.5-3 hr drive to KK - car hire (Toyota camry) will cost you around $100, and you have to pay an additional charge for BM

Cannes, France
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2. Re: visit to the temples: please help us decide the itinerary

Whew! You have definitely got everything here. I will first comment on your day 4. We have been to Tonle Sap and the floating villages and were underwhelmed. That said, there are some good discussions in the Forum on this very subject, so check them out. The Roluos Grp is a good idea and you will enjoy. Wait on the balloon till you see it in person. It's less than it sounds. Again, we were underwhelmed and decided against. The Dance show is quite nice and several places have it, so you have some choices. I don't know that exact one.

Day 5 is a can do and as with everywhere, leave as early as possible. The heat just builds every day. Day 6 & 7 we never tackled but regarding the water villages, we have read critical comments that put them at the bottom of our list.

Your first days are quite thorough. I am not so sure you need a day for the museum, etc. on Day 1. We found it was fine to go during the hot mid day hours, which was plenty. We usually spread out the markets for a return at the end. Up to you.

Clearly you have read a lot already but I would single out Lenny Bruce on the Forum for any of his input. When we went the first time, his was among the very best advice.

Start early and perhaps take a break mid day, but that is also when some places have few tourists, so if you can take it, visit places with some tree cover (heat again) they will be less crowded. We usually stay out during lunch and take our break after that and then return to the Park late afternoon. The heat can be crushing but the site is truly one of the wonders of the world. We'll be back again in a few months.

Zurich
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3. Re: visit to the temples: please help us decide the itinerary

Thmoore: thanks for your input! I am checking the website about sunrise in AW, still a lot to read! We will arrive in SR after 6 days in Myanmar, so we should be not too shocked by the climate, although I think Myanmar is not as humid as Cambodia.

Getgs: thanks for the tips, I think we might skip Kompong P. On our first day we will visit SR in general and relax, as we will not have so much time the next days.

London, United...
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4. Re: visit to the temples: please help us decide the itinerary

Kay-bologna-zurich - I think you have a serious itinerary and it can be done but it seems a bit intense, especially the days 2 & 3. What I mean is that you can visit all the sites but even if you start early, you may not get a chance to appreciate all the architectural and artistic beauty of the temples. For example I spent a full day at Angkor Wat and half day at Banteay Srei and Preah Khan each.

If you know something about Hindu philosophy and iconography eg have read Mahabharata and Ramayana, it will take you a lot more time to appreciate each temple. If you don't know much then all the secondary temples will look the same. In terms of western painting it is like two museums, one with a Madonna and Child by Duccio and another by Sassetta. If you can appreciate the difference you should go to both but if you cannot then perhaps it would be betetr to spend more time in the first and look at the Madonna and Child by Crivelli instead.

Regarding Koh Ker, Preah Vihear and Sambor Prei Kuk, I strongly urge you to this before seeing the main Angkor temples. There is the historic chronology and also the state of preservation. Sambor Prei Kuk and Preah Vihear will both be a 12-14 hour day and it will disappoint if you see it after Angkor Wat. A bit like going to the Brooklyn Museum just after seeing the Met.

Zurich
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5. Re: visit to the temples: please help us decide the itinerary

Dear E150A: I know what you mean, I am also worried that our itinerary is too intense, both physically and mentally... which is why I decided to start with the main temples (AW etc..), although chronologically wrong, because if we get too tired, I prefer to give up one of the far away temples... Your comments about BS and PK are very useful, we could decide to skip the villeges trip and spend more time at these temples. Thanks a lot for your comments!

London, United...
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6. Re: visit to the temples: please help us decide the itinerary

Kay-bologna-zurich - I understand your strategy now. In my view Koh Ker is definitely worth visiting, more dramatic than all but but a few in Angkor. Don't forget to spend time at the smaller temples along the asccess road. Beng Melea is on the way to Koh Ker but it is in a very poor state so no need for an extended visit.

Preah Vihear is a difficult case. The fact that it is on a mountain top and and in disputed territory makes it quite exotic. However the temple itself is in a poor state and not much carvings or statues left.

Sambor Prei Kuk does have some interesting carvings left but the general state is again poor. You can decide on this after visiting Preah Ko and Lolei. SPK is very similar to these sites but not as well preserved.

Zurich
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7. Re: visit to the temples: please help us decide the itinerary

E150A: Thanks again for your precious comments, very helpful indeed, they are in our travel notes!

Kay

8. Re: visit to the temples: please help us decide the itinerary

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