Choose an Angkor Wat Gateway Travel to Enjoy Holiday
The town of Siem Reap, in northern Cambodia, is the primary access point for
the Angkor Archaeological Park. The name Siem Reap literal y means "Siam
Defeated". These days, however, the only rampaging hordes are the tourists
heading to the Angkor Archaeological Park. This once quaint vil age has become
the largest boomtown and construction site in Cambodia. It is quite laid-back and
a pleasant place to stay while touring the temples. Since Siem Reap is a major
tourist destination, prices in some instances are higher than elsewhere
in Cambodia. Expect to receive almost constant offers for motodop and tuk-tuk
rides, along with everything else which drivers may be able to offer to you.
Angkor Archaeological Park, located in northern Cambodia, is one of the most
important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. Stretching over some 400
square kilometers, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains
the magnificent remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire of the 9th to the
15th centuries, including the largest pre-industrial city in the world. The most
famous are the Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple
with its countless sculptural decorations.
Angkor Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992.
At the same time, it was also placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger due
to looting, a declining water table, and unsustainable tourism. Angkor itself has
no accommodations and few facilities; the nearby town of Siem Reap is the
tourist hub for the area.
The temples of Angkor are highly symbolic structures. The foremost Hindu
concept is the temple-mountain, where the temple is built as a representation of
the mythical Mount Meru: this is why so many temples, including Angkor Wat
itself, are surrounded by moats, built in a mountain-like pyramidal shape and
topped by precisely five towers, representing the five peaks of Mount Meru.
There was also a political element to it al : most kings wanted to build their
own state temples to symbolize their kingdom and their rule. Located six
kilometers north of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat is one of the largest of Khmer
monuments. Built around the first half of 12th century by King Suryavarman I ,
the temple's balance, composition and beauty make it one of the finest
monuments in the world. The sight of the grand monument towering over the
landscape is breath-taking at any time of day. However, to maximise the effect it
is suggested that the first trip to Angkor Wat be made in optimal lighting
conditions, usual y around 1~2PM. Sunrise at Angkor Wat is a also great sight to
Be sure to pick up your free Siem Reap Angkor Visitors Guide and the equal y
free and useful Siem Reap Pocket Guide from your hotel/guesthouse. It contains
lots of info on Siem Reap and the Angkor Archaeological Park, including
hotel/bar/restaurant/shop info, travel info, and maps. For the eco-sensitive
tourist, check out "Stay another Day: Cambodia," a detailed guide with local spots
that support the environment and community.
Angkor is hot and sticky throughout the year, but the peak season is November
to February, when the weather is dry and temperatures are coolest (25-30C). The
flip side is that the temples are packed, especial y around Christmas/New Year's,
and cheap hotel deals are at their highest. March to May is brutal y hot, with
temperatures reaching 40C. June to October is the rainy season, and outlying
temples and the roads leading to them can turn into quagmires of mud.
However, this is also when the temples are at their quietest, and it's stil often
possible to do a good half-day round of sightseeing before the rains start in the
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