Take your time. (Lesson 2 for visiting a major site.)

We know what it takes to get to Angkor Wat.  We traveled halfway around the world at some expense.   So, why race through Angkor in a day?  Lesson 2 for visiting a major site: take your time. 

We bought passes that allowed us entrance to the entire Angkor Archaeological Park for seven days over the 2-weeks we were there.  The Park encompasses several dozen sites, and scores of other sites are scattered around the nearby countryside.  We didn’t visit the Archaeological Park every day, and, when we did go out, we focused on 1 to 3 sites for that day.

Lingering helps. At Ta Som, crowds took a quick look at the area nearest the road, returned to their vehicles, and then raced on to the next site.  We didn’t follow them. Instead, we continued to explore with a handful of other tourists and were rewarded with this view at the point furthest from the road:

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Ta Som

When crowds of tour groups impeded our views, we paused, engaged in people-watching, slowed our pace, and spent timing observing till a group passed.  How else would we have seen the flowers growing by the sculptural relief?

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Preah Khan

On our last visit we explored several sites and found we had time and energy for one more.  Our tuk tuk driver suggested the Terrace of the Leper King.  Somehow we managed to find a narrow dark passageway – haunting and different from all the other sites we’d visited.

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Terrace of the Leper King

The Terrace may have been built as a funeral site for the King.

As we studied the faces we saw a strange white “X” in front of one of the sculptures about 6’ off the ground.  We looked around and saw another “X” a few feet away.  What were these, an archeologist’s mark?

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What is that mysterious “X”?

At dinner that night our son-in-law solved the mystery:  St Andrew cross spiders.

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St Andrew cross spider

If you are fortunate enough to travel to Angkor Wat, schedule more than a day or two.  We discovered seven visits over two weeks was just not enough time for us.

“Lessons for visiting major tourist sites” is a 3-post series. This was the 2nd post.

December 2013

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Around-the World - 2013-14, Cambodia and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Take your time. (Lesson 2 for visiting a major site.)

  1. baidanbi says:

    Great advice and something I will certainly keep in mind when I get to Angkor Wat someday.

  2. Excellent advice, for any major place really.

  3. Fantastic shot… we too tried to avoid the crowds, but sometimes it was hard. The worst was the pushing and shoving that happened at Ta Prohm. Other sites were busy, but as you say you can wander off the path and be alone.
    When were you there? We got back about 1 week ago. I have just posted 2 about the temples and 1 for WP theme windows.

    • We were in Siem Reap from Dec 18 to Jan 2. That appeared to be a busy time for the tourist industry. Despite the crowds in some places, we enjoyed our time there.

      • We were there about the same time… I was told that is high season once we were there 😉 We went there at that time because we also heard it was cooler and not as oppressive with the heat. We enjoyed Cambodia and I would love to go back. It was some of the pushing at the sights that I didn’t enjoy.

  4. It definitely deserves a second look if you have the time – although last time we went, with the kids, we found a day was well and truly enough for them. Luckily us adults had been before and didn’t mind a more limited tour (it certainly wasn’t a fast one with toddlers). t think you did well at seven days – three days of temples is already a lot for the average person’s interest, even when those days are spread out! But one day is a huge rush if you’re only trying to hit even the top four most popular sights.

  5. cardstohome says:

    I’ve read loads of posts from people vising Angkor Wat – I love that your pictures aren’t just the same few you normally see! Great tips, thanks!

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