Tag Archive: Siem Reap


There’s a reason Angkor Wat is one of the most popular tourist spots in Southeast Asia. The complex of ancient temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia, is an elegant formation of awe-inspiring architectural wonders.

But the Khmer Empire’s reach extended well beyond Angkor, and those other temples are also well worth a visit.

One of them is Banteay Srei, which is near the quiet lake villages of Kampong Kleang and Kampong Phluck. Another is Beng Melea, which actually pre-dates Angkor Wat. It’s about an hour and a half from Siem Reap and features the same layout as Angkor Wat. But the central tower has completely collapsed and most of the structure is overgrown by trees. It is the only temple where you can climb over the stones on a fixed circuit, and you hardly ever see any other tourists on your way.

Farther north you’ll find Koh Ker, which has only recently been made accessible. The place was briefly the Angkorian capital during the 10th Century.

“Koh Ker is interesting for its huge, pyramidal temple and unique style,” says Phan Sophea, a Cambodia-based travel specialist. “And the newly-paved road out there takes you through gorgeous farmland.”

Phan also marvels at Preah Vihear, which rests on a clifftop overlooking the vast Cambodian plains, making it one of the most spectacular of all Angkorian temples.

“Getting there is an adventure in itself,” he says. “First you have to climb the cliff — either on motorbike or in a pickup truck — but once on top you are rewarded with amazing views, hardly any tourists, a beautiful temple and the feeling that you are doing something not everybody does.”

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Four-Wheel Fun in Bali

ImageThere are many different ways for you as a tourist to explore a destination.

In Siem Reap, Cambodia, you could hop into a motodop, a covered, two-wheel cab that’s hitched to the back of a motorbike.

In Saigon, Vietnam, you could climb onto a cyclo, which is characterized by a chair that’s attached to the front of a bicycle.

But perhaps nowhere is sightseeing more adventurous than in Bali, where visitors are lured by ‘VW safari’ tours — 4×4 excursions by Volkswagen Kübelwagen, a type of jeep originally built during the second world war as a military vehicle.

“There’s no better way to take in the surroundings of Bali’s hilly interior than by VW safari,” says Eva Sihotang, an Indonesia tour specialist. “With the top down, you get these incredible panoramic views of the island’s terraced rice paddies and can breathe in fresh mountain air.”

She is probably most fond of the stretch between Mount Batur and Ubud, for its windy roads that present vistas of mountain streams, small Balinese villages and those terraced rice fields. And you can quickly put the top up in case a tropical shower suddenly hits.

“I always get a kick out of the kids we pass, too,” she says. “They’re always waving and shouting hello because they think it’s a cool and unusual form of transport, as well.”

Such four-wheel fun is a must-experience during any dream trip to the Island of the Gods.