Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

BEST CERAMIC SHOPS IN UBUD


This is my 3rd and final post on Bali. If you have followed me on Instagram, your feed was possibly flooded last month with my Bali pics. I've already posted the Top 5 Places to see in Bali and the Top 5 Tips for Bali, so if you are visiting Bali or planning to do so, go check them out. Now my third and final one is mainly for all those Ceramic lovers out there , especially food bloggers like me.

Bali is a Ceramic lover's paradise, so much variety - white and colored, plain and textured, old fashioned and modern. Ask, and you shall get. I made sure I was wayyy under the baggage limit when we flew from Bangalore. I knew I wanted to come back with a lot of plates and bowls. I went with an empty bag and came back with a full one. Raj could not believe I had accumulated so many pieces by the time we flew out of there.

We walked and rode around quite a lot to get some of the beautiful pieces at the best rates possible and I really wanted to share it with you. While you will get a few of these stores as you walk along the main market of Ubud, not all of them are as easy to find. Some of the best places are tucked away and you really need to know what you are looking for to find it. I've added Google Map references to help you out. If you visit any of these stores, click pics and tag me on Instagram/Twitter, I wanna see which piece of art is now yours.


1) ART ON THE TABLE






This has to be my most favorite store in Ubud. It is a big store and has a lot of choice. From colored to plain whites, you can buy almost anything here. Of all the stores, this was definitely the most pocket friendly one out there. I bought the maximum here. It is on the way to Goa Gajah and very easy to find. They have a pretty collection of Batik prints on plates that you may want to check out. The wooden ware here is also cheaper compared to what you will find in other places, so shop guilt free.






Website: https://www.artonthetable.com

Address:



2) KEVALA HOME


A famous name in Bali, not just Ubud, Kevala is a must on the ceramic shopper's list. While it is a tad bit expensive, the pieces are pretty exclusive, hand made and gorgeous. You will find tableware, decorative wares and bathroom collection. They have 4 shops all over Bali and they cater to some of the biggest hotels in Bali. The store in Ubud is very close to the market and super easy to find. 




Website: http://www.kevalaceramics.com

Address:




3) GAYA CERAMICS


Gaya has to be one of the most popular ceramic stores in Ubud. They have a beautiful store and it appears they have an even prettier archive collection. I was unaware of this archive collection and a tour of their factory that they organize. I just found out about that on their Instagram account. You can ask the staff at the store to organize this tour for you. If you were a ceramic fanatic like me, you would not miss this. They have a pretty unique collection in store too. Gaya is slightly away from Ubud center, but definitely worth the visit.




Website: http://www.gayaceramic.com/

Address:




4) UBUD CERAMICS AND WOODCRAFT


There are multiple outlets of Ubud Ceramics all over Ubud market. We ran into 3 of them. The stock is the same in all 3 of them. They have a lot of tea sets with kettles and cups in various colors. While the prices are slightly high, I've heard you can bargain out here. They have cheeseboards and other wooden wares too. 



Website: None

Address:




5) BaliZen, Setia, Nava Ceramics and more:


There are several small stores all over Ubud market that have a limited collection, however interesting pieces. Some of the stores I visited and purchased stuff from - BaliZen, Setia and Nava. The Ubud market also has wooden ware to offer, but make sure to bargain out here. Read my tips on shopping here.









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TOP 5 TIPS FOR BALI


If you've been following me, you know I'm just back from a lovely vacation to Bali.  For a small island, Bali has a lot of variety - it has a wonderful clean long coastline as well as picturesque hills and lakes. It has so much to offer for every kind of traveler. You can read about what to see in Bali right here.



We had a relaxing, stress free vacation, and we wish you could too. Hence, a few tips that we feel will make it easier for you and give you a feel of Bali before you even arrive. 

Currency:


Indonesian Rupiah or IDR is the official currency in Bali. Since it is a non-tradeable currency, you cannot exchange for it in your own country. It is best to travel with USD, AUD or EUR or any tradeable currency. There are a few Forex counters right at the airport, but if you don't need it immediately, you are better off converting in the city as the counters in the city offer you a better exchange rate. USD may be accepted at certain stores/restaurants, however, they will not give you a good exchange rate, so advise you to convert to IDR as soon as possible. Cards are accepted too, but you may need to bill a certain amount before they do. Counters in Kuta/Legian gave a better rate than Ubud.

It is good to know that when the locals say for example, 50 or write the rate of anything as 50, they actually mean 50,000 IDR. The smallest denomination we encountered was a coin of 200 IDR and the largest was 1,00,000 IDR. 



Shopping / Cost of Living:


Bali is not too expensive, but I would not call it cheap either. A meal for two in Ubud can cost you around 1,25,000 to 2,00,000 in a mid-range restaurant, while in Kuta, you may be paying appx 2,00,000 to 3,00,000. The same supermarket may price the same item differently in the 2 cities with Kuta being more expensive. 

Ubud is the center for art and handicrafts. You may want to pick up wooden artifacts on the outskirts of Ubud, mostly on Denspasar-Ubud road. Bali is famous for its ceramics/pottery and Ubud is the place to buy, watch out for my next post on the best ceramic shops in Ubud. Batik clothing and Silver jewellery are other things Bali is famous for, you can pick up both in Ubud. However, all the shops I frequented for Batik were very expensive in comparison to India, so I did not pick up any.


Ubud closes down early, the market closes by 6.30-7pm and the shops close by 8pm. Kuta closes later than that. Bargain in the market for sure. You may want to start at 50% the price and move up. You can try asking if you will get a discount in the stores as well. Buy beaded jewellery outside Legian beach, they are really cheap and there are many stores.


Ride


There is literally no public transport in Bali. You can easily hire a cab - Uber and Grab are the app based taxis available in Bali. There are other local taxi companies too, but they are slightly more expensive than Uber or Grab. 


But your best way of transport is actually a two wheeler. Priced at 50,000 IDR to 1,20,000 IDR per day depending on the type of motor bike, this is your cheapest mode of transport. Indonesians drive on the left side of the road. Fuel is considerably cheap at Fuel stations/Petrol bunks. Within villages, you will find small shops selling you fuel in bottles, however, they charge you more. The northern part of Bali is hilly and most of the roads in and around Ubud are narrow. Google maps works really well, so you won't get lost. so rent a two wheeler only if you have experience riding one and are not scared of the terrain. 


There are 10-13 seater shuttles available between major towns and to the airport at really reasonable prices. A cab from Ubud to Kuta will cost you around 2,50,000 IDR while a shuttle will cost you 60,000 IDR per person. So if you are single, it really works out financially. You will be picked up from your hotel or the closest main road and dropped at a single point. There are fixed time departures, so use this only if the time works out for you. You need to book these in advance.

Sarong:


Bali is predominantly Hindu in religion and most of the attractions, other than the beach are actually Hindu Temples. You have an entry fee at all the famous temples and tourists are not allowed inside the main temple. However, a few of them expect you to wear a sarong even to enter the premises (men have to wear one too). You will find a lot of hawkers trying to sell you sarongs outside the temple, before you even buy the ticket, but be aware that there are free of cost sarongs given at the entrance of the temples, such as Goa Gajah. But there are a few temples where they will rent it out to you. My suggestion would be to carry one if you already have it or buying one if you plan on visiting a lot of temples. 


Cell/Wi-fi:

You can buy pre-activated SIM cards in Ubud/Kuta or at the airport. The one at the airport is really really expensive and you are better off pushing it until you get to the city. You have several plans and different service providers, so select what works best for you. 

Most of the restaurants offer free wi-fi, ask the staff for the password and stay connected.


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TOP 5 PLACES TO SEE IN BALI


Ever since I saw Julia Roberts prance about the lush rice fields of Ubud, Bali, I've wanted to go to Bali. After "Eat, Pray, Love" Bali has more or less come to signify Love. Don't you agree?



We were so keen to go to Bali for our honeymoon, but the dates we had and my absolute ignorance about how transit visas work, led us to change our destination to Phuket. We loved the blue seas and golden sands of Phuket. And when you get so much Thai curry to eat, how can you not love it? But Bali always remained a destination that we wanted to vacation in. So it happened, 6 years late, but it did. We were in Bali for our 6th wedding anniversary , last week and it was awesome. The perfect stress free relaxing week that we were both craving for.

But all was not hunky dory in the start. Two days after we booked our tickets, we found out that Mount Agung was on high alert for eruption. Imagine a volcanic eruption pouring magma on to your vacation plans. How often does that happen? It was supposed to erupt in hours to days after the alert, it is still sleeping and lets pray it continues to do so. So after a lot of will it or won't it, we went ahead and booked our stay - 4 days in Ubud at Villa Loka Pala through Airbnb and 2 days near Legian Beach.

UBUD:




You cannot go to Bali and not go to Ubud. I simply loved how cute this place is. A small, yet fashionable town with some of the prettiest restaurants. You will be spoiled for choice of where to eat and what to eat. Ubud thrives on tourists and there is something for everyone - Indonesian, Italian, Thai, Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian, Ice creams, Gelato, Fro-yo - just take your pick. 

And you get more than just food for the soul here, you get some of the prettiest clothes here too. Big brands, local designers - the market has everything. Check out the famous Batik Indonesia has to offer. The heart of art and culture, you definitely want to pick up some wonderful wooden articrafts from here. You also get some of the best ceramics here, watch out for my post on the best ceramic shops in Ubud. 



Those lush rice fields I spoke of before are all around Ubud and definitely need to be visited. Goa Gajah - the Hindu cave temple is another site that is close by from here. The famed Monkey Forest that is teeming with monkeys of all sizes is another attraction Ubud has to offer. You can spend the night watching the local fire dance at the palace. 

I personally recommend staying in Ubud as it is closer to all the other attractions. The crowd here is well behaved and courteous. English is well understood and spoken, so no communication gaps there.




Recommended Restaurants - 

Moksa - You definitely want to try out Moksa if you are vegan or don't mind eating vegan. They grow their own fruits and vegetables and have a very interesting menu. The best and most expensive meal we had during our entire stay!! They are closed on Monday. Plan accordingly

Mamma Mia / Warung Citta Ovesta - Both serve good pizza and bruschetta. The pasta at Citta Ovesta is a definite must try as is the Pomodoro Bruschetta at Mamma Mia.

Gelato Secrets - The favorite Gelato shop in Ubud, they have branches all over the town. Plenty of flavors to try from. They allow you to taste the gelatos before ordering one, so give them a try.

Breadlife Bakery - You have to have their red velvet cake. The most sinful cream cheese filling ever!!! You get a variety of bread here too. Be aware that their products contain egg.

Other places we ate at - the raw chocolate factory, Healthy Juice Warung.

You also want to definitely try the local fruits available in Ubud.



PURA ULUN DANU BRATAN:



The most photographed temple in Bali and I definitely know why. Nestled up in the mountains on the banks of Lake Bratan (Beratan), this temple will take your breath away. The terrain to reach the temple isn't flat and there are several steep slopes along the way (almost like our Indian ghats). If you are not comfortable riding a two wheeler in such terrain, you may hire a cab/taxi from Ubud/Kuta or you can take a shared shuttle up to Bedugul and then take a two wheeler from there.

There is an entry fee here, about 50,000 IDR per person. And like almost all other temples in Bali, tourists are not allowed to enter the temples, just the outer campus. But this still warrants a visit and nothing can change that. 

You can go on a boat ride on the lake. The twin lakes of Buyan and Tamblingan are close and you can visit them too. The most photographed gates - the gates of Handara Golf Resort is also on the way to the Pura Ulun Danu and makes for a good click. The Munduk waterfall is close by but the ride has several steep ups and downs, so go only if you dare. 



Recommended Restaurants - 

Warung Classic
- Set amidst the hilly terrain of Munduk, it is very easy to miss this little place. Rated high on Tripadvisor, this restaurant definitely lives up to its reputation. They have a decent sized vegetarian menu as well. The food tastes really good and is reasonably priced. But the best thing here, is the view.

Terrasse Du Lac - Again, this place is highly rated on Tripadvisor and is reasonably priced. It mainly caters western cuisine. Vegetarian/Vegan options are available.



TANAH LOT:


This temple in the sea has become the landmark destination of Bali. Carved like a boat from rock, this temple is especially famous for the sunset. Since most of the tour operators, get tourists here for the sunset view, the place may be overly crowded. We went around mid-day and the place was reasonably crowded and we could squeeze in some good clicks. Tanah Lot looks awesome during high tide, although you may not get to go close to it. Check out the tide information before visiting. The entrance fee is appx 60000 IDR per person and like the other temples, tourists are not allowed to enter the temple. The cliffs around the temple are equally spectacular, so walk around.



The temple of Taman Ayun is on the way to Tanah Lot from Ubud, definitely make a stopover there.



Recommended Restaurants - 

Warung Disini - Famous for its Indonesian cuisine, this restaurant has a few vegetarian/vegan options. There is quiet a feast for non vegetarians.

You also have a lot of good restaurants very close to the temple offering seafood that are highly recommended on Tripadvisor. There is a Starbucks close by too for those who prefer tried and tested western food.

LEGIAN BEACH:



The west coast of Bali is awesome. A huge coastline with golden sand and one of the best surf. While Kuta is the more famous beach among tourists, I recommend Legain over it. Kuta tends to get extremely crowded. And Semniyak is way too exclusive. Legian falls somewhere in between. The beach is clean and the water is shallow for a long distance with a strong surf a little into the sea. You have instructors teaching you to surf here. You can rent out the boards just outside the beach. Legian has more families visiting as compared to Kuta, so the crowd is lot more well behaved. There is a sort of flea market right near the beach where you can pick up clothes and beaded jewellery and other souvenirs. The sunset here looks amazing. Head out to Kuta for the night life and malls. Beach Walk mall is pretty close to the beach and houses a lot of big brands.



Recommended Restaurants - 

You have a world full of options on where to eat here. Look at the displayed menu and make your choice. We tried a few places, but nothing worth recommending as they were just "okay". The meals around Legian/Kuta cost more than Ubud. Keep in mind there may be an added government imposed tax on your meals. 

PURA BESAKIH:




It is the holiest temple in Bali. It is not just one temple, but a complex of temples. It contains the temples of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as well as temples for all castes. There are also family temples in this complex. The humongous campus is located on the slopes of Mount Agung - the tallest peak in Bali. The ticket costs around 60,000 IDR per person and while you are not allowed to enter the temple, you are expected to wear a sarong to enter the complex. Either carry your own or rent one outside.

Mount Agung has been on high alert for a volcanic eruption for over a month now and there is a 9-12 KM radius exclusion zone around the mountain. Due to this, Besakih is no longer accessible to tourists, until the government shrinks the exclusion zone, one cannot visit Pura Besakih. Unfortunately, we could not visit due to the Volcano alert. 




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Travel to Cambodia - What to see? (Part 2)

Hiya folks!!

How was the weekend? I'm still reeling from the workload that accompanies return from a vacation. Dusty house cleaned, groceries purchased and laundry just doesn't seem to get over. But then, when the vacation was worth all the work post it, I should not complain much.

Last week, I posted about how we felt about Cambodia and its people (we LOVED them!), how to get there, where we stayed, some very personal views on the food and night life and some tips regarding visa and currency. You can read all about it here.

This post is all about why we went there in the first place - the Temples and the magnificent ruins. Some things can rarely be described in words, like the beauty of the Taj Mahal, the mesmerizing effect the temples had on me is one such thing. While Angkor Wat is the symbol of Cambodia, there are a lot more temples and ruins to be seen here.

The temples are divided into the small circuit and the grand circuit with a different set of temples covered in both the circuits. It takes 1 day per circuit, so keep aside at least 2 days just for the temples. You can buy a daily pass of $20 or you can buy a 3 day pass for $40 (obvious choice!). The 3 day pass allows you to visit the temples on 3 non consecutive days.

Some general tips:
  • Wear good walking shoes. There is a lot of walking involved as the tuk tuk can only drop you at the gate. There are also lots of stairs to climb to see most temples. Be prepared.
  • Carry lots of water. The amount of climbing and walking you will do along with the tropical heat, is bound to make you thirsty. They sell "Cold Coconut" (chilled tender coconut) outside most temples, don't miss it.
  • Carry caps, hats, umbrellas. The sun is strong as in all tropical countries, you will feel the heat by 10am. If you are travelling in the rainy season, don't forget to carry an umbrella, it rains very heavily.
  • Sunscreen up to protect your skin.
  • Dress up conservatively. Wear something that covers your knees (no shorts) and a top with sleeves. Sleeveless tops or tops with really short sleeves are not allowed inside. Alternatively, you can carry a scarf or a stole to cover up your arms and a wrap-around to cover your legs while entering a temple.
  • Shop for cheap t-shirts, pants, souvenirs outside the temples. You can get t-shirts for $1 and pants for $1-$2 here. The same will cost you a little more at the night market - $2 for t-shirts and $2-3 for pants. 
  • Do not buy anything from the children selling trinkets outside the temples. This encourages them to skip school.
  • Be aware that you will not get phone signal inside a lot of these temples. So decide with your driver where you will be meeting up after seeing the temple.
  • If you don't want to take a guide, read up before you go so you can relate to the temple. The grand circuit does not require a guide, but I recommend a guide for the small circuit.

Small Circuit:


The small circuit covers the temples and complexes of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom (Baphuon, Bayon, Palace, Elephant Terrace), Ta Keo, Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, Srah Srang and Phnom Bekhang.  There are a lot of smaller temples on both the circuits that you can see if you have the time and inclination.
Most of these temples are Hindu in origin, while some are Buddhist. No worship happens in most of them anymore. In the words of our guide, Mr. Chanty, "First there was Hinduism, then Buddhism and now Tourism". Aptly said, I think. But still to respect the sentiments of the place, it is expected that you wear clothes that cover knees and shoulders. No shorts or sleeveless tops allowed.

Although this is called the small circuit, it is the more hectic one of the two circuits. A lot of walking and climbing happens here. If you are short of time and can only do one day of temples, do this circuit.

Angkor Wat:


The main attraction of Cambodia. It has become so famous, it is even on their flag. You have not seen Cambodia, until you have seen Angkor Wat. It is the largest religious complex in the World and a UNESCO world heritage site.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com

While most of the Khmer Empire kings worshiped Lord Shiva and built temples for him, Angkor Wat is different, it was built in worship of Lord Vishnu. A Vishnu statue still stands there today in one of the chambers. Over the years, the temple was converted to a Buddhist temple. Although, no worship is officially performed at the temple, the inner sanctum or the Bakan is closed for public on certain auspicious Buddhist days according to the Lunar Calendar. The Bakan is not a very stable structure and hence, at a time, only 100 people are allowed inside. The staff manages that well, you needn't be worried. Most people stay inside for 10-15 minutes so the queue moves fast. Pregnant women, children below 12 years and people with cardiovascular diseases aren't allowed to climb to the Bakan, but don't worry, if you are in any of the 3 categories, you aren't missing much. There is so much to see even without the Bakan.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com
Ram, Laxman and Hanuman
The walls of the temple have carvings of the Kurukshetra war on one wall and Ramayana on one wall. There is Sagar Manthan depicted too. There are carvings of how hell, earth and heaven were imagined to be. Taking a guide along is highly recommended. While all of us already knew all the Mahabharata and Ramayana stories, we would not have been able to identify them on the walls. Our guide helped us in identifying them. If you are unaware of the Hindu epics, it would help to read a brief about them online, before going to the temple to appreciate the beauty of the carvings.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com

Angkor Wat is unusual in its facing. While most Hindu temples face the East, Angkor faces the West. This is one of the reasons it make a beautiful Sunrise spot when the sun rises from behind the temple. People gather as early as 5am to catch a spot to view the temple's reflection in the water just around sunrise. It is a beautiful sight and I would say try to go if you can. Most hotels pack a breakfast box or like us, you can return to the hotel, have breakfast and then proceed to the next spot.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com

Bayon:


The temple of faces, that's what this is. There are so many smiling faces carved all around. There are supposed to be 216 faces carved out of sand stone here. The faces are supposed to represent the king who built the temple. It is one of the newer temples in the complex and was built as a Buddhist Temple as opposed to a Hindu Temple. Definitely not to be missed. You will see similar faces all across the temple gates or Gopuras.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com

Baphuon:


This temple is right near the Bayon temple. It was built in worship of Lord Shiva. Due to the war, the restoration of this temple also was not completed. Be aware that there is a lot of climbing to be done here. There are stairs but they tired me out. But the silver lining was the view from the top. It was beautiful.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com

Palace and Elephant Terrace:


A part of the original palace still survives but you aren't allowed to enter it.
The Elephant Terrace is just a platform from which people watched men training elephants.
You can give both a miss, if you are short on time or too tired to walk.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com

Ta Keo:


This was meant to be a Shiva temple, but it was never completed. The climb to the top of this temple is very steep and it is better if done either earlier in the day when the sun is low. There are 2 levels to the temple, there are wooden stairs present to reach the first level (they are also pretty steep).When we went here it was raining, and that brought down the temperature, making it easier for us to climb at around 3pm. If you are tired or unable to climb much, you can give this temple a miss.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com
Sprinting to the top, obviously, I'm losing :(

Ta Prohm:


The jungle temple, Lara Croft temple, it is known by many names, but the official name is Ta Prohm. This temple has been made famous by the movies shot here. The beauty of this temple, or rather it's ruins lies in the fact that the forest around the temple, has taken over the temple. This is where nature got married to man made structure.


What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com

The temple was abandoned for very long and in this period, Mother Nature showed its might and trees have grown into the structure and in many places, it is these trees that are helping the structure stand erect. This temple was built to honour the King's mother. This temple is being restored by the Archaeological Society of India and there are no plans to cut any of the trees growing on the temples. Fortunately for us, this temple had no climbing involved. This is definitely one of the "Don't miss" temples.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com

Banteay Kdei, Srah Srang:


Srah srang is just a man made lake with an overlooking platform. It is right opposite Banteay Kdei.
Banteay Kdei is very similar in architecture to Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, except that it is smaller in size. The temple has several enclosures with one chamber leading to many more. It is again a temple that requires no climbing and is ideal to visit towards the end of the tour when you are all tired. If you are visiting Preah Khan, this temple can be missed.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com
One of the gates

Phnom Bekhang:


This is just a small temple atop a hill, but it is a famous sunset point. The hill has to be climbed on foot, or a two wheeler or you can also climb on an elephant. No tuk tuks are allowed to go up. The climb is not steep and takes around 15-20 minutes. The temple on top isn't very stable and only 300 people are allowed to stay on top to see the sunrise. Most of the crowd starts accumulating at around 4pm, make sure you are there before that. The wait is boring as sunset happens around 5.30-6pm because of the latitude of Cambodia. You can also see Angkor Wat from here. Unfortunately, when we went it was raining and there was cloud cover everywhere, so we did not wait until sunset.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com


Grand Circuit:


The grand circuit covers Preah Khan, Ta Som, Neak Pean, East Mebon and Pre Rup. It covers fewer temples but the distance covered is more. The temples are far apart and you need a vehicle to cover them all. Read up on the temples you plan to visit before you go and you won't need a guide. We did not hire one for this circuit, and we did fine. This circuit is less tiring than the small circuit and we finished it by lunchtime.

Preah Khan:


Chambers, chambers and chambers, that is what this temple is all about. There are so many chambers here. This temple was built to honour the King's father. Wikipedia gives elaborate information on the structure and it's history, and is best read there. The temple is worth a visit, just to see the beautiful carvings and it's huge structure. This temple also has trees growing out of it like Ta Prohm but at a smaller scale.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com

Ta Som:


This is one of the temples that has not been restored. It is the first temple that is being managed by an all Cambodian staff who were trained while working on Preah Khan. The temple is said to have been purposely destroyed. The gates and gopuras of this temple are beautiful.



East Mabon:


This temple was once surrounded by water which has since dried up. There are life sized stone elephants on all 4 corners on 2 levels that are still intact. Stone lions greet you at the entrance. The space on top of the doorway or the lintels of the little towers have some very intricate and beautiful carvings. I spotted a Lord Ganesha carving.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com

Pre Rup:


The architecture of Pre Rup is very similar to that of East Mabon. This temple is believed to be associated more with funerals than with worship. This is one of the few temples in the grand circuit that requires you to climb a long steep staircase. Hence, it is also another popular Sunset point. We did not see many carvings here as the temple appears to be built out of smaller bricks rather than larger stones. My personal opinion is you could either see it or leave it, it does not make much difference.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com

Neak Pean:


Now of all the temples we went to, this one by far is the most different one. I've seen a few blogs where they say this can be skipped, but I won't say it. It was one of my favorite temples of the grand circuit. The temple by itself isn't anything great, it is located on an island that we do not have access to. The water around it was green with algae. But the walk to the temple was what sealed the deal for me.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com

You have to walk on a wooden plank bridge that is surrounded by water on both sides to reach the temple. It is this walk that I enjoyed. The water was still and you could see the sky in the water. There were dried up trees for a long distance that were in the water, adding to the scenic beauty of this place. This temple is nothing like the others and warrants a visit just because of its uniqueness.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com

Other Attractions in Siem Reap, Cambodia:


Apart from the temples, there are several other sights that you can see in and around Siem Reap:

Phare, the Cambodian Circus is a highly rated and recommended by a lot of people. The entire act consists of 5 different stories that are acted out by former street children. The acts are moving and apparently gravity defying. We did not go for this, but you can read about it here.

Apsara Dance is the national dance of Cambodia and there are several places that have performances along with dinner included. The prices range from $18 to $50. The hotel we stayed in - Silk D'Angkor has also newly started the performance at an introduction price of $18 on certain days of the week. We had other plans and could not attend it.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com
Apsara Dance

Rosana Broadway is a "Lady-Boy" show similar to those in Bangkok. We actually went for this one and enjoyed it. There were several performances with songs, cabaret, folk dances of all the South East Asian countries. The tickets cost you $30 for deluxe seats at the back and $40 for the VIP seats in front. The must watch performance in this is the "One man woman" where one person is dressed half as a man and half as a woman. The show includes a pick up and drop in tuk tuk.

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com

What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com


What to see on vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia at www.oneteaspoonoflife.com


There are museums like the National Museum and Landmine Museum that you can also see. There is also the floating village which can be visited. Apart from these, there are cooking classes and pottery classes that one can go to.

Thanks for staying with me till the end, I hope you found it useful. Leave me a comment if you want more details on anything that we visited.


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