21 Dec 2011

Cambodia - Part III "Siem Reap and Angkor"

Heading south from Stung Treng, we had a short stop at Kratie for a boat trip to view a few of the rare river dolphins....

Siem Reap is the city that has grown up adjacent to the World Heritage Site of the ruined temples of Angkor.  The most famous individual historic monument is Angkor Wat - described locally as "the biggest religious monument in the world". 

And there are many other temples and ruins nearby - dating from the days of the Khmer empire which held sway in southeast asia from the 9th to the 14th centuries.

Visitors must get a pass to view the main temple area, US $20 for one day, $40 for three days, or $60 for seven days.  Tuk-tuks can be hired by the day or half-day.  There is accommodation for all tastes and budgets in Siem Reap and restaurants and bars as well.  Very touristy, but very pleasant. 

For serious birders, there is the Sam Veasna Centre in town, from where trips to northern Cambodia (Preah Vihear Province) for Giant Ibis and White-shouldered Ibis can be arranged.

But we'd already seen the endangered Ibises in Stung Treng Province, thanks to Birdlife international, so we mainly concentrated on the temples near Siem Reap.

It is actually a bit like a Treasure Hunt around the temples as hundreds of photographers trek around keenly looking for the perfect angle, or some overlooked fragment of stonework they can photograph.  The trouble with all the "great angles" is that thousands of photos of them have been taken already.  

Still, I'm not afraid of the odd photographic cliche, as regular readers will know !

"Hey, that Guy's taking the same shot as me !"

Palm Swift over Angkor Wat

Paddyfield Pipit, Angkor Wat

"Vertigo ? - It's a town in Italy, isn't it ?"

Some of the more atmospheric temples have  still not been fully cleared of the jungle that has grown up in and around them.  The presence of the trees means that there are a few birds to be seen as well.

Hill Myna, Banteay Kdei Temple

Black-headed Bulbul

Lineated Barbet

Black-naped Oriole, Banteay Kdei

Black-naped Oriole, Banteay Kdei

Red-breasted Parakeets, Angkor Wat

Some kind of funnel spider ?

This should be called a "Fire-tailed Skink"

Man-made habitat for Blue Rock Thrush

We really liked Cambodia - we'll go back !


  1. Very nice, John. I'm surprised you noticed the temples with so many birds around. I remember visiting Petra once (The Rose Red City, not the Blue Peter dog) and spending a fair amount of time birding there too. Vertigo is actually German for "Where to go".

  2. Wow, what a place, I really must go to Angkor one day, even my parents have been!

  3. Stu, Andrew, - Angkor is a "must visit", no doubt about it, something for everyone !