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thien 01-31-2004 10:28 PM

Angkor Wat
To our monk's shot experts, :)

What is the approximated time frame required for a good (not complete) coverage of Angkor Wat greatest sights? Is the April is a good time to visit Angkor Wat?

Thank you,

BobTrips 01-31-2004 10:51 PM

Re: Angkor Wat
I did the standard three-day tour and another day around Siem Reap itself. It was enough time to visit the major sites but one could easily spend more time there.

The boat trip from Siem Reap to Battambang was a great experience. I would avoid the 'speedboat' if possible and take the ferry if it's running. Slower means more photo ops. The nice thing about this trip is that most of it in a fairly narrow river so it's easy to take in life along the river.

The train from Battambang to Pursat was a particular joy. A rocking and rolling wreck of a train, rarely going faster than one would ride on a bicycle.

(All of this info is three years old, stuff changes.)

Darren 02-01-2004 12:38 AM

Re: Angkor Wat
Hi Thien. As Bob says, three days is the "usual" amount of time, and should provide you enough time to get lots of great pics although the temple area is so huge you could easily spend a week or more there. I believe in April you should be ok weatherwise. Both times I have visited Angkor, it has been in August which is considered part of the worst time (rainy season) yet I have not found this to be a huge hindrance.

I know it is off topic, but I feel this is also a great time to mention the most important accessory you can bring with you. In the temples themselves, a tripod is an absolute must IMO. I can't say how many shots I took at 1/20th or 1/30th, which would be impossible without a tripod. I know you shoot a DSLR where I was shooting 100iso slide film, so you do have the option to bump up the ISO, but even so, I would not venture into the temples without the tripod. The good thing is that the nuns and monks who inhabit the temples are not realy moving anywhere, so you have time to set up your tripod as well as being static enough to get away with slow shutter speeds. If you are worried about the amount of gear you have to bring with you Thien, I did see a couple of photographers who paid local boys to act as porters. I am sure the costs for that are low ($10us a day or less likely). I lugged my own stuff, but I know others were not quite so ambitious.

Have a great trip Thien, Angkor is a truly amazing place.

thien 02-01-2004 07:18 PM

Re: Angkor Wat
Thank you, Bob. I think I will fly in from VN directly to Siem Reap so I am not so sure about the boat trip yet. My goal for this time is limiting the Cambodia trip to Angkor Wat but if there is absolutely something around the Siem Reap area that you think is a must visit, please let me know.

thien 02-01-2004 07:29 PM

Re: Angkor Wat
Hi Darren. Thank you for the tip. I always drag along my tripod and my whole possesion of lenses for fear of missing an important shot. I think I dragged around 12 kilos worth of camera gear every day on the street of Japan. My legs was begging for its life by the 3rd day. :D

Can a person stay in the complex overnight or you will have to get out as soon as the sun goes down?

Darren 02-01-2004 07:48 PM

Re: Angkor Wat
I am pretty sure you will have to leave Thien, but not 100% positive. There certainly isn't any lodging within the complex, but Siem Reap is very nearby. Send me an e-mail if you would like a guest house recommendation.

Luko 02-02-2004 01:27 AM

Re: Angkor Wat
I'd say three mandatory days for the temples, that's what I also did plus another day to go around (Tonle sap).

Thien i don't know what "hot" means to you, I remember that in february, even though Ta Prohm is known to be the breeziest temple, i've never sweated like that : it should have been largely over 37 with sticky air. The thing is that the hot season was supposed to BEGIN at that period and temperatures to rise. I don't know whether in April the wet season should be started yet, but you better hope for it...

I like my confort and was really happy to find a pool at the hotel we were in. I think the most clever way to move is to get up early, coome back around 12, stick around fresh water and shade for an hour or two then go back around 3PM.

The Temples are very near Siem Reap, i'd say a maximum of 10mn drive with the exceptions of Banteai Srey and ta prhm which a bit further, then there is no need to stay overnight in Angkor, if you want the best shooting hours, just cut the day in halves, hire your driver early in the morning for sunrise and re-starting the day after 3PM. Many people do that and the local guides or drivers are happy with that.

As for myself I managed to get back everyday at sunset at Angkor Wat temple, -and no other one-, for monk shooting time in the golden hours (sounds like hunting...and it is!).
The story is that the first day I realized my film was not winding only when I got to frame "40". meanwhile I was sure I had taken at least 2 or 3 masterpieces (Aah, the best shots you've never taken...everyone's best portfolio ever...;-D...). I then had a sort of sunset and monks photographying rage...

colonia 02-02-2004 04:21 PM

Re: Angkor Wat
April is a very good month to see Angkor. I myself was there in 04/2003 for 4 days. Rainy time will just be over and the ruins enjoy the green environment. Best of all: not so many tourists as in high season though there are always many ...
Prepare yourself i.e. schedule your sights according to best light conditions, you can find much stuff about it in the internet (for example Banteay Srei should be seen in the very morning). Note that some areas are roped off, especially walls with the best reliefs.

Luko 02-02-2004 06:02 PM

Re: Angkor Wat
Not that I don't believe Robert when he says that from his own experience, rainy season was just over in April, but that is totally different from what friends living there told me.

I copied the following from a Cambodia tourism website, this sounds more like I've been advised :

"The hot season follows the cool season from about March to May. High temperatures at this time can reach 40C (104F) and average 33 to 35C. The temples at Angkor, high up on their plateau, can be particularly baking.

The rainy season runs from around June to October, when the monsoons arrive from the Gulf of Thailand. Temperatures are almost as high as the hot season, but this isn't an entirely bad time to visit. The rains usually only last an hour or two in the afternoon, leaving the rest of the time to explore with the sights pretty much to yourself".

Reading that, I can figure out I was strolling Angkor temples through the "cool" season (!!!) : as for myself I think I may come back to Siem reap, but this time I will definitely choose the wet season period.

thien 02-03-2004 12:57 AM

Re: Angkor Wat
I also cannot stand hot weather very well. I can stand the cold but the sun sometimes just throw me into this "don't move, don't breath" metabolism state :D.

Actually, I think both you and Robert are right. I think the hot temperature that you describe supposed to be there. Although, I think last year, the weather was pretty strange. I was in VN in March timeframe and we had more rain than the other years that I have been there. Normally, March and April in HCM, the weather prediction on the TV can be translated word for word: "clear night, sunny day". Yet last year we had rain almost every afternoon.

I am expecting a sweat drenching visit to Angkor Wat but will gladly settle for some short afternoon shower on each day. I also think that I will take that noon siestas like you did, Luko. It would be better for me that way.

How did you guys managed in the temples? Do I need a guide to take the full advantage of it? I usually wander around by myself because I don't like to get pressured when I am taking photos. What are the best time for various temples that you have come accross?


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