The single most breathtaking and exhilarating experience during my three-week trip to Cambodia was my time in Siem Reap exploring temples and riding an elephant. If you want to read more about my three-week trip to Cambodia head on over to my Series Overview to check them out!
Siem Reap is a huge tourist spot because of the beautiful temples. Siem Reap was once the capital of Cambodia when it was considered the Angkor kingdom. Read more about Siem Reap here.
Our last weekend in Cambodia we went to Siem Reap to tour some of the ancient temples and temple ruins. It was so unbelievable cool and beautiful! So, for this post I am going to use a lot more pictures than words to describe this experience.
Oh no! Im blinking! Oh well, this is me in front of Angkor Wat.
Isn’t this just beautiful!?
I am pretty sure these ones are Angkor Wat… If not, I apologize. We visited a lot of Temples in one day and the pictures are jumbled.
It was very scary how steep these stairs were! Massive leg workout.
Finally made it up those stairs!
And lastly, the group shot!
These head statues were outside of the temple and many were disintegrating or beheaded from the Khmer Rouge Era (read about it here).
This cute little monkey was just hanging out as we walking in. Then all of a sudden there was nearly a dozen monkeys around! Be careful with the monkeys, they aren’t very nice.
Oh, just me standing in an ancient doorway, the usual.
Now this temple was my favorite because it is in ruins and has trees growing everywhere! Exploring and climbing around this temple was fun!
The trees look like melted candle wax to me!
This tree looks like its crawling around the temple roof!
Don’t do this at home kids. Dangerously climbing to the top of a temple. We gave our camera to a stranger to take a photo, then we returned the favor. Turns out he was from the US like us too!
Riding an Elephant… Up A Hill… To A Temple… At Sunset
Can you see the excitement in my face here!? Yeah, I was beyond excited because I absolutely love elephants. I was so overwhelmingly excited that my friend who was taking the photo told me to smile less so that I had a nice picture to post on social media and show my family. Here is the “smiling less” version.
If you hadn’t picked up on it yet, in Siem Reap, I was given the opportunity to ride an elephant! How cool right!? It was, beyond fun. We payed $20 to ride an elephant and then climbed a very unstable wooden platform to get on. Getting on was kind of scary because of the wobbly platform you used to get on a semi-wobbly saddle.
Up the Mountain
After a friend and I got on, we started off up the mountain. Our driver sat on the neck of the elephant using his feet behind the elephant’s ears to steer. When we got about halfway up the mountain he began to play music on a piece of grass—he was playing Jingle Bells! He must have realized that we were American and known Jingle Bells as an American tune.
On the back of our driver was a pouch labelled tips, so naturally, I gave him about half of the Riel I had collected while shopping in the markets.
Going up the mountain was also scary for me. Don’t get me wrong I was so excited (I mean look at me in those pictures!). But I am also a little afraid of heights and I was on the side of the elephant that looked down the mountainside. I made my best effort not to focus on the height, and to instead focus on how much fun I was having. This was difficult because the elephant was stepping less than a foot from the very edge!
At the Top of the Mountain
Once we reached the top of the mountain we got off the elephant and were given the opportunity to take pictures with the elephants, as well as petting and feeding them.
After our photoshoot, everyone is our group met near the temple to watch the sunset. It was beautiful. Then we walked back down the mountain and headed to dinner. What an incredible experience, I highly recommend this to everyone!!