My zen retreat in the middle of the rice fields of Angkor
By Ludovic Bischoff
Things to see around Siem Reap
Siem Reap has long been a small, peaceful village. Until the day when one discovers the traces of the Khmer civilization on the site of Angkor. The “forest of stones” gathers dozens of temples, more or less well restored, more or less accessible. Start with the unmissable: Angkor Wat, the most imposing and spectacular, the emblem of the country, the pride of the Khmer people, sometimes compared to the Versailles of Louis XIV, a diamond that is reflected in the moat surrounding it. We never get tired of admiring it, at sunrise or sunset … Also, go see Bayon and its hundreds of smiling faces that seem so unreal with their enigmatic smiles. Ta Prohm, a temple eaten by the jungle and the cheesemakers, these trees with gigantic roots that destroy the stone, smothering the buildings like a boa.
Or Baphum, the last temple to have been restored, or climb the pyramids of stones by questioning the genius that allowed men, with little equipment, to build such buildings between the 10th and 12th century Of our era.
Do not forget to visit Les Artisans d’Angkor, an association that allows young men and women of the region, sometimes physically handicapped, to learn a craft. We visit the learning center where they spend several years specializing in the work of lacquer, sculpture on stone or wood, in the art of ceramics or silk. Then, they return to their village to exercise their art and thus contribute to the economic development of their area. If you wish to bring back memories of your trip to Cambodia, you will find all kind of gifts at the Artisans d’Angkor Center in Angkor and you will make a beautiful gesture for the development of a local and sustainable economy.
Practical information: Jet Tours is one of the few tour operators to offer stays and tours in Cambodia, all year round. There are no direct flights, so you have to flight threw from Vietnam or Thailand. Jet Tours offers the Khmers Splendor Tour from Phnom Penh to Angkor, spending a few nights in Phum Baitang!