Part Two - Wonders of the Angkor Archaelogical Park: Entering Angkor Thom
You have not come to Siem Reap if you do not visit the temples. There are many temples but if you are there for 3 or 4 days, I guess you gotta see some of the "Must-see" temples such as Angkor Wat (what else), Bayon and Tah Phrom.
Passes are required to enter the Angkor area for foreigners. You can buy it at the entrance for 1 (US$20), 3 (US$40), or 7 (US$60) consecutive days. Bring a passport size photo of yourself coz you'll need it for the 3 and 7 day passes. You can have your photos taken for free but why waste time queing to take the photo among busloads of Japanese or Koreans tourists. You gotta carry your pass with you at all times coz they will check before you are allowed to enter the ruins sites.
Below is a pix from a tuk-tuk, on the way to Angkor Thom on a pretty cold morning and well shaded by big trees on both sides of the road. Note that every tuk tuk driver has a number. Make sure you get a tuk tuk driver that can speak English otherwise, you'll get a grinning driver whenever you talk to him.
Here's a map where you can systmatically visit most of ruins in the Angkor area in a day from sunrise to sunset. Maybe very tiring but hey, it is an adventure. It is very simple to read. Just click on it to a bigger version.
The routes taken to visit the ruins :
Entering Angkor Thom through South Gate (Visit Bayon - Baphuon, Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King, Prasat Suor Prat).
Exiting Angkor Thom through Victory Gate - Chau Say Thevada - Thommanon - Ta Keo - Tah Phrom - Banteay Kdei - Sras Srang - Pre Rup - East Mebon - Ta Som - Krol Ko - Neak Pean - Preah Kahn - Phnom Bakheng - Angkor Wat.
Entering Angkor Thom through the south gate.
As you ride across the bridge which crosses the moat surrounding Angkor Thom, check out both sides of the bridge - big stone carved mens carrying Naga's body, I guessed only.
You can choose to ride the elephant from the south gate to Bayon which is inside the Angkor Thom complex. It is USD10 per pax.
Once inside the complex, you can explore several ruins which I wrote above. Click on the map below for enlarged view. You must visit Bayon at least. One of my favourite ruins and also very photogenic site. If you have seen the photos of the Heads of Buddha (actually Avelokitesvara heads facing NSEW with 4 different expressions), that's Bayon!
Next Post - Inside Angkor Thom
P/S: Those 2 maps of Angkor area are from Canby Publications which I took from the Internet. They are really useful to help tourist to explore the area.