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Thread: Seim Reap/Angkor Wat

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    Seim Reap/Angkor Wat

    Going to visit Siem Reap and Angkor Wat in mid December for 5 days and looking for any info or recommendations you have for best light, times, and locations to check out. Will be taking a H3DII-31, 80mm, 120mm and planing to rent a 35mm unless I can find a 35-90mm to rent and a light carbon fiber tripod to keep the weight down as much as possible.

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    Re: Seim Reap/Angkor Wat

    I was there about ten years ago, and was amazed by the hordes of tour bus groups everywhere. One very useful thing to know is that the tour groups take a lunch/siesta break for several hours between about 11-12 to 2-3 (I'm only approximately remembering the times, but it's something like that), so the number of people at the temples thins out by about a factor of ten during those hours, which makes photography much easier. Of course, if you're on a bus tour, that advice doesn't help - in that case, just expect that you won't be able to avoid getting tourists in most of your photos.

    My favorite of the temples, especially for atmospheric photography, was the Bayon (the one with the giant faces on the towers).

    Be prepared for hot, humid weather. Being cold & flu season then, do what you can to avoid getting sick, and bring remedies so you can keep going if you get slightly sick - I managed to have a constant string of five colds during my two weeks in Thailand and Cambodia in late December. It seemed like an awful lot of people were sneezing and coughing everywhere we went...

    Lisa

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    Re: Seim Reap/Angkor Wat

    Teager,

    I recommend contacting Dave Perkes at Peace of Angkor; http://www.peaceofangkor.com/.

    I been there two times over last five years. Dave has his best guides trained for exactly where is good to be and stand at right time. It is worthwhile to rent from him one of his guides with a driver with car to get around fast to locations. Frankly I would not hesitate to go again. Do point out what you shoot with and he knows you are serious and not a p&s shooter on a "photo" group tour package. He will fix you up with guide and driver on individual basis. One place out of way to go early morning and not miss is Beng Mealea jungle temple.

    For serious photo tours he is frank the best I encountered. I shoot Aptus 65 and 4x5 film mostly nowadays. On last visit 3-4 years back I had the ZD camera... itching to return with the now better gear for better image quality...

    Regards
    Anders

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    Re: Seim Reap/Angkor Wat

    Thanks for the info and advice, I just picked up the 35-90mm lens and a new light tripod for the trip and am so excited, I will send peace of angkor an email to get the ball rolling, I just checked out his site again and does look like the best option.

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    Re: Seim Reap/Angkor Wat

    The temple complex is BIG. 12 square kilometers. Lots of climbing amidst the ruins and trekking to the next venue. Traveling light is an understatement. Strong walking boots are recommended. Wear a hat or take an umbrella. Hot, sticky and arduous. Make sure you take your own drink and light refreshments, as once in amidst the temples, refreshments are not on sale. Don't buy or drink the water from the street vendors. As others have said seek out a personnel guide who knows the place and best light etc. You buy a 3 day pass and can select any of the 3 days within a given week. An early start is also recommended to avoid the hordes. Late evening is also wonderful but remember that in this part of the globe we get a 12 hour day and a 12 hour night. Dusk to pitch black happens within a 45 minute window so you'll need to be in situ for your intended shots and work fast. Lots of interesting artifacts, statues, shrines and indeed people are ALWAYS in dark, shaded areas. Flash is essential.

    Siem Reap City (small town actually), where you'll invariably be staying, is itself a great place with good and varied restaurants in an area called "Pub Street" (1 and 2). Some excellent photo opportunities here also.

    There's a small and interesting cultural museum which is worth a visit, and the NEW night market just down from Pub Street is interesting. I emphasise NEW as the old and original one is a flea pit!

    Security and risk is not a problem but it goes without saying not to leave items in the hotel room.

    The Cambodians are lovely people and will never refuse a request to pose for you.

    Problems? You'll want to go back!

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    Re: Seim Reap/Angkor Wat

    Thank you all for the great advice her is the itinerary I have planned so far
    any suggestions for additions?

    Day1


    Angkor temple custom tour:

    AM: visit Angkor Thom Complex with great Bayon Temple. It has 52 towers with the huge serene faces of the Jayavarman VII. To the north is the great plaza adjoining 300 metre long Elephant terrace. Behind this are the ruins of the Royal Palace & the Phiminakas pyramid.

    PM: Lunch the temple and continue to visit Angkor Wat. It was built in the 12th century as a funerary Temple for Suryavaraman II; Angkor Wat has over 1 km of spectacular carvings and a vast labyrinth of passages, courtyards and the five lotus flower towers at its centre. We ‘ll stay at Angkor Wat for sunset shot.

    Day2


    Grand Circuit custom tour:

    We start off at Angkor Wat for Sunrise, moving on to the Reservoir of Sras Srang (Royal Baths) and the atmospheric Banteay Kdei. We continue to the brick temples of Pre Rup and East Mebon which used to be an island in the vast Eastern Baray (reservoir).

    PM: Lunch at the temple and take a short break, and then continue to the healing place of Preah Neak Poan with 5 pools in a cruciform pattern.

    The highlight to the day is Preah Khan, which is a fabulous and vast temple second in size to Angkor Wat; It is a very complex partial ruin with some spectacular tree clad ruins and a unique 2 story Greek style building.

    Day3


    Ta Prohm, Banteay Srey & Kbal Spean & Landmine:

    Early visit to the great jungle temple of Ta Prohm (less quiet in the morning) with sinister root systems of huge trees enveloping doors and windows in a stranglehold. We continue driving ½ hour to Banteay Srey which is a very small temple, but unique with finest carvings of all temples and then continue to Kbal Spean.

    Kbal Spean; commonly known as the valley of a 1000 Lingas, is set deep in the jungle to the north east of Angkor. It is approached by a steep jungle walk, passing huge overhanging boulders and continues through the gorge to the river. There is a lovely waterfall below. The cooling spray can be very refreshing after the walk.

    We will visit Landmine museum on the way back.

    Day4


    Tonle Sap Lake Kompong Khleang with Beng Mealea:

    One of the largest settlements on the Tonle Sap Lake; Kompong Khleang has over 20,000 people. It is a mixed community of fishermen and traders largely untouched by tourism. We Combine this lake tour with the Fabulous Jungle Temple Of Beng Mealea.

    Kompong Khleang

    A feature of this tour is our visit to the floating fish market, where we meet the friendly fishermen and buy fresh fish for our lunch. We also visit the pagoda and monks.

    We have fresh fried/soup fish and vegetable for lunch at the stilt house of our boatmen which is a great experience and then drive in just over one hour to Beng Mealea.

    Beng Mealea is a fabulous place for those who want to see a vast and spectacular jungle temple in its raw un-restored state. Set within a moat of over 1 Sq Km; this temple is the most mysterious of all. Cloaked in vegetation with huge trees growing out of the ruins.

    Day5


    Banteay Chhmar is a vast site near the Thai border which originally covered an area twice that of Angkor Wat . Its core area contains a spectacular ruin with some multi faced towers within high walls which have an extraordinary set of bas releifs comparable to the famous Bayon. Access to Banteay Chhmar is easier now since the main road to the Thai border was completed in 2009.

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