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bodhijack Jul 25th, 2004 04:25 PM

angor wat? too many temples?
trying to decide between luang prabang or siem reap. we will be in bangkok for 3 days, so re angor wat, won't we be "templed-out"?

Spygirl Jul 25th, 2004 06:00 PM

Well, I would say yes, bodhijack, when I got to Angkor, it didn't impress me at all the way it does so many others on this site, who absolutely insist that you need 3 days minimum to see it properly. I saw all I needed to in one day, and of my little crowd of 6, we felt we had seen all we needed to in a day-the next day we just roamed around Siem Riep. And admittedly, I think we were "templed out" because we had not only been to Bangkok, but in the north visiting temples as well. So you really have to decide for yourself. As for me, I'd go to Luang Prabang any day before Siem Riep-less touristed, far more interesting, in the sense that there's far more to see and do than just one huge temple complex, which all begins to look the same after awhile. Siem Riep largely exists simply to support the tourists at Angkor Wat.

Kathie Jul 25th, 2004 06:16 PM

Siem Reap was a village long before there were toursits visiting Angkor, Spygirl! That said, there is not much to attract the traveler to Siem Reap other than the World Heritage site of Angkor.

Remember that Angkor is an archaeological site. There are many dozens of temples there, none are active temples, though you will see monks visiting and very old Buddhist nuns tending some of the Buddha images. What you visit in Bangkok are all active temples. The experiences are entirely different. The many wats at Luang Prabang are also active temples, so in that way the temples you visit in Thailand and in Luang Prabang are more similar to each other than the temples at Angkor are to either. There is more to do and see around LP (Pak Ou caves, a couple of nice waterfalls, silk-weaving villages, etc) than around Siem Reap.

What are you interested in? Do some reading to see what appeals to you. I loved Angkor, and spent a week there. I also loved Luang Prabang and spent a week there. I've been to Thailand at least 20 times, so obviously, I love that area.

My traveling companion has put together a website. You can check out photos and some commentary of all of those (and more) places at

Remember that in Bangkok you are very unlikely to spend most of your time visitng temples. There is so much to do in Bangkok, that in three days you may only visit a couple of temples.

None of us can tell you what you'll like. But more info can help you figure out what would interest you most.

Spygirl Jul 25th, 2004 07:57 PM

The fact that it existed as a village before the influx of tourism to Angkor Wat does not in any way, alter what I said, Kathie. The village services are set up to handle the hoards of tourists pouring in, pretty much nothing more.

Spygirl Jul 25th, 2004 09:38 PM

P.S. As far as being impressed with a wat/temple in that area-you'd be hard pressed to beat the Imperial Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok-particularly, if, like me, you like wild-looking demon figures-'cause demons are all over the place at the Imperial Palace! As far as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, well, seeing it was quite an experience-one definitely gets the sense of how the Thais truly revere this temple-it's impressive.

As for Angkor, well, all those smiling stone faces begin to blend together and blur after awhile...I mean, how many of those can you look at and not get bored??? I'm not saying I was not impressed by it, somewhat, but I was underwhelmed. There's just nothing different there to break the monotony...

SD3 Jul 26th, 2004 09:05 AM

Spygirl: Just curious which temples you saw in Siem Reap? The generally agreed on 'must-sees' or major temples are completely different from one another (only Bayon has all the 'smiling faces').

epi Jul 26th, 2004 02:24 PM

I wondered how I would feel about the enormous complexes in Siem Reap when we went in March. We had been to many Temples in other parts of asia, and i wondered if this area would really be as incredible as described. My answer is : No it is not as incredible as described, it is MORE incredible than described. That may be because we had an extremely knowledgeable person guiding us through - I have no way of knowing. I also can't judge what you will like, bodhijack, but I considered this to be one of the "don't miss" sites in the world.

bodhijack Jul 26th, 2004 03:17 PM

to kathy, and everyone. thank you for your replies. i think we will skip angor wat and do luang prabang for 2-3 nights. we have been to bangkok and chiag mai before. we loved both, and are returning to both. in bangkok we mostly visited the temples, rode the ferry to various river stops, and took a ride in a taxi long-boat to various small towns (great experience. no other tourists.) we stayed near the chao river because it seemed that there were huge traffic-jams inland. my question is, what other sights are recommended, and should we venture away from the river?

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