Angkor Wat and finally back to Bangkok
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 25 of 26 › view all entries
On the morning I left Phnom Penh i got up at 6am and went down and waited at reception from 7am til 7.45 but no minibus arrived to pick me up...last minute Mr Bee took me on his motorbike down to the central bus station where thank god my bus still hadn't left. I just don't trust these hotel pickups anymore as that has happened to me 3 times now! Bus to Siem Reap was fine though, only 5 hours..stopping at some very poverty stricken points along the way. Dropped off out of town so shared a Tuk Tuk with 2 Irish guys...our driver asked to show us round a few guest houses to see if we like any...found 'Popular GH' ok and only $5 so opted for there. I then walked into town to the old market, a number of streets quite handsome with lots of French colonial buildings again and French style restaurants. First day there I decided to relax around town, but finding there was not much to do though...shopped and walked up to see the Lotus gardens/ Royal Gardens, lined by huge trees..and then walked across bridge over the Siem Reap river to the Butterfly Garden Bar...with a lush garden outside and netting all round to keep in the butterflies but i only spotted around 3. In the evening I had a Khumer massage, which was very nice, not too painful. On the second day I got up at 6am and walked down to hire a bicycle to cycle over to the Temples of Angkor...lovely and cool, in the morning so was a good idea to start out early even though the traffic still very busy. Quite a long cycle ride out of town..finally reached the ticket booth where I bought a day ticket for $20....then carried on cycling into the grounds...into long tree lined roads and vegetation all around. First to approach the huge moat surrounding Angkor Wat and then turned the corner to see first glimpses of huge central towers....very impressive and really on a grand scale. Walked along the moat walkway up to the front of Angkok Wat where I got first taste of the elaborate carvings on nearly every part of the building...quite amazing...then through the front of the first building into another absolutely massive courtyard (a sort of one anyway) with a very long path leading up to the central building. Took quite a while to walk around, getting lost in the huge number of corridors and different levels of buildings you could enter. Then back to my bike where I carried on to Angkor Thom...a large fortified city, with 5 gates surrounding...and again a moat with an impressive bridge displaying huge statues of men each side holding the bridge stone railing. The gate displayed on top a large sculpture with 4 faces looking out in each direction.....preparation for 'Bayon'...another building which has 216 faces staring out on numerous towers - incredible! Unfortunately heaving with tourists, particularly Japanese ones. There were also bas-reliefs all around the bottom of the temple...covering 1200m of wall...extremeply detailed in their depictions of battles, cockfighting and kickboxing. Then cycled on to Baphuon...a temple that has been painstakingly rebuilt for nearly the whole of the 20th century...but particualrly since 1995. I cycled on past the Terrace of Elephants...amazing walkway with elephants holding the whole of the path way up...and then I think I got to the Terrace of the Leper King, which is a 6m high platform - the walls have 7 tiers of carved apsara (dancing girl or celetial nymph). I then cycled on to my final temple 'Ta Prohm' as I was too exhausted to view any more (even though I cycled past some more impressive ones on the way)....Ta Prohm was recently used on the set of Tomb Raider and even though I haven't seen the film can see how great it would be as a film set...while the other temples have had the jungle cleared away here it is taking over, with huge trees growing out of the temple, their roots covering, swallowing up and cracking a lot of the temple...quite an amazing sight! Looks as if the temple may collapse at any time as roots splitting stones and nothing stand straight anymore.By the time I had finished viewing this temple it was around 1.30pm so the heat of the day was upon me and I attempted to cycle back to Siem Reap centre...think I won't opt for the bike if I visit Angkor Wat again! Final evening I sat in 'The temple' bar (mock up of the ruins of Angkor!) where I had a few cocktails.
Friday morning i awoke for 7am, waiting nervously again for more transport to arrive, this time to Bangkok - whilst the transport arrived in time it was a little Tuk Tuk for 3 taken in the pouring rain (rain!!) to a "bus station" (plastic chairs by a little restaurant?) - where we again had to wait nervously for the proper bus to arrive. Found that the bus was overbooked so I luckily got to go in a taxi with 3 others all the way to the boarder! So lucky as such a terrible road, the surface pot holed or just dirt for a lot of it. Our taxi driver raced it as well, with us arriving in 3 1/2 hours (as opposed to the usual 5/6hours). Through the border control and back into Thailand - ahhhh! Sat and got what seemed like the most delux minibus ever in comparrison to other travel undertaken in past months) to Bangkok, where we arrived at about 5pm. Most of the accomodation full so had to opt for somewhere slightly more expensive than usual, but still very expensive. Found myself a restuarant and ate Patti to celebrate making it back!
On Saturday I walked for miles to Siam Square - such an amazing sight, can't believe I missed it last time I was here! The skytrain runs above the road with a series of walkways conecting massive shopping centres - and soo many shopping centres can't believe it! Got everything you could want, designer, mango/zara, and cheaper stuff...also lots of cinemas, so I ended up going to see 'Eastern Promise' by David Croenenberg - excellent film! My legs couldn't take me much further so walked away from the madness of the centre (full of Thai teenagers shopping) and got a TukTuk back to Ko Sahn where I carried out some further shopping!! On Sunday my legs were still tired so tried not to walk too far (didn't really happen though)...walked up to the National Library to take a look...massive building, but odd inside on the ground floor as lots of empty rooms...upstairs books ordered by Dewey and a Dynix Catalogue system (geek!), quite beaten up place with old shelving units but nice and cool. I then attempted to walk to Vimanmek Teak Mansion but the heat got to me so I gave up and walked back, getting a very nice facial in the evening.