Siem Reap Travel Blog› entry 6 of 55 › view all entries
After a great night's sleep, we get up early, have breakfast at the hostel (which is quite dear, and they put everything on a tab, so at the end you pay for it, hmm, might get stung here!), then our matey tuk-tuk driver picks us up from the hostel at 9 (ish).
We drive through Siem Reap town, which I absolutely love. Compared to Bangkok, it's fantastic. Still dirty, but no 7/11's, no hookers soliciting at 5AM (or any time), and feels totally safe. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the complex of Angkor Wat, where we pay $40 for a 3 day pass, as we've been told one day is not enough.
Matey drives us to the first temple, Bayoun, which has all the faces, and it is amazing. Nothing prepares you for seeing these temples for the first time. He drops us here, and waits at restaurant no 33 (another scam, to spend money there, but we don't mind). So we set off exploring Bayoun, then Angkor Thom, the Terrace of the Leper King and the Terrace of the Elephant King, which takes a couple of hours. On the way, 2 guides explain the history of the place, as we pass by another temple, which has been in a process of restoration since 1996. Very good information, which requires some more money. He wants 1000B!!! Do I have MUG tattooed across my forehead?? Anyways, we trek on, and find another less-known temple in the jungle somewhere, not sure of the name, but it's cool anyways. By the time we get back to matey at the restaurant, Burger is a walking sweatpatch, and I'm no better. This is the most I have sweated ever. Without a doubt. The temples are absolutely amazing, and, like the pyramids in Egypt, it beggers belief how they were actually built. Some were originally Hindu temples, built in the 12 C A.D., then converted into Buddhist soon after.
So, we have lunch, I try some Fish Amok, the local dish, cooked with cocunut, lemongrass, and lime, and it is fantastic (except for the fish bones). One annoying, and slightly sad thing, about Angkor is the little kids which surround you when leaving/entering temples, eating or doing anything nearby, hounding you to buy water (essential), postcards (not-so-essential) and bracelets (pointless!). But we buy our water from the restaurant, cos how can you give to one child and not another? So we give nothing...it's sad, but the best way, I feel.
After lunch, we get a ride to Ta Prohm (Tomb Raider, as matey puts it) to check this temple out. It's so cool, it seems to (well, actually does) have trees growing ON TOP of the walls. Not just little flowers, but big fuck-off trees. As soon as I can (be arsed), I will upload the pics to show you what I mean. It's called Tomb Raider, because, yes Tomb Raider was filmed there, and quite touristy (mind you, the whole park is touristy, but the Cambodian people love it, because of the money it brings in, just makes you wonder how long they will tolerate it so well??).
Then, we head to the BIG ONE. Angkor Wat. We were planning on seeing the sunset there, but due to clouds, it doesn't happen. But still. It is the most amazing structure I have ever seen, I think. The pyramids are awesome, but this beggars belief. Surrounded by a moat, there are 3 main structures jutting up in the distance, and the pictures are astounding that you can take. I would recommend everybody to see this, it's a MUST DO!
After the Angkor Wat, we are quite knackered, so when matey suggest heading back to our hostel, we agree. We pay him at the end of the trip apparently, and tomorrow we are seeing Angkor Wat by sunrise! Now, THAT I am lookin forward to!
So, we get back, and my camera is out of battery. No problem, I bought a SEA adaptor. Uh-oh, problem. t doesn't work in SEA. Now, that sort of defeats the purpose for me. I don't know, but if you buy a SEA adaptor, it should work in SEA. Maybe I'm being silly. So, we head into town, as we need passport photos anyway for our Vietnamese Visa (which is best to get in Sihanoukville, which is why we are heading there next, and to just sit on the beach for a day, and do nothing, well deserved, I think!). We find a kodak shop, which has both an adaptor, and does passport photos. $5 for the adaptor, $3 for 8 p/p photos. Sweet!
We head into town, via tuk-tuk for dinner, into Pub Street, which is closed off every night from traffic, so you can walk along in safety. As it's name inplies, it's a row of pubs, restaurants, and clubs (which are notoriously dodgy), so we have some dinner, I have Khmer Spring Rolls (vegetables and prawns) and Yellow Chicken Curry, which are lovely, and Burg has Amok. We have 2 pitchers of Angkor beer, which cost $2.50 each! (happy hour lasts for 5 hours down this street!), then head home, as we have an early start (4:30AM) for the sunrise.
I love Siem Reap.