Temples by Moto.

Siem Reap Travel Blog

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Woke up, the regular cold shower and hopped on a Moto (a motorbike driven by a local). His name is Barang and for $10 he will spend 9hours of his day driving me to whatever spots i please. Withdrew some cash & headed off towards the temples. Love this way of travel. Faster and cheaper than tuktuks & more personal than an organised tour with hoards of camera-mental Japanese tourists. Roads vary from the bumpy to the smooth but the countryside is stunning. Wind in my hair and warm sunshine. Passing lakes bordered by trees and dotted with ruins. Children biking to school. A young girl on a big bicycle, reaching head height to hold the handel bars. Families on motorbikes. Traders carrying goods four times the size of their motorbike. Paid $20 (alot but it's gotta be done) for a one day pass to all temples. Recieve a temple pass with my picture on it. Off to the first temple. Well visited especially due to its appearance in Tomb Raider. Barang drops me off and informs me where he will be waiting. I can take my time. Incredible ruins merging with nature. Walls and temples devoured by huge trees, The roots clamped onto stone. Steps are blanketed with grass. Came across 5-6 Cambodians sweeping the ground with metal detectors, which i questioned. The guy mimed an explosion and told me they were checking for land mines. Back on the moto, stopping at a temple which involved climbing steep and narrow steps in order to reach the summit where a Thai was praying to a buddah statue dating back to the sixth century. He lit me some incense and i made a small donation which aids the constant work which takes place on the temples. The guy spilled some useful information and I found out that the temples in that region had been built from rock coming from the mountains 55km in the distance. Elephants had been used to transport the rock and some crazy bamboo system to put the huge rocks in place. I can't understand how it was done. But it did take 27 years, and it was never actually finished due to the Kings death at that time. The guy spoke excellent english and he said he had been studying it for one year, suprise suprise he asked for some money but he did so kindly and he was quite informative so i dished out what was the equivalent of 25cent. The rain came, and it really poured hard so we found relief under a shelter off the road. Back on the moto, stopping again a minute later due to the rain. Back on, through an old spectacular gate. Onwards to Angkor Thom, a huge area surrounded by a wall and four gates. Inside ruins are scattered all over the place. The most impressive being Bayorn, a temple encircled by water. It was quite eerie walking through the ancient temple, the scattered laughter from young children bouncing off the walls and glimpsing flashes of orange from passing monks. Cleaners all over the place; brushing up leaves or cutting grass with machetes. Everything is pretty much spotless. We drove through the rain, me munching on pineapple. Angkor Wat came into view, pretty spectacular with water stretching 4km right around the temple. A motorbike passed, a pig strapped down on its back, twitching but unable to escape the straps. Huge thunder claps and continuous rain so waited it out under a tree and chatted to some locals. It seems that jobs are very hard to come by in Cambodia. Most seem to say that becoming a tuktuk/moto driver is the way to go. The rain lessened, so headed over the bridge into Angkor Wat stopping to see two young kids, a boy and a girl, having fun jumping into the deep water and cooling off as the sun came out. What i didn't get walking through Angkor Wat is the sunset, it sets on the wrong side. The paintings show it setting on the opposite side to where it actually does. Weird. Maybe I'm missing something. Came across a mass of chinese school children. Interestingly when they needed to move on, the teacher/guide would start clapping, and the students would follow suite until everyone was clapping. Clever way of ensuring the kids know they are moving on. The Japanese/Chinese tourists began to slightly piss me off. There were soo many, clambering about the place being noisy and they were all taking picture upon picture upon picture. One bloke had literally a small suitcase containing purely camera equipment. He got out the tripod and a huge SLR camera and remotely took a picture of himself in the temple with a small remote control. Nutter. Another had three different cameras slung around his neck, and quite a few had two. Massive lenses and all this additional equipment i had no clue about. As i left the temple over the bridge, i came across a couple in fancy bright orange clothing. They were having their picture and film taken and were acting out a scene where the bloke presented the girl with a bunch of flowers, with Angkor Wat as the background. I thought it might be for TV but in actuality it was just their wedding snaps being taken. Quite pretty though. Found out Barang is married at the age of 22. He has been for one year and his wife is 7 months pregnant. He had been shopping while he waited for me and bought a few rolls of rice that had been wrapped in bamboo. Orders from the wife. Next stop was a hill which i climbed and perched on a rock at the top to view the sun set over Siem Reap. Chatted to some Japanese girls while the sun sunk. Very pretty sunset once again, although my camera didn't quite do it justice. Took many pictures for singles, couples and groups. Noticed how a fancy expensive camera can make a huge difference. Took hold of huge SLR's that took incredible pictures with a wide angle and really rich colour. My pictures would be insane with such cameras. Walked down the hill in the dark and back on the moto to the guesthouse. Barang such a nice chap. Met some really nice english blokes at the guesthouse. Seems that all the English i meet travelling are nice, which is a bit different to meeting English people in England. But then again the majority of travellers are really nice so it's probably that. Travellers are nice. Most of the time. Walked into town, had a cheap meal of Lok Lak, a typical cambodian dish of fried beef and then went for a $0.50 draught Ankor beer. I love the fact that beer is half the price of a cold drink like Coke or Fanta. And only double that of water. SLEEP.
Jemmet says:
Interesting :)
Posted on: Feb 06, 2010
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