Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Angkor Say Wat!

Sorry for the break in posting, we got distracted by the beautiful island of Koh Lanta and didn't manage to access the internet or our blog for a couple of weeks! However we are back now and need to get a crack on with our Cambodian adventures! 

We did arrive in Phnom Penh first but as we only spent a couple of days there before heading up to Siem Reap we will come back to Phnom Penh later on when we return! 

After a hellish bus journey that was meant to take 5.5 hours and took about 8.5 (including a little boy deciding to use the seats opposite us as a toilet...) we arrived in Siem Reap! After haggling for a tuk tuk and being pleasantly surprised at how cheap they were, we were led on a whistle stop tour of the town on the way to our hostel. Our first impressions were how lovely and laidback the town felt. This was reinforced with our wander around that evening.

The town itself is definitely geared towards tourism, more so than Phnom Penh I would say, there are a lot of Westerners, this isn't definitely a bad thing, and we did like the fact it made it easier to get food and to communicate but at the same time when towns are more geared towards tourism it also inevitably brings with it the darker side of tourism and there were a lot of child beggers who would run up to you and grab you demanding money as well as mothers with babies demanding for you to buy formula milk. Now unfortunately as heartbreaking as this can be we can't help everyone and a lot of the time you unfortunately do have to ignore them after saying sorry, but it does but a bit of a dampner on an otherwise charming little town.

We spent 5 nights in Siem Reap and loved it, there are countless markets to choose from and lovely little eateries to explore as well as the famous Angkor Temples complex. We decided to only spend one day at the temples, originally we were going to buy a 3 day pass but when we decided to cycle on the first day the heavens opened for pretty much the whole day so we gave up! We were very grateful the next day when we realised just how big the complex was!!

Angkor Wat

The temples themselves are amazing, after posing for a somewhat unflattering ticket photo we were on our way, first to stop at Angkor Wat, it's about a 15 walk to get to the temple where the Tuk Tuk drops you off and it was already well over 32 degrees celcius at half 8 in the morning!! It's very impressive on the walk towards the temples and even the glance of scaffolding does little to disrupt the impressiveness. Unfortunately although I thought I had come prepared with my maxi dress and shawl to cover up I was informed this was not good enough and wasn't allowed up to the top of the temple so Dan had to go it alone (I later purchased a T-Shirt for the other temples!)


After Angkor Wat we made our way to Angkor Thom with the famous Temple of faces Bayon. That was a fab temple and we really enjoyed ourselves, the other temples in the complex are just as breathtaking but by this time we had probably walked about 8 km and were getting tired (plus navigating pretty rickity wooden stairs which is pretty scary!!) we visited one more temple before we decided to stop for a bite to eat with our Tuk Tuk driver! Quite hilariously in the temple complex you can bargain for your food, we got two stalls going against each other and managed to get our meals down from $4 each to $2!!

After visting a few more temples including the famous "Tomb Raider" temple which unfortunately is crumbling to pieces and pretty much surrounded by scaffolding we decided to call it a day as we were temple-d out!!

Tomb Raider temple
 It was a brilliant way to spend the day and absolutely amazing to think these structures were completed with no machinary of any kind but we were glad in the end to only go for a day pass as I'm not sure we would've wanted to spend three days exploring the temples!

Temple Chic
 On another note if you are ever in Siem Reap you HAVE to check out the Viva! mexican restaurant it is absolutely AMAZING and for pudding make sure you try Blue Pumpkin one of the best cafe's/ice cream shops in Cambodia!!

Join us for the next installment where we venture off the beaten track in Battambang!

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