Washed out of Angkor !!!

Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
Trip End Sep 05, 2007

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Thursday, July 6, 2006

This morning we were up early, ate a delicious brekkie and picked up by Lim's friend who was our tuktuk driver for the day.
We love visiting Temples, but were afraid that it would all become the same after a whole day exploring and did'nt want our "Angkor" experience to be ruined in the way that we become bored with visiting, so we carefully chose which temples we wanted to visit and set off the short distance from Siem Reap.

Soon we arrived at the ticket office and purchased our one day passes, you can get 3 and 7 day options too! You would have to be an enthusiast for that let me tell you, I mean it was an amazing day, but we are exhausted!
Our first temple to visit was the main one, the magnificent Angkor Wat, we walked along the entrance and were both just amazed by its beauty, which unlike the Taj Mahal, still had its fair share of visitors but wasnt over run with them. Angkor Wat is huge,built originally as a Hindu temple it was eventually used by Buddhists when that became the main religion for the country, as you enter the temple itself there is a place called the Gallery of a 100 Buddhas, unfortunatley there arent 100 Buddha statues here anymore, some are being restored and there is an average sized one where you can light incense and leave offerings. Outside you can climb if you are brave enough up a set of VERY steps to the Pyramid like towers that Angkor is famous for.
A huge Quadrant like pathway runs around the outside of the temple and has some amazing Bas Relief Carvings - each wall tells a different story, generally involving Hindu gods.

Angkor Wat was just stunning and were there almost 2 hours taking it all in. After visiting the main temple we moved on and our driver took us to the south Gate of Angkor Thom which is about 2 kms away, the road leading up to the south gate is beautiful, quite busy with traffic but the restored statues on each side of the road were well worth a look, we got out and walked past them and through the gate, jumped in the tuktuk again and continued a further km or so to the temple of Bayon.

Bayon is gorgeous, not disapointed whatsoever, a bit worried that we would be after seeing the "mighty one" first, but it was so different you just cant compare. Bayon was built as a Buddhist Temple, it has 37 towers and most of them have faces on them which stare out at you inside the temple and at the surrounding jungle, Bayon was very impressive, we wandered there for ages, up and down steep staircases, taking piccies from every angle possible!

After Bayon we ate a lunch of noodles and veggies at one of the many food stalls out here, and rested our weary feet! After lunch we walked along the Terrace of Elephants, an impressive part of the complex which was used as a viewing stand in its time, and these days you can make out the many elephants that are carved into the wall.
We went on to visit a few smaller temples, namely Baphuon, Takeo, Thommamanon and Chau Say Tevoda which was being renovated, each was different and interesting in their own right.

Then it was time for the one were really looking forward to - Ta prohm. The joy of Ta Prohm is that it really is like its been swallowed by the jungle, its been left like it was found (to a certain extent of course), ruins of the temples stand and you can see how old they really are by the huge trees and roots that have since grown over them, this temple was used in the film "Tomb Raider" and the famous Tomb Raider tree is there for everyone to see...along with plenty of others!

After Ta Prohm we moved onto a couple more smaller temples, there are kids everywhere here selling things, everywhere you go you will here "water madam", "guidebook sir" - bless them, one little girl along with many others was selling wooden flutes, she accosted Matt and walked with him for what felt like an age it went like this "1 flute 1 dollar", No..."10 flutes 1 dollar"....No..."100 flutes 1 dollar...Noooo...1 milliom flutes and 10 bracelets 1 dollar...nooooo!!! Eventually she got the message that it did'nt matter how many or how much he didnt want any let alone a million!

The rain started lashing out of the sky, by this time we were at our last temple - which was lucky, drenched we rushed to the tuktuk and our driver pulled the tarpaulin sides down and off we sped, this was after hot drink madam was called from various kids tens of times, and three little kids were rolling in the mud and splashing in the puddles naked!

We got back to our guesthouse and ordered a coffee...we got the shock of our life when we walked into our room and our bags were packed! Now we know that we have to do that tonight, but surely we hadnt already done it, hang on its a posher place than we are used to - maybe its part of the service hahaha...no turns out they made a mistake and thought we were leaving today not tommorow...alls well though..we are still here.

Bring on the road to Poipet....hopefully tommorow night we shall be in Bangkok!


Ali and Matt
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