Day 13

Trip Start Feb 02, 2013
Trip End Feb 26, 2013

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Friday, February 15, 2013

Sour Sdey!

Today was amazing! We started early this morning and even caught the sunrise as we were headed out for some temple viewing!

We began the day at Bayon Temple. This was possibly the most incredible temple I have ever experienced. It was built in the late 12th/ early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII. It is most well known for its massive stone faces that jut out from the terraces, but you might also recognize it from the movie Tomb Raider. 

The temple was mostly in ruins as it still needs to undergo major restoration. It is covered in these massive tree roots that have overgrown and become apart of the temple. Many of the stones that the building was originally composed of lay in piles around what is left standing today. It was so cool to explore the temple and climb around the trees and ruins. There was a woman inside one of the temple buildings and she gave me a prayer and bracelet and lit incense for me. There was just so much character here. It was also so nice to be there early in the morning because we had the temple all to ourselves which made it an even more special experience. 

After the Bayon temple, we headed to Angkor Thom with the Elephant Terrace and Ta Prohm. Once we got there, instead of walking around temple we had elephants waiting to escort us! Dad and I rode on an elephant together, a 14 year old male named Siri. Apparently most elephants can live to 100 years old! We rode around Ta Prohm on our elephants and enjoyed taking pictures and taking in the sights. I was sad to say goodbye to our elephant at the end, but maybe I can convince Dad to get me a pet elephant when we get home! He can live in our backyard and Oliver can ride on a little saddle on his back - I think its an excellent idea. 

By the time we got done riding our elephants around the temple we were exhausted and headed back to the hotel. We had some down time to relax and have lunch, which was much needed. After lunch, Dad and I took a Tuk Tuk, which is motorcycle taxi, to the Old Siem Reap Market. This was a traditional market with lots of local artisans and was very fun to walk around and experience the culture. 

This evening we had a beautiful event on the outside terraces of the hotel. There were cocktails, some snacks, and little markets set up if we wanted to buy things. We all got really into the Cambodian culture so some of us were wearing some traditional garb to dinner. When the gates opened up for dinner, I can tell you I have never seen such an amazing set up. There were the most gorgeous tables with candle lights everywhere. The tables sat in front of a stage with two huge ice sculptures. Around the entire venue, were stations set up with different types of cuisine. There were at least ten stations, if not more. Each station featured a different Cambodian style food: Stir fry, tempura, curry, crepes, soup bowls, salads, the list is endless. It was more food than I have every seen in my life... I'm not even exaggerating. We were allowed to go to any station we wanted to try all the different food styles, while wait staff brought wonderful cocktails to our tables. It was amazing. 

And then there was a performance! These wonderful cambodian dancers performed four traditional style dances for us, complete with live music and singing to the performance. It was truly spectacular. By the end of it Dad and I were exhausted and full. We left at the end of the performance to go back to the room and pack, and we also had late night spa treatments! This was truly an amazing day. 
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David Santomarco on

Our whole family continues to live vicariously through your travel blog. We can't wait to see your next day's adventure. Give Dad a hug for us...

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