Leslie and Bunny to Angkor

Trip Start Dec 06, 2006
Trip End Jan 06, 2007

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

In Siem Reap and staying at Sydney Guesthouse - aircon triple with hot water for $20. Not much happening in streets around GH. Went to open air restaurant across the street for amok curry, beef with chillies, fried vegetables, noodles, and rice for dinner. As with so many of the other places we've eaten, the chairs had backs - nothing but the best for you, baby.

Found a tuk-tuk driver (or rather he found us) and arranged to visit Angkor Wat for sunset and then the next day as well ($15). Sunset beautiful. Quite a few tourists, but as before, walking around to the side of the temples and nearly all the tourists are gone (certainly all the Japanese and Korean tour groups) - just a few backpackers around.

Up at 0400 and out the door at 0500 for a cold ride in the dark. The long walkway to the main temple is paved with uneven blocks, but fortunately, boy scout me has a little LED flashlight in his camera fanny pack (bum pack for the Brits out there), so we bopping on up the walkway, no problemo. When we got close Leslie and David went left (the more popular direction) and I went right to what Leslie calls the frog pond where there were only 2-3 other people. I sat on the ground and watched the sun come up and listened to the pond awaken. When the sky was light I walked into the edge of the forest to listen to another awakening.

When it was fully light we met at our "Big Tex" and back to the tuk-tuk bound for Angkor Thom and Bayon.

The decision to take our own tuk-tuk vs. the bus pushed by the GH is clearly a good one: we are on our own at our own speed and can pass on by the place with 20 tour buses clustered at the entrance.

Bayon is a huge pile of stones with faces set in stone. It is a labyrinth of dark passageways, shrine rooms and breaking into the light, pathways set high among the towers and faces.

At Ta Keo we all take a relaxing quiet walk around the outside wall - level, no steps or stairs up or down. When we get to the south side David takes off for the top and Leslie and I sit on the steps below. On to the Terrace of the Leper King and then stop for breakfast at one of the open-air cafes.

Ta Prohm has more tourists, but is still good. The outer edge is cool and quiet, without people. It is so much cooler in December than in June, but we are getting tired. Next is Banteay Kdei and Siah Sreng, two adjoining small structures that were very quiet. Little up and down walking, which we all appreciated. The whole time at these temples we saw 6-8 other people, other that the omnipresent children selling this and that.

Back at the GH we all fell out - a tiring, very good day (except we only saw one monkey).

Notes on Angkor for CB:
- By mid-morning everyone looks pretty dusty and hot, so forget about  dressing anything but comfortable.
- Shoes or sandals must be comfortable for walking and climbing long distances - some of the steps are amazing: 14" risers and 4" steps. Wear socks.
- No white pants. Have to sit on stones.
- I think a day pack for water and a small guidebook is a good idea. Some of the climbs require hands - if not going up, then certainly going down.
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gramcb on

angor wat
Charles and Leslie: Almost feel like I'm at the temple with you. Notes on dress/shoes/water noted and appreciated. Of course, I expect my physical conditioning by then will be such that I can achieve the native 'squat' while praying, as well as trod 14' steps up/down with ease. Didn't see any elevators??

All best wishes on this Christmas Day. May Christ be with you for safe travel home.

Carol B.

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