Siem Reap and Ankor WHAT!!!

Trip Start Jan 06, 2010
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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What I did
Ankor Wat

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Thursday, March 7, 2013

Siem Reap is awesome. Ankor Wat is incredible. This town is super chill and offers many great bars, restaurants, traditional dance shows and art. I swear to Chris that I already wrote this blog before but somehow it didn't get saved and since it was over 2 weeks ago I will just have to make this entry brief. Bummer! So not only does Siem Reap offer a convenient location to Ankor Wat but it holds its own as a destination to just have fun and relax. We were a little surprised how much we loved the place. We were there for 6 nights and took our time visiting the Ankor Wat complex and enjoying the town. One night we went to a modern dance performance for its opening night and before the show we looked at the Documenting Cambodia by Photography Exhibit that was being displayed at the same location as the dance. I saw a flyer for the dance performance and exhibit at a local restaurant and was so pleased to engage in a different side of Cambodia. The dance was interesting, moody and charming and the girls were estatic to have their first live audience. The photos taken documenting the lives of Cambodians living in very tragic situations really captured the emotions of the people including  their heartbreak, strength and resilience. One of the photos was of a women 7 months pregnant, in tears lying on the floor of her shack, worried for her unborn baby, since the father bailed on her. Another was of children working in the garbage dump, looking for recyclables instead of going to school. And another was of families and there children working in plantations where there homes used to be for about $2.50 usd a day. Companies have bought land from the corrupt government and bulldozed hundreds of these families homes without compensating them at al and giving them only a day or two notice in advance. Their only option was to then work for the companies for unfair pay. 

Every day in Siem Reap we found something fun to do and during the hottest part of the day we would visit the Ankor Personal Movie Theater which was awesome!!! It is a fairly small room with a large screen and a couch big enough for 5 people and they play any movie of your choice for $4 a person! A must-do in Siem Reap! Chris and I got to watch movies like Ted and Flight in a nice, comfortable, air-conditioned room. We also went to see where many of the local ceramics are made and took a 2 hour lesson! It was harder then I thought it would be but super fun and we got to take our creations home with us
Basically we love Cambodia and hope we can drag our friends and family here in the future! -Sarah 

When we first arrived in Siem Reap it was after dark and was hard to see how charming the town was because the power was out in the whole city. It was such a fun site because it gave a peaceful sense to the town. On the other hand the evenings were unbearably hot with not even a fan to circulate the stagnant atmosphere of our oven baked hotel. We had to keep the windows closed too because the mosquitos were waiting for us to give in to them. We negotiated a deal that involved six bites each for ten minutes of cooler outside air. Our hotel discounted the room every night the power was off so that is something travelers should expect if stuck in the same situation. After two nights of pretending to sleep we took a tuk tuk taxi to the magical Ankor Wat. This city of temples is so vast that it takes two to three days to see just the most significant buildings. It probably takes months to find and see everything. They are an archeological and architectural treat and is overwhelming in the sense that you can't just say "Oh My God" two dozen times a day without looking generic or being mocked by the locals. You have to consciously express your amazement in a different way to mix it up such as: "Holy Shnikies", "What the H Man", "That's Hella Crazy", and "Damn!". I'm just saying that this site is indescribable in words and better done with ignorant urban go-to phrases. A truly must see of the world and a wonder of human accomplishment.Tours by tuk tuk taxi to Ankor Wat is fifteen dollars so don't fall for it when they ask for 20 or twenty five unless you are going to the far palaces that are off the main tour map. The taxis are just as ambitious as in Phnom Penh and since everything is close with cheap fares and too far to walk when hot it's a good idea to use them. It costs two dollars to go anywhere so don't fall for three or four unless its two ways or you like giving away money. There is an area of town called Pub Street and it is a total blast. We went to the more expensive balcony bars and watched free dance entertainment. The drinks are still a quarter price to that of California. There are cheaper places that serve great food that is always safe to eat. Siem Reap has prided itself on its excellence in restaurants, and though the Mexican food needs culinary refinement, I still appreciate the effort. There is also shopping on the street that will distract wives and Kiwi men for hours so be patient if your are not one of these but are attached by marriage contract to one. There are many fish tanks that are filled with fish that will eat the dead skin off your feet. I don't buy it so I just tell the venders that I'm scared of fish so they don't keep asking me to try. That's pretty much it. I love this town when the electricity is working and really would consider coming back if an opportunity arose. It's not too big nor too small as far as my preferences go. Going back to lovely Phnom Penh next for break and then off to Saigon. -Chris
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