Trip Start Jan 16, 2009
40Trip End May 26, 2009
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Where I stayed
So we arrive in the Reception of the Siem Reap Hostel, Emma W can't see as the grit has blinded her in our tuk tuk ride from the non-aircon bus to our hostel. (We dissapointed the tuktuk man by telling him we really dont know if we want to go to angkor wat tommorrow, and that we do have reservations so we'd not like to see another "nicer" hotel.)
We were stood in reception checking in and who should walk past but Declan.
Declan Edge, from Ireland (related to Daniel O'Donnell), from the Trans-siberian and half of China who we last left on the most horrific train journey you can ever ever imagine in the middle of February. He's here, in this exact same hostel, (there are so many hotels here its amazing coincidence) He'd only checked in about 30mins earlier
I am still in shock even now at the coincidence of it all!
It turned out Declan was planning on seeing Angkor Wat the next day, so we decided to tag along, reduce the transport costs etc. Then he told us he was going at 5am to see the sunrise, as is the fashion. Ha. Oh well we thought, what the heck.
We had a big fat burger for tea as we needed some comfort food after the border fiasco and went to bed at a reasonable hour... ish.
At 4am some people came back to our dorm (Declan was in a private room, flash with the cash) after being out partying and were loud and turned all the lights on and giggled for a while. We got up not much later and tried to make lots of noise, but they must have drunk a lot or something as they were already dead to the world.
The tuktuk man was waiting outside at 5am as promised and off we went the three of us for an Angkor Wat sunrise experience. For our entrance tickets we had our photo taken and printed on them, which as you can imagine, a photo of us at 5am after a 15min tuk-tuk ride with the wind in our hair and the dust on our faces, was not a good photo
After buying a breakfast sandwich and coffee off of a woman and offending a man by not buying it off of him we walked towards Angkor Wat, the path was busy with lots of people using flash to take photos of... the darkness as the sun still hadn't risen.
We stood by a pond with about 400 other people to watch the sunrise over AW. It wasn't the best sunrise as there were a few clouds but was still pretty (see pics). Seeing the towers silhouetted against the sky was really quite cool. It was really busy though, luckily after the sunrise most people went off to get breakfast so we wandered around AW without seeing many other people. Really is quite awesome, Asparas and Basque reliefs everywhere, all very symmetrical and awesome. Hard to imagine it was totally forgotten for a long time.
Angkor Thom was next, which is the old capital and had a few things in it.
Bayon, this is "the one with the faces". I was a definite fan of all the faces, cheery smiley faces everywhere! Precarious steps though. There was some building work going on as well, sorry restoration works... Was also, pretty cool.
Baphuon was next door, this temple was excavated back in the days, excavated by anastylosis, which means taking it all apart and noting down where you got each part from
Ta Prohm is also known as the tombraider temple as its where it was filmed. Was by far my favourite, it was still all overgrown with jungle and had a really cool feel to the place. Loads of awesome tree roots taking over everything and little passage ways.
Also lots of Japanese tour groups with very made up women in gloves and massive hats who were determined to get in every photo we tried to take.
By this time it was starting to get pretty warm and we'd been at the temples for maybe 5 hours. We decided that we'd seen all we came to see, and would go back to the hostel in time for breakfast and a nap. Our hostel has a pool so we go out money's worth and went for a dip.
We decided to explore some markets and at the night market we found "Doctor Fish" these are fish that'll eat the dead skin off of the soles of your feet. We were eaten alive by fish.
Was terrifying, but actually after half an hour was strangely nice
For tea we had Amok, which is traditional Khmer, coconuty chicken served in banana leaves, i was very nice indeed. We went to a bar called Angkor What? and had a few drinks we were joined by Hannah and Chris who manage the hostel and had a few more! As we'd been up early we went to be at a reasonable hour..
The next day we went to the floating village of Cheong Kneas on the Tonle Sap (MASSIVE lake). We got a tuk-tuk there down some very dubious roads and then a boat to the village where we had a guide, who was very nice until he didn't think we'd tipped him enough at the end when he just looked upset at us. The village was a jumble of boats and houses that floated, there were thousands of little women and beggar children asking us for 1dollar, 1dollar. We went to a shop and bought lollipops to take to the school. I'm sure the kids at the school just spend all day being visited by tour boats but they seemed quite cheery and cute. Went to see some crocodiles, fish and snakes at a restaurant/crocodile and fish farm. Crocodiles are terrifying.
As we got there a korean tour group were leaving and one of them gave some money to one of the beggar kids causing about 100children to run at him, terrifying
We made our way out of the floating village the way we'd came, there were little men fishing in the river, which is like fishing in the middle of the main road, danger fishing. Our little guide man told us we should tip him 10dollars, and then sulked when we didn't. Ah well.
We met up with our tuktuk man and went back to town, we went to the market where I managed to buy a bag and Emma W some party pants. We bought noodles by pointing at what a local lady was eating, and they were cold but good.
Saturday night was hostel party night, everyone gathered in the bar and we played some games, such as the Roxanne drinking game, thank you Sting. We moved onto to some other bars and played some other games. Emma almost lost one of them but luckily guessed the right number of matchsticks. There were some spaniards, an argenitinan, some geordies, canadian, english, german, japanese, aussie, irish, oh it was all very multicultural. We played musical chairs etc... And partied well into the small hours. There was lots of writing on each other at the Angkor What? bar as writing on the walls is encouraged, but the walls were pretty full and our arms weren't...
The next day we woke up, covered in pen, but did infact make it to breakfast downstairs
Today we so far we had some breakfast in town, read an english language paper, went to the chemist and bought toothpaste and booked a bus to Phnom Penh tommorrow. Declan has gone Quad biking, but we decided it was just too expensive.
Will prob venture into town again later when it is cooler and prepare for our epic non-aircon adventure to Phnom Penh.
Much Love Emmas R and W