Watch out! There’s an elephant behind you!

Trip Start Apr 14, 2010
Trip End Apr 16, 2011

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our final destination with Nick and Ann was Siem Reap and the Ankhor temples. Once again Nick and Ann were flying up and we were due to be following on the bus, this time during the day. We went around negotiating with bus companies to make sure we found one who would take us direct to Siem Reap without changing buses in Phonm Penh. Nevertheless, at about 2pm the bus driver kicked us awake (we hadn't had much sleep the night before having bumped into some of the gang from Hoa’s Place and stayed out till about 3 hours before our bus!) and announced that we had arrived in Phonm Penh.

"Siem Reap?" we said dazedly.

“Siem Reap? No this is Phomn Penh, you know, the capital”.

“But our bus ticket says Siem Reap”.

“Oh” he said.

Cue some shouting at the people in the office, a frantic journey across town on a tuk-tuk and then being shoved unceremoniously onto the local bus to Siem Reap.

The temples themselves were very impressive (the scale of the whole place rather took us by surprise) and took a great deal of exploring. Particular favourites were Ta Prohm: the temple of Tomb Raider fame which has been kept all overgrown and full of trees and vines which was great fun clambering around. Most of the others have all been cleared and reconstructured (it was the French that did this, not the Cambodians, the guide was very keen to point out).

At the end of the day we went up to the temple on the hill (with a few million other people) to watch the sun set and the light fall on Ankhor Wat. It was on the narrow path on way down that we all heard a sentence from Nick that we never expected to hear in real life:


As ridiculous as this sounded we looked over our shoulders to see that there was indeed an elephant barrelling down the narrow path and (unbelievably) making almost no noise as it walked. We have never noticed how fast or quietly elephants walk before! Fortunately, we all somersaulted gymnastic-like off the path (ok, dived madly into the jungle on either side) and avoided getting trampled.

 After day 2 of looking around temples mopping up the ones we hadn’t been to with a guide on day 1, we decided that was probably enough temple-gazing for now and headed to a rooftop swimming pool we had heard about to chill out for the afternoon. Our lazy afternoon was soon interrupted however by the mother of all thunderstorms which came in and unleashed the most incredible torrential downpour that literally didn’t stop for 12 hours. At one point, we sat on the back of a moped being taken over to Nick  & Ann’s hotel for a final dinner together by our guesthouse owner  travelling through water that was literally feet deep.  Nick & Ann’s hotel were obviously delighted to see two half-drowned backpackers arrive in their reception and then sit dripping in the bar all evening.

Having bid Nick & Ann adieu we slung on our backpack rain covers, donned our massive Vietnamese motorcycling ponchos and headed off to get the bus to Bangkok with no idea really of where we might go after that except being fairly sure that we were done with seeing temples for the time being and a desire to do a bit of beaching & diving.
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