Angkor Waaaaaaaat?!

Trip Start Nov 30, 2012
Trip End Jan 14, 2013

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Where I stayed
World Lounge House Siem Reap
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Tom & Jerry Hotel Siem Reap
Read my review - 3/5 stars
What I did
Angkor Wat Siem Reap
Read my review - 5/5 stars

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 1

We travelled to Siem Reap in absolute luxury compared to some of our other journeys! We went with a bus company called Giant Ibis. Their coaches were brand new to 2012 & it seemed to have everything from wifi & T.V to croissants & reclining chairs that almost turned into beds.

The coach got into Siem Reap for 15:30 where we had a pick-up waiting for us. The name of the place we were staying in was the Tom & Jerry Guesthouse. We were shown to our room, which was a lot nicer than the last place we stayed at in Phnom Penh, then headed into town to find something to eat & a road called Pub Street.

Lisa said on our way into town that Siem Reap seemed a lot more tourist friendly & she was right. Every bar & restaurant we came across was built with a western theme.

We grabbed a drink then went off in search of somewhere to eat. We headed into the night market where we found an Indian restaurant called Ababa Curry House. Rajeet Singh was his name & his food was delicious!

A quick look around a few more market stalls & we were off back to our room. It's a 04:00 start in the morning for the sunrise at Angkor Wat.

Day 2

As the alarm went off we both peeled open our eyes & forced ourselves out of bed. This was the most unearthly hour either of us had been up since the trip began.

We headed downstairs where we woke the receptionist up who was asleep on the floor. He quickly called the tuk tuk then went off to the kitchen to get us some baguettes & jam. Scrumptious.

Angkor Wat was about 20 minutes from where we were staying & we knew it was going to be busy. The sun comes up about 05:45 so getting there at 04:50 meant we had plenty of time to find a decent spot.

Our tuk tuk driver parked up in the middle of a field & pointed us in the direction of pure darkness! It was now that we realised we should have brought the torch along with us!

We headed off across a field, guided by moonlight, until we reached some steps leading to a walk way. By now there were quite a few people turning up so we hoped from one torch to another until we finally found some people walking at our pace. They had head lights & marched off in front of everyone. We tried to keep up but they outpaced us halfway through their short-cut across a field leaving us wondering what direction to head in.

We finally figured it out & found ourselves a spot at the front that we hoped would be a good view. We still didn't know because it was still so dark but we headed over to where there were a couple of geeks with more gadgets than us. All we knew is that when the sun rises it reflects off of a pond. We were in front of that pond.

It seemed to take forever for the sun to come up. Everyone seemed to be filled with the same anticipation. As it slowly began to rise you could see the shape of the temple starting to form. We had our camera set up on a tripod & it seemed pretty much everyone else along the front did as well. There were a few people fighting for space as it got busier with one guy having his tripod pushed into the pond. Luckily for him the camera wasn't attached.

All you could hear was the sound of cameras clicking as everyone tried to get the perfect photo. The best photo we managed to take was with the sun coming up over the temple but with a star still in the sky that you could see a reflection of in the pond. Truly amazing stuff.

We started to head into the temple as daylight broke properly. There were so many different places you could enter the temple. We decided to go from the left side as it seemed a bit quieter.

By now it was 07:00 & we were hungry. A lot of people watch the sunrise then head back to their hotels for breakfast. One of the reasons for this is because you can get a 4 day ticket that allows you access whenever you wanted. We only had a day so it was out with the baguettes, jam, Mr Potato crisps & the pen knife! We found a little spot at one of the secondary entry points inside the temple & decided to share our buffet breakfast with the ants & the birds.

We spent 2-3 hours inside the temple, taking photos & walking around. Unfortunately the upper inside part of the temple was closed off due to renovation so we didn't get to see all of it but what we did see was truly amazing.

We headed out of Angkor Wat & back towards the pond. There were market stalls set up along the side of it & Lisa was determined to leave there with something memorable. We looked on a few stalls before coming across a really nice painting that we both agreed was a real piece of work. After a bit of bartering & the fact that we only had euros on us we managed to bag ourselves 2 pieces of art that we would like to think was a bit of a bargain!

We headed back along the walkway that we had stumbled across in the morning. A completely different journey in the day light. Our tuk tuk driver was fast asleep where we left him but it wasn't long before we were off on the next part of our tour.

The next couple of stops were smaller temples built at the same time as Angkor Wat. They were nice but they didn't have the same impact as they were nowhere near as spectacular. On our way to the third temple though our driver stopped to let us see the monkeys. There was one monkey in particular that stood out. He had a lolly pop in his mouth. The reason we know it was a 'he' is because he decided to try & make babies, monkey style, with the lolly still in his mouth!

The last temple we went through was in the process of being restored. It was used in the film Tomb Raider, which I (not we) found awesome! It was quite a long walk into this temple &, as we found, very easy to get lost in it as well. When we finally found our way out it was an equally long walk out of it.

We found our tuk tuk driver & told him we had seen enough for one day & were ready to head back to our room. We had him for 8 hours in total & it only cost $15.

We got back to our room & decided a sleep was in order as we wanted to go out for drinks in the night. That's exactly what we did for the next 4 hours!

We headed out towards pub street at about 20:00. We were both pretty hungry & ended up in an Italian restaurant called Places. With food done we had a few drinks in a few bars, the best being one that played live music, then headed home to bed. Our longest journey of the trip awaited us in the morning so we needed a good nights sleep.
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