Pedalling around Angkor

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 18, 2011

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One of the main reasons if not the reason most people come to Cambodia is the temples of Angkor, and Angkor Wat itself. Angkor was the capital city of the Khmer empire but all that remains now is an impressive collection of temples built between the 9th and 13th centuries and includes some very impressive architecture spread over a very large area. It is reckoned that the size of the city in its day would have been the same as LA with about one million inhabitants!

Anyway, the closest town to Angkor nowadays is Siem Reap so this was our first stop in Cambodia as there were pretty cheap flights to it from KL. We decided to hire bikes for the 3 days we were going to visit the site. Cycling around the various sites was a brilliant way to see everything at our own pace. The distance and heat didnt make it a breeze (about 40km on the 2nd day i reckon) but its very flat so no real problems. I was a bit suprised when we arrived at the site on the 1st day after a 6k cycle out when Liz told me this was only her 2nd time cycling on a main road! And probably her first time on a bike in 15 years.

3 days around Angkor is definitely enough though and we were pretty "templed out" by the end of it all. Luckily beers in Siem Reap are only 50 cents so having a few in the evening didn't give the finance minister any headaches. That is one odd thing about Cambodia, although they have their own currency, the riel ($1 = 4000 riel), almost all prices and transactions are done in US dollars with riel notes used instead of dollar coins. Aparently the Khmer Rouge abolished currency in the 70s and the reintroduction never really took off and when the UN came they brought alot of dollars so that is what people use. Even the ATMs give out dollars!

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