The Ancient City of Angkor

Trip Start Mar 21, 2010
Trip End Mar 16, 2011

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Friday, April 16, 2010

16 APRIL 2010 - Last night wasn't fun.  Mary woke up to a black out and it was only midnight. The airconditioning stopped working and the room was rather hot.  Mary had two showers in the dark, working your way around the room in the dark was not fun.  So Mary lies in bed trying to sleep without any luck.  I heard people getting up and making noise so I thought it was going to be daylight soon or it might be 4am or 5am to go to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat but no luck it was only midnight.  Not happy while I am awake and Troy is in the land of zzzzz's.

After a breakfast a very tired Mary and Troy had breakfast at our hotel which was just toast and tea.  We meet our tuk tuk driver - Mr Long, a nice young guy that spoke English well and was our driver for the day for only US$12.  Today we were doing the so called "mini tour", but went all day.  The Ancient City of Angkor was about 7 kms away.  We went down the street into town and there was a lot happening so early in the morning.  People selling stuff, lots of action and lots of good cars like Camrys, Lexus, heaps of 4WD's and more.  Siem Reap town seemed like a happening place, not bad either but we will have to check it out later.  We drove into the ticket booth and we purchased our 3 day pass and had to have a mug shot for our passes.  We had to use this pass as proof of payment for the entire 3 days. 

We arrived at the mightly Angkor Wat about 8.15am.  There was heaps of annoying touts around selling water, drinks, books, postcards you name it they had it.  It was funny at first but after a while it was like "whatever" when you they ask you where you are from and you say Australia, there response is "Gidday Mate, Aussie, Aussie, Aussie and "A dingo stole my baby" and to top it off when they found out you were from Australia they would say this "If I tell what is the capital of Australia and who the Prime Minister is and what the population of Australia, will you buy from me"?  They rattled off the answers but we still didn't buy, they are good bribers for sure. Troy reckons next time we should say that we are from Andora or Togo, I reckon we should pick somewhere even harder.  Honestly these touts are full on and can be annoying especially when there are several of them all yelling in your ear and trying to get you to buy.  We know they are poor but you cannot buy from everyone.  They just don't stop hassling you even if you say No so many times. If you buy from one you get told off by another.  The haggling here is harder.  

Anyway enough of that, the Ancient City of Angkor - Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom are magificent. There was millions of tourists around and it was very hot.

We went to Angkor Wat first (the mother of all temples) which was part of the so called "mini tour".  You need a tuk tuk driver here or you can cycle yourself (no way its too hot) or hire or car.  Troy says that Angkor Wat was amazing, beautiful and awe inspiring.  I couldn't believe it we were here, Troy has been talking about coming here for years and we are finally here it was a bit overwhelming for me, I was very happy for Troy.  Anyway enough of that, we explored Angkor Wat, a huge temple with four stupas after waiting in line for sometime.  Another whinge here Mary finds Japanese tourists a pain in the rear end, they are rude, one was poking me in the back because I had a soap stain on the back of my top and I just wanted to turn around and punch her, they are so inconsiderate travellers and just push in all the time and don't give a hoot about anyone else.  OK I feel better now I got that off my chest.

We then went to Angkor Thom which is huge.  We entered thru the South Gate and then went to Bayon where there a heaps of statues of faces that look like they are staring at you.  We took lots of photos here and then went back to meet our driver.  He drove us past the "Terrace of the Elephants" and "Terrace of the Lepper King".  We exited through Victory gate and then spent about 40 minutes looking for our driver.  Not happy we couldn't find "Mr Long" anywhere.  We walked around the place searching for him and finally found him, Mary was ready to give him the sack but later we worked out that Troy took me down the garden path and Mr Long was waiting somewhere else but we thought we searched everywhere for him. We then went to the Ta Prohm (the Jungle Temple) which was amazing, lots of old temples with huge trees growing amongst them and they had the biggest roots ever, a really cool place.  Mary loved this place as well as Angkor Thom the most of all. We also discovered a few small temples which weren't as impressive but worth a look.  We went to a lake called Sras Srang which we were told a lot of tourists come here to see the sunrise.  We then went to Banteay Kdei Temple where it was seemed small but as you walked in the temple went for a long way.  By this time it was late afternoon and Mary had enough, hot, bothered and covered in dirt.  Troy went exploring for a while and then we will a small temple called Prasad Kravan where Troy hopped out, took a photo and then we were driven back to our hotel.  We had a great day but it was exhausting too, its incredibly hot here and we were covered in dirt so showers, scrubbing hair and eye drops were next. Apparently at all the temples you get asked if you want to buy incence sticks for good luck, so everything seems to be for good luck, I think its good money for the locals. 

Tonight we had dinner in the hotel, nothing fantastic but good enough as we couldn't be bothered going into town.  Another day tomorrow exploring more of the Ancient City of Angkor. 

17 APRIL 2010 - After breakfast we head off again for the Ancient City of Angkor, Day 2 this time exploring some smaller temples and Angkor Wat for the sunset.  We met up with our driver Mr Long who took us around again today.  Siem Reap is quite a nice town, not big but its quite pretty and has heaps of flash hotels, our hotel is quite nice, out of town but its cheap.  

Not long into the trip Mary’s camera stopped working and she wasn’t happy.  The autofocus decided to stop and couldn’t take any photos. After sometime it decided to start working again, that was a relief.   The poor camera probably got dirt in it or something.    

We explored Phum Srah Srang (Bridal Temple), East Mebon, Ta Som, Baray Of Preah Khan (one with the temple in the middle with ponds around it), Preah Khan, drove into Angkor Thom and went to the Terrace of the Leper King and the Terrace of the Elephants. 
Mary was waiting for Troy at one temple and this friendly monk came up to me and starting chatting.  He was very nice young monk from Siem Reap, he introduced me to his friend a Chinese lady nun, both of them together looked rather cool, him in all orange robe and her in a grey robe.  I had a fantastic opportunity to have a photo with him but Troy had my camera so I missed out.

A funny story, I was proud of Troy today, he told an annoying young girl who was trying to sell him something that he was from Togo, she seemed puzzled and said “Togo mmmm”.  I nearly went myself laughing when Troy told me this story.  Honestly these children selling you stuff become very annoying no matter how polite you are they just won’t take no for an answer but they have an answer for everyone as to why you have to buy from them.  We know that they are trying to make a living but you cannot buy from everyone and it can be annoying but really its all good - part of been a rich tourist in a poor country. Its amazing at how young the kids are when it comes to asking for money.  We have had very young kids ask for $1 for school and tiny tots that come running after you too.  I guess they learn at a very young age to ask for money.   

After exploring all these temples we went back to the hotel for a few hours and then went back into Angkor Wat for the sunset.  As we were driving down the main road Mary spotted a hotel called “Canberra Hotel”, we laughed.  

We got arrived at Angkor Wat hoping to see the sunset but it didn’t happen.  It was nice to be back here especially for Troy so he could admire it again. Here is where Mary finally got to have a photo with a monk.  Some will not have a photo with you so when one says yes we were grateful. We didn’t spend too much time here as they close at 5:30pm.  We then got our driver Mr Long to take us to “Butterfly Garden Restaurant”.  This restaurant has mostly outdoor eating and has beautiful gardens and provides a backdrop for 1,000 butterflies. It has an enclosure all around it as it has butterflies in it.  We chose to go their for obvious reasons. We were lucky to see two butterflies.  Apparently its too hot for them now but children come in three times a week to release butterflies at 10:30am.  Although we didn’t see a lot of butterflies as expected we had a nice dinner.  We took turns in walking around the gardens and trying to spot any butterflies.  Mary finds one and flies directly in front of me and then another time I found one on a branch low to the ground.  I managed to go back to our table and grab the camera and return and still see it in the same spot.  I took some photos and I actually got to pat it a few times which was very surprising it stood still for so long. It was beautiful.  After dinner Mr Long took us back to the hotel.

18 APRIL 2010 - Day 3 exploring the Ancient City of Angkor.  Today we Mr Long took us around to 3 smaller temples in the R Group.  We went to Rolous group of temples, Preah Ko, Bakong and Lolei. 

We then explored the Old Markets and once again saw some very “interesting” food.  After a while we had enough and our driver took us home and we past the “Canberra Hotel” so I snapped a photo. We saw more of the Siem Reap town and we both thought its a rather nice town, lots of pubs and cafes and nice shops, parks and gardens.  It seems much cleaner and easier to walk around as most foothpaths aren’t broken up in pieces and not as much rubble around the streets.  We then went next door to the “Smiling Hotel” where we paid US$5 each for a swim in their pool but we didn’t care it was so hot and this hotel was very posh probably 4 or 5 star. The pool was heaven and we spent a few hours here cooling down.  After the swim we headed back to our hotel and we still waiting for our airline tickets for our trip to Vientiane tomorrow.  We went to a dinner and show and it was only US$12 each. We now say Goodbye to Cambodia, a place full of interesting and amazing temples especially Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.

Troy finally got to see Cambodia so makes me happy for him and its one big tick off his list and our list. I am glad I came here too and Cambodia has bought us some pleasant surprises like all the people here we came across speak very good English, much better than the Vietnamese.  Cambodia seems to be more geared for tourists than we thought.  Sometimes it seems too easy, we heard people say that Cambodia is harder travel than Vietnam, we don’t agree, Cambodia was easy and safer than we thought even though there was a few times where I felt a little uneasy because I think my camera was rather attractive to some but I guess that can happen anywhere.    

Once again we will remember the genuine smiles and hellos especially from heaps of gorgeous kids and the elderly who didn’t have anything to sell you. This is the real Cambodia that we like the most.  Troy finally got to see his Angkor Wat - his fave.  

Our next destination - Vientiane , Laos - another adventure to begin.  Bye Cambodia.



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