Trip Start Jan 03, 2012
163Trip End May 02, 2013
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We have thoroughly enjoyed our stay here at MotherHome Inn and would highly recommend it for anyone coming to Siem Reap. By the way, the city name means Siamese (or Thai) Defeated, which is interesting considering the close neighbours to the west, but that's another story.
Aside from the Temples of Angkor (see separate blog), we have set out on a few other adventures here as well
We also took a tour of Kompong Phluk village near / on Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. It is dry season now so the water flows downstream from the Himalayas via the Mekong River and the levels are low. In the wet season, the water flows backwards (upstream) from Vietnam and the lake swells, encroaching on the villages while providing plentiful fish to sustain life. Thus, the timber and thatch homes are built high (up to 10 m) on stilts. Families get by on $100 to $500 dollars a year out here. The lake itself is surrounded by mangrove forests which protect inland areas from strong storms and provide beautiful settings for open boat paddling.
The following morning we went for a 4-wheel ATV ride through the local villages and farms and also stopped at a NGO-run school / orphanage
Despite their life circumstances the children here are wonderful. Many that we met come out smiling and waving as you pass by and interestingly, they seem to learn to say 'bye-bye' before 'hello'. We're not sure if that's because people leave more often than they stay. It was heartbreaking to say no when they asked us to buy things from them (we encountered this mostly at the temples where the tourists are). However like other friends who have visited Cambodia we decided that it's more beneficial to contribute to a reputable organisation that teaches kids life skills and how to read and write so they can have a better future.
One more night here and we're off to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, in the morning.
So long, Siem Reap. Wish we could stay longer.
Aside: Tiffany was travelling alone as she had done many times before. She met a Thai family while dining at a restaurant in Bangkok and they offered to show her around the city. They seemed trustworthy so she accepted and they picked her up at her hotel the next morning. During the long ride they spoke only Thai. They switched cars multiple times and eventually stopped at a house. Once inside they locked the doors. By this time she was extremely uncomfortable and asked to leave. They told her they would call a taxi for her and gave her a Pepsi in the meantime. She drank it and the next thing she remembered they were out shopping and she was signing credit card receipts in an involuntary state. When she came to, her credit cards were maxed out and there was no sign of the family that abducted her.