Siem Reap

Trip Start Jan 06, 2007
Trip End Jul 29, 2007

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Where I stayed
Prince Mekong Guest House

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We arrived in Siem Reap by mid afternoon and was greeted by a man holding up a sign labeled Nadi Ly, which we presumed was for us seeing as we pre-booked a guesthouse with free pickup.  This tuk tuk was possibly the world's slowest machine but on arrival at Prince Mekong Guesthouse, we found this to be a perfect place to stay.  After our welcome drink and yarn with Eric the Dutch owner who speaks 8 languages, we properly settled into the room and found a place to eat. 
The next day was our first full day in Siem Reap was a well deserved chill out day.  We borrowed bikes from the guesthouse and wandered the city. All we achieved was a few purchases from several markets around the city and finding the best place for cheep curry.  We needed to save our energy for a huge day at Angkor Wat.  Our second full day was spent wandering around checking out the temples at Angkor Wat and surrounding area.  This place was incredible.  Many of the temples date back from as far back as the 9-13th century and all in various states of disrepair.  Some of the temples were massive, and others not so flash.  We started the day riding the fastest 6km we could ride at 5 in the morning to catch a spectacular sunrise from Phnom Bakeng temple.  From here we biked around the perimeter wall of Baphuon before meeting our tuk tuk driver for the rest of the day.  Here we looked at Banyon temple which is a temple which holds many carved faces amongst the temple walls.  We were lucky to see this temple quite early because there was relatively few tourists here.  We then moved onto the elephant terrace and the Leper Kings alley, which weren't nearly as impressive as the previous temple.  By now it was 10 am and had seen 4 temples and realized how massive the day was really going to be.  One of the temples was a 15minutes walk into the jungle in the 40 degree heat, but we were rewarded with a less commonly visited, thus no tourist temple.  Unfortunately we weren't prepared for the army of fire ants that tried to eat us.  Before lunch we visited 2 more temples one being Ta Phrong where parts of the movie Tomb Raider was filmed.  This temple would have been spectacular if it wasn't for the 5 bazillion Korean tour groups which crowded the place, spoiling the ambiance.  Lunch was spent in an area that reminded us of a scene of the seagulls from Finding Nemo.  There was serious competition from each food vendor to get our business.  Each time someone new showed up to the eating area, you would hear "Hello!" "eat here" or "I saw you first" "Fresh cold water" etc...  It was pretty funny to watch.  After lunch we toured around 5 more popular temples finishing with the infamous Angkor Wat.  Angkor Wat is really spectacular and should be seen by all. The people who built these places must have been tiny with midget feet, as many steps to get up to these temples were extremely narrow and steep, causing fear amongst all who went up and down but Shaun and sometimes Nae.  After a huge day we decided to call an end to it and ride back home before sunset.  12 hours of temple sightseeing was enough for us.
Our final day spent in Siem Reap was another relaxing day of nothingness; it was fantastic and well deserved.  We did manage to muster enough energy to try out a cooking course that was offered at our guesthouse.  We had no idea how much labor goes into cooking one of Cambodia's traditional dishes called Amok.  We definitely had our work cut out for us, but when eating time came around it was definitely worth all that chopping and mashing.  After dinner we settled up our bill at the guesthouse and booked our bus out of Siem Reap to Bangkok the next morning.
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