Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor Wot
Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
54Trip End Sep 19, 2011
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We boarded the bus bound for Siem Reap at 8:00 AM and settled in for a 7 Hour trip. I must confess I wasn't looking forward to it. As it turned out the scenery in between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap was real picture postcard material. Typically the landscape is rice paddy dotted with Sugar Palms just as you would imagine South East Asia to look like.
We arrived in Siem Reap ( SR ) and before we even got our bags off the bus a young Tuk Tuk driver offered his services during our stay. He said for $15 he would be at our disposal for 8 hours a day. We gladly agreed and he whisked us off to the hotel that we had booked on line the day before. Hotel Phal Chea is a brand new hotel just on the edge of town
The next day we headed for Angkor Wot which lies just outside of town. Now Angkor Wot is only one temple out of 30 something here outside SR, it's truly epic. Angkor Wot is the largest and best preserved of all the Temples. It is also the largest religious building in the world. Built in the 12th Century for the Khmer king, it was originally a Hindu Temple and later became a place of Buddhist worship. The huge moat around this one Temple is 2.2 miles long!!
We were both blown away by AW and spent a good couple of hours here taking it all in. Our driver then took us to see a Temple that was half reclaimed by jungle and was used as a location for the film Tomb Raider and you could see why. It had trees growing from the roofs of the Temple buildings and cascading root systems running down the walls, to me this place was as spectacular as AW. We saw 2 more Temples and that was enough for us. Some people spend days and days looking around.
The next day we didn't go anywhere just hung around the pool
The day after we decided to go and see a Silk farm, which was fascinating. They showed us the process right from Mulberry bush to finished clothing.Very interesting.On our way back we passed a war Museum so we went in.The guy that was the caretaker of the outdoor Museum offered to guide us around. He turned out to be very interesting. He had joined the army in 1979 after the Vietnamese had kicked the Khmer Rouge out of Phnom Penh. The Khmer Rouge kept on fighting and were not defeated until the late 1990's. Our guide showed us three bullet wounds he had received. He later lost a leg and an eye to a landmine. He also lost his wife and child to a landmine. He told me several times as he showed us around how lucky we were to have lived our lives free of war. He is only one year older than me and lived through so much misery and pain. I on the other hand don't even know I'm born, thank God.
The next day we set off at the crack of dawn for Stung Treng near the Laos boarder. This bus journey was a 10 hour job!! One of many to come as we start our trek up through Laos. In Stung Treng we found a cheap backpackers place costing £5 a night. It was fine for our needs as we were heading off early again first thing in the morning to catch another bus across the boarder into Laos. The trip was fine apart from the delays at Customs because greedy whining travelers were crying and carrying on about having to pay $2 to get through. Unbelievable!!!