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Chapter eighty five - Siem Reap

Wat? Angkor Wat that's what

overcast 29 °C

Day 305: Siem Reap, Cambodia 31/07/2012

A 7.30 tuk tuk pick up from the room (with a real odd couple in tow) to get to the bus station and start our journey to Siem Reap via Phnom Penh. A rumbling hunger and a sub-zero air conditioning system makes the stop for a hot noodle soup all the more satisfying but we soon find ourselves arriving at the bus station in Phnom Penh and waiting for what seemed an eternity for the next bus to come. There is lots going on here though to keep us entertained - annoying Europeans, locals travelling across Cambodia with their worldly possessions, travellers with huge camera lenses pointing at people's faces.

Eventually on the bus to Siem Reap and there is a real mix of locals and travellers using the service, which is always nice to see. Again the a/c is set to arctic but we do get to watch some excellent Khmer programming on the onboard tv. Get to Siem Reap in good time, organise a tuk tuk to Angkor Wat in a couple of days and check in to the hotel before grabbing a bite to eat and getting an early night...

Day 306: Siem Reap, Cambodia 01/08/2012

After a good night's sleep I head to the rooftop gym and smash the treadmill for a massive sweat on before we step out for a bite to eat and a bit of time wandering around this charming riverside town. We visit all the haunts we loved so much last time we were here and buy a few bits and pieces from the markets. Back at the room, we have a slight problem with the plumbing and we ask to be moved. Unfortunately, they are full at the moment but say they will move our stuff when we are at Angkor Wat tomorrow. A quick visit to the internet cafe and a bit of time in the fish foot spa (always good for a laugh) before an early night for an early morning...

Day 307: Siem Reap, Cambodia 02/08/2012

Up at ten to five then for our trip to Angkor Wat, with the tuk tuk ready and waiting for us outside the hotel. We soon hit the road and are excited about this morning's excursion, reaching the gate to the complex nice and easily and having two beautiful, early morning, post tuk-tuk ride photos taken for our day passes.

After being accosted by a food and drink vendor called Angelina Jolie (not sure if that is her real name) we soon bear witness to the magnificent spectacle of the sun rising over the mysterious Angkor Wat and the ancient complex is revealed in all its glory. It is incredible to think how a structure like this was built so long ago, without cranes and machinery, not just built to a decent standard but finished with such unbelievable quality and finesse.

Exploring the temple complex reveals some stunning monuments and statues and a huge pack of very wild looking monkeys. From Angkor Wat itself and onto the Bayon we move, where there is plenty going on. Elephants compete with the tuk tuks for roadspace carrying hordes of gawping tourists to the strange, mystical and all knowing huge heads carved into the building blocks of this strange but captivating temple. There are some excellent views to be had from the top of some of the other smaller temples (very steep steps up) and the whole thing is a really special sight to behold - definitely worthy of its position near the very top of almost every tourist's itinerary. After negotiating the maze to get out and grabbing a quick drink, we head back to the hotel for a quick nap and (eventually) swap rooms as promised.

After such a busy day we treat ourselves in the evening, first stopping for a massage from a blind man (so relaxing!) before a great dinner at one of the best eating holes we have found on the entire trip. A couple of beers and we are ready to leave Cambodia - a charming and unforgettably welcoming and hospitable country - in the morning for our last return to our most favourite of cities, Bangkok.

Posted by tevs 21:49 Archived in Cambodia Tagged cambodia siem_reap angkor_wat

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