Monday 20th June
Last night we finally met up with the group that we would be travelling with for the following month (or so we thought) It turned out that the group of 15 was made up of people doing just certain countries, however there were two other 22 year old guys from england doing the 30 day tour too.
We went out to a nearby resturant for dinner and to introduce ourselves before getting an early night so we could get up for a 7am start.
Tuesday 21st June
So after getting an early night, dan had 'set' the alarm for quarter to 6. However it turned out he had set it an hour later. In scenes reminiscent of home alone we just about managed to pack our bags and get a tiny breakfast before boarding private mini buses to the cambodian border at poipet. Around 20 mins before reaching the border we stopped at a petrol station and gave all our passports to some seedy looking guys who were going to get our visas done for us and we would be reunited with them at the border. So there is probably a few more tim and dans wandering the streets now.
We put all our bags onto a wooden trailer which was carried through the border by an elderly local lady. We followed on foot. As we walked through no mans land we were greeted by tonnes of casinos. They are banned in the two countries so thats why they are put here. We managed to prevent one another going in to any of them for a flutter and carried on through to our bus waiting.
As soon as we crossed the border, the change was noticeable. The houses were shacks and everything seemes alot lot poorer. probably the poorest place weve ever been. We stopped for lunch before reaching our hotel in the queiter town of siem reap.
In the evening we were taken in a convoy of tuk tuks to a local school run by an aussie guy in the middle of the slums. We got to sit in on a class and spoke to a few of the children. Once the bell went and the kids left we sat down for a local khmer dinner run by graduates from the school. We then got a tuk tuk to the night market where we had a few drinks before heading home around midnight.
Wednesday 22nd June
We had to be up for half 4 today and dan managed to set the alarm correctly! We were heading 15 mins down the road to the ankor wat temple to see the sunrise. We all sat and had a bacon and egg sarny whilst watching the sunrise along with the hoards of other tourists, few of which were european. The weather was already sweltering at 7am and it was quite hard to concentrate on the history, but it was a great place. The highlight of the first temple was probably seeing our first monkey as we queued to get up to the top level where the views were amazing.
We proceeded to the next temple called Bayon which was made up of hundreds of faces, stopping on the way to play with a group of monkeys. We also saw some elephants but by this point our main fascination was with the tour guide LIN! He was around 50 and had sweat dripping off him all day but didnt stop taking our pictures and showing us the hidden areas of the temples. Midway through the morning tim realised that if you laugh at something he said he would then laugh and it would descend into both of us, along with Lin in hysterics at one of the most religious places in the world! After a few more temples we would just start laughing to set him off and we are laughing now as we are writing this.
This only increased as we reached the last temple - the jungle temple where tomb raider was filmed. We walked through the jungle with Lin as he pointed out all the huge spiders and termites and was poking his stick into various tarantula holes! We then walked round the temple before going back to the hotel. There was time for one last laugh with Lin when we saw a snake. As everyone rushed to take a picture, before they could dan through a stick at it and it slithered towards him. Lin loved this!
In the afternoon, whilst dan sorted his card troubles Tim headed for the floating village. This was very interesting as we got the ferry up the river. THere was so many houses, floating shops, and markets and even a floating basketball court. When we got to the main floating part, loads of kds came up with huge pythons trying to get money out of us. Crocidiles were also kept on this part. After heading back to the hotel via a hammock bar to watch the sunset we all headed to the night market for dinner before hitting pub street. We started in the Ankor What? bar where we had beer towers for next to no money and started the pool championships. tim and dan v chris and john. we got off to a bad start and lost our first game.
Th ankor wat bar is known for having its walls covered in travellers' names and we duely obliged with the tag 'tim and dan, southerners in siem 2011.' so keep an eye out for it if you ever find yoursleves in there. The party gradually moved onto the street where the local kids were having dance offs and making us bracelets. We spent a while out there with our buckets aswell as in temple club before heading back