So, I finally got to go one another non-work related excursion. This time it was to the wonderful land of Cambodia. My plan here was to visit 2 places, first Phnom Penh then onto Siem Reap. Phnom Penh was merely done because my flight went in to here but to be honest, I'm glad it did, as I got to see some of the city and cross it off my list. This place was as you'd expect, very busy, very noisy and full of people's belongins getting snatched, well, thats if you didnt watch over you stuff like a hawk. I managed to see all there was too see in one day, the palace, markets and temples and thats all I needed really. My hotel was decent too, 35 US dollars for 2 nights and happy hour beers were 25 cents, yes you heard right TWENTY FIVE CENTS......it took me a while to believe it but after a few I saw how much money I had left and I believed it alright :-D
The most enjoyable and most moving place I visited in PP were the killing fields. Some nut job called Pol Pot (no not the opera singer that won britains got talent) decided that it would be a good idea to massacre his own people back in the 70's. The brutality this guy dished out was something I cannot begin to describe. I think over the space of 3 years or so, he killed 3m people, out of an 8m population, men, women and children. The place I visited was a one of those killing fields and it has now been made into a shrine. They still actually find fragments of bone and clothing now-a-days, and even when you walk round, you can see bone sticking out of the mud, a very moving experience, but one I am glad I got to see.
On the friday I caught the early bus up to Siem Reap. A nice 6 hour journey with some locals and the odd white guy, gotta love this travel stuff....the conversation was riveting. Never-the-less I got there in one piece and could not wait to get settled into my place. I stayed at a nice guest house called the Ivy. It was perect, cheap, clean, and everything you could ask for. It was such a relief being in a country where something like a room for the night, a drink and a meal didnt bankrupt you.....like it does in Singapore! The next day I got up bright and early, had a good hearty breakfast, hired my bike (and believe me, it was like riding a piece of wood) and set out exploring the temples of Angkor. The site was about 7km from my hotel, so a perfect warm up before tackling the route in all its enormity. First stop was the famous Angkor Wat. At first glance you are just in total silence, something so old yet so beautiful and still standing there after ALL these years. Quite mindblowing.
The size of the place hits you as soon as you are confronted by it, its bloody massive. All I could think of was, right, this is building 1 out of god knows how many, there was no way I was going to fit all them in while I was there, and, I was right. As for the look of the temples, I will let my pictures do the talking, its really something to see.... I think in total, first day was about 40-50km riding, second day about 30km, and I hadnt covered it all. Sure, I could have been a lazy sod and rode round on a tuk tuk the whole time but where is the fun in that? I was determined to ride around on my 2 dollar bike, and that I did....even if I was walking like John Wayne at the end of it.
After 2 days of solid riding, in the stupid heat, I was spent, but happy and couldnt wait to come back a second time. If any of you out there have a bucket list, stick this place on it, its a wonder you HAVE to see, it really is. I still havent worked out just how such a place got built way way way back.....truly amazing!