Yesterday I spent the day at the remains of the temples at Angkor Wat. I was picked up by my guide and a Tuk Tuk driver (see photos) and we took off for the temples bright and early. The temples I saw were Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and the Bayon Temple, and lastly Ta Phrom. Angkor Wat is the most famous temple, absolutely breathtaking. Hard to imagine that all of it was built by hand and hand sculpted. The Bayon temple is known for its 54 headed Buddha statues. Each peak to the temple had a smiling Buddha on each of it's four sides, I even got to Eskimo kiss one (see photo). When I asked my guide why they were sculpted as smiling, he gave me two responses.. "Well, because they are happy" and "they are happy you came to see them," simple enough, perfect answer. Between this and Ta Phrom, I was dropped off at lunch in an air conditioned restaurant, thank goodness, because I was melting by this point. I honestly have no idea what foods I ate, some I enjoyed, some I didn't, but it was refreshing nonetheless. Lastly, Ta Phrom, was a unique temple in that they've completely let it go without restoration. This temple had tree roots growing all over the stone, and is known for its appearance in Tomb Raider the movie. I was least impressed by this temple, but it was still enjoyable!
Upon returning to the hotel, the rain set in for a good 4 hours, giving me a chance to rest. My Tuk Tuk driver from earlier in the day offered to show me around in the evening since I don't really know my way around and am not traveling in a group. He picked me up and took me to a few local shops, not touristy but off the beaten path, and then ended the night by taking me to a local restaurant, again with no tourists. It was incredible and a completely authentic experience! The food he ordered was a plate of meats and shrimp that I cooked myself on a hot plate shaped like a volcano (see photo) with a moat around it where the broth was poured and vegetables for the soup were cooked. He told me it was meant to represent the temples, as each temple had a moat around it. I'm so happy I decided to let him take me around, I had second thoughts, but these are the types of experiences that I'll never get doing touristy things.. Not many tourists to Cambodia can say they did something like that!
I'm still trying to figure out my sleep schedule, I have no problem falling asleep, but staying asleep is the challenge. It's also difficult to communicate with everyone as I'm between 11-14 hours (so basically the opposite time of day) ahead of you!
I love receiving your messages and calls, however, so keep viber, whatsapp, and Facebook messaging away!
I'm headed to a national park in the jungle today! More to follow :-)