Hey Hey, guess what it's Siem Reap and we are LOVING this place!
We got a night bus from Sihanoukville and it took us all night, what can we say about the bus - well - it beats any Vietnamese night bus hands down. You get comfy double bed place for couples and warm duvet, if only Cambodian roads wouldnt be that horrible :) Driving skills of the driver have not improved since Vietnam. They are still trying to find every single hole on the road :)
We arrived early morning in Siem Reap and as we got off, there was a massive crowd of tuk tuk drivers waiting for us. We first thought to try to get our own tuk tuk, but fortunately there was a system where u bought a ticket for $1 and you get designated driver. Our driver asked us if we have a booking, to which we said - yes we do, even though we didnt - we just didn't want him to take us to some random hotel as they are known to do take you to whichever hotel pays them the most commission.
For our stay we chose Prohm Roth Guest House, we mainly chose this because it was in a small side alley away from big buzz and yet only 50m from the night life spots. I have to say it was the best choise we ever made, this guest house has been the best place we have stayed in our entire journey. It is run by Meang and his family, who are the kindest and nicest people we've ever met. When we arrived, we learned that it is actually quite popular, mainly due to it being in Lonely Planet and apparently it was actually completly full the week before and became empty just a day before we arrived. We asked for a double bed with fan, which cost us $7 per night. However since the room that was available only became free after 12 o'clock (and we arrived at the guest house 6 am), then we could not move in. Nevertheless, Meang was very kind enough to put us into a different room so we could sleep/rest till the room became available and he did not even charge for it as it was an aircon room.
For the first day we just mingled around and didn't do much cause we were too tired and not interested in anything specific. On the upside we found out that Andres, guy from Chile, will join us the next morning in Siem Reap, as he finally managed to leave Vietnam! Also David was going to join the same day, except in the evening.
Whilst in Siem Reap we tried out a fish foot massage. It felt a bit weird to begin with but after that it was really nice! Amy had a blister on her foot so she had to take one foot out as they kept trying to eat it! The fish basically nibble your dead skin off.
From the first moment we arrived in Siem Reap, it had completly different vibe to it, much more relaxed and infact it felt a lot more secure, people were going on with their everyday life and let you go on with yours. Only distraction was every guy who owned a Tuk Tuk offered you his service. For breakfast we decided to go and eat something nice, where I had eggs, ham with pancakes and fried bananas covered in honey (check the pictures!) and Amy had egg, ham sandwich. Since it was too hot we, quickly retreated to an internet place to try to get ourselves up to date with things - I believe we rather failed at that as we kept just surfing the net!
On the side note, Amy picked a place to eat that night and she picked an Indian Place as we wanted to eat some curry. We decided to eat Chicken Tikka Masala, as it had only one pepper sign to it and we thought it is going to be mild. Long story short - it was WORST curry we had ever have, we ordered popadoms - which were hyper spicy, we ordered Bombay potatoes, which were even spicier and once our curry arrived, the whole table was on fire. If that was just with one pepper sign, I dare not to think what the 3 pepper signed dish would have taste like. Needless to say we didnt eat any of it - yet we paid $20 :) Amy retreated from then onwards from picking any further places where to eat, made me lol!
Next early morning Andres knocked on our door and told us he is in the room opposite of ours. We decided to go visit the famous temple complex of Angkor Wat. We looked at the map and decided to divide our into 3 day journey. Map of Angkor Wat : http://www.5starcambodia.com/Map-AngkorMain.jpg . Meang kindly arranged us a tuk tuk driver for $15 for a day trip, so it came $5 each.
We decided that we leave Angkor Wat and The Bayon for other days and do the outer circle, starting from Banteay Kdei and move clock wise through each temple section such as: from Ta Prohm with it's famouse trees growing into and around the temples, Ta Keo with its high temple and verticle stairs that were rather hard to climb, ruins of Preah Khan that were crumbling from age and destruction to small peacfull Kroi Ko Pagoda and end it with the sunset at the Pre Rup. At each section you will get swarm of kids who will offer you anything and they sound like broken record players :) They don't even look at you but keep saying the same thing e.g.: "Buy one bracelet, just one dollaaa, just one dollaa" if you kept walking away the offer changes, 2 bracelets for one dollaa, 3... in the end as u are already some way away they scream 10...20!!! bracelets for a dollaa :) Made us laugh. Amy got mobbed by one group and ended up buying random crap. Funny moment occured when we were going to eat and I wanted to buy some water, our tuk tuk driver said, you shouldn't pay more than $0.50 for it. The moment my foot touched the ground, all the stalls errupted with yelling and before I could do anything, around 5-6 women with water bottles and fruits were storming towards me screaming, buy water, buy fruit!!! I actually started laughing as they were trying to out yell eachother. Bargaining was not much of a problem, they basicly just agreed straight away to my price. The moment I made my purchase, they started circling Amy and Andres, I just laughed, it was rather funny. We ended the day with the sunset at the Pre Rup which as our tuk tuk driver said is less visited as it is out of the way, nevertheless quite a crowd gathered together to view it and I have to say it was a magnificent sunset, absolutely amazing!
It can be easily claimed that Angkor Wat is the greatest Temple complex we have visited and it is most intriguing at the same time, we took loads of photos and spent entire day on our first trip, having a meal at some stalls. Its is huge area and with magnificent buildings, that had temples and shrines alike dotted all around the area. On many cases as you can see from pictures, we had to climb almost vertically.
In the evening David joined us and we decided to go out in Siem Reap. Siem Reap has basicly one street, Pub Street where main drinking takes place, with clubs/drinking places dotted all around the street. We made our base in Temple Club and before we knew it we were all merry and cheery.
The next day it hurt quite a bit and no trekking or venturing took place, we were HUNGOOOVER. We did decide however to go and see if we can find some cheap places to eat and just after the Pub Street, there was a cheap food places, that served you with $1 meals, highest priced for food was $1.50. We went and ate in that place from there onwards, as the food was plenty, tasty and cheap. Me and Amy usually got fed for $3 total which included drinks. Now that is cheap!
Angkor Wat itself was our destination the day after hangover and what is better than start the day off with the sun rise...well - we did have to get up at 4.30. We thought surely there will not be many people going as it is waaay to early. To our surprise the road was actually quite packed with early risers who all came to see the famous sunrise. Unfortunately we had to wait for about an hour at least before we had a chanse to see it. For future note - our camera is PRETTY crap for taking these kind of shots, if you do want to get some good shots, get yourself a proper camera. After the sunrise we went and had some food, which gave me a bit of an upset stomach. At the gates of Angkor Wat random guides were offering their service and we decided to hire one for $10. To be fair Im pretty sure you could have done without him. The guy had the most boring, monotone voice ever and by the looks of it clearly hated his selfimposed job. Regardless though - we did find out quite a bit about the complex and got some amazing pictures. To get to the main place of worshipping you had to climb almost vertical steps. Amy was not allowed in because she was dressed to revealingly, she had shorts on! Discrimination!
However entire day for just Angkor Wat is bit too much we think, we were done by around 2 oclock or so and had no other places to go to, we didnt want to go to the Bayon as it was bigger complex than Angkor Wat itself. Since we had an early start and we all felt quite tired, we decided to call it a day and go back. On the way back David convinced us all to go and buy alcohol from local supermarket. We ended up buying 2L of Stolichnaya Vodka with mixers for $20 (bottles costed $8)
Needles to say we felt rather rough the next day and same routine happened, we only ventured between the toilet and the food places and not doing much else. This time spending actually suited us perfect as we had way too much time on our hand in cambodia so we happily spent it in Siem Reap.
On our last day we went to The Bayon, for those who have no idea, have a look on the map, also quick fun note, the Tomb Raider movie was filmed there (at the east gate). The Bayon is the famous area with multiple temple complexes in the same area. It was infact a city complex itself. Famous faces were the biggest attraction and our first destination, from there we wentured to other temples, Lepper King terrace and Elephant Terrace. It was quite magnificent. However eventhough for its massive area, we were done by mid day and didnt have much else to do. We had our lunch and skimmed some of the market areas thereafter before heading back home. David went and did the same round that we did on our first day to catch up.
As usual we ate at our food place where everyones favourite food was Lok Lak, which was beef cubes, with a fried egg on top and rice and cambodian bbq sauce. It was LUSH! We then went explored the local markets. Markets were filled as always with cheap stuff, Amy got herself electronic Casio watch, I bought a hat and cheap DVD's and some other stuff ( for which you all have to wait till we get some money to send them off to you :p ).
From there onwards we just chilled and went out and had a good time, before we realised 9 days had passed and it came to be that on 30th of November we decided to leave Siem Reap, pack our bags and conclude our journey in Asia. It was time to go to Australia.....