So after the beauties of Ko Tao we though we’d try our hand at something slightly more cultural. So as most of you know, we set off for Siem Reap, Cambodia. Following the boat ride from Ko Tao we took the bus to Bangkok, later that day we caught another bus which would take us into Cambodia. My god. What a journey, I will never ever complain about traveling in Britain again. Thailand was fine but 10 miles into Cambodia the tarmac disappeared and we were crawling along a dirt track at about 20 mph for the rest of the 120 km to Siem Reap. After much ipod listening all we could hope for was that the Temples at Angkor were worth all this….
Thankfully they were. We arrived into Siem Reap in the afternoon and after getting ripped off at the currency exchange we checked into a pretty drab hotel. Still on the plus side our tuk-tuk driver introduced himself as “James Bond”. “Ah 007” we replied in mock amusement. “Here we go again…” The following morning we met our double 0 agent and headed to the temples, which are only 15 minutes away from the town. So after paying the $40 for a 3 day pass we made our way to the first temple, one called Bayon. This was impressive to say the least, massive pyramid almost in shape and loads or detailed carvings on the stone walls. I guess you’ve seen the photos. We saw a few more smaller ones but after lunch we went to Angkor Wat – ‘the big famous one’. This was incredible if only for its sheer size. Not that I’ve been to the pyramids but I imagine this is up there with them as the most remarkable man-made structures ever. They were built about 900 years ago and the detail of the carvings was incredible. We took the customary photos at sunset then headed back for the night. The next day we visited Ta Phrom, in the photos it’s the one with all the trees intertwined with the walls. This was stunning, so much so that we probably preferred it to Angkor Wat. On our third day we were all templed-out so we went to visit a floating village, complete with shops and schools. We had an awful moment when our boat driver asked us if we’d like to buy some pens from the shop and give them to the school. We duly obliged and when we floated up to the school the driver asked if we wanted to hand the pens over, after a moment’s hesitation was we agreed so hopped onto the classroom and literally handed a packet of pens to the teacher who had to stop his class to take them. To make matters worse the boat driver made us have a photo with the teacher as if we were some kind of celebrities! A truly cringe-worthy experience and hence the photos were hastily deleted never to be seen again. Trust us, it was for the best.
So after another nights “sleep” in our stupidly humid room we looked forward to the return bus journey…and after another torturous journey we made it back to the sweet sweet tarmac of Thailand.
James & Mark