Siem Reap and Angkor
The overnight bus to Siem Reap was somewhat interesting. It had very small double beds which you had to share with someone else. Luckily my space was next to Mickey’s and after a couple of sleeping pills we both passed straight out. Others were not so lucky.
We arrived early morning and jumped a Tuktuk to our hostel where we spent the day chilling by the pool on big bean bag sun loungers. That night we headed to Pub Street which was packed full of bars and people and ended in Angkor What? Bar where plenty of buckets and glow in the dark G&Ts were consumed.
After a slow start the next morning we hired a Tuktuk to take us to the Angkor ruins. We opted for the three day pass so we weren’t rushed and could explore what temples whenever we liked. We took Lonely Planet’s advice and started with the smaller, lesser known temples and left the bigger ones until the following days. They were all so intricately carved and well preserved and were so interesting to explore.
The next day we chose to rent mountain bikes which, whilst tiring, was so much better. It made the day much more fun and we got to discover places we wouldn’t have been able to by Tuktuk. The most impressive temple was Ta Prohm, where Tomb Raider was filmed. Giant, century old trees engulfed he temple with huge roots passing through the walls and plants sprouting through cracks.
We decided to have an early night in order to get up at 4.30am to see the grand finale, the sun rise over Angkor Wat. However, two lads in our dorm didn’t get the memo and we were all woken up in the early hours by shouting and hostel security raiding our room to find two idiots that had stolen a sign from one of the bars. After a lot of screaming and shouting and eventually the Cambodian police turning up with AK47s it was all resolved.
Despite the lack of sleep we all got up in the pitch black and made it to see the sun rise over the world’s largest religious building. It was very busy but we got a good spot, and despite there being quite a lot of cloud it was a beautiful sunrise.
We stuck around and had breakfast in the temple complex before going on to discover the inside and finally onto our last temples of the trip, Bayon and Angkor Thom.
Overall I really enjoyed Siem Reap – it had everything you could want; cheap restaurants, good nightlife, an extensive night market and even a cinema (we went to see the new James Bond, didn’t rate it). And of course Angkor was so interesting to explore the temples and surrounding jungle and lakes. Whilst Angkor Wat was as iconic and architecturally amazing as expected, the wild jungle engulfing the mysterious ruins of Ta Prohm were by far my favourite.
That concluded my whistle stop tour of Cambodia. I seen all the main highlights the country famously has to offer but I could have spent a lot longer there, there were so many more places I could have visited but alas, time is running out, better move on!