Monthly Archives: February 2014

Siem Reap and Angkor Wat

After a long bus journey to get to Siem Reap in Cambodia, we were ready for dinner and also disappointed that it was Charlotte’s last night with us. After checking into the hotel, the hotel staff organised a free tuk tuk ride into the main area of the city. We were surprised how lively it was and it felt like a lot of the busy European resorts we have been on holiday too, with a main ‘strip’ called pub street, filled with restaurants, bars and clubs. We had a wander around and came across a restaurant we liked the look of and after dinner headed for a cocktail as it was Charlotte’s last night with us! We weren’t going to stay out all night as we had arranged a trip to Angkor Wat and the famous surrounding temples at sunrise the next day. This meant a 4 am start!!
The next day when the alarm went off it felt like we had no sleep, as we had only been to bed 4 hours ago! It was pitch black when our private tour guide led us to the tuk tuk driver and then onto our first stop which was the temple of Angkor Wat. We got our positions by the river to watch the sun rise over the temple, there were loads of other tourists doing the same thing and the river side was packed. This was the best time to see this sight and much cooler! Once we witnessed the sun coming up over Angkor Wat and witnessed the amazing reflection of it in the water, it was time to have a look around inside it. The temple is about 1000 years old and has remained untouched. When it was built only sand and rock were used and it took over 35 years to build and over 5000 people were involved. We didn’t know what to expect but most of the temple looked like ancients ruins, which you had to climb through and up to see all of it. After looking round we moved on to another temple which was smaller then Angkor Wat and where parts of Tombraider was filmed. This was our favourite temple as it felt like it had more character and as it had the roots of trees running though it which was very impressive. Japanese architects were in the process of restoring parts of this temple. We moved onto our last temple called Angkor Tom which was more open air then Angkor Wat and definitely had more damage. This is where we discovered elephants being rode around the grounds and we were able to feed Nellie a pineapple each! The elephant took the pineapple very gently and even Dan who was scared braved this! Then on route heading back to the hotel we saw some monkeys in a nearby field being fed and we got the opportunity to feed them some bananas. They even peeled them like humans! We arrived back to the hotel around 10am which was a bit of a shock as it felt more like 6pm! Luckily the hotel we are at serves an all day breakfast! In the afternoon it was time to wave our friend Charlotte off, we were sad saying goodbye and made sure the tuk tuk driver that took her to the airport looked after her! It was strange being back to two and we were so tired that we had an early night.
The next day we were still tired and we spent the day relaxing round the pool. We had no hotel booked after today but as we liked this hotel so much we extended until we head back to Thailand. We met with the manager and he offered us use of the spa facilities, including an hours massage free! We were happy! For dinner we were able to get reservations at one of the top rated restaurants in Siem Reap called Genevieve’s, where the Australian owner donations 10% of his profits to local charities. The dinner was cheap and lovely, and was packed! Another reason to visit this restaurant was the singing waiter we had heard about. He was shy to start with but gained confidence and did a great job!
The next night was our party night! We had a brief experience of pub street when Charlotte was with us but wanted to do it properly! We had a few drinks in a bar called the banana leaf and people watched, as our table was outside near the main strip. We had a great spot for this! We had some wine in this bar and then headed into the club next door which was playing a range of music and was packed with all different nationalities. It had a great atmosphere and the drinks were cheap, $2 for a spirit and mixer! Later on in the evening we headed outside and saw a street party happening! Loads of tourists and locals were dancing in the streets and it was brilliant! We made loads of friends and had a great time! Although we paid for this the next day!
As expected the next day was a struggle and we stayed by the pool until dinner time. We then headed to a restaurant we had tried earlier in the week, this was discovered through trip adviser as it was ranked highly due to their set menu deal. We still can’t believe how cheap this meal was! For a 3 course meal and a soft drink it was less then $7’s each! The food was delicious, some of the best we’ve tasted, and there was loads of it! Yum!
We were unsure of what to expect from Cambodia as we knew it was one of the poorest Asian locations, however we have been so impressed with each part, we wish we could stay and see more, but at least we will have an excuse to come back! We both have fallen in love with this country, it’s history, atmosphere and people and will be sad to say goodbye later on this week! We have a few more days here and a visit to a floating village which we are looking forward to and which we will update you on shortly.
Bye for now,

Clara and Dan xx