Day 33 Siam Reap The home of the world heritage Temples of Angkor (made famous by the Tomb raider films).
Up bright and early after a good sleep we grabbed a couple bagettes for the road and eventually located our pickup to the bus station waiting out in the street.
We arrived in Siam reap after a 6.5 hour bus ride from Phenom Penh ($4.50 each) to a milling pack of competing tuk tuk drivers. Being the only westerners on the bus were considered a prime target, a walking ATM or dollar sign for them. After much shouting, sceaming and even squealing from the tuk tuk drivers we settled on one agreeing to stay at the Garden Village guesthouse - Hot water, excellent rooms, and terrific atmosphere for only $7 a night. With impeccable timing we got into the somewhat waterproof tuk tuk as the heavens began to pour with rain. After the tuk tuk driver copped a drenching we agreed to his services for transporting us to the temples for $12 a day.
We then set out exploring the sights of Siem Reap, after wandering around the market and investing in some umbrella's and some local fruits (mangosteens and ramagaans)
we soon realised there wasn't much more to see. So back to the guesthouse for a couple 50cent draughs and then had dinner at Beijing restaurant for some chinese wontons!
Day 34 Temple touring Day 1
We set off just after 8am to Bantaey Kdae, where we haggled a five year old for $5 book and across the road to Srah Srang a massive lake with a small monument in the centre where we engaged in some friendly conversation with some young girls the youngest playing the hardest "hello" "where are you from?" "what is your name" "you buy a coke? ok you buy a coke when you come back" ""If you don't buy a coke when you come back you make me cry JEREMY!!".... and the kids sold us a coke
Then to Ta Prohm we some of the tomb raider films we shot. A sensational mix of massive trees and tree roots and an extremely impressive 12th century Building (Our favourite!).
Next stop was Ta Kao,where we climbed "tower of death" hundreds of incredibly steep and narrow steps, fortunately without any casulties to 3 large pillars for some great shots.
Then Angkor Thom one
of the largest Khmer cities ever built encompassing 9 sq. km.
Within Angkor Thom is the very impressive Bayon, the Terrace of the elephant and Terrance of leper king.
The Bayon has individual faces caved into stone pillars and caved stone murials surrounding the entire second level. Much of the south end of the
Finally, we made it to Angkor Wat. Desperate for a sunset we scouted out the picture perfect position and waited.... there just wasn't going to be one with all the cloud cover, so we headed back convinced we make up for it tomorrow.
Exhausted after nearly 10 hours of temple touring we settled into our guesthouse restaurant for some traditional khmer dishes included Amok chicken and Khmer fish and a couple beers before hitting the hay ready for day 2!
Day 35- Day 2 Temple Touring
We set off at 9am with just a couple errands to do in town on the way to organise accomodation in Vietnam, $10 to send a two page fax and we were on the road again.
First stop was Pre Rup made in the 10th century hence much of it is rubble and ruins, so after a quick
stop we moved onto East Mebon. The East Mebon was another large temple with impressive large elephant sculptures in each of its corners.
Next stop was Neak Pean, after walking through the long walkway lined with tall silk trees we arrived at the small island monument , set ub a cruciform arrangement of ponds believed to have miraculous healing properties, unfortunately been dry season the ponds were dry ... but we got the idea!
Then onto Ta Som a small simplified version of Ta Prohm, with large face towers and huge strangler fig trees interwined in the ruins.
We stopped very briefly at Krol Ko a single building with little to see.
After road side lunch to refuel we tackled Preah Khan. We gave in to a local desperate to guide us through and provide us with some local history. Preah Khan is one of the larger temple as is believed to have been a palace for former King. It is also thought that Preah Khan was built on the site of a major battle in the recapture of Anklor from the Chams given the references to the 'lake of blood'.
Feeling there was little to achieve by a
third day of temple we book our bus ticket to Sihanoukville, before heading at the Fish Tower, a multi level very funky restaurant with awesome tapa style traditional dishes and extra's of traditional live dancing and a real live crocodile!!?!
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