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Published: September 24th 2009
First thing, we had to get into Cambodia and travel down and up again to Siem Reap, the closest town to the Angkor Temples. Having walked over the Laos-Cambodian border, we went through quarantine (which was a gazebo) and then to the visa office/hut to purchase our Cambodian visas. (They charge $1 for quarantine and a passport stamp, but this is actually not supposed to be the case and you can fight it if you wish, or ask for an official receipt and report it). Once we were stamped, we were on board a bus to Stung Treng, where we boarded a bigger bus full of other tourists. Ironically, some of them had left the 4000 islands that morning an hour and a half earlier than us, only to wait around in Stung Treng, so it’s definitely worth finding out what your ticket/package entails.
From Stung Treng we had a long day on a bus to Kampong Cham, where we were taken to a guesthouse straight from the bus where we were to stay the night (It’s worth checking the price, and you are able to go elsewhere if you wish). Early the next morning we had the last 5
hours to Siem Reap. Once again, we were collected off the bus and the driver of our tuk tuk was more than accommodating in helping us find a hostel…but the catch was, he wanted us to hire him the next day for a tour of the temples so we tipped him and sent him on his way. Anyway, we found a lovely guesthouse called 'greentown' and went for a stroll around town.
Siem Reap is a funny tourist town, and it hadn’t changed much since the last time I came. At night there are a lot of children asking for money, and during the day there are lots of people selling books and bracelets. There is also the incessant offer of a tuk tuk!
This time, I cycled round the temples of Angkor and it was fantastic - the paths are sometimes bumpy, with potholes to avoid, but they are long and flat, and it's possible to cycle all the way from Siem Reap to the Angkor temples. A ticket cost 20USD for a day, or 40USD for 3 days. We cycled a long long way on the main route, passing many temples on the way, so it
was good to have the freedom just to stop wherever we fancied. On the second day we cycled back to one we had missed, and also visited Ta Promh (tomb raider temple!) and spent some time exploring the famous Angkor Wat. All the temples are impressive, and it was no disappointment going back to see them again! I'll let the photos speak for themselves...
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