RTW Day 67 - Siem Reap

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April 23rd 2018
Published: April 24th 2018
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Today is temples day, and involves a very early start, with a 5 am departure to reach Angkor Wat before sunrise. Our driver is early so we are the first people to arrive at the temple. We cross the weird squishy squashy bridge over the moat by torch light and wait for the sun to rise over a lake full of water lilies, so you can see the temple reflected in the lake. It certainly is a beautiful sight.

After sunrise, we explore Angkor Wat, including climbing to the top of the Bakan (inner sanctuary). This involves negotiating a flight of around 60 very steep wooden steps. The final step is particularly deep, and as I climb, I hear an almighty tear. There is a large rip in my gap year trousers and I’m at the top of a temple which requires modest dress, flashing my arse to the long queue below.

By this stage, we have been at the temple for over two hours and it’s 34 degrees. We need to cool down. Luckily our lovely Tuk Tuk driver is waiting under a tree with a cool box full of water. Fluids replenished, we return to the hotel for breakfast and a change of trousers.

Once we have regrouped, we set forth again, this time for Angkor Thom. It’s a huge complex, several times larger than its neighbour. You start by crossing a bridge over a moat lined with carved warriors. I climb out of the Tuk Tuk without checking for traffic, and almost get run over by an elephant. Over the bridge are the Baphuan and Bayon Temples, decorated with 216 huge stone heads. Then come the Terrace of the Leper King and Terrace of Elephants, viewing platforms decorated with thousands of carved animals and statues. Angkor Thom is probably even more impressive that Angkor Wat.

After another 2 hours sightseeing with the temperature soaring to a brutal 36 degrees, it’s time to return to the hotel again.

I’m not feeling well so decide to call it a day. The old man and child no 1 have lunch and set forth to visit two more temples.

The evening takes its familiar pattern; dinner and beer on Pub Street. The old man orders a barbecue, which basically means you get a bowl of raw food (including 6 types of meat) a gas stove and some boiling boiling water to cook your own dinner. I’m running a temperature from my stomach bug and could do without fire and steam belching forth from the table adding to the heat and 80 per cent humidity I’m already dealing with.

Dinner complete, we return to pack ready for our morning bus to Phnom Penh.

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