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Published: November 6th 2009
We arrived in Siem Reap, Cambodia after a long travel day and hopped on the back of 2 scooter taxis to find a hotel. A few misses and one very annoying taxi driver later we decided to be fancy and stay in a nice hotel with a/c, a balcony, a pool, wifi and a real hot shower all for a whopping $20 a night. The less annoying of the two drivers, Vong, had a two person tuk-tuk cart that he attached to the back of his moto to drive us around the temples.
The first day we hit up all of the big highlights, Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, and Ta Prohm - the "jungle" temple. The entire sprawling site of Angkor is extremely impressive. It is hard to imagine so many temples and ruins in one spot until you have seen it...and spent a good 8+ hours driving around it. I think my favorites were the overgrown jungle temples that the trees have begun to overtake the walls and Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom with the 200 Buddha faces looking out from the towers.
That night we went to "Bar Street" to get dinner. We were both immediately
overwhelmed by the bright lights and touristy atmosphere. Even though Angkor Wat is such a hugely popular tourist site, neither of us were expecting something so gentrified in the middle of Cambodia. It felt almost like we were on the strip in Puerto Vallarta, or Bourbon street or something.
Our second day we rose for Sunrise at Angkor Wat...along with about a thousand other people...Apparently not such a novel idea. We did escape the crowds a bit after that though. Vong drove us about an hour or so north to a waterfall that had some carvings along the on and around the riverbed. The waterfall wasn't anything special, but the ride itself made up for it. We drove through small towns and huge rice paddies surrounded by roaming water buffalo. It was really nice to catch a glimpse of everyday Cambodian life. After the waterfall we drove back to Angkor and wandered through a bunch more temples including the "jewel of Angkor" Wat Banteay Samre which was full of beautiful intricate carvings from the 9th century. Towards the end of a 10 hour day of seeing temples, we decided we were couldn't handle another day of temple wandering. It
got to the point where we couldn't really even appreciate any more stone temples because we had just seen so many. We decided to head to Bangkok the next day after at least 18 hours wandering in and around Angkor Wat. We are officially all templed out!
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