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Published: November 14th 2013
Sous-dey from Cambodia!
We are now in our second country of our trip. The journey getting here was a rocky one! We left Koh Tao on a lovely looking catamaran. When it pulled up and we stepped on, I thought wow this is posh! Little did I know it was going to be the bumpiest boat journey of my life. Everywhere I could hear people being sick. I tried to put my fingers in my ears but it did not work. Yes I was ill too! Was so glad to get off that boat! When we reached the mainland, Chumphon, we then got on to a bus and carried on our journey to Bangkok. When in Bangkok, we sorted out our bus to Siem Reap in Cambodia (9 pounds!). We were really excited to go as neither of us had been before.
On our journey to Siem Reap, we had to first stop at the Thai-Cambodian border. Here we had to sort out our visas and walk across the border for our passports to be stamped. We had to wait a whole hour in the heat, with my heavy backpack on to have our passports and fingerprints scanned. I was so glad to
get back on the bus with the air-con on! As Cambodia is a developing country, not all of the roads are tarmacked like you would find a home! They are very rocky with lots of pot holes, so it was a very interesting journey!
During our time in Siem Reap we went to see the ancient city of Angkor and a silk farm.
The journey to Angkor was beautiful! We took a tuk-tuk there (which the driver drove a lot slower in comparison to Bangkok!). The roads were lined with luscious, green trees and acres of green fields.
The ancient city of Angkor was the capital of the Khmer Empire(now known as Cambodia) in the ninth century until the 15th century. The royal leaders lived here and they built huge temples and structures for religious purposes, for themselves or for family members. Researchers have worked out that this was the largest preindustrial city in the world, covering 1000 square kilometres!!
Bayon (Angkor Thom)
Baphuon (Angkor Thom)
Angkor Wat (probably the most famous)
Visiting these temples took us a whole day. Our tuk-tuk driver would leave us in one place and show us on the map where he would pick us up. In
Banteay Kdei, there were a lot of young children (some looked like they were just 5 years old) selling magnets, postcards and other nick-nack things. We had read that it is not good to buy things from these children, instead giving money to support getting children into education. We tried to say no but a small boy followed me and I just couldn't believe how small he was. Why wasn't he at school? We stopped and asked what he had. I always buy a magnet for my mum on holiday so I thought I would buy her one. Some of the children were selling 3 for a dollar but there was only one that I liked so I gave him a dollar for it. Other children noticed me paying for this magnet and they all surrounded us! We had to say no (although we now regret the amazing offer of 10 postcards for a dollar as we have struggled finding them in the shops!)
Bayon was my favourite temple to visit. There are 37 towers that most sport four carved faces that orientate towards the four cardinal points (North, South, East and West) Looking carefully at the faces, not all of
them have the same expression. Some had overly smiley faces that looked like clowns, while others had their eyes closed that looked like they were dreaming. There was one spot that, from a particular angle, you could take a picture and it looked like you were kissing the face!
We visited Angkor Wat twice. Once to see the sunset and the next morning to see the sunrise. When we went to see the sunrise, we had to get up at 4 o clock in the morning. It was pitch black outside with no one on the roads. When we reached Angkor Wat, there were about 10 people who had got there at the same time. We walked inside the walls and waited in front of a lake. We were right at the front and were really glad to get there super early because, within a half an hour, there were hundreds of people behind us, all waiting for the sun to rise. The black sky suddenly had a small blue shadow appear. Slowly, the sky lightened and we saw the sky behind the famous Angkor Wat change from black to red to orange. Unlucky for us, there was a big cloud
in the way of where the sun would have popped up from behind the temple, so we didn't get the best shot of the sun gleaming between the towers.
Later that day, we went to a silk farm where we learnt how silk was made. People collect the silk worms and put them in a basket with mulberry leaves. They are then left for a few days until they start getting bigger. Once they turn yellow, they are put on a circle basket where are then left to make their cocoon. This cocoon is the silk that is used to make material. We were shown the whole process from how the silk cocoon is processed into fine and raw silk garments. It was a really interesting day and better still the farm we went to employs people from the surrounding rural area, giving them jobs and skills for life.
That night, we went to an Apsara dance show, Apsara dancing is a traditional Cambodian dance that conveys a story or message. Their outfits were beautiful and the music in the background brought the performance alive.
We enjoyed our stay in Siem Reap and think we are lucky to have seen the beautiful temples
of Angkor. I loved the way trees grew out from some of the buildings and how some trees looked like stone walls grew inside them! The people in Siem Reap are friendly people and always want to make conversation with you. We would recommend a visit to Siem Reap.
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