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Published: March 9th 2016
It has been quite a while since I have added to this blog but I'm going to get back at it! We had our last day of work on Friday the 26th of February then promptly entered a vortex of goodbyes and packing. Our original plan was to take the twelve hour, 6am bus from Ayutthaya to Siem reap on Sunday morning, but by Saturday afternoon it became laughably apparent that this was not realistic. We booked flight tickets from Don muang airport in Bangkok for about $70 for Sunday night. The flight is just under an hour. So after the prolonged process of checking out of our hostel, Delsney and i hopped on a minivan to Bangkok thinking we had plenty of time. Minivans are the bus system in Thailand. You pay a small fare then clamber into a 12 seater and wait for it to fill up before heading to your destination. It is not always apparent where the vans are headed but you can usually tell because of the men shouting " you go Bangkok?" to every foreigner passing on the street, or the strategic position of the vans on the bar street that foreign teachers frequent in
Ayutthaya. Unfortunately the van took over 2 hours instead of the expected one and we entered the airport in a frenzy. With about forty minutes to catch our flight, immigration stopped me and would not explain why. Ten minutes of panicking later I realized they had been looking at the wrong page in my passport and thought I had overstayed my visa. It took more than a few giggling immigration agents to figure this out while I stood there shifting back and forth impatiently and then took off towards my gate. I was one of the last on the plane, but I made it.
Our flight was uneventful as was our interaction with Cambodian immigration. We paid 30 USD for our visas and then were picked up by a complementary tuktuk from our hostel, Rosy Guesthouse. The staff were friendly, the room was clean, and the food was great- overall Rosy is an excellent hostel for budget travelers in Cambodia. Not to mention the location is excellent, it's within walking distance of the night markets, many restaurants, and bar street, (or you can take a one dollar tuktuk if you're feeling lazy).
On Monday we got up
promptly at 4:30am to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. We paid $20 for entry to Angkor Archaeological Park, and $17 for a tuktuk to drive us throughout the small circuit and wait for us at each location. The small circuit is an abbreviated path connecting many of the famous wats (temples) in the park. The large circuit encompasses about five extra temples, but can barely be done in one day and you will likely be "watted out" at the finish. The park is massive and it is impossible to cover the territory on foot).
Angkor Wat was absolutely magical. I highly recommend seeing it at sunrise or sunset. My other favorite temple was Ta Prohm, which is known for the giant sprawling roots of trees that have grown to intertwine with the temple Walls. During our visit, we explored Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, Bayon, Ta Keo, Banteay Kdei, and Neak Pean ( at the suggestion of our tuktuk driver, who spoke no English save for "same same" and "neak pean GOOD"). We became close with our tuktuk driver during our day, and he was quite the character. About every thirty minutes he offered us pineapple, bananas, watermelon,
water, and mango, so we were hydrated like queens. At one point he handed us bread, said "monkey" and continued driving, leaving us to a 90 minute debate about whether we were to eat the bread or give it to monkeys. This became even less clear when he proceeded to show us a picture of monkey eating the bread (which Delaney had already taken a bite out of). We finally settled on eating the bread, though we still have no idea who it was intended for. We learned that our tuktuk friend loved monkeys, in that our last stop was dedicated to feeding bananas to monkeys on the side of the road. The highlight of this stop being when he chucked a piece of watermelon at two monkeys who took a break from choking down to offer us s mating display. At one temple the driver even came with us and made s small video on his phone describing the temple (I think) and Delaney and I got a short, confused guest appearance. Overall it was a wonderful and exhausting visit, but Angkor Wat is something you should absolutely not miss on your trip to Asia, just be ready to
be a temple snob after because it's hard to find something as cool as Angkor's amazing ruins!
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