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Published: August 6th 2007
Mon 30th July
At 4.15am we left the hotel in search of coffee expecting to struggle at this ungodly hour. But no, Bangkok was already up and running. Tuk tuks, street cafes and backpackers all millimg around. The taxi driver we'd booked the evening before was ready and waiting with a huge grin on his face we told him he'd have to wait 'till 5 o clock, we weren't going anywhere untill we'd had coffee.
By the time we were on our way to the airport the rain had begun to pour. Despite this he drove like a man on a mission reaching 140kms per hour whilst answering a phone call! Twice we asked him to slow down, on arrival at the airport we handed over the agreed 500 baht. Extortionate, as the journey had only taken 25 mins instead of the usual 1 hour.
He bowed and said " big tip?" He had to be joking! He seriously thought we were glad to have got there so soon, He walked off dejectedly.
The flight to Siem Reap took only 35 mins the journey by road would have been up to 14 hours When we arrived at Siem Reap airport
it was a pretty little place, Shame about the long queue for the extortionate visas!
The taxi that took us into the town drove at about 20 miles an hour, What a contrast! As none of the streets are named in Siem Reap we had problems finding the guest house we'd picked out from the guide book, in the end we let the driver take us to his "friend's" hotel. It turned out quite nice, a huge room with air con and a flush toilet, all for 15$ thats about £7.50. And, only a few minutes walk to the centre.
After a walk around town we arranged for one of the million pestering tuk tuk drivers to take us to Angkor Wat to see the sunset. He dropped us off at the foot of Phnom Bakeng or Central mountain. A whole prossesion of people were climbing up young and old in all manner of footwear. After a stiff 15 min climb we were at the top. In order to get the best view you could climb to the top of the temple. The steps were VERY steep but despite this thousands had scaled them. We could see the
jungle all around us and the temple of Angkok Wat in the distance. As the sun dropped in the sky it became a deeper and deeper orange untill it dissapeared altogether. Magical! Cameras clicking everywhere.
Now it was a mad scramble to get down the mountain before darkness fell. Our faithful tuk tuk driver was waiting.
That evening we had a typical Khymer meal of curry which went down really well. Then off to bed for another 4am start tomorrow.
Tues 31st July
Our tuk tuk driver was ready and waiting as we left the hotel at 4.50am, it was still dark when we reached the site of Angkok Wat itself. We were some of the first there, we fumbled along the path untill we reached the temple, it didn't seem like the one we'd seen in photos , as the dawn began to break we realised Angkok Wat itself was further on. We secured ourselves a good vantage point and then waited. The sky slowly began to glow redder and redder and there was Angkor Wat in all it's glory. Cameras were clicking all around us. We had both dreamed of coming here for years
From the Temple on Central Mountain we watched as the sun sank, turning the sky shades of orange.
ever since we saw photos of it from Dave, (my brother) Sharon and Gary. I had to pinch myself to believe that I was really here at last.
When it was completly light we spent a good hour scrambling around the temple itself.
From here our tuk tuk driver took us to Angkor Thom where we had breakfast and visited the Bayon Temple and the terrace of the elephants amongst several others.
Our last stop was Ta Prohm, this is the temple where the jungle has started to take over. Spong trees have invaded this temple that was erected in the late 12th century AD their huge buttress roots enclosing many parts of the temple causing significant damage.
Conservationists have agreed to leave it untouched in order to retain the picturesque appearance that the 19th century explorers first came across.
By this time it was mid day we had been on the go for 8 hours and were worn out so asked to be taken back to the hotel.
We promptly fell asleep and awoke at 5pm to torrential rain that didn't stop untill almost mid night. We have been so lucky to do the whole
Sunrise (Next Morning) Over Angkor Wat
The sky turns red as the sun creeps higher.
tour in nice weather, after all it is the rainy season.
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