Thursday, April 1, 2010

The wonders of Angkor Wat and Siem Reap

Day 1
Spent the day exploring the city, and the markets. There are some excellent day and night markets here in Siem Reap. In the afternoon I found a cooking class at Temple Club restaurant/bar where I was the only participant whichwas pretty cool. Oh my goodness oh so good! yum yum yum. I made fresh spring rolls, chicken amok (like a curry of sorts) and a banana coconut milk tapioca dessert. Awesome stuff. all for $10 and so much food to eat. At night went out with some friends I had made and ended up at a local khmer club "hip hop" where we were the only white people in the establishment! Bit of fun.

The street kids took a shine to me that night, grabbing my hands, asking for money, jumping up on me, literally one used me like a tree and climbed all on top of me. It was a bit insane.

Day 2
up at 5.30 am to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Unfortunatly it has been a bit cloudy and overcast so the sunrise was not spectactular, sun didn't come up until it was quite high in the sky. Had breakfast at one of the street venders by the temple site and then headed into the temple and started to explore. Unfortunatley we picked one of the few days in the month where you aren't able to climb to the top of the peaks or towers of Angkor, due to it being a special.

After such an early start we continued to wander through around (and occasionaly over or on top) ;) the other major and not so major temple ruins on the grand circuit, finishing in the mid afternoon. My favourite for sure is Ta Prahn, the jungle temple or tomb raider temple, pretty funky looking.

Day 3
Trying to avoid the perpetual harrassment of tuk-tuk drivers (and their inflated prices from the guesthouse), I hired a push-bike for the day for $1 and decided to take a bit of a ride out towards the Roulos temples (13km east of the city). Forgot to take sunscreen so got a bit pink.. (I didn't intend to be out all day long and get back at 6pm as it happened)

On the way back into town after visiting the 2 main temples there I saw a sign directing to Angkor Wat so I thought I may as well drop by there again. The road took me past al these villages lots of kids saying hello, some cheeky ones asking for candy. It was great to be out on the road, with no westerners. Everyone was probaly thinking this crazy white girl riding a bicycle all this way! I had fun though.

On this road I saw a sign for Bantea Srey which is a temple about 40km out of town. The signs where i was were saying 30 so i decided I may as well keep riding and save myself the $20 the tuk-tuk drivers wanted me to pay to get there. So I rode and rode and rode and rode. Eventually I got to a cross road (me being very hot and tired) and a motorbike rider approached me and said he would take me the remaining 20km to the temple. I was pretty wrecked by this stage (about 1pm heat of ht eday) so agreed. I thought it was worth $5 to get driven 40km there and back. AFter I had finished there, I continued my ride, via Angkor Wat for another quick view but it as closed by then so didnt'climb it. Then back to town. All in all, I ended up riding 50-60 km, so was ridiculously hot, sweaty, tired with a very sore butt and legs afterwards!

while we were out at night (at 1am) we played a couple of local games with some khmer youths. One was like a doubles version of duck duck goose, and the other was a bit of a simon-says sort of game, in circles. Alot of fun, took some video of us running around in circles and them shrieking, singing and clapping.

Again, while out at night (about 2pm) the street kids took a shine to me. One girl (about 7yrs old) had a little baby with her who couldn't have been much older than 3 or 4 weeks, absolutely tiny. She was asking me to buy milk for the baby. It is difficult to know what to do, because on one hand you know that they could legitimately be poor and have no money, and on the other hand, be wanting you to expose where you have your money kept on you.

Day 4
Rest day, chilled out reading books and exploring the city a bit more, chatting wiht other travellers and treated myself to a massage after yesterdays marathon effort on the push bike! Did some market wandering again, but didn't really buy anything (I dont want to carry anything!).

thought I"d give aquick mention to the local kids. Everyone asks you where you are from and when I say Australia they list off a whole bunch of random facts about australia, including where our capital is, who our prime minister is, the population (even I don't know that!!). Can be quite amusing.

While I was here I had been planning to give blood (ever since I started 'planning'my trip in january) at the childrens hospital here. However, due to me being on antibiotics and my foot still swollen (but it is improving), I figured it probably awsn't the smartest idea and had to pass on that plan which was a shame.

I've just discovered that it is easter this weekend (other the time and the day of the week, thats about as much as Iknow about whats happening at the moment in the world i'm sorry to say.

My plan is to visit Battambang for the next couple of days then on to thailand. i just got in contact with a girl working there atm who offered me a room at her house which is pretty cool. Coincidently she worked in the peace corp in Zambia! Also, I found a church, well at least i googled about a church there, so i might stay put there for hte next 3 days so i can go to church for the first time while I've been here in asia! Anyway bed time. i'm being eaten alive by mosquitoes and need to be up in 5 hours to catch the boat.

1 comment:

  1. So interesting Gem .. great read. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us all.