Nice bit of luxury
Trip Start Aug 17, 2011
12Trip End Aug 31, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
You only come to Siem Reap for one thing though, and we saw it today, plus a fair few of its cousins in the countryside. Angkor Watt at pre dawn this morning was at its ancient and mystical best. We left at 5am and as per Travel Indochina's little touches approached through the East gate which makes all the difference as we wander through the jungle by ourselves and see it come out of the darkness without having to compete with all the swarming camera clicking masses. It was much nicer this time as I was feeling so rough last time I barely remember it.
We had a great little local guide called Pat who I've had clients pass on good feedback about in the past. He's a cool little man, very easy going and quiet, giving us the information when we wanted it, but not overloading us with history and mythology as some guides do. It is tough in the heat and humidity to concentrate for long no matter how interesting the story. There are pros and cons to travelling in the wet season. I actually prefer it as its so lush and green everywhere, and I can't imagine what it must be like with three or four times the number of people.
Once inside Angkor Watt you virtually have it to yourself this time of year, and it was well appreciated. We had plenty of time to get to know it, and the light was perfect for photo's. There have been hundreds taken today so it will be hard work narrowing down what to put up on the blog/facebook etc. All day long it was just stunningly beautiful everywhere we looked, and it has been a day we'll all remember for a very long time.
After Angkor Watt we moved on the the Angkor Thom and the Bayon temples. These are often people's favourites and I can see why. They have more personality and feelign of people living there, plus the wall carvings are more interesting than just the Ancient gods, it tells stories of the day to day lives on the people that lived back in the 11th and 12 centuries. It was a huge and developed civilisation of over a million people living here back when London had a mere thirty thousand. It feels like stumbling on a past age of enlightenment and wonder. You just can't believe it still remains and how is must have looked at the time.
My favourite was the next one, Ta Prohm which is overgrown with enormous tree roots as the jungle reclaimed the temples over many lost centuries. Easily once of my best travel experiences of my life so far. I was gobsmacked by it all, the atmosphere grabs you and makes you feel enchanted and want to crawl through all the the labyrinthine mossy stone passageways all weathered by the ruins of time. Its just such a must do, and way more beautiful than a European Cathedral seeing such raw nature overtake a lost empire.
We had a break back at the hotel from about 10:30 and to 3pm which was very needed as we were all soaked in sweat and pretty ragged after on a few hours sleep. Once again the Hotel Del La Paix travel perk came in so handy as we slept most of it in the softest bed of pure comfort I've ever felt. They put a feathered duvet underneath the bedsheets and you feel like you are melting into it. We woke just in time for a dip in the pool and then poolside smoothies and lunch on the sunbed before the afternoon temple visits. Nice.
I won't bore you with too much more about how great it all was but we had a warm golden sunset and found some more temples further out of town which in their own way were even more special than the main ones. We've all been well and truely templed out by now but are very glad we came to Cambodia as its been a great trip. The Thai beaches await so we can rest our weary bones. Tomorrow Railay here we come.