The Ancient Temples of Angkor Wat

Trip Start Feb 17, 2010
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Trip End Feb 23, 2011


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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Putting to carnage that was Koh Pangan behind me, I went back to Bangkok, to plan my onward journey. The boat and bus that was supposed to get us into Bangkok at 6.30am was actually early! So I arrived at the delightful time of 4.30am... I was with 2 german chicks I met on the boat, and we walked from hostel to hostel looking for somewhere to sleep, everywhere was either fuly booked until 12.00 midday when people checked out, or else they would charge us for "tonight" even though it was already morning time! So one of the Germans met an English guy she knew and disappeared off with him, while the other one gave up and got herself a room. I opted to just sleep in the foyer of the hotel!

After abotu 4 hours sleep I booked a ticket to Cambodia for the next day, as I would have had to leave immediately if I were to go the same day! So a day wondering around the shopping centres of Bangkok filled my day quite nicely.

The transport to Cambodia was in a mini bus, and was about 6 hours to the border crossing. The bus stopped about 2 miles before the boarder and the driver got us to fill in our visa forms etc. He then tried to take 1200 Baht  (24) from everyone to pay for the visa! I was having none of it, as I knew for a fact that you could get the visa on the Cambodian side for only $20 (12) The guy tried to insist but gave up when I stood my ground (helped by the fact that I didn't actually have any Thai Baht left! Sure enough at the border I got my visa for $20.

I thought that once I had the visa I was good to go, as when I walked through the check point I was on a street, however this street just led to the REAL border where I had to wait another hour and a half just to get my passport stamped (although there was a 200 baht option to skip the queue, which I decided was too much!) So it took about 3 hours in total to get into Cambodia. The next option was to wait 1 hr to get a 5hr bus journey to Siam Reap or to pay $5 and get a taxi that would take 2hrs.... I decided that I had enough waiting in 40oC heat, and went for the air-con taxi.

Cambodia was sooo different from Thailand, I was really surprised. The landscape seemed more barren and almost African looking with its red sand and scrub land. Siam Reap was pretty cool though, they had a night market which sold all sorts of tourist tat and I got a "seeing hands massage" from a blind person! It was brilliant! - Much better than the Thai massage I got in Thailand.

The next day I did the 1 day trip around the temples of Angkor Wat  - They were pretty impressive, although by the end of it I was well and truly temple'd out! My favourites were the one with the faces in the rock, and the one with the trees - as you can see I am great at remembering the actual names!! They reminded me of the sort of temples you see in films like Indiana Jones or the computer game Tomb Raider! 

This was definitely one of my favourite places, and I could easily have spent a week here... but there were other adventures to be had.

By the way for those people heading to Siam Reap - My favourite bar was called Angkor What? They had a sign behind the bar saying "This is not a tourist office, so shut up and drink" ... I liked their style!

  
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