Angkor What?

Trip Start Jan 21, 2007
Trip End ??? ??, 2008

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Friday, May 18, 2007

Set off for Cambodia at 8am, expecting to arrive in Siem Reap at 6pm.  Not so!  This was probably the worst of my many marathon journeys.  First part was fine, arrived at the border on time, around 12.30pm.  Got our visas in a guest house restaurant (seemed odd but we went with it), turns out we were well over charged for the privilege of someone getting our visas for us.  Never mind, nothing can do about that now.  So walked across the border and waited at a small bus stand for the bus to take us to the bus station.  Must have waited a couple of hours, every time we asked we were told "bus coming, bus had flat tyre". Finally the bus shows up, we get taken to the bus station.  Wait there for again probably about 2 hours, til the next bus comes.  It also finally shows up, around 5.30pm.  We drive maybe a mile along the road, then stop and all get told to get off, have to get a new spare tyre.  Coincidentally the manage to stop right next to the muddiest bit of ground in the world.  So we all stand practically ankle deep in this sticky mud (suspect there may have been some cow you know what in there as well!) for another hour, while they change a perfectly good tyre on our bus with a perfectly good tyre on another bus as well as add a new spare tyre.  We finally get on our way at 6.30pm (remember we were due to arrive at 6pm!).  The road from the border to Siem Reap is a dirt track, apparently an airline pays the government not to upgrade it so people will fly.  It has more pot holes that actual road which made for an extremely bumpy and uncomfortable journey.  We made it to Siem Reap at 1am.  This whole thing is a big scam, purely to make sure that you arrive late enough and tired enough that you stay in their guest house.  We were dead set that this wasn't going to happen, but needless to say, at 1am, they won and we stayed.  Only for one night though, moved the next day to a fabulous guesthouse (called Golden Temple Villa) which was probably the best room I've had on the whle trip.

First full day we couldn't face temples, so after moving guest house we took a boat trip to a floating village on a huge lake.  It was really interesting, absolutely everything including the school, police station etc were all floating on the water.  There seemed to be a section of Vietnamese and a section of Cambodians, not sure why there would be so many Vietnamese, maybe if they float they are not officially there.  Or something.  Anyway we liked that a lot, and afterwards headed to the top of a mountain to watch the sunset.  As normal when I do things like that the sun hid behind the clouds but it was still pretty impressive.  Out that night for a drink, surprised by how many bars there are, they have a Bar St which I didn't really expect, it had more of a vibe of Faliraki rather than Cambodia about it!

Next day we hit the temples of Angkor Wat and Ankgor Thom.  They were all pretty amazing, although I can't really think of much more to say than that, I just remember so much stone.  It was very impressive at the time though!

Next day we got up for sunrise (that's twice this trip - can you believe it!) and watched that at Bayon, our favourite temple from the day before. Everyone always goes to Angkor Wat, but we thought we would be different.  Bayon has many many huge stone faces which looked very cool with the sun rising over them.  After more temples, we headed for the Landmine Museum for a bit of Cambodian history, it was pretty interesting.

Next day it's off to Phnom Penh for some more history.
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