Angkor at Sunrise and The Floating Villages

Trip Start May 23, 2009
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Trip End Ongoing


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Thursday, May 28, 2009

The day started early at 3:45am... its pretty hard to wake up at that time, but somehow we managed to pull ourselves out of bed and got dressed to go to Angkor Wat.  We met Kim-san in the hotel lobby, and drove out to Angkor Wat in the dark.

We got there around 4:50am and the first rays from the sun had just started to break the horizon lighting a tiny glow over the Angkor Towers.  There were already a few tourists there lined up by the pool near the temple setting up their tripods for the perfect sunrise shot.  We hurried over the rainbow bridge and plopped ourselves down into a nice spot by the pool, and waited for some more sunlight.  The skyline was gorgeous, and the weather was warm but not too humid.  The photos I think came out beautifully and I'm sure I'll be printing out at least a couple of duplicates of some of them.

After the sunrise, we went back to our Hotel around 6:00am and had breakfast.  This time in the restaurant, there were LOTS MORE guests.  I'm not sure where they all came from, but my guess is they seemed to be all together on a tour group from Korea.  The breakfast buffet line today was jammed, at 6:00am!! 

After breakfast we headed out to a dock 16km outside Siem Reap where a boat would take us out to Tonle Sap Lake, where there exists floating villages and communities built completely on the water.  At the boat dock, we met two guys from Holland, David and Danni, who were going on the tour with us.  We somehow struck up a conversation and quickly hit it off.  They were very friendly and well-travelled.  They had been in Cambodia for almost a week and were off to Vietnam, Laos and Thailand after this.  We debated geo-political dynamics, classism, racism, imperialism and many other topics on the way to the floating villages.   David is a history buff and can tell you many interesting facts about the history of many, many countries.  

When we arrived at the villages, we boarded a larger floating complex that had a dining area and a souvenir shop, as well as a catfish and crocodile farm.  We were given a brief background and information about the village and then were given an opportunity to eat freshly cooked watersnake.  I tried it, it was pretty good... tasted a lot like bacon actually.

We were then ferried around a bit more and taken to the tour operators main vessel in the area for a meal and drinks.  We were the ONLY ones on the whole boat.  It was nice to have the place to ourselves.  
This time of year is just the beginning of the wet season, and so there still wasn't much water in the lake.  The lake apparently grows to be several times it's current size at the height of the rainy season.  And right now there isn't much good fishing. 

We passed by a floating basketball court, dentist, pig farm and Catholic church!   It was quite an eye opener to a different type of lifestyle and environment.

After the tour we headed back to Siem Reap, and David and I chatted lots more about anything and everything.  We exchanged emails and he offered for us to come visit him in Holland sometime.  We may take him up on it someday!  They had a 6pm flight to catch, and so we said our goodbyes and went  to go explore the old market near our hotel.

We did lots of shopping and walking and had dinner at the "Angkor Palm" restaurant which came highly recommended by Lonely Planet.  It was a good choice, the food was excellent and lived up to the recommendation.

We wrote some postcards for friends and family back home, and then walked back to our hotel to pack.  It's time to say goodbye to Cambodia.  The people here are so friendly and nice, it's gonna be hard to leave, I could stay for a while longer, but tomorrow we'll be heading to Kuala Lumpur.
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