Friday, February 22, 2008

Siem Reap

Ok, we are just about approaching the climatic end to our journey, and today we arose early in Phnom Penh to catch a tour bus to Siem Reap. This bus is a full sized tour bus, as we learned our lesson from spending all that time on the local bus from Vieng Vang to Veintiane. We also got up early enough to enjoy breakfast and have a few baguettes made to take with us on our trip.

Fried Tarantulas
This tour bus put us into Siem Reap shortly after three, another 6 hour ride. We did have a stop again in the middle, and the above photo shows one of the food offerings that they had along with all sorts of other fried bugs and critters. Them baguettes we had packed this time were very tasty. I was going to try one but figured that I could wait until we were in a city with restrooms as opposed to finding out they don't agree with me while stuck on a bus. We never saw them again, and I think that I'm a little disappointed...
Siem Reap is a small little town, again built only for tourists and with signs, menus, and beggars all communicating in English. There are a lot of big name hotels here and even more being built, and it is said that everyone that visits Cambodia comes through Siem Reap. There were two million visitors to Cambodia last year, and as more and more Chinese are able to travel these numbers are bound to balloon.
Ah, but for why everyone comes here - Angkor Wat. Tickets into the whole Angkor Wat complex cost $20 a person for a day, they drop a little if you buy a 3-day or 6-day pass, but the beauty of this is that a one day pass lets you in at 19:00 the night before so that you can watch the sunset...
This is our tuk-tuk driver that first night, we bartered him down to $4 to Angkor Wat and back. We took this picture so that we would know who we were looking for among the crowds of people and other tuk-tuks.
As everyone, or I guess our guide book, tells you - the most impressive thing is your first sight of Angkor Wat, the moat and outer walls that lead in and the towers in the background. It truly is a sight to see, and it was hard for me not to overload this post with pictures.

First view of the moat surrounding Angkor Wat
Main entrance to Angkor Wat
Inside Angkor Wat
Another view of stairs at Angkor Wat
View across one of the ponds when inside the main walls of Angkor Wat
Another view

We wandered around awestruck, the size and detail of this place can't even be explained. we were a little disappointed in that sometime recently they decided to close access to the five central towers, but we did finally agree not getting in might be better then being crushed by a loose brick, these building bricks are mammoth in size.
Around 18:30 we started to get directed out, and reluctantly we wandered back towards our ride, happy only in the knowledge that we had a full day of touring coming up...
Sunset over the moat. .
Back in town we enjoyed a dinner nice local Khmer restaurant, and then we retired to bed so that we could get up bright and early to be back at Angkor Wat by 06:00 for the sunrise. Our tuk-tuk driver had agreed to pick us up at the hotel bright and early at 05:30....

No comments: