I flew in to Siem Reap after a 5 hour wait in Bangkok airport. I met Aiden from Sydney at the gate. Fate brought us together as he had no dollars to pay for the visa on arrival and I had just enough for the two of us! Sometimes it just works out! You get a 3 day free sim card on the plane and I decided at immigration that I liked Cambodian people a lot! I didn’t have passport pictures on me and they helpfully sorted me out. It was $35 for a 30 day tourist visa, which wasn’t long enough for me but I wasn’t to know then!
We kind of got scammed on the tuk tuk which they call a remork in Siem Reap. The price outside the airport is $6 to one address they told us but further down the street my driver pulls over and says do you want to ride with your friend? So I gets out, thinking he’s being nice and jump into Aiden’s remork. This is probably pulled time and time again. Aiden’s driver sorted us out for a ride to Angkor Wat picking us up at our hostel at 10am for the day touring temples. I stayed at Hostelling International and the dorm was great. They have a sister hotel with a pool you can use. A nice balcony, pool table and seating areas. Beds were really wide, but the shower sucked. The pregnant lady working there was lovely!
Met Derek, from Northern Ireland in the dorm. He hasn’t been home in 8 years and has been working the digital lifestyle hard. He was working every time I saw him and his dedication was inspiring. Gave me a bit of a kick up the arse to get my website in order before I head to Australia.
So, first morning Aiden’s driver’s friend turned up to take us around the temples. His name was Samang and he was cheery and good natured.
You have to go out to the ticket office first to purchase a temple ticket. The fee is $20 a day and they take your picture for the ticket!
We stopped at many temples, including the inner and outer parts of Angkor Wat and the temple Tomb Raider was filmed at. A day of exploring the ruins and trying to take in what these magnificent structures would have looked like in their heyday. We went on a Sunday and I think it was just a bit too busy to enjoy at Angkor Wat but the rest of the temples were quieter!
After leaving the outside site we saw some monkeys on the road. I got so excited because I had a snack of fruit and nuts in my bag and I was more than happy to share!
The first one came out to check what I had. The smaller ones were not allowed to approach me, whether this was because she was protecting them or she was just greedy I don’t know! I threw a few on the ground for the others. They were picky, some liked the sultanas, some cherries and as Aiden came over more came to join us. They were really inquisitive and that was a real treat to see that kind of behaviour from our distant cousins in the flesh. One big mumma had other ideas on my sharing and nicked the whole bag for herself and so left me snack-less but cheesing! Check out the last pic… beautiful ickle baby monkey!
The Tomb Raider temple is called Ta Prohm. It has a path you have to follow to go around it and felt the most touristy out of all the ones we visited. Lots of incredible trees here. A little bit of running about pretending I was Lara Croft. Storm clouds were gathering and we went for lunch whilst it rained! Caught a glimpse of a double rainbow and the chicken I ate there gave me food poisoning. Always peaks and troughs.
After the temples, Aiden and I went for dinner with Jack and Zac from my hostel. Pub Street is where it is at in Siem Reap. You can find 50¢ beers and free popcorn! Then we headed to X Bar. Where I got properly pissed for the first time on the trip and danced in the rain.
The next day I was super hungover. Thought I had lost my phone and my bank card and had food poisoning which didn’t budge for 5 days. Phone and bank card were in the safe keeping of a lovely Polish barman I’d entrusted them too whilst I danced in the rain. Food poisoning was eventually killed with a diet of white rice and whisky and Royal D’s brought to me by Zac! Met some other really cool folk here but the rest of my time in Siem Reap was spent not too far from the toilet!
Bus to Sihanoukville booked through the hostel with Michael from Hamburg, who I met in the hostel for $16 dollars and on to the next adventure in smiley Cambodia!