So right before Christmas I decided to go to Cambodia for a few days. I had bought a re-entry stamp about 2 months before, but still hadn’t used it yet. My 90 day extension was up in January, so I figured I’d take a small side trip to Cambodia.
I didn’t really have anything planned except that I wanted to see . Didn’t really plan on doing any mongering, so I went for a package tour from a little travel shop on Soi 8 that puts together . The package I chose was a 3 day 2 night Siem Reap tour. I ended up paying 14,500baht or so. There were cheaper packages and with my package there were cheaper hotels for my package. I chose the which I ended up being pretty happy with.
Included in the price was the hotel, the various tours I’ll talk about with the pics, breakfast, lunch, dinner (one of the nights we went to a special Khmer dance show with our dinner), and of course transportation to a from Cambodia as well as around Siem Reap to see the landmarks.
The visa into Cambodia wasn’t included which I thought was a bit cheap of them.
The van ride to Poi Pet wasn’t too bad because I slept most of the way. I can’t remember the exact time, but I think maybe 4 hours…not sure. I had stayed out the entire night before and hadn’t slept yet. I arrived back at my hotel in enough time to throw a travel bag together and go to the lobby to wait on the van.
The bus ride from Poi Pet to Siem Reap took about 2.5 hours and felt every bit as long. It was hot and every seat had 2 people in it. We stopped a couple of times for breaks to drink and use the toilet. Once in Poi Pet we stopped for food and to fill out info and pay for our Cambodia visas. From there we went to the border which was a pain in the ass. It took nearly 3 hours to finish everything and finally start the trip to Siem Reap.
Here are some of the pics I took and info about them:
Entering Cambodia (Poi Pet was the border we used to and from)
View outside of my hotel the day we arrived
This is the entrance we used to enter Angkor Wat. Can’t remember if it was the East or West side. There are 5 different entrances on this side. They were originally used for different people. 1 for the King and Queen, 1 for the commoners, 2 for the court officers and 1 for sacrificial animals. Angkor means city, Wat is temple…”City of Temples” I’m guessing.
Inside Angkor Wat, walking through the courtyard. You can see the construction going on which doesn’t look very nice, but needed I’m sure. Apparently Angkor Wat was abandoned before it was ever able to be completely finished.
Apsara – Dancing angels or something to that effect. There were lots of different ones all around Angkor Wat. If you look closely you’ll notice the tits are a different color. That’s because supposedly it’s “lucky” to rub them, so they’ve been getting plenty of attention over the years.
Inside the second level of Angkor Wat. There are 3 levels. 1 representing the underworld, 1 the earth, and 1 the heavens.
The third level or “Heaven”. The steps you see are now off limits to tourists because they are so steep. There’s another set of safer steps on the other side which tourists use to see the 3rd level. The day we went though had some sort of religious significance, so unfortunately we weren’t able to see it. Also on the other side were a group of Khmer girls dressed in the traditional Apsara clothing.
Here’s some nice pics of the other side as we left Angkor Wat
The path leading away is full of monkeys
I’d like to mention that on the path leading away from the temple was another library (there are a few inside the courtyard) that’s there for everybody to see. I recently found an article by some guy who took pictures and tried to say that it was some sort of secret that only the Cambodians know about. That’s laughable since every tourist who decides to walk through Angkor Wat and continue on can see it easily.
Ta Prohm Temple
This temple was used as one of the sets of the Tomb Raider movie. There were a lot of big bayan trees growing inside of the temple and a lot of them had been growing into the stone for years. The Cambodians don’t want to cut them down because of the danger of damaging the structural integrity further. They’re also called “spoong” trees because of their sound when you thump them.
This is one of the gates of Angkor Thom, or “Big City”. Supposedly this particular gate was the one the King would use to ride out with his army in the case of an attack on somebody.
This was my favorite place of the trip. It wasn’t that big, but just looked really cool.
Tonle Sap Lake
Tonle Sap is the largest lake in Cambodia and supplies the country with the majority of their fish. Below is a canal where we caught a boat to get to the lake.
This is the entrance to the lake. On the way we passed a floating village made up of Vietnamese fishermen and their families. There was even a floating school.
As soon as we hit the entrance of the lake we were surrounded by beggars who would drive their children around to beg for $1. Their children would have baby pythons draped around their shoulders. A pretty sad sight to see…we gave a few of them some dollars. Also, in this area you could see children who looked as young as 6 or 7 paddling around the canal in small tubs the size of laundry baskets.
While we were going up the canal a boat snuck up behind us and a child of 10-12 or so jumped on our boat with a cooler full of beer. Me and the other guys thought it was the coolest thing ever and of course bought a few suds off of the beer boy.
Overall I had a really good time and really enjoyed Siem Reap. I did go out to the old market, night market, and “Pub Street”. Pub Street was really laid back with music that didn’t hurt your ears (Walking Street). There were no beggars and there were tons of trendy little bars and restaurants. It was a welcomed break from Pattaya, but I think I would be bored going there if I lived in Siem Reap. No p4p in that street. You have to go to karaoke bars, massage parlors, or try out a disco. I only saw a lot of white tourists in the pub street area. I did have one older ugly lady ask if I wanted a massage…no thanks. The only touts were the tuk tuk drivers, but their were pretty mild and weren’t overly annoying. There weren’t as many child beggars as I had expected. I imagine they’re more prominent in say…Phnom Phen or the beach side town Sihanoukville.
Hope you enjoyed the tr and pics.