11th – 14th May 2016
We arrived in Siem Reap on Wednesday afternoon and checked into The Luxury Concept Hostel which was about a minutes walk from pub street and all the bars and restaurants. Within minutes of arriving I just knew I was going to prefer Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.
That evening we went for dinner at a little restaurant at the end of our road and had dinner for about $2 before heading to Temple Club Skylounge for a few beers. It was such a chilled atmosphere and they had a live band playing who were really good – it was a very nice start to Siem Reap.
We slept in until really late on Thursday and headed out about 1 to pub street to get some lunch before being picked up at 4.30 to go to the floating markets…….
When we arrived in SR our tuk tuk driver was really nice and after Daniel’s very successful bartering he offered us a really good price to go and see the floating villages and Angkor Wat. Now I had heard a lot of bad things about the floating villages but we thought we should experience it for ourselves…. wow was I wrong. We paid $10 for the tuk tuk there and back so split between two it was a really good price – but when we arrived at the ticket office they wanted $25 which out here is a lot of money but we paid it anyway and jumped on our boat out to the villages. Our guide told us loads about the people living in the villages, how they get by on a day to day basis and what we would be seeing. When we finally arrived we pulled up to a platform and was told to get off and change into a smaller boat to be taken around the village. As we went to get in the man said we needed to pay another $20… hahaha we politely told him where to go and got back on our original boat and said we would go back, but before they took us back they did stop at a fish/crocodile farm where we got off to have a look. They did say we could stop at the school too but we said we didn’t want too as I had heard online that you are pressured into buying food for the children and it’s just a big scam – $30 dollars down and extremely disappointed we were keen to get back to the hostel. That evening we went out and found a little street food restaurant just down the road from us where I had chicken skewers and a jacket potato for $1.50. We decided to go back and go to bed as we needed to be up at 4am the next day to see Angkor Wat at sunrise.
Our tuk tuk driver picked us up bright and early the next morning, stopping briefly at the ticket office before heading to our first stop Angkor Wat. When we arrived the sun was not quite up so we got some really cool pictures of the silhouette of Angkor Wat and a really pretty pastely sky. After about an hour the sun was nearly up and we got some amazing pictures.
After sunrise we went inside to explore – Angkor Wat is a temple complex built in the 12th century and also the largest religious monument in the world. Despite the heat we had loads of fun exploring the complex, it is truly incredible. After a couple of hours the heat was becoming unbareable so we headed back to our tuk tuk to go to the next temple – Bayon.
Bayon, also known as ‘temple of the smiling gods’ because of the faces that are carved into many of the towers was one of my favourite temples. You could climb up to the upper terraces and see out across the site which was beautiful. Again because of the heat we didn’t stay too long before heading back to our tuk tuk to go and see the third temple – Ta Phrom.
Ta Prohm, unlike the other temples of Angkor, has been taken over by the jungle. It is still in the original condition that it was found in – crumbling walls and towers and tree roots spilling over and between the bricks. You can explore all the towers, courtyards and maze of corridors throughout the complex for hours on end. Ta Prohm was also one of the locations that they used to film tomb raider which is why it is one of the most popular sites at Angkor. I loved this temple as the jungle has completely taken over and it was so fun to explore the ruins.
There are 5 main temples at Angkor and we were supposed to see them all but I think because we got our driver to lower his price he decided to only take us to 3 of the temples but we were way to hot to even complain so we happily made our way back to the hostel where we spent the afternoon packing our bags (in complete darkness with only head torches as there was a power cut) before heading out to dinner at a rooftop restaurant overlooking pub street.We also checked out the night market which was quite nice but every stall sold basically the same stuff! The next morning we headed to the airport to catch our flight back to Bangkok to meet Lauren before heading down south to go island hopping for 3 weeks.
I am a little behind on my blog so after flying back to Bangkok and meeting Lauren we spent a few days in Bangkok and then headed down to Koh Tao where we have just spent 4 days and I am now currently on Koh Phangan at the most amazing beach resort. Tonight is the full moon party which we are all so excited for! My next few blogs will be up shortly!