Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Trip to Cambodia - The Ancient Angkor Ruins

We decided to take a short break seeing that Monday was a public holiday in HCMC. Only an hour’s flight and we were in Siem Reap a small colonial town just north of Southeast Asia’s largest lake, Tonle Sap. It was a welcome 3 day break from the hectic streets of HCMC.

Siem Reap is charming and pleasant town in Cambodia, with some fine examples of French colonial architecture though modern developments, mostly in the form of hotels, has been swift here in recent years since the slow demise of the Khmer Rouge. Now that the town is safe again, visitors have been flocking in, using it as a base for visits to nearby Angkor ruins.

The Angkor Temple Ruins were truly amazing. What a magical place...We bought 3 day temple passes and visited some of the significant temples. I won’t give you a history lesson on the Angkor Ruins but if you are interested, you can check out the links.

When we arrived at about 8pm on Friday night the driver told us that the hotel that I pre-booked was unfortunately fully booked and that they've booked us into another hotel. After checking into the Hotel, which wasn't anything like the one I booked though, we went to a very nice restaurant/bar where Marc ate the most delicious Amok fish (a famous Khmer dish).

On Saturday morning we visited a couple of the temples. At lunch time we decided to find out what went wrong with our booking. They explained that they were fully booked on the Friday night but that they could accommodate us for two nights. Happy to move, we checked out of the Angkor Mekong Palace and into the Angkor Star Hotel at 35USD per room/per night incl. breakfast.

Here are pictures of some of the temples that we visited over the 3 days. To name a few; Angkor Thom, Bayon, Angkor Wat, Preah Khan, Ta Som, Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei:

We walked to a temple on top of the hill and watched the sun set over the Siem Reap River surrounded by jungle

We watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat on Monday

There are so many kids selling or should I say "harassing you to buy" scarfs, bracelets, clothes, refreshments etc. It goes something like this: Hey Lady, you buy T-shirt, cheap price...only 5$, 3 for 10$...ok, ok I give you 4 for 10$...Hey lady, you buy bracelets...15 for 2$, 20 for 2$, ok, ok only 1$..I give you 15 for 1$ ok, you buy, you buy now! And so it goes....It is actually really funny how they deliver their little sales pitch which to us sounded like a broken record.

This is how the kids come running up to you

This little girl, managed to get it right. Ok, it was me...I just couldn't say no anymore. I mean look at her cute little face!! She was selling postcards, a pack of 10 for 1$

"Pub Street" were all the restaurants and bars are. What a great place. We really enjoyed the food but mostly just sitting in a restaurant observing what goes on e.g. tuk tuk's going past, children playing in the street and selling stuff, small children running around naked...

We enjoyed a couple of cocktails. Most of the restaurants and bars sell them for 3$ (buy 1, get one free)

People live in houses like these next to the river. Driving through the village we saw people bathing, washing dishes, dressing their kids, lying in hammocks, fishing...

I tried a Amok Fish from a different restaurant, which they served in a coconut

These two boys ran around naked in the street and when they got tiered they went to sleep on their dad's book stand