Visit to the temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia
The final three days and two nights of trip were spent in Siem Reap, Cambodia. This country shares a lot of similarities with its neighbor, Thailand. The kindness of it’s people were a familiar experience for us as well as the food. The weather was hot and sunny every day with temperatures reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
We stayed at Hostelling International ($14USD/night). This was one of the best experiences on our trip. The friendly staff were very honest helpful. They spoke great English and helped with all of our transportation and tour booking, making it convenient and seamless for us. The room was clean and spacious. The water was horrible. It had a very bad smell and taste. Of course, we never drank it but it made brushing your teeth difficult and you had funny smell after showering.
Cambodia is definitely a place I would recommend and would love to have the opportunity to visit again. Aside from the pleasant people and delicious food, we thoroughly enjoyed visiting the numerous temples.
On our first day, we visited the temples on the outer perimeter of the compound. We hired a tuk tuk for the day that took us to each temple. It took about 8 hours to see it all. There is A LOT of walking involved. Some of the temples have several steps to climb to get to the top. The steps are narrow and may be a little difficult for some. The views from atop the temples are breathtaking!
For lunch, we stopped at one of many food stalls along the way. There are also lots of souvenir stalls in these areas. Every stall tries to get your business so it’s a bit difficult to choose as everyone rushes towards you to get your attention. At times were were approached by little kids trying to get us to go into the shop to make a purchase. They speak English and even try to have a bit a conversation with you, which made us think there must be some kind of training they all go through. It was hard to have to keep saying no to the vendors but we did get water and snacks along the way and even purchased a painting of Ankor Wat.
On the second day we spent another 8 hours going to the inner temples which included Angkor Wat and the famous site of Tomb Raider filming, Ta Prohm. It was truly an amazing experience, likened to what I imagine it would be visiting the Great Pyramids.
Almost all of the walls of these temples are covered in beautiful, intricate carvings. It is difficult to believe that these temples were built over a thousand years ago. They are so magnificent and have so many delicate details that took skill and talent to produce. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and is also recognized as a World Heritage Site.
It costs $20 to enter the area each day or you can purchase a three day pass for $40. Each day a tuk took can cost $15-$18. The experience is priceless!
In the evenings the tourists pour into Pub Street for dinner and nightlife. The area is full of shopping with stores and its many night markets. Also lining the streets are pubs and restaurants with a variety of foods available. Most menus are placed at the entrance and there is good range in prices so you can bet they will have what you want. Almost all of the restaurants advertise $0.50 beer on draft and happy hour all night. There is also plenty of street food and smoothies available if you’re just looking for something light.
Our hostel was located across the street from one of the night markets (there are 7 or 8 markets!). The vendors here try to get your attention and call you into there shop, but they are very kind and are willing to negotiate a good price with you. Be careful not to get carried away as they always try to get you to buy more items! I purchased some very beautiful and unique dressed at this market, while Rob got massages ($5USD/hour!).
Cambodia was hard to leave. I really wish I could go back to the temples one more time. They are so overwhelming that you need a day or two to let it all sink in and go back to see if you missed anything.
To have been able to go on this adventure was a humbling blessing.
Travel: something you spend money on but become richer in the end.