The landscape from Koh Rong back thru Phnom Penh to Siem Reap was dotted with water buffalo, cows, and chickens against a background of farms and rice fields. Beautiful lotus flowers bloomed in ponds outside of most homes where families had stands selling coconuts and tea along the roadside. Children were swimming and running around — their naked little bums basking in the sun.
Siem Reap is a resort town in northwestern Cambodia. It’s known as the gateway to the ruins of Angkor and the seat of the Kmer empire from the 9th to the 15th centuries. After a 7-hour bus ride, I checked in at the same time as my Dutch roommate, Ilse. We decided to make a quick trip to the Angkor National Museum and paid a whopping $12.00 for a couple of hours. It was cool to see all the Buddha’s and artifacts that had been found in the temples but the amount of history and information was overwhelming and we didn’t have enough time to absorb everything. Our tuk-tuk driver had been patient and pleasant and didn’t show if he was upset that we were 25 minutes late for our return to the hostel.
The Night Market was literally two doors down from our hostel! They had the same kind of shops as the other markets I’d seen, plus more! The vendors were not very aggressive, but definitely want to show off what they were selling and asked what we were looking for (just in case you can’t see what they have for yourself?) I tried some ‘fried ice cream’ which is basically just milk and toppings laid out on a frozen frying pan and then rolled up! Pub Street was alive with action — each stand had its own dance party. There were lots of different restaurants, even offering alligator!
I woke up at 4 AM for the sunrise tour at Angkor Wat. But, there was no sunrise; it was pouring rain! Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. It was cool to walk around inside the temple while still a bit dark and there were a couple young monks inside watching over one of the shrines.
Bayon, the temple with a bunch of faces, was pretty cool to see. There were monkeys all over — climbing in the garbage, swinging from the trees, chasing each other and fooling around. Next was Phimeanakas, a Hindu temple that had really steep stairs. I climbed up pretty easily but had to climb down backward and very carefully. Last was Ta Prohm, where Tomb Raider (with Angelina Jolie) was filmed. It was probably my favorite. It had really cool trees growing all over it and lots of rubble from falling apart.
It’s crazy to think that people built these temples without modern tools. I still don’t understand how they actually did it. There is so much detail in some of them! And in sandstone? How are they still standing now?
It seemed like the perfect place to do some yoga poses.