|The bus ride from Phnom Penh was pleasant enough. We traveled with the same company that we used from Ho Chi Minh, The Mekong Express. We were served breakfast. Bread and ? sandwich and water. There was also a toilet on the bus, maybe placed there for relinquishing the breakfast, should the need arise. We stayed at the Saphir Hotel, a very plain place with towels that looked as though they had been washed in the muddy Siem River (without rinsing) located two steps to the west of the hotel. With the usual resident gecko in the bathroom to greet us we felt quite at home. I won't mention breakfast. The staff were very sweet, you know, like me. We were going to stay at the Raffles but they were full. What did you say? So is he! We took a picture instead. The caption may read 'Our hotel' a typing error.
We had booked a guide for three days, more than two weeks previous to arrival, to show us around the temples at Angkor, but when we phoned him he told us he was busy that day, but could take us the following day. I can't repeat what Fatima told him, but if it comes true he will have a miserable pathetic life from here on, and deservedly so!
We phoned a guide that Kathy (Williams) had given us and although she could not accommodate us for the next day she fixed us up for the following three. (Thanks Kathy) The next day we spent wandering around the old part of Siem Reap. Not much to see, a lot of construction of new hotels going on, and the old market area was worth a visit, but ho hum not too exciting. Compared to Phnom Penh we found things more expensive.
Next day our guide picked us up at 8:00 am and off we went to view the temples, along with a multitude of others. Everything that is said about Angkor Wat is true. The temples are magnificent, magical places. The first day we explored Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. Both quite different and it would be hard to choose which we liked best. The following days we spent visiting the temples further a field. The most memorable of these was Banteay Srei because of it's beautiful and fine delicate carvings. It was built before Angkor Wat but the quality of the carvings far out shine what Angkor has to offer. I could have sat looking at there silent beauty for hours or even days, marveling at the craftsmanship and dedication of the carvers. I will say though that after three days of temple viewing I was ready for something quite different. The fifth day we relaxed and enjoyed lunch and a few beers in old Siem Reap.
Next day we headed out for Kratie to see the threatened Irrawaddy Dolphins that swim and jump around there.