|Today we took a public bus from Bangkok to the Thai-Cambodian boarder. I was so surprised by the bus as it was squeaky clean and even had air con which was a total life saver as it was about 34 degrees outside and god knows what inside.
We had to get off the bus to cross the boarder by foot and fill in some forms for a visa. All along the boarder crossing were market stalls selling everything from dried crispy fish, sugar cane juice in plastic bags (it's everywhere here), chicken's feet..you name it! Obviously this mixed with heat, dirty roads, eastern toilets and grimey travellers makes for an interesting if not pungent smell.
By the time we got to Angkor, which is the old Khmer capital, it was time for dinner so we went to a local restaurant which is run by a charity and teaches older children to cook, wait tables and run restaurants, so they can be better prepared to get a job when they leave school.
The next day we took a trip to see the ancient temples which are now a world heritage site and one of the wonders of the world. The sunrise at Angkor Wat was less than inspiring and full of mozzies, but you could see that on a good day it would be amazing.
We then looked round the other temples, many of which have been/ are in the process of being restored to stop them from falling into ruin. They're all a mixture of Buddhist and Hindu and despite how old they are, the detail and carvings are amazing. Many of the Buddhist temples have been defaced and plundered by Hindu people and, in most, all the carvings, statues and shrines of Buddha have been removed. Although the 'main' temple is Angkor Wat, my favourite was a smaller one which has been left exactly how it is and is subsequently covered in giant trees, vines and roots and looks amazing. I think it's also the place where so e of tombraider was filmed?
That night we went to see an amazing sunset in a remote village commune a way out of Angkor. Most people live in wooden huts on stilts over rice fields. We walked through the fields and met all the people of the village, then had a really tasty traditional dinner cooked for us. The money we spent on it goes towards schooling for the children so they do t have to work and also towards healthcare.
The dinner was of chicken and ginger with rice (my new fave), noodle soup (also my new fave), beef curry and crickets (definitely not my new fave) and local Angkor beer (every large city has its own beer which is super tasty and dead cheap. A large bottle of angkor was about 50 us cents).
After, we took a tuktuk back along the dusty, pothole-filled track back from the village to the hotel and slept. We spent 2 nights in Siem Reap