Hello from Siem Reap. Oh...if you would know what a difference it makes when you aren't in a big city... it so nice here. It's a small town in the jungle. Green,trees,palms everywhere and we have a small river where we are staying. The hostel is much nicer, very cute little quirky hostel with a really nice terrace and some swing chairs to enjoy writing ☺️ It was very cheap with shared bathroom only £3.82/ night/ person. The owner is an Australian couple,they live here for 13 years. As it's a small town,everything we need is so close. However,they still make the prices in USD which isn't really ideal for a backpacker. But let's start from the beginning. We arrived here yesterday about 1pm. The hostel has a few pick up service so we got our tuk tuk driver to pick us up at 1pm. As soon as he arrived,he asked us if we want to see the sunset by Angkor Wat as after 5pm it's free and then we can use the ticket for the next day. He said, he charges 30 USD for the biggest circle around the temples but as we only have 1 day to spend at that humongous place, he shows us the nicest and most popular sites. There were a smaller circle as well for 20USD and 25 for a medium. As we thought 30 isn't that much for two of us, we said, let's do that. I knew he will ask about his service as I read reviews that they actually don't get paid from the hostel for the free pick up but they have this chance to offer their Angkor Wat drive. Also,as we had only 1 day to spend, we didn't want to walk around and I had friends -who have been there- suggesting to take a tuk tuk. We agreed that we meet at 5am by the hostel to see the sunrise.
The rest of the day we spent with walking around,eating lunch and chilling as this is the hottest and most humid we have been so far. We didn't do much and went to sleep fairly early as 4.30am wake up isn't that we normally do.
Today we left to first buy the ticket which is according to tripadvisor and other magazines and websites,basically almost doubled from the 1st Feb -good...NOT!- so we had to pay 37USD/person instead of the 20 which was for 25 years up to this month. After buying the horrendously expensive tickets off we went to see the sunrise. As you can see on the Facebook pic,it isn't the actual sun-rise what is interesting but the colours above the 5 towers and the lake which mirrors the image of the towers. It was very pretty but there were too many people. We went back to our driver and we did go to different places, saw different things,all very pretty. Until we got to a gate. He said, go in,Ill wait on the other side but don't go straight, I'll be on the left side. We were ok,no probs. We just walked and walked... there was one big temple where you could literally walk inside the ruins for like 20 mins. That's what we did,walked inside...we arrived to a lake -more like a swamp- and because there was no other obtain but go left, that's what we did. But our tuk tuk driver wasn't there. There were other 20 of the parking around waiting for their people but not ours. We were thinking where did we go wrong but we convinced ourselves that there was no other way, only straight through the temple and go to this place as everyone else did. We walked down the road till we got to a crossroad just in case if he was there. Nothing...we walked back thinking,maybe we missed him. Walked very slowly,checked every single person,every single tuk tuk. But nothing... thinking that we either went the wrong way or he ditched us -according to Rich-, we walked back to the crossroad and walked left which was the way back to Angkor Wat,the main temple. As we walked on the road, I saw some cars,buses and tuk tuks parking on the road. As we went closer,guess what? Our driver was there waiting eagerly. And there was a path...which mean,there was a path on the left but as we walked inside,we missed it. He thought,we ditched him too But there were we all nice and safe. We could continue our trip. Around 1pm we ent to a restaurant to eat but as we weren't too hungry,I had a fruit salad and a horrible water melon shake -I thought they will do a juice, didn't ever think they will mix milk with watermelon-. Wasn't cheap either, 2USD/shake. Our last stop was by the temple where they filmed Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider by that funky tree grown on the temple.
Actually, that was my favourite. The whole temple is under hundreds of trees grown over different parts of the temple. It was amazing to see how massive these trees grow and how nature can literally grow itself into stones. For me it looked like the magical forest. At some point Rich asked me not to take more tree photos as I literally stopped at every tree and took photos. I had over 100 photos in the end,so I deleted a few and I put the rest on Facebook (not even all ☺️). I loved that place.
Angkor Wat is magical place inside the jungle. It's so big, it takes days to go around and see everything. I found this on the UNESCORTED website:
"Angkor, in Cambodia’s northern province of Siem Reap, is one of the most important archaeological sites of Southeast Asia. It extends over approximately 400 square kilometres and consists of scores of temples, hydraulic structures (basins, dykes, reservoirs, canals) as well as communication routes. For several centuries Angkor, was the centre of the Khmer Kingdom. With impressive monuments, several different ancient urban plans and large water reservoirs, the site is a unique concentration of features testifying to an exceptional civilization. Temples such as Angkor Wat, the Bayon, Preah Khan and Ta Prohm, exemplars of Khmer architecture, are closely linked to their geographical context as well as being imbued with symbolic significance. The architecture and layout of the successive capitals bear witness to a high level of social order and ranking within the Khmer Empire. Angkor is therefore a major site exemplifying cultural, religious and symbolic values, as well as containing high architectural, archaeological and artistic significance.
The park is inhabited, and many villages, some of whom the ancestors are dating back to the Angkor period are scattered throughout the park. The population practices agriculture and more specifically rice cultivation."
After the whole day trip we came back to the hostel,bought a bus ticket for tomorrow evening to Sihanoukville which is the southeast part of Cambodia. Then we take a boat ride to Koh Rung which is a little island and we are planning to spend a good 3-4 days doing absolutely F all as we travelled a lot in the last 2 weeks. The bus takes about 11 hours and the ticket cost 15USD(=60,000real)/ person. We had dinner -wasn't too good or cheap (ended up paying 18USD) and now we are chilling on the terrace and looking at the river, listening music which comes from one of the restaurant. Just loving life ☺️❤️