Angkor, Cambodia

June 14, 2010 - Siem Reap, Cambodia

I've been wanting to see Angkor in Cambodia for a loooong time now, and was more than a little concerned that it could never really live up to my expectations... but the good news is, it did! And some!

We flew into Cambodia from Laos, and landed in the smallest airport I think either of us had ever been to. It's pretty much just a landing strip in the town next to Ankor - a place called Siam Reap.

The next morning we got ourselves a little Tuk Tuk and headed off into the Jungle :) After visiting Tikal in Guatemala with Jinnie (which is pretty much free of other people), I was pretty sure we'd just been too spoiled to every be impressed by Angkor... but, despite the fact there 'are' quite a few other people there, the place is so huge, and the temples just so varied and immense, it more than makes up for it all.

What doesn't really come across until you get here, is that Angkor Wat is just one place in what is actually a whole city of temples, built up over the centuries and spread out over miles and miles of jungle. And it's not necesarily even the best one :) The first place we went to was a temple called Ta Phrom. It's pretty much your A-typical Tomb Raider ruin (in-fact I think it actually is where they filmed it!?), and, wannabee Indiana Jones that I am, I loved it :) After that we moved on to Angkor Thom - the big one - and Bayon temple inside it's walls. Bayon doesn't look so great from the outside, but inside it's amazing! It's the one with all the stone Buddha faces all over the place... and it's VERY photogenic :) Last stop on our first day was the actual Angkor Wat temple - which is awesome, but we were just so hot by the time we got there that we both just flaked out and had to call it quits for the day - it's soooooooooooooooooooo freakin hot in Cambodia! We both thought Laos was too hot for it's own good, but neither of us have ever been anywhere this hot in our lives before! And Jinnie's an African! ;) You literally have sweat pouring off of you non stop all day!

Anyway... after we recouped, we also went a bit deeper into the jungle to see a waterfall with some crazy carvings in it halfway up a mountain (not so great if you ask me, but a cool walk), and a few other less well known temples a bit more away from it all. Jinnie and I even stumbled across this little old Buddhist monk who gave us both a blessing inside a darkened room in the middle of one temple! It was surreal :)

Oh yeah; one thing we noticed as soon as we got to Cambodia was the change in character from the laid back Laos people. Everyone here is much more clued up on getting maximum dollar out of visitors. Even the kids! When you pull up anywhere there is an instant cloud of 8 year olds all offering you "cool drink"and "book for you". The funny thing is they all have this sort of weird, nasal drone to their voices, like... "awwwwwww, you wanna buy from meeeeeeeeeeeeee", and they're really tough little salesmen. If you say you don't want something, they just say "then you buy for your mother" or "don't be stingy". If you run away from them and they see you again, they say "awwwwwww, I wait here long time for you". And if they just cant get you to buy anything they say "ok, you just give me 5 dollar for nothing then, ok?" :)

We're off to Phnom Phen now... scary stuff!

Alex & Jinnie


Ankor Wat
Ankor Wat
Ankor Wat
Bayan Temple
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