We arrived in Cambodia on Monday after almost a month in Thailand. It’s the last 2 weeks of our journey around the world and as we were flying into Siem Reap I realised we hadn’t really planned our arrival at all, no visa, no currency, no guide book for what to do! 😳
But on landing we were greeted by the most beautiful of airports, built in a Cambodian style and a very easy queue visa system. We handed in our forms, money and passport at one end and we followed them along the desks whilst the appropriate stamps and stickers were applied! Everyone was so relaxed and kind, and straight away we felt very welcome in this new country.
After collecting our bags, a driver from the hotel picked us up and took us to our home for the next week. We’ve gone for a hotel this time over an Airbnb as you can get a lot for your money here, and we thought a place with a pool and aircon would balance out the tired temple feet ahead!
We’ve only been here two days and we already feel so welcome, nothing is too much trouble for the staff! They just love the girls…I think the blond hair is blinding them all! The staff have been teaching Daisy how to make folded lotus flowers, we even have our own tuk tuk driver, Mr Phon, who is happy to ferry us around, and seems to pop up when ever we need him! Slightly odd when you’re not expecting him in the night market, but nevertheless very handy!
Yesterday we had a long lie in, travel days seem to take it out of us all at the moment…Molly slept for a good 13 hours! So after a late breakfast of pancakes, Mr Phon drove us over to the ticket office to get our tickets to see the Angkor Wat temple complex. We decided to go for the three day pass, which you can use over 10 days so we didn’t get too exhausted and templed out! We were pleased to find out under 12s are free so just adult tickets for us! We then set off for a couple of smaller temples on the way to Ta Prohm, the temple where Lara Croft Tomb Raider was filmed.
Wow what a day! The straight dusty road to Angkor Wat takes only about 20 minutes from Siem Reap, oxen graze on the grass verge, children are walking or cycling to and from school, little wooden shacks selling clothes, hats, and many tourist souvenirs pop up all the way along, usually with a hammock hanging in the shade nearby with the owner ready to jump out and offer you their goods for a good price! It’s fantastic, I love it!
On entering the Angkor Wat complex and getting our tickets stamped for the first day, we enjoyed the cool shade of the many huge trees that seem to have claimed the area. On arriving at the first temple its huge stone entrance with carved faces just sort of appeared from no where, hidden behind the leafy trees! It was just incredible! We were all so excited and dashed along the ancient cobbled pathway to the ruined temple. We felt like we’d stepped back in time, to a world built over 1000 years ago! We spent forever marvelling at the stonework and getting lost along the hidden pathways and corridors, I think that moment will stay with me forever!
After we finally got back to Mr Phon, feeling extremely happy he drove us on to another couple of smaller temples and then finally making it to the famous Ta Prohm!
Here it was much busier….but also much bigger, with lots of areas where you could go inside the ruined temples and out to another area of courtyard. Often we would find a monk hidden in a shady corner, surrounded with an incense mist, giving blessings and a knotted bracelet for a small donation.
The trees here really have taken over and it’s incredible to see their huge roots snake their way over and through the stones, almost hugging them for strength. Everywhere we walked butterflies fluttered madly around and boy the insect noises…at points we were stopped in our tracks by the high pitches of the thousands of cicadas….and I won’t mention the huge weird looking spiders!!!
Despite the many people we still managed to take a wrong turn from the route and found ourselves alone in a quiet ruined area, turning one corner and then another…pretty much lost in an ancient maze of stones! But it was wonderful and we loved it!
After we finally returned to the designated route and eventually found our way back out, we were all very hot, dusty and tired so we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel for an afternoon in the cool shady pool! A perfect end to a magical day!