Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Siem Reap, Cambodia

If you look this is a 6 headed cobra being held by many stone men.

The trip from Koh Chang to Siem Reap Cambodia was quite an adventure. Google maps says the drive should take about 6-7 hours. Never expecting to make it in that amount of time, however we never imagined it would take 13 hours. It was a little concerning crossing the boarder, as we read there are many scams. So when we were taken to a random restaurant to process our visas, which entail filling out paper work, paying off people to make the necessary passport size photo requirement disappear, giving our passports away to some random guy, all for a sketchy hand written visa to enter the Kingdom of Cambodia. The whole experience made us wonder if we would even make it past customs. 

In the end we took 5 different buses, a ferry, a scooter, and tuk tuk to finally arrive at our hotel. Good thing we had wonderful traveling companions from Germany to make the trip enjoyable. Once at our hotel we were happy, we payed next to nothing for an air conditioned room, a personal bathroom, hot water, wifi, and free breakfast. We were living like kings compared to the other places we stayed on this trip through Asia. 

We only had one full day in Siam Reap so we hired a tuk tuk driver for the day to take us around to all the Angkor Temples. We did little research and had no real expectation, so after walking into the first temple we were more than impressed. These building are so old (12th century-ish), yet even with most the detail weathered away you are still left with some magnificent sights. 

There were pillars of smiling faces, parades of elephants carved into the wall, large man made moats, and mounds of block that once were homes or temples littered all over the grounds. We were not anticipating the amount and size of the temples. On top of that every stone was uniquely carved. It was truly amazing. From the pictures you can probably tell we were even more impressed with the giant trees growing on top of the temples. We've visited many old sites and ruins, but these trees added a special touch to the long history here. We spent our evening at the city center with night markets and restaurants. There we got 30 minute feet messages for $2 and full body messages for $5, it was awesome. 

On our last morning of vacation (my online school had already started and Blake was to start school the next Monday) we got up early to watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. We were up and out the door by 4:45am ready to start the day, everything was going well... till we got to our destination. It was pitch black out and we noticed some people with lights. Our tuk tuk dropped us off accross the street and as we walked over towards the Wat Blake fell, and threw our camera... Blake falls all the time so I went for the camera. Once I felt the absents of ground beneath my foot I realized what brought Blake down. The day before we noticed large gutters for water run off in the rainy season (good thing it was not the rainy season) they were maybe 2 x 3 feet and made out of brick. We both came out with huge gashes taken out of our shins, and I had a twisted ankle that is just now starting to feel normal almost 2 months later. Now I have a very real fear of uncovered gutters, in Singapore they are all over. All I have to say is I'm glad it was the last day of our trip.  

Ohh and of course Blake had to check out the crocodile farm. This was his little tour guide.

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