Temples At Angkor
Today was our first full day in Cambodia and it was amazing. First of all, the country feels like a resort country. The weather is perfect, and it’s beautiful.
My day started with Tammy and Esther in my room at 4:45 am telling me to get up! Get up! Get up! I guess Allison didn’t hear the wake up call from the hotel we put in for 4:30 am, either.
After a bit of a rush, the four of us hopped on bikes we rented the night before and rode in the dark to Angkor Wat to watch the sunrise… although there really wasn’t much to see because it was so cloudy.
Once it was daylight, we walked around this ancient ruin. (A former tomb?) Honestly, I’m not quite sure what the original purpose was, but it was build in the 10th or 12th century and I’m amazed that the rocks are still in tact. (Crumbling, but there.) We had hired a guide to accompany us just to the first temple, and he stayed to give explanations to Tammy and Esther, while Allison and I went off to explore on our own. Allison is in the room right now watching an educational movie from our hotel about Angkor Wat, so she’ll fill me in on a little more Cambodiam history, tomorrow.
We all met up at our bikes and rode down to the next stop.
We rode down this Buddah-lined road, leading us up to the entrance to another Temple. I believe that entrance gate is Angkor Thom.
That road led us to Bayon, which was my favorite Temple of all. This temple had giant Buddahs EVERYWHERE! It was a maze of Buddahs and windows and doors, and we were sure to take lots of pictures! They even had elephant rides around the temple!
After temple #2, Tammy and Esther were “templed out” and wanted to leave to go hit every market in Cambodia. So we split up. T&E went shopping, Allison and I continued on our bike tour of the temples of Angkor.
It was so much fun to be in the open air on a bike in such beautiful weather! It must have been about 70 or 75 degrees and sunny. In some of these photos, you’ll see I’m wearing a sweatshirt — that’s not because I’m cold, it’s because there are so many mosquitos here in Siem Reap that carry malaria and denge fever. Don’t worry, I’m taking anti-malaria pills at this moment!
The mosquito-borne illnesses didn’t scare me all that much. We heard it was necessary to take maladrone here in Siem Reap, so I was ready for it — and then I saw we had mosiquoto netting in our rooms and I got a little nervous. But I’ll be fine….. hopefully.
Anyway, the temples! It was so much fun to look around at the ruins! I’ve never seen anything like it! We took a lot of photos.
I still have A LOT more pics and videos to post, but I’ll have to do that when I’m home and I have time. So if you’re interested, keep checking back for the photo galleries/movies.
The Angkor region is one big square, so it was easy to maneuver. It was so fun to do it by bike, too. And there were no hills — it was flat ground, which made it really easy.
After a couple of smaller temples, I suggested we go straight for the last one — the one with all the trees growing on the ancient rocks. I kept seeing photos from that temple while doing research for this trip online.
But first, we went to lunch. There was a cute little restaurant hidden among the temples where we ate curry and drank coconut water — and later had our waiter cut our coconuts open for dessert! Yum!
Then it was time to see that final temple. Loved it!
As it was getting closer to dusk, we hurried to pedal home because we didn’t want to get bitten by mosquitos. All of a sudden, we saw the craziest thing…
Monkeys! Lots and lots of monkeys! They were everywhere, all across the road! Some locals were selling bananas fo the tourists to feed them. We got off our bikes, and I realized at the moment Allison was feeding the monkeys, my battery died! So I started looking in my backpack, and since Allison had pulled the bananas out of a bag, I guess they thought I had food too, so they started to surround me and one hungry monkey tried to reach for my backpack! I got a little freaked out (you know, rabies in a foreign country) and the locals just laughed. I finally got my camera to work… but really, there were more monkeys here than you can see. It was so crazy! The monkeys were friendly enough. I guess they’re used to tourists because they let us get pretty close — even a momma monkey with her breastfeeding baby monkey got pretty close to us without any problems. (Don’t worry family and friends, I didn’t reach out to pet them! I’m not trying to get bit!)
We finally got home, showered, and took a tuk-tuk into town with our bikes on it to return them to the bike rental shop. We dropped off some laundry to be picked up tomorrow and stopped by a travel agent to ask questions about our next couple of stops. We didn’t book anything though, because we’re hoping to coordinate with the other girls.
Then I had to go, because I had an appointment for another cheap, amazing massage! It was sooooo decadent, I just have to write about it. The first thing you do at this Cambodian spa is exchange your shoes for flip-flops, then they wash your feet over rocks, under a faucet. They lead you to a room that looks like a super swanky but minimalist bedroom with the mattress on the floor. My masseuse hit every single muscle ache on my body… and some I didn’t even know I had! At the end of the massage they give you rice tea. I wanted to fall asleep right there!
Went back to the hotel and coordinated with T&E. They are flying out to Bangkok tomorrow morning, while Allison and I stay here in Siem Reap for a little bit longer to explore. We plan on booking an evening flight to Bangkok and meet up with them at their hotel tomorrow night.
In the meanwhile, Allison and I arranged for a tuk-tuk driver to meet us at our hotel at 5 am for a half-day tour of some more temples. Then we have to collect our clean laundry, book a flight, and visit the market with whatever time we’ll have left, here in Cambodia. I’m really gonna miss it, here…
See you in Bangkok, Thailand!