Fiona and Ash's Gap Year Extravaganza travel blog

The bus breaks down...

Our meaty BBQ.

Angkor Wat.

(The top of) Ta Keo.

One of the many faces at Bayon temple.

A tomb-raiding tree.

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Fixing the bus...


The journey from Bangkok to Siem Reap was... interesting. For the Thailand leg we had a spacious air conditioned coach. Two seats each and the roads were wonderfully smooth. I read Harry Potter the whole way. We got to the border town and typically got overcharged for oue visas. Never mind lets not kick up a fuss. We had to wait in Poipet (was told its not an accident that it sorta rhymes with toilet)for ages, get a shuttle bus to the bus station and then get another bus. This other bus was nothing like our first luxury coach. Fold out seats should be banned. Also there was no road. A slight issue.

We had been travelling since 8am. Crossed the border at 4pm. Bus brokedown at 5pm. Climbed into pick up truck at 6:30pm. Reached guesthouse of their choice in the middle of nowhere at 12am. Should have got there 8pm. :p So we ended up staying in their pricy guesthouse and I had to get someone up to change the sheets at 1am. Next day we were all ready to check out. They were so sorry to see us leave that they built a new room for us there and then that was only $3. Well thats the only explanation I can find as to how a cheaper room suddenly became available when we had asked for one the night before. Sigh!

So we didn't do a lot on our first day in Siem Reap. Sorted out our tickets to Bangkok from Ho Chi Minh City and sent a few emails. The majority of the day was spent recovering from the journey before. (I mean sleeping) The evening was more interesting though. We held a Camodian BBQ. (for ourselves) They bring this mini bbq to your table with a well of broth around the edge of a dome where you cook the meat. "MEAT!" I hear you cry. Yes indeed Fiona is still a vegetarian but Cambodians are not, even though they are Buddhists and don't believe in doing harm to any living thing. You can eat a whole chicken but you cant squash a mosquito. So I thought given the circumstances I would take a small break from being a vegetable just for this one dinner. On our own table Ash and I BBQd our crocodile and ostrich and boiled our veg and noodles around the edge of the fire! I was more a fan of the croc and Ash preferred the ostrich. Crocodile was quite salty and like meaty fish. Ostrich apparently tastes like beef. It was ok. Also we did the whole thing with chopsticks, even turning the meat.

On to the temples. Our plan had been to get a 3 day pass for all the temples. According to the Lonely Planet a one day pass is a crime. But... after seeing how knackered some of our pick up truck friends were we asked if they would do 3 days. "No way" they said. "All templed out" So we decided to be uncultured swines and get the $20 1 day pass. Got a moto for the day to take us around all the main temples. A moto is a Cambodian tuktuk. Its a motorbike with a two wheeler trailer on the back which has sort of benches in. They're quite cool.

The idea of saving Angkor Wat til last went out of the window as this was where the ticket office is. Angkor Wat was really cool. Well worth the visit. Its big and very beautiful. I wouldn't say it was as awe inspiring as the Taj though. You could if you wanted walk around it all day, it really was that huge. We stayed a few hours and then went to the Bayon.

The Bayon temple has faces all the way around it. It actually reminded me of photos of Incan temples but dont let a Khmer person hear me say that. Then we went to a less impressive one. Ta Keo. I was less impressed because of all the impossibly steep steps. Luckily we both survived this most tiresome temple. One bloke, slightly more energetic than us tried to handstand at the top of the steps for a photo and almost fell. This was definately more rock climbing than culture vulturing.

Next was Ta Prohm aka "The Tomb Raider Temple", where you guessed it they shot Tomb Raider and also Two Brothers although I have no idea what that is. Ta Prohm was actually our favourite temple. No not coz we fancy Angelina Jolie but because it was all taken over by jungle. Huge trees crushed rocks with their roots and it looked like they were growing out of the walls. If we hadn't known better we'd have said they were left over from shooting, it looked so unreal it was creepy. Creepy and creepers, there were creepers too.

The last temple I would have rathered either seen first or missed altogether. It was not as grand as the others that we had seen and there were loads of children hawkers who get highly offended if you don't buy anything. I actually did buy something but that still wasn't enough. Ash got given a bangle by a girl trying to sell it to him and when he said he didn't want to buy any and tried to give it back she shouted "I already have one hundred!" Another girl said she would cry if we didn't buy a coke from her. We said we already had some water but she just said "Yes but you do not have a coke" We didn't stop to explain Ash's vow, I'm not sure she was that interested. She didn't cry either which was nice of her.



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