CJ and Bexta take on the world 2004/05 travel blog

Ready for lift off at sunrise!

Angkor Wat at dawn!

Within the grounds of Angkor Wat

Ta Prom temple where the trees are slowly swallowing everything up!

A fisherman at work.

Our journey from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap was slightly more uneventful than our previous journey across Cambodia - it was a very pleasant and comfortable journey up the Tonle Sap River with stunning scenery and views. Cambodia is certainly a very beautiful country.

Our main reason for visiting Siem Reap was the infamous Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples. Many of these date back before the 11th century and are steeped in history. The whole area is so vast that it could take you weeks to look at it all so we picked out a few of the major highlights to visit over a couple of days.

Amgkor Wat is the main attraction within the temple area and when you see it you can see why, in a way its a bit like the Taj Mahal but on a smaller scale and not so grand, but some still say that Angkor Wat should be the 8th Wonder of the World to which we agree (if we could only remember what the other 7 are!!). We even managed to rise early one morning and saw an aerial view of Angkor Wat at sunrise in a helium balloon (one of the ones that are attached to the ground)which was memorable, although if the ride had been 10 mins longer then the mist may have cleared a bit more.

There are too many temples to really go into too much detail about, but our favourites tended to be the slightly more ruined and ramshackled ones that had a bit more character. In particular we did like Ta Prohm which is a temple that is slowly being swallowed up by the jungle (all the roots of the trees are growing around the structures etc).

Having a day off from Angkor Wat we took a boat ride down the Tonle Sap River to visit the floating village which is largely made up of Vietnamese people who have come over from Vietnam to fish. Its amazing to see how these people live on the river, but they had everything there from schools to a church, but you just had to be careful when stepping out of your house, having to remember that you are on a river!!

We both really liked Cambodia, it is a vast contrast from Thailand in many respects and much less developed which in a way was very refreshing. But one major down point was the constant begging from kids selling tat everywhere, as soon as you even showed a bit of interest in one of them, they would all swarm around you until you finally gave in as Bexta found out on many occasion (her rucksack is now full of tat!!!). It was also quite disturbing to see the amount of disfigured and disabled people that were begging for money as well, which made us feel very uncomfortable and upset at times. Cambodia really needs to address this if they want to attract more tourism. All in all though we really enjoyed Cambodia but are looking forward to getting back to Thailand and a bit of sophistication.

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