We arrived in Siem Reap about 6.30am to a bus station that was really funny! It was just a muddy yard, and it had big locked gates, behind which were all the tuk tuk drivers! Unless they had a booked fare to pick up they had to wait behind the gate. It was like a scene form a zombie movie with there arms waving through. So funny. We had a driver booked from our hostel so avoided the mess. We booked 2 dorm beds at a hostel called earthwalers. It looked clean and tidy, had a pool and free breakfast. When we got there they put us in a double room with our own bathroom for the same price! Bonus! We slept until the afternoon and went to the pool for a bit before heading into town. Found a nice cheap reastaurant at the market then headed to pub street (it's actual name). We bumped into a couple who were on Bamboo Island when we were and spent the evening with them. Was a very good night with dancing and drinking. Siem Reap made a good first impression!
After our late night and unsleepy slepper bus we were tired. Managed to get up for breakfast but went back to bed until the afternoon. A bit of pool time again and out in the evening to the night market. Wasn't very big but we got lost anyway. We asked around the tuktuk drivers and got one to take us out the next day for $20. His name was Sokay! (Sock-i). We made sure we weren't to late as a big day tommorow!
So, up at 6.30am to get breakfast and be ready at 8am for Sokay. It was raining and he had put a cute little rain cover over the tuktuk, and poor sokay had to sit on the motorbike with a pac a mac poncho on. Todays plan was to see some of the farther away parts or the Angkor Wat complex. We went to Bantai Srey, Kbal Spean, Pre Rup and Phnom Bakhong.
Bantai Srei first was 40km away. The rain had gotten lighter on our way but the temple was still very wet and muddy. Bantai Srei is called the pink temple as on a sunny day it reflects pink from the stone. We couldn't see it though. The temple itself was rather like the ones at Ayyutthaya in Thailand, and the Japanese tourists were just as entertaining. We walked around the grounds and got stuck on the muddyist, clayey path ever! Was very funny trying to get along it. We also saw a very large, but thankfully dead scorpion! We went out to find Sokay and couldn't! We walked arounf for ages and eventually found him out on the road! Sokay!
We headed ogg to Kbal Spean, a carved riverbed in the jungle. The walk up was 1500m, but after the first 500m it was more of a climb. It was tough but fun, and we got to the top in just over an hour. We saw the first part of the river bed and where a little underwhelmed considering the climb to get there! There were no signs of where to go but luckily we saw some others go down a path and followed. We very early missed all the good parts! It really is carvings made into the rocky riverbed. Unfourtunalty alot have been cut out by looters, but there is still alot remainig. Carved patterns, and animals. Along the side of the river too. It took us a bit less time to climb down, and on the way down we saw an Iguana, small scorpoins and other lizards. Kat got stung by a massive ant too.
After a rest stop we headed back to the Angkor complex nearer Siem Reap. Kbal Spean was 50km away so it took a while. We were to early for sunset, so Sokay took us to Pre Rup. This temple was nearly an identikit copy of the ones in Ayyutthaya. It didn't take long to look around. We then headed off the Phnom Bakheng for sunset. We got there around 2 hours before sunset and climbed up the big hill and very steep temple steps to the top. It was pretty quiet when we got htere but that soon changed. It bacem mental! hundreds of people climbed up and found a spot to watch the sunset. The annoying thing was though, sunset was crap! Clouds came in and riuned it! We headed down and were glad we were doing so before dark! We didn't do much that evening as were tired!
Another early start the next day to see the main temples! This time we hired bikes. WOuld be about a 25km total journey! We first headed to Angkor Wat itself. It was impressive, and so very very large! The bas-relifs (carvings) along the walls were great, and in good condition. They tell the story of a war. It took a while to get around Angkor, including all the photo stops! But we got on our bikes again and headed for Tha Prom, the jungle temple. It is called this as there a great trees growing from the temple walls. A bit of tomb raider was filmed here! It was cool. The tree roots growing over the temple walls were impressive. It was a nice shady temple too! This was the only one where we came accross alot of child sellers.
We stopped for a drink then headed to the gates of Angkor Thom, the city of the Angkors. The gates depict the large faces on them and are impressive. Within the city we visited the terrace of elephants, which is like a big wall with elephants carvings along it. We then went to the Bayon. WOW! That is our best word for the Bayon. From the outside you see the stupas with the faces on, but when you climb the steps to go inside it is really breathtaking. All these faces staring down at you. We both agreed this was the best temple of them all! We spent a while there getting some good pictures then got back on our bikes for the long ride home. It was getting hot and the hard work took it toll but we made it! Another quiet evening as so very very tired!
The next day was a pool day, but by midday it was so hit we laid in the room and read. Went for a lovely curry that evening ant Curry Walla! hehe! was well nice!
We went to town the next to look around and got stuck in the bars around pub street! We got talking to a boy, kim, who stopped for a drink with us. He had lost his leg in a landmine accident, and now when not at school sells paintings to tourists. Quite sad really, but a lovely boy (except for trying to grab chris's nuts!). Had dinner out and had an early night.
The next day was the royal wedding day, and although we didn't see the wedding, we sure celebrated! We spent all day in the pool playing games and heving a few beers. Got talking to people staying there and in the evening all went out to Curry Walla 2!! Was a good day!
Off to Kampong Cham tommorow!