Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Supreme Siem Reap: Cambodia

Accommodation: DMS Angkor Villa (Not Recommended!) $6 per night single ensuite

Bus: Same as from Phnom Penh, 6 hours

Places to Visit: Angkor Wat, Angkor National Museum, Massage

By this point it was time to head to my next destination (thankfully)- Siem Reap, a cultural rendevous for sure. After being frozen from the 6 hours bus journey, with A/C on full blast, I hopped off heading to my hotel. Now when I arrived, they told me I was non-existent, though my email confirming my booking said otherwise. This gave them enough time to send me to their 'other' guesthouse, this other being owned by the father. Surprise surprise.

To be once again greeted by an annoying Cambodian became customary, the receptionist within one breath asked me out for a drink and marriage. I never came out of my room ever again, well almost. At about 8am, I headed to Cambodia's 'pride and joy,' the Angkor Temples, one of the Seven wonders of the ancient world. Cool.

I took a motorbike (clearly I wasn't driving) to the temples, this being 1000 sq km, so I wasn't going to walk it. First stop was Angkor Wat, one of the main structures. And they weren't joking when they said it was big. I did a rather rushed 1 hour walkaround, having doubled on myself walking around it and having one day to see as much as I could. There were epic battle scenes from Hindu mythology, the Mahabharat, the Ramayana, the churning of the milk- it was all there engraved in elaborate detail. It was times like this I thanked my nightly religious story from my mother, it all made sense. A fair few lost tourists ogled the engravings having no idea what it was, that was when I stepped in being an amateur tour guide. I should have totally asked for money.

Next was a quiet temple up a large hill, Phnom Bakheng. People had told me it was busy during sunset, but it was completely empty when I got there! Fabulous, can't beat the view. There were hot air balloons parallel to the hill, and the sun raged on the temple of Shiva. The next must have been my favourite. Angkor Thom was a structure of humungous stone Buddhist and Hindu faces, carved within it. Now you have to imagine, these were constructed in the 12th century by some of the Hindu kings who had conquered South East Asia, epic does not cut it. The last one I could manage was the 'famous' one. Ta Prohm had been used for many film shootings including Tomb Raider, haha. It was quite eerie, especially as the tree roots enveloped the structure so it made it slightly shadier than the other temples.
By this point I died, and ended up back at my hotel to eat. The heat was pretty intense, and like a damsel in distress, I swooned. The nighttime was slightly more unexpected. My  friend managed to find me despite having moved hotels, so I was pretty surprised to hear a knock on my hotel door. Dinner was next on the agenda. I was all up for an outdoor barbeque, that was until she put some crocodile meat on it and I cringed. Then drinks was on the menu, at a bar that had fire limbo and fire poy by a man who kept burning himself :)
I was thrilled to have a relaxed last day off. So I leisurely woke up to end up in the National Museum of Siem Reap. It was basically a museum dedicated to the Angkor temples, so I was appreciative of the fact I had some insight into it. A few hours there, and then I headed to an art gallery. By this point, I had gotten a little bored of three hours gazing at objexts. So a masage was definitely in order. Once again, the night ended with drinks and the night market. The bar serving $1 cocktails meant we were in there like a shot (excuse the pun). The fact that the barmen were getting drunk on shift meant it was time to take full advantage. It ended with free drinks and the bar man giving us permission to dress him like a woman aka he had make up galore on.
Now heres the clincher...I dropped of my friend, as the three of us clung onto a motorbike. Next thing I remember was the driver swerving to avoid an oncoming collision, with another motorbike- then being clipped, or rather hit full on by the bike. The idiot driver didn't even realise, dropped me off at the hotel and drove off. So I went to the concierge, asking for some medical help. He drowsily replied 'we can't help you,'  and fell back asleep. It was time for spiteful revenge. In front of him was my expense page, this being all the services used at the hotel that was noted down, ready to be paid whilst I checked out. It was pretty easy to take as he snored away, and I burnt the blasted thing. Three days of free food, wahey! And it worked like a charm. On the downside, my arm and knee throbbed like a pulsating heart. And they bulged as I took the bus back to Phnom Penh. Thankfully, they heal slowly...
So after one night in Phnom Penh...my travels came to an end. And then back to -15 C in Beijing, a living freezer. One word to sum it all up- AWESOME, wouldn't change a thing. Met good people, ate good food and got a tan. Now time to go home!!!

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