Sunday, 26 February 2012

Vibol: Wat gate keeper- aka best Tuk Tuk driver ever!

We arrived at Siem Reap Rooms and were immediately impressed. It was all wood interior and ceramic tile floor and the rooms were big, nice, clean and bug free. There was also a rooftop patio/lounge that had a dip pool. It's run by a Canadian couple, who gave us the run down on things to see and do, expected prices etc, very helpful. Our first day we did nothing except walk around town and do a little shopping. We bought some paintings, some leather things that are very intricate and neat but I can't really explain what they are to you all right now. I got a book for four dollars because I traded one in and I bought another book from an amputee. We had some delicious Mexican food and great Khmer food at a place called the Khmer kitchen. The next day we would start our Wat tour.

Feb. 19th- Templing
We had an early start, 430am- to be at angkor wat for sunrise. Vibol picked us up from our guest house. It was a short but brisk tuk-tuk drive to the main entry gates, we bought a 3 day temple pass for 40$. They snap a photo of you at 5am in the morning looking our best (greasy bed head) and print off a paper pass. Then headed to Angkor Wat, the biggest temple, with a moat that is 1.3 km by 1.5km. There is a long walk to where the temple actually is through some large beautifully designed gates. Then sat around a large pond waiting for the sun, sunrise actually doesn't happen until 630am. So we sat in the dark for a while with a large crowd who immediately left after the sun was up. Angkor Wat was basically ours, maybe 10 other people were roaming around it. When we exited Angkor Wat there where monkeys everywhere!!! Then had to locate Vibol so we could start the 'Mini-circuit'. 

Our next temple was Angkor Thom, which was actually a city. It was created between 1113-1150. The city had a population of a million people, at this time London only had 50,000 people. The city included 7 temples in all. The first one that we visited was Bayon. Bayon is a temple with all the faces on it, as well as two libraries. Then to Baphuon which is fairly large. Ryland did some climbing, always climbing staircases that aren't open to the public or functional. The other temples were called Ta Phron, Banteay, Kdei and Prasat. .  We spent 5 hours exploring the mini-circuit and headed for a lunch break before going back for the sunset.
We checked into the Dancing Gecko, since Siem Reap Rooms was full. It was a standard guest house.We headed back out to the temples around 4PM to go to Pre Rup Temple which is the less busy temple for sunset. My camera decided to break right before the sun began to set, bummer but the sunset wasn't that amazing anyway. Meg made friends with a bunch of ladies from a Japanese tour group and together they attempted to blow away the clouds. After a long 12 hour day of templing, we headed back for some grub. We went to Khmer House Restaurant and I had the most amazing mango salad. 

Feb 20th. Vibol picked us up at 830am as we where heading to Beng Mealea. This temple has been left to the elements, it is covered in vines, trees and cob webs.  It was a two hour tuk-tuk drive, Vibol bought us masks to wear because it was so dusty along these very long dirt country roads. As we were driving, kids everywhere were yelling Hello and chasing the tuk-tuk. We passed many water buffalo that look like a rino-cow. We didn't see many other tuk-tuks until one came out of no where to pass us, only to turn the corner so sharply that they went right into the ditch. Vibol stopped and said that's why he drives slow and that the driver probably had never driven on this road before but the tuk-tuk was destroyed. Everyone was okay, thank goodness. Beng Mealea is an extra 5$ but is definitely worth the price. It is a glorified playground for those who love climbing and adventuring. We spent  roughly two hours exploring, and could have spent 2 more, until we needed to venture back. Meg and Aron needed to catch a bus, they were heading down south to the beaches. Ryland and I weren't done 'templing' and visiting some amazing museums though.

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