Two days in Siem Reap…
In honesty, I knew nothing about Cambodia before arriving – not a thing. I was missing out though, big time!
Day 294 – Sunday 12th March 2017
I woke up feeling fine this morning so assumed it was just a twenty four hour bug that I’d picked up, but I was wrong. In no time I was feeling drained and exhausted again – all I wanted to do was sleep but at the same time I was so excited about being here that I couldn’t just sit around. At midday we walked along the Siem Reap River through the Royal Gardens to Angkor National Museum, where we wanted to educate ourselves a little more on the Kingdom of Cambodia. I mean, what’s the point in seeing things if you’ve no idea what you’re looking at?
We wandered through various archaeological exhibitions, checked out countless preserved Angkorian artifacts, learned loads about the art and culture of Khmer civilization, and left ourselves well and truly ready for what this incredible country has to offer.
In the afternoon, instead of getting stuck in straight away, we returned to the hostel. It was easy to see why the place was shortlisted for ‘best medium sized hostel in the world’ last year – we relaxed in the pool for a while and then watched a movie in the cinema before I finally caved in and went up to bed. Yes, you read that right, the hostel has a pool and a cinema! All for something silly like £6 per night.
Instead of letting me hold her back Abbie stayed down at the bar in the evening, made a few friends, and took advantage of the fact that local draft beer cost just 41p during happy hour! She came to check on me now and then, made sure that I’d be fit for the morning, then even arranged a day out for us with our new mates. What would I do without her eh?
Day 295 – Monday 13th March 2017
This morning we had to be up at 04:00 and out by 04:30, but I was feeling so much better that the early start didn’t phase me at all. We took a tuk tuk to Angkor Archaeological Park, paid for a Temple Pass each, then joined a seventeen mile circuit known as ‘the small loop’.
Throughout the day we stopped at four major temples and six minor temples, all of which were absolutely breathtaking.
Our first stop of the day was Angkor Wat, the largest and oldest religious monument in the world, where we watched the sunrise at around at 06:15 before exploring some of the grounds (which are actually more than 160 hectares in size, so there’s no way we could’ve seen it all). Other major temples that we visited include Angkor Thom, Banteay Kdei and Ta Phrohm, of which the latter was used as a location in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider:
The minor temples that we visited were Baphuon, The Terrace of the Lepper King, The Terrace of The Elephants, the Twelve Prasats, Spean Thma and Sras Sran. What fascinated me more than anything was the fact that these temples were not only beautiful from a distance, but even more so when you got close:
By midday we’d been awake for eight hours already and wanted nothing more than to go to sleep, but didn’t want to screw up our sleeping pattern. Instead we had another afternoon taking advantage of the facilities at our hostel, and I even had a few 41p beers for myself as well seeing as I was feeling better.
It was probably the longest day we’ve had since climbing up to Machu Picchu, and that leaves me wondering – surely Angkor Wat is on a Wonders of the World list somewhere? It must be!