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Clambering over ruins in Angkor (Siem Reap)

CAMBODIA | Sunday, 23 February 2014 | Views [447]

Bayon

Bayon

So, my original plan was Cambodia for maybe a week, tops, I pretty much just planned to hit the Angkor Temples and then pass on through. Well… I got a bit stuck. In a good way! Mostly.
It didn’t start out great, honestly. My first meal in Siem Reap left me with a queasy, unhappy stomach and though a couple Tums warded off actually getting sick, the feeling continued pretty much no matter what I ate for the next few days, even something as simple as a fruit shake or ice cream. My body also started rebelling against me in a few other ways, I won’t get into the strange details but anyway, I still got out to the Angkor Temples a lovely 3 times in four days. And it was soo worth it!
The first day, a few people had recommended cycling as the best and cheapest way to see the temples, so $2 later I rode off out of the city. After a bit of confusion about ticketing (I took the wrong road and missed the ticket gate woops) I parked in among the tuktuks and followed the vast crowd of people in Angkor Wat.
Now let me say right now, I’ve seen quite a few temples, living in Japan and travelling around Asia. These were by far my favourite and I think will always stay that way. Most temples you can walk around the outside, possibly go in, take some pictures, buy some charms. Angkor you are literally climbing over the temples. You are climbing in and on and around hundreds of years of history!!! So cool!! I think the cultural factor plus the possible higher level of activity really made these temples a great experience for me.

Lots of stairs, for example
Now, I might have been able to appreciate some of them better if I hadn’t accidentally taken a wrong turn and instead of the “mini tour”, taken the “grand tour”of the temples, about a 30km ride around in the heat of the day. A few tuktuk drivers passing me actually did double takes, turning fully around, basically to say “how the hell did this girl get way out here??” There were a few times when there was literally not another soul in sight and I doubted that I was even in Angkor anymore…but then I’d arrive at another temple and be reassured once again.
Finally, some lovely Austrian girl took pity on me and gave me her map, allowing me to see just how far I’d come…and how far there was still to go. Needless to say by about my 5th hour into the ride, I was ready to just head home. I skipped one of the vital temples just because I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate it, and I still had a couple days to see it anyway.
Over the next couple of days I wasn’t super active, still not feeling 100% but managed to see the major temples and then some, as well as the famous Angkor Wat at sunset. Lovely! I also got a Khmer massage (owwww!), visited the night markets, had some delicious Cambodian food and some drinks with cool people from the hostel. And watched a live feed of the Gold medal men’s hockey in Sochi, of course! Canadian spirit was running wild in the streets! Too bad I had to catch my night bus to Sihanoukville right after, but that’s the next story.

The famous Pub street, with a random parade of the various animals of the Chinese zodiak

Tags: illness, ruins

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