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Seema Does SE Asia! Come and see what I see on my first trip out to SE Asia...

Angkor What?!

CAMBODIA | Saturday, 23 May 2009 | Views [338] | Comments [1]

I last wrote on the eve of my trip to Cambodia. This is the one single journey I as dreading. Horror stories from fellow travellers about the dreadful road, the journey from the border taking 6 hours, the border crossing, the buses, the scams, accompanied by the Lonely Planet's own stories convinced me that this was a disaster waiting to happen. Once I told other people I was taking the bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap, they looked at me apologetically and one girl even offered me Valium to help me sleep on the dreadful bus journey.

How wrong they were!

It seems the road from the Thai border into Siem Reap was recently rebuilt. It is now gleaming tarmac, smooth and straight into the city! The whole journey was relatively painless, the border crossing a bit of a pain in the backside but we had a guide with the group that lead us through, met some Brits, Canadians and French on the bus and had a blast!

The evening was hanging out in the bars in Siem Reap which are fantastic, the morning we'd decided to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat. This meant a 4.45am start, the guys to pick me up from my hotel at 5am and get there by 5.30. As my bad luck goes, they didn't show til 5.40, before which it had rained and the sun came up. God knows what made me stick it out and wait for them.... boys will be boys, they had just overslept. Eventually we made it to Angkor and got to the first temple at 6am - Ta Prohm.... midblowing. Angkor Wat was also impressive but I liked the smaller ones more I must admit. I won't go into detail on here but suffice to say, by 1pm we'd seen our fair share of temples and were ready to head back for a well earned nap!

One thing you realise immediately about Cambodia is that despite the massive tourism industry surrounding Angkor, the 5star hotels, fancy restaurants and bars, most main streets are still dirt tracks.

Lesson no1 in Cambodia: Take a tuk tuk. Especially after its been raining. That simple equation of dirt + water = mud had been forgotten after spending time in developed cities.... i got covered yesterday just trying to walk the 5mins back to my hotel. Decided to wear a white-ish dress in the evening, and to walk back to the bars as obviously it had stopped raining by then. I almost fell on my backside in the mud so many times! My Birkenstocks from Chiang Mai got destroyed in the rain, soaking wet and gave me blisters so I bought more flip flops along the way and ditched these...the rest of the night was spent in the aptly named bar Ángkor What?'. Cambodian beer is also good, but beer Lao remains my favourite!

Kinda had a lie in today as I felt I deserved it... lesson number 2 in Cambodia - wear sunscreen. I didn't bring many clothes here, slung on a vest to go sightseeing yesterday and now have the most horrific tan lines. Apparently now I look like a Cambodian. Short of wearing long white gloves like the japanese do, there is no way I can stop myself from catching the sun. Also means my arms are 10 shades darker than the rest of my body!

Right, need some brunch, a massage and a pedicure, my feet are destroyed from these roads.... Tomorrow, back to Bangkok for a night and then to Krabi in the south of Thailand for a week of sun, sea and relaxation! Yay!



This is absolutely brilliant!

  Evan May 23, 2009 8:47 PM

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