Another morning bus journey, this time to Siem Reap, its prime attraction? The Angkor Wat temples.
On the way we stopped at a Silk makers farm. It was set up by a former US soldier who fought in Vietnam then afterwards returned, fell in love with Cambodia and is now married and living here. In order to do some good, he has started a local project making silk scarves. He has trained and emplyed around 20 local people providing them with jobs and an income.
His wife made us a delicious lunch including an amazing fish soup! Before that though Bud explained and showed us the whole process of producing silk, which was fascinating! I can’t believe they can make such a strong material out of these furry cocoons.
Once we had arrived in Siem Reap and checked in we did the orientation walk into the main town. In the evening we had a nice meal at a restaurant which included traditional dancing. Everyone was aware that we had an early start the next day though, so we all went back and to bed fairly early.
We woke at 4.30am to drive the short distance to the Angkor Wat temples and see the sun rise. It was beautiful and quite busy for this time of the morning. The Angkor Wat complex is huge, about 200km worth. There are lots of temples and ruins that you can visit but we watched the sunrise from the main temple.
After sitting watching the sun come up infront of the lake, we headed back to breafast before coming back to visit the temples. The first gate we went through was my favourite. It was covered by trees and routes and you really felt like you were in an Indiana Jones film. Walking further through the jungle we arrived at our first temple nicknamed Tomb Raider. This is because Angelina Jolie actually filmed parts of the Tomb Raider film here.
The next couple of temples were magnificent also. Huge well preserved stone buildings built over 1000 years ago. They used to be Hindu and then Buddhist temples. The detail is amazing. Incredible carvings in almost every stone and wall. Huge stone faces adorn the towers making these ruins really unique and unlike anything we’ve seen.
The photos make it hard to tell the scale of these buildings. Some pyramid like temples required us to climb really steep steps to reach the top. It’s amazing how they were able to achieve this engineering feat so many years ago.
After lunch we visited the main Angkor Wat temple which was also very impressive. The only problem was the heat! It’s 40 40 degrees here and quite humid too. Its been by far the most uncomfortable heat we have experienced on the trip.
Luckily we were soon back in our air conditioned room having a refreshing shower.
In the evening we did another home visit just as we did in Laos. We travelled by TukTuk into the countryside where we were welcomed into a Cambodian family’s home. Lots of cushions were laid out where we could all sit crossed leg and have our delicious traditional meal of curries, ginger chicken, soup and vegetables. Mmmmm! Previous to the food we were given a small tour around the village. It was really nice. All the children would run to the dirt track and wave and smile to us walking past and in their best English shout “hallo!”. The countryside setting was really nice with palm trees and lush green trees everywhere.
This morning we relaxed by the pool. We had a nice lunch at Blue Pumpkin, the popular ice cream shop come bakery. IN the morning we had some barbecue style street food and then visited the night market which was beautifully lit and sold lots of souvenir type goods.
It was a nice relaxing day on our last main day of this tour. Next place? Back to Bangkok.