Siam Reap, Cambodia

February 11
We arrived at Siam Reap at like 6 AM. We took a tuk tuk to our hostel and then just passed out in the common room for an hour or so because we can’t check in until noon. We them walked around the town and got a really good breakfast in the main area of the town. The main area is very small. It is about 4 blocks wide and 6 blocks long. Inside the little area is a bunch of restaurants. There is a street called Pub Street with restaurants, one bar called Angkor What? and one club called Temple. There is also a market called Old Market that is my favorite market so far this trip. There are a ton of tuk tuks around asking you if you need a ride but nobody ever does because the town is so small. The only way the guys get money is if people book them for a day to take them to the temples. Siam Reap is so small, if it wasn’t for the famous temples around there, the city would be completely off the map. We arranged for a tuk tuk to take us to a temple for sunset. If you buy your Angkor Temples permit after 5 PM, then it is good for sunset and for the entire next day. We took the tuk tuk to a temple with two kids from our hostel from Sweden, Fiona and Aaron. We became friends with them and exchanged stories and advice. They highly recommended that we go to Koh Rong Island in the south. This is the third or fourth time someone recommended it so we will make sure that we go. Our driver took us to a hill and we had to walk to the top, where there was a temple. We climbed stairs to the top and had a nice view of the sunset over grasslands and trees. It was pretty cool but sunrise is more impressive here. Afterward, the tire on our tuk tuk went flat so our driver left us on the side of the temple hill for twenty minutes while he got a new tire. Once he picked us up and dropped us off again, the new tire went flat. Our fat asses need to run more or we will keep breaking stuff. Once we got back to town, us four went out to dinner on a side street. It was so cheap and tasted really good. The food here is really good and so cheap, whether Asian dishes or western dishes. We got food, cheap beer and free popcorn! After dinner, we called it a night because Matt and I were waking up at 4 AM to catch a tuk tuk to Angkor Wat for sunrise.

February 12
We woke up earlier than anyone should ever wake up because we wanted to get a good spot at Angkor Wat to see the sunrise. We arranged a tuk tuk to pick us up and take us to the gate by 5 AM, which is when the temples open. Matt and I were among maybe 5 other people and were entering Angkor Wat in the pitch black. We couldn’t see anything and had no idea where to go. We eventually found our way in and I figured out which direction Angkor Wat was. A guy came over to us and told us the best viewing place, so we followed him to a pond with lotus flowers. The sunrise would be directly behind the temple from where we were sitting. Since we were the first ones there, we had our choice of where to go, so Matt and I chose to sit in front right on the pond. We waited for two hours, as the crowds of people came, and eventually, the sun began to rise over the temple. It was beautiful. We took a bunch of pictures and then made our way into the temple. It is the largest religious monument in the world and is thousands of years old. It’s crazy that people could build something so massive back then. We wandered around and soaked up all the art. There were so many sculptures and rooms in this place. We took a staircase to the very top and walked around up for for a while. It was a very impressive temple. We then got back on the tuk tuk and went to the Bayon Temples. There were a bunch of different temples in the area, but we only went to three of them. One in this area looked like ruins but when you got inside, it looks like it is supposed to appear that way. Another looked like the temples you imagine in Mexico. The third had elephant sculptures outside of it that were pretty big. After this area, we went to Matt’s and my favorite temple of them all, Ta Prohm. This temple was so cool. It became famous because it is the temple that they filmed a lot of scenes in Tomb Raider. There were huge trees growing out of the temple in random places. Some completely broke through the temple and some grew into the shape of the temple. It was so cool to walk around. Every turn had a new tree growing on top of ruins. We loved it. We were exhausted after 12 hours at the temples and went home to rest before dinner. We napped and then ate in the main area. Afterwards, we went back to the hostel to book a place in Koh Rong. We hung out with a kid we met from London who was trying to give us advice on where to stay. Most of the places on Koh Rong aren’t on websites like Hostelworld, so it made it difficult to book in advance. After an hour of searching, we finally found a place right in the main area of Koh Rong. We booked it for one night so we know we could at least have a place to stay the first night on the island. Us three then went to Pub Street and went to the bar Angkor What? We had a couple of drinks and met these two German girls but some weird guy was also hanging around them, so the girls eventually left. We left soon after the guy took a shot with shrooms in it. We then went to a Rooftop bar for one more drink before calling it a night. Waking up at 4 am makes for a long day. It was great to see the temples though. I really enjoyed myself today.

February 13
We slept in a little and then checked out. We just wandered around the little town all day because we had to wait until 8 PM to catch an overnight bus to Sihanoukville, through Phnom Penh. We ate breakfast and lunch in the main area. We walked around the Old Market again and even got 35 cent beers during happy hour at a rooftop place. We ate dinner at the same place we had lunch because it was really good and they actually knew how to make a salad with actual lettuce and not just fruit and mayonnaise. I had a really good burger and fries. We went back to the hostel and showered. We them waited for like two hours as Wolf of Wall Street was playing, like it did for three days straight. A guy eventually picked us up in a truck and we sat in the back. We picked a few other people up and them ended up at the big sleeper bus, which was pretty much right across the street from our hostel. It’s so annoying here because everywhere you buy a ticket for a bus, they offer free pickup, but most times, the bus station is within two blocks of where we buy the ticket. The drivers are always late to pick you up so it would be faster and easier for everyone if they told us where the bus stop is and to just meet at the bus stop. We got on the shitty sleeper with a crying baby and no shoulder room. Matt and I were squished against each other for the entire 14 hour ride. It was so uncomfortable because the sleeper seats aren’t long enough to stretch out your legs. It was pretty brutal and neither one of us slept much all night.

mikepsilve'sSiam Reap album on Photobucket