Tag Archives: Siem Reap

Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, Cambodia

5/27 – We enjoyed our short stay in Siem Reap.  The heat of the day was broken by a short afternoon rain (we are in the beginning of monsoon or wet season) so we were able to walk around and see some of the city.  When we were in Thailand, there were three seasons; the hot, the wet and the dry.  Here in Cambodia there are only two seasons; the wet and the dry.  It is always HOT. There are lots of restaurants and bars on Pub Street.image

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It’s a wonder that the electricity works at all in Asia.  Every town has a similar challenge with wires.image

Although drugs are illegal here, marijuana is exempt because it is an herb used in cooking.  It is an ingredient in Happy Pizza and other Happy dishes. I wonder what they put in Ecstatic Pizza?

Isn’t this a good name for a laundry?  Someone has a sense of humor.image

Lots of markets.  Anyone need a crocodile?image image image image

5/28 – Today we hopped on the bus for the six hour ride to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. This bus had a hostess with a microphone who announced our itinerary in both Khmer and English, and played an endless loop DVD of Cambodian crooners singing love songs to adoring girls in long dresses and beehive hairdos.image

About two hours into the trip, the paved road became a dirt road. We understand that as the wet season progresses, many roads become impassable.

We stopped for a break midway through, and Jim wanted a snack. The roadside snack shack specialized in fried bugs (grasshoppers?), so he bought a bagful.

For the record, he said they were crunchy and very tasty, sort of like Fritos. I will take his word on that!

The rest of the ride was uneventful, but the sky was awesome, so here are some cloud pix. As we neared the city, the road became paved once again.image

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And now we are in our cozy guesthouse with another awesome pool!image

Siem Reap – More Temples of Angkor

5/26 – Many tourists call it quits after one day of trekking through temples in hundred degree weather, but not us.  We got right back in the tuk-tuk for another round.  Sights from the ride:

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Fishing boats on the water

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Water buffalo grazing by the road
The three temples we visited yesterday is called the small circuit.  Today we took the grand tour of lesser known temples that show a variety of building styles.  Sorry, I don’t know the names of all these temples.

There were many fewer tourists on today’s tour, so it was much more relaxing for us, and we could really poke around without waiting in lines.  Here are some highlights.image image image image

Lots of guardian critters:  image

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A refurbished lion next to an original lion

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An elephant with refurbished feet and trunk
The Terrace of Elephants:image

Lots of intricate carving – some look like pieces from different carvings have been mashed together.

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More spung trees!image image image

One of the small temples was surrounded by water:image
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More mysterious faces:image

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We were serenaded by several musicians who had lost limbs from American land mines:imageimage

Another wonderful day.image

 

Siem Reap, Cambodia – The Temples of Angkor

5/25 – Half an hour north of Siem Reap are a collection of ancient temples known as Angkor. They are actually different cities, built in different centuries (between the sixth and the twelfth) by different kings. When rediscovered by the French in the late 1800s, it was thought that the temples were so intricate and advanced that they must have been built by the Romans. They were built as Hindu temples, and some of the later ones were converted to Buddhist. They are in the process of being restored.

We hired a tuk-tuk at our hotel to drive us out to see them. The road to the temples is well paved – Siem Reap hosts over two million tourists a year who come to visit the temples. Here is our view from the tuk-tuk. Our driver asked right away how old we were. When we told him, he expressed surprise. “Old people in my country could not walk at the temples.” He pantomimed a bent old person hobbling with a cane. “You say you are old, but you do not act old.” He drove very carefully over the bumps in the road, and drove us right up to the entrance.  What a nice young man.
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The main attraction, Angkor Wat, lies across a protective moat. The weather was swelteringly hot, and the paths were brimming with tourists.image

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This temple complex is huge, with many corridors. The rooms are empty and unlit except for where the roof has fallen and the sun shines in. The corridors reminded me of some of the monasteries we visited in Europe.image

The walls are decorated with intricate bas reliefs.image

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After an hour, we got back in our tuk-tuk and drove to the next temple, at Angkor Thom. The entrance road has a row of figures on either side, holding onto a naga like a tug-o-war. Some of the faces have been restored, others washed away by time.imageimage

This temple is known for its towers, which have faces carved on all four sides. There are differences of opinion on what the faces are meant to represent. You have to look hard to see some of the faces.image image image

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Amazing.  My favorite so far.

Our last temple of the day was Ta Phrohm. In great disrepair, it is best known for the huge spung trees that have reclaimed the buildings for the jungle. The trees were huge and looked like they could walk.image

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An exhausting and amazing day.

Ishiyama, Japan to Bangkok to Siem Reap, Cambodia

5/22 – Our stay in Japan was too short. Today we took the train back to Osaka, where we met Jim’s friend Carl for breakfast. Then it was on to the Kansai Osaka Airport where we arrived at noon. What to do until our flight at midnight? We went back to the posh airport hotel. They have a huge lobby with couches, easy chairs, strong wifi, and a piano that plays by itself 24/7. We settled in for a long afternoon and evening. I got a whole book read!

Midnight flight back to Bangkok, Thailand, then a layover from 4am until our Siem Riep flight at 10am. We got to see the sun rise from the Bangkok observation deck.image

It was nice to fly during daylight. Pretty clouds and blue sky.image

Getting off the plane in Siem Reap, the heat and humidity smacked us right in the face. Couldn’t wait to get back into shorts and sandals. The airport is very Asian.image

We got our visas at the airport, where the $30.00 payment was requested in U.S. dollars. As we only had Thai baht, we paid the equivalent of $35.00 each. Bring dollars if you travel here – the Cambodians use their own money as change only. 1000 riel is worth 25 cents. All prices are given in dollars, and the ATMs dispense dollars too. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Andrew Jackson on a $20!

We got a tuk-tuk ride into town, and passed several luxurious resort hotels, which look out of place next to the little shops and shacks on the dusty street. Due to its proximity to the Angkor Wat temples, Siem Reap hosts over two million tourists a year, and accommodates all comfort levels.image

Now we are settled in at the Banyan Leaf Hotel, with its lovely pool and sumptuous breakfast buffet, all for $20.00 a night. We had a lovely supper for $1.50, and a beer for 50 cents. You could live here forever!image