The penultimate leg of the never-ending holiday – but the last bloggable part (Bangkok happenings cannot be published!) – saw us head north on a LONG coach journey to Siem Reap:
Angkor Wat temple, containing the remains of the Khmer civilization. The Angkor temples are the most popular tourist attraction in Cambodia.
Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument on Earth. Pretty amazing place but incredibly busy. One young kid working there tried to direct us towards his family’s coffee & tea stall. “Remember me….my name is Spiderman”, he said.
The view from the top of Angkor Wat. Incidentally, in Siem Reap you could pick up a local beer for about 30p. And it tasted surprisingly good. Bargain.
We hired this dude and nicknamed him Tuk Tuk Marple, though he called himself Blake. He was a very slow and safe driver and a thoroughly nice chap. And he didn’t want to spend all day chatting and trying to take us places we didn’t want to go.
Water buffalo roamed the fields. The scenery was stunning.
We stopped to get some water as the heat was searing. This young girl hacked away at coconuts with a huge cleaver. I could barely watch as the blade came down, missing her fingers each time by just millimeters.
From there we headed towards Angkor Thom, the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. The trees were an unbelievable sight.
The Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom. Famous for its faces carved into the stone towers.
This was a tranquil haven away from the crowds and the most beautiful place in Angkor Thom. We climbed to the top of this temple and sat overlooking the landscape, feasting on food we’d stolen from our breakfast buffet earlier that day! Mwahahaha.
The following morning, Tuk Tuk Marple met us at 5am and took us to see sunrise over Angkor Wat. The colours in the sky were vivid.
We weren’t the only mentalists getting up at 4.30am whilst on holiday. The crowds were huge.
By now it was nearly 6am, and whilst Marple wanted us to continue our tour, we had other ideas. “Take us back to the hotel for breakfast please!” He charged us $5 extra but it was worth it. It doesn’t get much better than a 5* breakfast buffet!
Sunrise over Angkor Wat.
Maz, with Marple looking on. “Nice trousers”, he probably thought.
So after a breakfast fit for kings, followed by a couple of hours kip by our beautiful pool, Blake picked us up to resume the tour in the midday sun. Jesus it was hot!
This is stunning scenery.
Little lizards running around everywhere. This one posed for me, optimistic that it was indeed the Tokyo Guzzler taking his picture. He was correct in thinking this.
Not as good as our encounter with Lucky the elephant in southern Cambodia a few days earlier, but a close second.
Cambodia is a beautiful country and I was really struck by how warm and welcoming the people were. There is such poverty and abject living conditions there for so many people there, but I really fell in love with the place and would go back there in a heartbeat. The food is amazing, as it was in Vietnam and Thailand. And, thus, our trip was nearly up. Bangkok was actually a disappointing end to the adventure. We’d seen and experienced so many beautiful places in nearly four weeks that Bangkok’s sleaziness didn’t really seem to fit with what had gone before. Still, it didn’t detract from what was four stunningly good weeks in southeast Asia.
Heading back to Japan, it maybe didn’t feel like it usually does when you return from a holiday. Let the adventure continue……