Siem Reap and Angkor Wat
03.05.2007 - 07.05.2007
We got up early yet again and set off in the pouring rain to get our bus. We walked to the hop where we booked it, we were told we'd be picked up from there. A guy turned up late, on foot and we had to walk in the rain to the bus...my bag's to heavy for walking!! Finally we got on the bus and then it took 45mins to actually move anywhere and it was nearly 2 hours after that we made it out of the city. It took ages to get to the border and when we got there we were dropped off at a restaurant for an hour, ripped off for our visa and had to buy the food as that was all that was around. Not only that we were told there was no cash machines in Siem Reap, so ten we got ripped off big style for changing some money! Anyway, after getting off the bus we trudged through the border. It was hectic and busy and there were lots of people and children begging, it was quite sad. As soon as we got through customs straight away you could see the poverty all around. Cambodia is a lot different to Thailand. The border was crazy, people charging around with huge wooden carts, ad loads of people on motorbikes and push bikes. We had to wait and then get on a bus, which dropped us about 2 minutes away. We then got on another bus to take us to Siem Reap. The bus was small and there was no space for the luggage. They piled seats with bags and then we piled in, it was very hot and sweaty. We were told it would take 4 hours to get there. The road was just mud and extremely bumpy, it was going to be a long four hours. After stopping after 4, we soon realised the 4 hours was going to be longer. After sweating and looking out of the window at the poverty, people sitting in candle light in their wooden huts we arrive to 5* Angkor hotels on the outskirts of Siem Reap. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be staying in one this time! A guy had travelled all the way to the border and back with us, caught up in another scam we ended up staying at his guesthouse as we finally arrived at 10:30pm and weren't about to go out in search of somewhere. We stayed one night and left in the morning.
We got to a much nicer guesthouse, in the town centre and then spent the day having a look around Siem Reap, which is a really nice city. Parts of it have a real European feel...apart from the many children walking around trying to see you things, or one little boy collecting cans and plastic bottles. He was so cute, got 3 cans out of me, empty of course! The fashion in Siem Reap is pyjamas for the girls and spider man caps for the boys. People actually walk around all day and night in Pj's!
The evening was nice, I sampled the local Cambodian fish curry which was lovely. Had a couple of Caprina cocktails which brought back memories of Brazil.
Saturday we got up early and got in a tuk tuk (different than that of Thailand, is like a horse and cart, only the horse is a motorbike!). We drove to the area of Angkor, first going to the Angkor Wat Temple. It was huge, with a massive moat and just amazing. The expanse of it was incredible, kind of lost for words trying to describe it. We spent a couple of hours looking around the temple and got bugged by people to buy stuff. We got back in the awaiting carriage and went to Bayon temple. This temple was just as amazing, loads of huge faces calved out of stone. Think this was my favourite. We then went around a few more temples and the Angkor agricultural site to, Elephant temple, Lepard King and also to Kleang. After our lunch we went to Preah Khan and Ta Keo. All of which were superb and i especially liked Prhom which was in Preah Khan with trees growing through and around the stone. It was a long day as we left at 8am and we walked a long way as well as having our own driver! We had an easy night, although I did stay up until about 1:30am to watch Villa win!
Yesterday we got up early again and got a van to our bus on the other side of Siem Reap. We were told it would take about 5 hours to the border and in total 12 hours to get to Koh Chang in Thailand. It took 7 long muddy hours to get to the border, the road was terrible and as it had been raining (again) the road was thick mud. I felt so sorry for the people as their motorbikes were stuck and they had to wade through thick mud for miles, pushing bikes piled with stuff. Even the 4x4's weren't doing very well...might be because they have about 30 people in the back of them! They like to fill cars, vans, buses and trucks to the brim with people. Our bus was full, no seats spare...but no luggage space. It was under seats, on top of people and piled high in the isles...not to safe. After looking out the window for 7 hours looking at the strange way of life and pigs, skinny cows, chickens in the road we finally got back to the border. We got dropped off, got on another bus to the border, and then had to walk across. No easy process, it took 2 hours! We didn't get into Thailand until 5:30pm. Luckily our mini bus to Koh Chang hadn't gone anywhere! Although we would never do a 4 hour journey in half an hour to get the ferry to Koh Chang! So, we were stuck on the mainland for the night. 11 of us in another min van, Ian and I sat on the very hot engine and we were taken to a hotel near the ferry port for the night. (Was this a set up too!!??) We stayed in the hotel and managed to kill about 30 mozzies before giving up and going to bed! The good news we managed not to get bitten, the bad news Ian is poorly and was up in the night being sick. It must have been the noodles he had for lunch yesterday as that's all we had on the horrific journey.
So, we got up this morning, back in another van to take us to the ferry. Got taken to another restaurant and waited there for an hour, then another van to the port, waited there, a boat to Koh Chang and then another van on Koh Chang. So we were supposed to get here last night and we arrived about 11:30am today. Ian isn't very well and I had to go around looking for somewhere to stay. The 1st place had no nice rooms, I walked up the beach everything was huts falling apart with no bathrooms. Got back to the Nature Village where Ian was with the bags and then a room became available. Thank the lord! We got into the room about 1pm, now Ian is trying to get better. Well, I have to say the last 30 or so hours have not been the best and I've lost my patience several times. Now we're here, it's been raining and isn't looking any better. Don't think I'm moving again for a few days!!