Thursday, May 2, 2013

Explore Angkor

After we passed the Thailand-Cambodia border posts, we were told to board a small bus, which later took us to a bus terminal, which looks like a hangar. We already purchased the bus ticket to Siem Reap, so we waited for the bus. Two hours later the bus arrived. 

Tips #1: If you go in small group (3-4 persons) and have limited time, just buy the bus ticket to the border. After crossing the border, you can continue with taxi or minivan, much quicker than waiting for the bus. Be sure to check the rental price in travel forums.

Anyway, the bus trip to Siem Reap actually took two hours, but our bus stopped at a small eatery for one hour, so that we arrived later than expected. The bus suddenly made a turn to a dark road, where it stopped at a bus pool. They told all passengers to hop off. Soon, a group of tuk-tuk drivers swarmed around to offer their service. Most demanded a fee of 150 Baht or US$ 10. Whoa!

Tips #2: While Cambodia has local currency Cambodian Riel, US dollars are widely used. 1 US$ = 4,000 Riel. If you have dollars, don't change to Riel. It's easier and more comfortable to carry US dollars.

We ignored them and just walked to the main road, where there were more lights and tuk-tuk drivers. We were approached by a tuk-tuk driver, who was willing to drop the fee to US$3.

When we were at the borders, we met two Indonesians who said they were staying at Rosy Guesthouse. We thought let's take a look at the place. When we got there, we saw the place had a restaurant and a bar, which was full. Again, we decided to leave the place.

The tuk-tuk driver said he knew a hotel, which is near the Old Market, Central Market and Night Market, and offered to take us there. We thought why not. The place, The Mekong Bed and Breakfast, looked quiet when we got there. The receptionist offered a room with twin bed, AC, bathroom ensuite and TV, a bit too much from our usual humble room. However, it would be the last hotel and we had saved our money throughout the trip, so we checked in.

At night, we went around to find a travel agent to book tickets to Kuala Lumpur. Since the price the agent quoted was quite high (and it excluded the baggage pricing), we decided to go to the airport and bought the tickets there. We didn't bought tickets to KL in the first place because Aneen was thinking to go to Phnom Penh. After we calculated it, flying from Phnom Penh to KL would mean more budget. So from Siem Reap it is.

The next day, we took a ride with the tuk-tuk driver from the night before to the airport, bought the tickets to KL and then to the Angkor Wat complex. We took the one-day ticket and did big tour. I don't suggest to take the one-day tour because by the end of the day, we were spent. Angkor is a massive complex of temples that it is best to digest it slowly.

Here are the photos. I'm sure there are many photos of Angkor out there on the Internet, so I'll just post the details.

The before-the-tour-start photo: ready to take over the world.


Almost all parts of Angkor Wat are adorned with bas-reliefs





At Ta Prohm

The after-the-tour photo: too tired to smile. At Bayon

But I guess all those exercise paid of if you could watch the sun set from the top of Phnom Bakheng

We walked to the Night Market to find something to eat and perhaps souvenirs. We had dinner at one of the halal Indian restaurants along the market but no souvenirs that caught our eyes/hearts/wallets. We took another tour around the Old Market and Central Market the next day, but still no luck in souvenirs. Oh well, I took some pictures as souvenirs, though. 

Despite the brightness, this photo was taken at night


These are lip balm. US$5 each.

A corner on Pub Street and a Transformer tuk-tuk:)

A group of people had foot massages while (most probably) updated their Facebook status on their gadget. Humble they may appear, but some road side foot massage shops in Siem Reap actually offer free Wi-Fi!

At Old Market

I think those were dried octopus and fishes, but I'm not sure.

These may be the grim portrayals of how Tintin would look had he went to Cambodia

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