Arriving in Siem Reap around lunchtime was very timely after the 4 hr bus ride from the Mekong river disembarkation point at. We were dropped off in the centre of town beside the river at one of Cambodias best restaurants Mallis…and enjoyed an absolute feast in a beautiful and very designer setting.
The afternoon was free and Ann was really feeling the effects of her head cold and the long bus ride so she decided to stay in whilst John went off to the local cultural circus show in the big top. Dinner was at the sensational restaurant with fabulous local food .
ANGKOR WAT: The time had finally arrived to visit the incomparable Angkor Wat. Parking in the bus zone we all began the walk through the spruikers before reaching the causeway and our first sight of the massive compound. Once over the causeway bridge you enter the various gates and corridors that surround the temple which then opens out to the inner temple and various outbuildings and libraries.
Walking through the chambers that make up the structure it just go’s on and on and culminates in a central five tower main temple with multiple staircases. It is the national symbol of Cambodia and within the region no other building can be built higher than the central tower to preserve its mystique. The buildings date back to the century and with this being the biggest religious structure in the world it is amazing to realise that it only took 36 years to build.
The walking around the amazing hallways and structures was a relief away from the heat as well but when outside the umbrella was essential
According to our guide the speed of construction was due to Elephants and the compulsory 2 months labour every man had to provide the KIng every year.
ANGOR THOM: After spending many hours in awe of Angkor Wat we then went to Angkor Thom, the main city centre of the Khmer empire where the populous of over One Million people lived. It is also where the Bayon temple is located with all of its 54 towers depicting over 200 Buddha heads.
the subtle differences in the faces becomes evident after a while.
TA PROHM: The next stop was Ta Prohm better known as the Jungle Temple used in the movie Tomb Raider with its strangler figs ripping the structures apart. This just adds to it uniqueness and although many have been removed they have made it safe for tourists to explore and explore we did in every nook and cranny.
There was no shortage of Monks around the Temple complexes, i called these ones, Monks on the run!
This was an exceptional experience which really took us back in time and to see the strangler figs taking over the place and the time it takes for them to dominate just shows who really is in control in the long run.
SUNRISE ANGKOR WAT: Our next day started with a sunrise visit to Angkor Wat and wow that was something special, the pink to crimson hues leading to golden sunrise was well worth the crowded conditions but afterwards a spot of rain kept the hot air ballon grounded for the whole day .
BANTEAY KDEI: Instead we visited another temple Banteay Kdei a smaller version of Ta Prohm but guarded by Garudas and known as the temple of cells with dancers adorning thje walls of the central hall.
Our last night with the Tour group was very special when we were taken to a small temple for a spectacular dinner and show.
This temple was unusual in that it was made of brick instead of stone so the lighting on the surfaces was very interesting and very effective. The food and the dance show was fantastic and the perfect end to a great tour with Scenic.
PUB STREET SEIM REAP: We spent our last day in Siem Reap was spent wandering the streets, getting a massage and taking a Tuc Tuc ride around the old town before finishing up in Pub Street for dinner at Mrs Wong’s which was the perfect way to end our Cambodian adventure