Cambodia. What comes to mind when I think back to our last (and final) Asian vacation…….
Temples. Lots – borderline too many of them. And sweat. I also managed to book what went down as our worst travel itinerary to date. The good news is I now feel like any travel within the US is a piece of cake.
I still don’t know how I managed to talk Jake into 12 hours of overnight travel leading straight into a full day of touring old temples. Pretty sure I FaceTimed him at work just before a meeting and looked wildly unattractive enough to make our convo as brief and undetailed as possible. I would sell him on the sheer brilliance of the plan later.
Angkor Wat would be worth it right? I mean, at the very least he could get that pose in one more time.
Yea… So our schedule went a little something like this.
Work a full day. Say goodbye to D and head to our airport at 6. Depart several hours later and fly to KL – which, I do NOW realize is in the opposite direction to Cambodia. Seemed logical at the time of booking.
Endure a four hour flight where most people seemed to be flying for the first time. It’s a bad sign when the flight attendant’s explanation of how to buckle the seatbelt is actually necessary.
Land at 1 am. Pray that there is an hourly hotel available to kill the time until the next leg taking off at 6 am. There is. Oh except… the airport is so freaking seedy that we’re not willing to explore what’s directly outside of it.
‘Don’t worry Jake – surely there’s a gate we can snooze at.’ No gates. One massive room filled with people sleeping on the floor. Most don’t even look like they’re actually traveling?!
‘McDonald’s!!!’ Sign outside McD’s: ‘We’re closed for our once a month maintenance from midnight until 6 am.’ It is now 2 am. We find a shop that sells $12 coffee that tastes like mud. We buy a cup for the wifi and nurse it for what seems like hours.
3:30 am. We are now starving. The locals are flocking to a fast food place called MarryBrown that appears to have fried chicken. That’ll do.
No it won’t. The food is inedible. (And that says alot. I’ve been known to eat off the floor and once, out of a garbage can at the movies.) It’s okay, it’s now 4 am and we realize the check-in counters are now open. So have the 2300 other people in the room … and they don’t get the concept of a line…. or designated counters??
We are hoarded into another room, followed onto a bus, and finally onto the plane. An hour later we hit our final destination! And I must say – despite being super crabby, we perked up at the sight of the Cambodian airport (one of the prettiest we’ve been to), the oh so nice people, and our hotel.
Loved our hotel!! Actually – I will take out just a quick second from our riveting schedule to reco Navatu Dreams (started by a couple from Italy!) and theluxenomad.com – through which we booked. The site has such good deals from goooorgeous hotels across Asia … and you know what? The staff that runs it really knocked my socks off 😉 I love personal service – and personable people. And the girls that run it are just that. They’ve promised me they’ll start expanding into the North American market soon!!
Anyway. So, the hotel was a welcome sight but it would be another 12 hours before we could sink into our bed. Temple time!
Oh gosh. This is pretty bad but I can’t really recall where we went that first day. Part of the problem was that we hired a driver but not a tour guide to accompany him. The poor driver tried to do us a favor and give us some history but…. we wish he hadn’t. There was a lot of muttering and zero understanding going on. After about five hours of trying to decipher what he was saying (there was one especially puzzling phrase that he said upwards of 100 times that sounded like, uuuurrrlllllnooooo), we realized it was best to just pretend we were asleep.
Jake seemed to have given up on life by that point. I feared I was losing him so we skipped the last temple or two (what’s another one when you’ve seen 5 already) and headed back for YEA you guessed it!
Followed by food and sleep. The next day had more fun in store. Luckily we were working with a young tuk tuk driver, temples whose names I can actually remember, and children!!
Precious!! Anyone who visits take note – everything they sell is a dollar and some of the best dollars you’ll spend 😉 specially when a dollar buys you a game of tic tac toe.
Some…other temple. Now this next one…. THIS I know. Angkor Wat! One of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Spent a good hour there.. mostly piddling around taking pics like this. Then we zipped over to the temples right near Ankgor Wat (area known as Ankgor Thom) .. particularly loved the temple with all the faces carved into it. We ended up the whirlwind temple tour at the place where they filmed Tomb Raider – very cool but surprisingly much smaller than anticipated.
So green! It POURED just as we were leaving Ta Prohm…. and it didn’t stop until the next day. Monsoon season at its finest!
In all seriousness for anyone planning on visiting Siem Reap – we did end up loving it. I may not remember which pics are are associated with which temples, but I did write up a summary immediately after coming back (presumably because I knew this would happen) and here’s what I’d recommend:
Angkor Wat – obviously.
Angkor Thom – particularly three temples within called Bayon, Baphoun and Phimeanakas.
Ta Prohm – where they filmed Tomb Raider.
Make time for the pool since it’s HOT, and for all the food and drinks you can stomach since it’s so cheap!
Ah. This was a good close to our love affair with Asia. <3
More of Our Travel