In Siem Reap we stayed at Naga hostel, a sister hostel to the Mad Monkey. This meant we could use the bar (and pool if we wanted), at Mad Monkey, for free. So the challenge was on to get another free t-shirt. 20 beers = a t-shirt. Challenge accepted.
On our first day we organised a tour with a tuk tuk driver which included taking us to Angkor Wat for sunrise.
My 4am alarm woke me from my rather crappy sleep – (thank you drunk person who decided it would be a really wonderful idea to scream “George and Gabby” on repeat at 2 and 3am). I got up and had a cold shower to try and bring myself into a more human state before waking up her majesty. With limited moaning I managed to shimmy her out of the hostel room and into the tuk tuk by 4.30 and we were on our way.
By 4.50 we were near the front of the queue for tickets to Angkor Wat. At 5am the booths opened, they take your picture and print you a photo ID ticket which you must show on entry to each of the temples. A day pass is $20.
We headed to Angkor Wat temple, along with 100s of others, for sunrise. Here is where I’d love to say the view was spectacular and it was completely worth getting out of bed so early to see the beauty of the sunrise over the most religious temple in Angkor. Unfortunately, it’s rainy season in Cambodia and the grey clouded sky prevented any true beauty. That said, watching the temple come into focus as the sun lit up the sky was rather special – I just couldn’t take any incredible photographs that might pay off my student loan. Not that I could have done that anyway because my “trusty” little camera decided to have a tantrum and refuse to work – not exactly ideal when I’m in the most picturesque location in all of Cambodia. All of that aside, we managed to take some pretty cool photos – thank you iPhones!
We spent the next few hours exploring a few of the other temples including Angkor Thom (the setting for Tombraider) which was really cool.
5 hours and 100s of pictures later, we headed back to the hostel to nap. And, honestly, this is where the culture finishes. We spent the afternoon indulging in Cambodian food and Cambodian beer. We did visit the night market where we bought yet more stereotypical traveller clothing. Liv is really racking up on the beer t-shirts now!
We spent the evening sipping cocktails; piña colada’s and espresso martinis – what student budget?!
The next day we lay in, had late breakfast and went for a massage – it’s a stressful life this travelling business. We also went to the cinema to watch the minion movie – $5 for a 3D film. The cinema itself was very flashy, as nice, if not nicer than the ones back home – certainly much better value for money!
We then stopped off at street vendors for a bite to eat before returning to the Mad Monkey to get our t-shirt. A few beers and some heated political debates later we were 1 t-shirt richer. Success.
Overall Siem Reap was a chilled few days and we got to experience one of the greatest UNESCO world heritages sights in the world – not a bad way to bid farewell to Cambodia.
Now we are headed back to Bangkok before our flight to Myanmar – a country we anticipate to carry a much different vibe from anything else we’ve seen in Southeast Asia.