Thursday, May 15, 2014

All over Cambodia in 3 weeks - Siem Reap

Last December and January I cashed in my annual leave and some more to go travelling in Cambodia for almost a month.

The fantastic ancient temples of Siem Reap cannot be quite enjoyed in a day, but in one hectic day starting in the dark at 5am we came quite close. Pity the $30 extracted from millions of tourists every year ends up in the hands of a Vietnamese contractor.Baphuon sleeping BuddhaWe managed to visit the impressive Angkor Wat before a rather lack luster sunrise due to the clouds. Then off for a jaunt on the tuktuk through the myriad temples of Angkor Thom. Finally we managed to convince the reluctant driver to make the long trip to Bantey Srei (The Women's Temple) and admired its beautiful carvings as the sun set. Apsara Detail
The night in Siem Reap is an entirely separate experience all by itself. Where the temples show the grandeur of ancient Cambodia, the Night Markets and Pub Streets of Siem Reap reflect the vital resurgence modern Cambodia is exeriencing from the decades of bloody civil war. Granted most of the industry is rather grey and exploitative in nature, it is still good to see haggling in the market and mass production of temple based artwork from a few originals made by actual masters.

All told I would have loved to stay in Siem Reap for a month to catch the perfect sunrise over Angkor Wat and the perfect sunset over Bayon, and indulge in the debauchery in pub street every night.