Saturday, August 14 – Chiang Mai to Bangkok
After a lovely service celebrating Gax’s 50 years in Thailand, we left for the CM bus terminal together with Ashley and Ben Watson, who would be our bus buddies on this leg of our journey. The bus had brilliant panda motifs on the seats, pink, blue and green. Apart from a grumpy canadian we asked to move from our seat, the trip is sleep-filled and went by quickly. 10 minutes in we opened the first beers, which put us to sleep right away.
image courtesy of Ben Watson..Sunday, August 15 - Bangkok to Siem Reap
Arrival in Bangkok. We said goodbye to Ash and Ben who continued on to Koh Samui. We booked tickets on to Aranyaprathet (Bordertown) for 9.30. Sit and wait. Dom bought an assortment of thai snacks and goodies. Anna checked email.
2 pm: Border crossing Aranyaprathet -Poipet
Arrival in Aranyaprathet. We wanted to do the border crossing together with three Romanian tourists so we could share the taxi fare. Tuk tuk to the border. Driver took us to a visa office on the thai side, which was not yet the border. Here we were asked to fill out forms for our cambodian visa. We wondered why we were to fill out Cambodian papers, before we hadn't even left Thailand. We asked for the cost of this visa and it was more than our Lonely Planet reference price. We refused to get out of the tuk tuk and insisted the driver take us straight to the border, no more scams!
Anna was especially suspicious and wary of any kindness offered to us for the remainder of the day. We ran around to various offices which were arranged confusingly until we finally made it to the large international bus terminal outside of Poipet.
4pm: Poipet to Siem Reap
Just before departure we had some ice cream from a vendor, it was refreshing and soothed some of our anguish about the unknown circumstances. On this bus ride. Dominik’s head bobbed back and forth as he finally slept a bit. We noticed there were endless rice fields, few established gas stations (just a group of coke or whiskey bottles full of petrol), there were these hay stacks that looked like huts, many people rest on hammocks, drivers honk a lot more. When we arrived in Siem Reip we were offered a ride to our guest house for a dollar each at this point we were pooped so we took the fare.
Met Chris and Tim. Good to finally see faces we know for sure we could trust.
Monday, August 16th – Siem Reap
Slept in. Indian food for lunch. Rented bicycles - explored Siem Reap. Discovered some of the slums along the river. Got massages from some blind Khmer (Cambodian) guys that were doing this to make a living. We took naps. In the evening we ordered Pizza from Pizza Company using skype on Annas computer. We watched the Kangaroos on Discovery Channel. Very lazy evening!!!!!!!
lovely start to cambodia times.....
Tuesday, August 17th – Angkor Temples
Got up at 4.45 am. Took a Tuk Tuk (different from thai tuk tuks in that it is just a motorbike with a carriage strapped to the back) to Angkor Wat.
Sunrise by the temple.
Amazing. Wat Angkor is a 1 km square area with a giant moat around it.
Built around 1000 AD by a Khmer King.
We went on to Ta Prohm which is a temple that is overgrown by the jungle. Incredible overgrowth...
(This is where they filmed ‘Tomb Raider’.)(dominik)
we met a friendly lizard....
a khmer traditional dancer who seemed to be constipated on the day his image was etched into the stone...
Next stop was Angkor Thom.
Best temple here is Bayon which has 37 towers each with 4 giant faces carved into the rocks. Awesome. The decorative work is so intricate and detailed.
We were exhausted by 2 pm (especially Anna). We headed back to the guest house. Took naps. In the evening we ate the Khmer classic “Amok Fis” (Fish curry served in a coconut).
These were cinemas in town which had multiple TV screens and people would buy tea and other drinks and come and watch TV. Unlike the west not everyone in the world has a TV in their living room. Dominik said there are similar cinemas in Congo...
Cambodia's style of Rickshaw.