Ankor Wat temples and some of the nicest people we've ever met.
17.02.2008 - 20.02.2008 33 °C
Well, when Mark first suggested this big diversion from our Thailand itinerary I was not too convinced. However, I'm so glad that he persuaded me. This is probably our favourite bit of the trip right from the start of the journey.
We had to get a 6am train in Bangkok to the Thai border, a 6 hour journey. This sounded like a nightmare. However, we met two lovely Thai ladies on the train who entertained us all the way. They couldn't speak English, and we can only say hello and thank you in Thai, but somehow we managed to communicate. They kept patting our knees, and offering us Thai sweets. It was lovely. They clearly didn't want to leave us, but had to get off two stations before us.
After leaving the train we avoided the rip off touts, and got a Tuk Tuk to the border, to be bombarded by more touts. They told us if we didn't accept their help we would never get back over. What a load of rubbish. We had thankfully been warned not to take any notice of them and just go over.
The guesthouse in Siem Reap had arranged a Taxi for us to take us there, with a guy to help us through the Visa process in Cambodia. At one point were neither in Thailand or Cambodia for about 150 meters. There is a bit of bureaucracy there. Then we got a taxi, along a road that we had been warned was really bad, and it was like a three hour ride at Alton Towers. Along the road they sell Gasoline in Pepsi bottles (with no shelter from the heat of the sun), for the cars to fill up on. Health and Safety doesn't mean anything here!
Along the road there are mopeds with chickens, pigs and various cargo. There was also a big delivery truck which had tipped up! No one seemed to react, as if it was a usual sight. We really felt like we were travelling at this point.
Thankfully we got there in one piece, and without me being travel sick, thanks to a great Aussie remedy I discovered on the Great Barrier Reef.
We settled into our guesthouse and arranged a Tuk Tuk to pick us up at 05:20 the next day to get the sunrise at Ankor Wat. We hadn't seen this time of day in a while.
It was well worth it though, it was stunning.
In fact all the temples were lovely, Bayon, Ankor Thom
and Ta Phrom (known from the Tomb raider film).
Our driver Chad wanted to take us to more but we were so hot and a bit fed up of the Korean groups (everyone taking photos with "the peace sign') that we retreated to the Air con at the guesthouse. We then went back out for the sunset, which wasn't as good as the sunrise.
The Cambodian people are just the nicest people that we came have come across. Squeezing as many people onto the back of a moped is an art. Parents taking the kids to school seemed like one of the latest white knuckle rides, but was probably quite fun for the kids. They have had such a hard time, and have so little. Yet they are always friendly, have a big smile for you and are really thankful for your tourism in their country. We wanted to do so much more for them. Maybe we can later on.
We had a day to look around the town, and returned to Bangkok the next day, reversing the journey we took to get there. We are now ready for almost anything!
However, for now the next stop are the beautiful islands in the South of Thailand. Ko Phi Phi here we come.