Our first full day in Cambodia and we were heading to the Angkor Wat today! I was the first one to wake up.
I went outside to write in my journal, but went back inside because of the mosquitoes. I started out writing inside, but it was dark inside and I didn’t want to turn on the lights which would wake up everyone in the room.By the time I got back in, Ann was the next person to wake up. Then Eric, and finally Vincent. The sleepy bear-zilla. We had to get ready for breakfast before we left for the temples. Pancakes and French toast. The wait staff, as with all of the people here were super nice. They had excellent customer service!
When we finished eating, Kim, our tuktuk driver whom also brought us to the hotel, drove us to Angkor Wat.
Oh my god! It was gorgeous and super cool!
But first we bought our three day pass to the temples. When we got to the first main temple, Angkor Wat, many locals were trying to sell us tours. I am sure a travel book like Lonely Planet does a good job in instilling the culture and history, regardless of the tour guide stating that only they know the culture and history of the temples. Well at least better.
We explored the courtyard leading to the Angkor Wat. Most of Angkor are undergoing renovation and reconstruction, since over the centuries that temples have been falling apart by time and by man. It is definitely going to take a really long time to reconstruct these magnificent structures.
It was so cool that we got to explore mostly free around these structures. It felt like an Indiana Jones’ adventure, even though the films didn’t take place in Cambodia. This one guy pulled Ann and me aside to pray to this one statue.. and then donate. Ah we got had!
We got to this one part of the temple where it was restricted for kids, so Vincent had to stay behind with Ann. He wasn’t happy about it. But it was really steep and a little dangerous with the wind.
It was soon high noon. It was time for a break, or rather, lunch!
We spoke to Kim about a great place to eat that is not too toursity. He took us way outside of Angkor Wat, if that says anything, to this quaint place called Bopha Seas Srnag. My vegetable curry wasn’t bad at all.
I had the Angkor Wat Beer and Eric had this other brew. But Ann’s drink took the cake. It was one massive coconut!
We went back to look at some smaller temples. Today was mainly checking out Angkor Wat, the temple in the middle.
It was soon 4 pm, which prompted us to leave. The temples close at 5pm, and to beat the rush back we left an hour earlier. On our way back, we went by this arch exit where people were feeding the monkeys. With one guy allowing the monkeys to climb all over him for the bananas. Already during this stay in Cambodia, I noticed tourists hopping and standing on delicate temple stones (which led to previous destruction of sites) and photograph natives without asking or compensating them for their time and image.
When we got back to our hotel, we prepared to go to dinner at a place that I checked out back in HCMC. Chamkar was a authentic vegetarian Cambodian cuisine, so I thought we should give it a try. Kim knew the general direction of the restaurant, but when we got there we didn’t realize that it was in the European quarter. Which was an alleyway of restaurants and stores.
It was a pretty nice place with rustic decor, there were two floors but we were on the ground floor. The vegetarian food was pretty good as well. The food had a coconutty flavor to most of them.
When we finished we went back to the main street to get our feet massaged by these little fish they had in tanks. The fish would eat the dead skin, leaving only fresh and new skin. It was defoliating our skin naturally. Eric, Vincent, and I went in and came out laughing! I couldn’t stop laughing! I am already a pretty ticklish person, but this was extremely tickling!
We couldn’t last too long with this school of fish. The fish loved me! The school swarmed my feet!
When we were done we went back out to look for Kim and his tuktuk, but couldn’t find him. So as I waited across the street, Ann, Vincent, and Eric checked out some stores. But not for too long as Kim spotted me and waved us over to bring us back to our hotel.
We ended the night in the pool. Ahh!