10/11/2013 - 14/11/2013
Our guesthouse in Siem Reap sent a tuk tuk to collect us from the bus station. It was a really bumpy journey to start with but thankfully the roads smoothed out a bit as we got closer to the town centre.
We stayed at Jasmine Gardens. It was an ok place, though I wouldn't recommend it specifically. The room and bathroom were a bit rough and scummy in places. Not hugely, but enough to warrant mentioning. Plus we had problems with the toilet, which has happened far too often on this trip. We did get breakfast included though, even if the coffee was gross again.
One good thing about the guesthouse was that they arranged a tuk tuk driver to take us around the temples at Angkor the following day. We set off fairly early so that we could fit in as much as possible. Entry tickets aren't cheap but you do get your photo put on them, which is quite novel.
Our driver was really good - he'd drop us off in different areas, tell us roughly how long to spend there, then specify a collection point to meet us and drive us on to the next place.
Angkor Wat's the temple that everyone's heard of, but there are lots of others too. We started off at Angkor Thom, which is really impressive. It's hard to find the words to describe it, so here's a photo:
Another really impressive one (though they were all pretty impressive) was Ta Prohm. The main draw of that was the trees that were entwined with it:
As well as all the beautiful structures, we saw quite an array of animals on that day too. Elephants, pigs, monkeys, tiny tiny frogs... Plus we bumped into the Australian couple that we'd met in Mui Ne. That's happened a lot on this trip too.
Angkor Wat was the penultimate place we went and it is incredibly beautiful. Walking around inside it isn't as impressive as the other temples I've mentioned above, but looking at the outside from a bit of a distance is pretty stunning:
After that our driver took us to a place with a good lookout point, so we could watch the sun set over Angkor. It was incredibly busy, as you can possibly imagine, but it was a nice way to end the day.
We had initially considered spending two days at Angkor, but it was such a long and tiring day, we didn't really have the stamina for another. There was stuff we didn't get to see but we'd squeezed in a decent amount. It was a hugely enjoyable and memorable day. Easily one of the best days we've had on this trip. But like I said, incredibly tiring. Although not so much from the walking around; it was mostly due to the weather. It wasn't hugely sunny, but it was very unpleasantly humid, which is probably worse.
Anyway, on our second day in Siem Reap, we had a much more relaxing day. I can't really remember what we did, to be honest, but I think it involved a jug of beer at about midday.
Originally we were only going to spend the 3 nights in Siem Reap, so that's all we booked at Jasmine Garden. However, as we were then going on to Bangkok, where we'd need to spend quite a few days anyway (as had a friend joining us), but didn't want to arrive there too long before her (as we'd only get a 15 day visa), we decided to spend one more day in Siem Reap. It wasn't to do anything particular, but it was a nice place to just chill out.
We didn't want to stay in Jasmine Gardens so we moved to a nearby place called Bunlinda. It was about the same price but turned out to be quite a bit nicer. It even had a pool, so we made some use of that. Plus the owner was really sweet and friendly and sat with us for ages, asking us where we'd been to on this trip and drawing his own map of our route. It was quite an abstract map, it has to be said, but it made our stay there extra memorable.
On the day that we did leave, we took a bus to Bangkok. The bus and the journey were fine, as far as I remember. We had a border crossing, of course, which seemed to take place in the most fishy-smelling town in the world. But aside from that, it was fine. Infact it was better than fine - we were only meant to get 15 day visas, as we were entering by land, but we were given 30 day visas for some reason. Not that we needed them, but they were still nice to have.