I must say that in recent times it’s increasingly difficult to find countries not overrun by tourists and which continue to maintain that spirit still true that Cambodia has. Even the flight with Etihad, the UAE company, a competitor of the Emirates I believe has well exceeded. The planes are brand new, comfortable, super entertainment, even in economy class.
Arriving in Siem Reap we waited for our zealous tuk tuk driver, available from the hotel who would keep us company for four days that we would spend there. Despite the fatigue, after a refresh at the hotel we wanted to devote the afternoon to get around the city. Let’s say the main attraction here is the old market, a maze of stalls ranging from souvenirs to food of all kinds, to see and photograph especially for its colors. So a nice foot massage for an hour (until 5 pm is happy hour so it makes the price of half ) at a cost of $ 4 each. Given the discoverywe did repeat it in the next few days we stayed . Our party completely melted and then at 6 in the evening we were searching for a place to eat. A nice plate of noodles and various other strange things found in the street stalls. $ 4 for dinner for 2. So at 7.30 we went to sleep dead tired by the journey. Two words on the hotel: we chose the Queen Villa Angkor, a colonial mansion owned by a German with a few rooms in a quiet, but close enough to downtown: 10 min walk, area. Spending $ 35 a day in two with breakfast isn’t such bad a deal. The rooms are nice and spacious,though the bathroomdid leave something to be desired. Unfortunately, it penalizes the shower floor as well as the very fact that the towels are never changed . But if you adapt to this, there are no other problems. The breakfast is made of baguette (French ancient heritage) jam or chocolate cream, yogurt, coffee or tea. No milk, no drinks …oh well ….. At least the bed is comfortable to sleep in …. or is it the fatigue?
Dinner in Siem Reap
The first day was devoted entirely to the visit of the temples. Given the number of temples I had made a list of those at home that I wanted to see. Together with Michael, the owner of the villa, we planned the day by distributing the various visits on different days, in order to lose as little as possible. Some temples are far away and you spent time to reach them.
We start at 7 am and we try our first temple, Angkor Wat with our tuk tuk. Besides being the most spectacular monument Ankgor is also the best preserved and perhaps this makes it lose some ‘of the charm that is found in other temples. The view takes at least a couple of hours, but even more if you get lost behind the magnificent bas-reliefs carved on the walls of the temple. During the visit we also came across a group of monkeys. Fortunately at that time there were still so many people around. The groups will meet them later and move to our visit to Angkor Wat and later go far enough as to see the two temples. It takes more than an hour to get there. In fact, the first Kbal Spean, is not a temple, but the bed of a river surrounded by jungle, fully carved, also called the Thousand Linga River. Bella is also a walk in the jungle along a path a mile (one way), all uphill, but not at all difficult. Later on it meets a waterfall coming down on top of which were carved figures of animals. Not far from there the temple of Banteay Srei, little one, but a real gem built in really refined, pink stone sculptures have .
A day devoted entirely to the small circuit of Angkor Wat isn’t enough. Do not be confused by the word small, the spin is small, but the day is intense and there is a lot of stuff to see, say the top of the whole trip. Let’s leave the temple of Angkor Wat and lets start with the Banteay Kdei, one of the most beautiful in my opinion, because even if it doesn’t top the Ta Prohm in flora or faunait is known as the beauty of the place. The Ta Prohm is perhaps the most beautiful among all the temples because it’s left completely at the mercy of the jungle. But this is now kept at bay and everything is under control. Huge trees have taken possession of the temple, including one made famous by the movie Tomb Raider. The vegetation comes out on every side, mosses and lichens cover the walls and huge stone walls several meters high covering roots. Everything is spectacular, if not for the high number of tourists.It describes exactly the spirit of what I expected to see at Angkor nomatter its good condition.
As we continue around the whole of the walled city of Angkor Thom the complex is great to walk around all over and we lost several hours just sightseeing. The most spectacular is that the city is decorated with giant Bayon faces of Avalokiteshvara. But the other works around the city, as the Bauphonas, are also beautiful, pyramidal representation of mythical Mount Meru, where it still is subjected to a great work of restoration. The Terrace of the Leper King with Elephants richly decorated and many other small temples with unpronounceable names.
Though traveling signifies an amount of things to do and visit, cambodia overwhelmed me with a total different aspect both a relegious matter and a lifestyle. I probably’ll have to visit it soon and take a much meticolous look!!
By Ina K