Siem Reap, Cambodia.

It was an early start on the morning we were heading to Siem Reap. Waiting outside our hotel in Phnom Penh we were told that we would be picked up at our guesthouse at 7.30am, ready to leave on the 8am bus. We waited… and waited! And even after phoning the bus company to confirm, 7.55am came around and the pick up bus still had not come for us. Luckily, our American friends were catching the same bus and managed to get them to hold the 8am bus and send the pick up for us. Remember how I was telling you about unreliable bus companies in Asia?

Anyway, we eventually made it onto the bus and made the journey upto Siem Reap. In total, the bus journey cost us $15.50 each and it took around 8 hours to get there. From the bus station, we got a tuc tuc to our god awful accommodation but we won’t get into that. The tuc tuc cost us only $3, but the driver also wanted us to pay him to be our tour guide for the next day. All the tuc tuc drivers seem to know that the tourists come to see the grand temples- which are just out of the city. Therefore, they offer themselves to be your driver for the full day

We knew that we were doing the temples the next day but already had a tuc tuc arranged with Jess and Steven. Although, this tuc tuc driver was very adamant that we should go with him, so much so that he lowered his day tour price from $25 down to $15. Poor fella didn’t seem to understand the term no. We finally managed to get him to leave us to check into our guesthouse and after that, we made our way straight back out to the town to explore the local area and some food. After dinner, we made sure to get an early night as we were up at 4am the next day to see all of the temples with Steve and Jess.

We woke weary eyed the next morning and headed to the temples with Steve and Jess. Before we got there we had to get tickets to get into the temple area. The temples cost $20 for a day pass or $40 for a 3 day pass. Gillian and I decided to just go for the day pass as we were sure that we would be pretty ‘templed out’ by the end of the day. We arrived at the first temple on our itinerary, Angkor Wat, just before the sunrise. Angkor Wat is the biggest of the temples in Cambodia and the biggest religious monument in the world. The temple itself lies in a massive clearing in the forest and is surrounded by a huge wall and moat. The temple at sunrise was such an amazing sight. Seeing the outline of the Angkor Wat temple against the blood red sky was incredible!! An image that I won’t be forgetting any time soon. After we watched the sunrise we walked into the main temple from the grounds outside. Here, we were blown away by the architecture and detail in almost every stone that the temple was built from. We were able to climb right to the very top of the temple (which was a very sweaty task) and see the views across the temples grounds. It was phenomenal! After this it was back to the tuc tuc and onto more temples. It was a brilliant morning going from temple to temple but come about mid-day we decided to head back to Jess and Steven’s hotel to chill out in the pool. We spent a good few hours chilling here then Gillian and I decided to head back to our guesthouse, agreeing to meet back up with Jess and Steven for dinner and drinks that night

At 8pm, we all met up at the famous ‘Pub Street’. We were all amazed at how busy the place was. We thought it would be rather quiet with only a few bars. However, the street was packed with couples of all ages, families, and young travelers out eating and drinking. All the bars were competing over who had the loudest music and the PR’s were constantly coming up with any deal possible to get people in the door. We managed to find a place that offered us buy one get one free drinks. I managed to get a pint of Angkor, which is the local stuff, for a pound a pint and then managed to get another one for free!

The next day we decided to take it easy since we had had such a busy day previously. So Gillian and I wandered into the city centre to find a restaurant to sit in and have a drink or two. We ended up in a coffee shop which had a pretty laid back feel to it and ended up spending about two hours there where we planned the next few weeks or so of our travels. After this we wandered about the town and ended up booking up a horse riding trek for later that day. Gillian somehow managed to persuade me to give it a try so I went for it. We had booked the trek for five o’clock that evening so that it would be a bit cooler for the horses and we could maybe get a good sunset as well. We turned up at the stables and were introduced to our instructor and made our way out into the Cambodian countryside. The countryside was beautiful and all the locals were extremely friendly and would wave as we passed by. We trotted into the countryside where our instructor then took photos of us with the sun setting in the background. We then made our way back to the stables and then made our way back to our accommodation. That night we had to pack up of stuff so that we could make our way into Thailand the next day.

Gavin Cameron

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