After having completed a very tiring and expensive journey across the border, we woke up in our hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the Mekong Angkor Palace Hotel. The room is nice and big which overlooks the pool. We made our way to the restaurant for the complementary breakfast. Previous experiences with these breakfasts have been poor so we were not expecting much. Having sat down, a waiter approached us with a menu! We both ordered the omelette and fruit. Out came a massive omelette, two massive baguettes and a plate of fruit – Each! It was lovely and very filling.
Whilst Stef was getting ready, I went over the road from our hotel to change some money up. Before we crossed the border the previous night, our guide told us to withdraw as much money as we could as there were hardly any ATMs in Cambodia. I was amazed to see stacks and stacks of notes behind thin glass cabinets, which lined the shop. Cambodia uses the American Dollar as their main currency; however they only use their notes and do not use their Cent coins. For the smaller amounts, they have their own “Riel”. It looks like monopoly money. I soon discovered that £150 is a cool Million Riel. The notes I saw stacked were in denominations of 100. That stack was worth hardly anything. So much for being impressive! On a side note – there are ATM machines and banks EVERYWHERE in this town!
We’d arranged the previous night, to hire a Tuk Tuk and driver for the day to take us around the The Temples of Angkor Wat. There’s 53 temples of Angkor! They mostly look the same but there are a few that are a hit with the tourists so we chose those. Having had temple/ruins overkill in Thailand – we couldn’t hack to be bombarded with a load more!
The first temple we visited was the main one, Angkor Wat. There’s not much I can really say about the temples we saw – apart from that they were beautiful and would have looked amazing when they were in their prime. I’ll let the photos do the talking.
After walking around in each temple, we returned back to the waiting Tuk Tuk and taken to the next. We originally planned to do the whole thing by push bike. Thank God we didn’t. It would have been a right mission.
One of the more interesting Temples was Ta Prohm. All the film geeks will know that this temple is featured in the film Tomb Raider, staring Angelina Jolie. It’s the one with trees growing over the temple walls. As Stef had never seen the film, the previous night, I made her watch it. 20 minutes to the end of the film, I realised that I had made her watch the 2nd instalment and not the one with the temple! D’oh – she wasn’t amused.
Towards the end of the tour, we had to tell the Tuk Tuk driver that we had had enough. We were all templed out and he took us back to the hotel. We’d been walking around for hours. We were tired, cooked from the sun and our legs were filthy from the dusty floors.
It was a good day, however, the most annoying thing for me were the other tourists. The temples were fascinating to look at and to walk around, however, you couldn’t really get a clear photo without some Japanese bloke poking his head in the shot! I wouldn’t mind if he smiled, but they never did – not even for their own photos – I thought I was miserable!