Friday, May 05, 2006

Spectacular Siem Reap

Long overdue for posting…
I went to Siem Reap early last month with a couple of frens for 5D4N.. Had an excellent time there, although I got very bad sun burns (fucking hot there, the sun was scorching at 37 degrees!!)

Day 1
Reached Siem Reap late morning. Went to Siem Reap town, where we checked into our hotel. We stayed near Pub Street, Old Market area.
The locals are ok, most of them can speak a smattering of English, so communication was not an issue here (well, at least they know basics like one dollar, cheap, money, hungry, and tuk tuk sir?) . Spent the day lepaking around the area and checking out local food and products. Night was chilling out at the pub area, where beers are darn cheap!
Pub street, the only happening street in Siem Reap town.. some of the décor are even better than Bangsar!

Day 2
Woke up around 4:30 am to catch sunrise at Angkor Wat. Our driver picked us up at 5:15 am and we reached Angkor area around 5:40am. Need to pay and get pass with mug shot (well at least that’s what I felt like) before we can go into Angkor area. Angkor Wat is very impressive with its sheer size and splendour…simply spectacular

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

We explored around Angkor Wat, scaling to their ‘summit’ by mid morning. A word of caution for those who have fear of heights, this may be a tad difficult to climb as its extremely steep..definitely not for the faint hearted! I didn’t wanna climb up at the beginning as I have slight vertigo, but I figured, hey I may not come back again, so WTF!

While my frens huffed and puffed their way up the summit.. I was still contemplating down there.... (note, the climb is steep.. approx 80 degrees)

View from the summit- *grunt * finally, I manage to climb up (without my frens knowing, but they found me later.. ;p)

There are plenty of apsaras(deities) carved all over the place. All around Angkor Wat, there were bas-reliefs carvings done nearly 1000 years ago, with its carvings depicting stories from Hinduism, Buddhism and Khmer wars.

Another fren joined us from Phnom Penh and we continued our ‘exploration’ at Angkor Thom- Bayon. Bayon is different from Angkor Wat, well obviously the size could not match to that of Angkor’s, but its still breathtaking in its own way. There were plenty of mysterious smiling faces carved on the temples. Some actually find this creepy coz ‘they’ are smiling at you all the time…

The mysterious smiling faces of Bayon.. Hey what are you smirking at?? Very funny meh??

Next we covered Central Angkor- Terrace of the Elephants, Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Leper King, Victory gate and Preah Khan. Preah Khan enthralled me, where its actually crumbling ruins with tree roots entwined to its structure. The dampness, the moss, smell of dead wood.. it’s poles apart from the previous places we’ve seen. And my fren said “If you like this, wait till you see Ta Phrom tomorrow”..hmmmm

Day 3
We didn’t wake up that early today, but still managed to be out by mid morning
We went to Banteay Srei, a gorgeous and intimate pink sandstone temple built in the 10th century. I loved this place, the carvings here are extremely intricate and the colours! Its red/pink sand stone really stands out compared to the dull black grey stones we saw yesterday.
The absolutely stunning Banteay Srei.. left me agape!!

After that, we checked out East and West Mebon, Preah Rup and Prasat Kravan(this was built before Angkor Wat). The final ruin that we visited was Ta Phrom (yup the famed Tomb Raider was shot there). Compared to Preah Khan, this is more impressive, the area is larger, more tree roots covering the whole temple.. words cant describe it, check out the pic
Hmmm, I wonder if Angelina shot any of her scenes here??

It kinda got a lil weary later in the day coz we have seen so many ruins that everything seems to appear the same (but different, yea I know..). We managed to pop by to a local village to see them cooking palm sugar. The local were a friendly lot, even let us have a drink of the palm juice!

These tourists are jakun betul!! Have to smile for them somemore!!

We ended the day by climbing up a lil hill call Phnom Bakheng to see sunset at Angkor. Most unfortunately for us, it was a cloudy day, so we didn’t really get to see the sun setting

Day 4
Spent the whole day shopping (haggling half of the time) and trying out the local food. You can read the siem reap food in another of my posting.

Overall, it was a lovely trip, with great company, magnificent scenery and structures and good food without the diarrhea.....


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