Yesterday I reluctantly left Laos after almost 4 weeks (seems like much longer thank God!) and flew to Siem Reap in Cambodia. I met an English girl called Jenny on the flight and kinda decided to hang out for a couple of days..largely based on the fact that none of us were that arsed about seeing Angkor Wat and the temples, and kindof felt we had it on our agenda because it was one of those things that you had to do. I had semi-joked to people last week that I could (in my mind) go to Cambodia and not ‘do’ Angkor Wat.
Anyway, what’s all the fuss about Cambodia, or maybe it hasn’t hit us yet. People here are so friendly, yes you get the odd bit of ‘hassle’ for stuff, but jeez, it’s talked up from what we’ve seen so far. We got moto guys into town yesterday, whizzed around a few guesthouses and got settled at a place a wee bit (10 mins walk) out of town. We then bumped into a British guy during this and went with him on the hot air balloon overlooking the temples ($15, ten minutes, not worth it) and the sunset over Siem Reap.
I decided last night I liked Siem Reap – it’s like a pubbed up version of Luang Prabang, obviously with a lot of cash being pumped into keeping the place historic, tidy and attractive to well heeled tourists. And for Asia, I haven’t even smelled one open sewer yet!
Pleasantly, we went to a few of the temples today, and had a great day. Initially we buzzed 30km out of town on the moto’s, then came in and did the normal ones, hoping we’d cover them in a day. As it turns out we were both pleasantly surprised that we quite enjoyed our day on the bikes. I could probably do another day but would probably feel templed out by then so I think I’ll leave it at a single day’s visit. Unfortunately I left it too late to speak to the guys at hiddencambodia.com about a dirt bike tour, so think I’ll be missing that out. 🙁 The main reason I did my bike test!
I had great fun practising my bargaining today while waiting for lunch outside one of the temples. A girl tried to punt bracelets did actually say “You buy from me I give you peace and quiet”. I then bought one for a third of the price, and a book for less than a third.
Anyway, wasn’t planning on doing this tonight, so more tomorrow maybe, and maybe with some pics. A lazy day planned tomorrow hitting some fresh tunes on my MP3 player from Boom Boom ‘records’ in town, and ‘planning’ my time in Cambodia…or at least when I’ll leave here. Jenny leaves Monday for Phnom Penh, and I leave then too but for Battambang.