Sunrise at Angkor, Indiana Tom, and the Leia of Doom.
Being up at 4:30am was surprisingly easy and we even got a packed breakfast to take with us from the hotel. As we walked out there was Samnang ready as usual, he got us through the busy sunrise traffic and dropped us off with the distant sky just starting to show the first signs of life.
We walked through and veered off the main walkway to the left, sat down and got ready. The sky was clear and as the sun rose behind Angkor Wat I was mesmerised. It really is awesome, and I got a lot of nice pictures. As the sun continued to rise I went further down to watch from one of the ponds and I was glad I did. The sight from here was amazing, mist rose from the pond as the warm sun rays struck it and the sun gleamed through palm trees just to the side of the temple. It was so enjoyable and I sat with my legs dangling over the pond enjoying the beauty I was surrounded by.
I think it would be one of the most romantic moments in your life if you
caught the sun coming up like that. I am a big softy though!
I walked back down to meet the others and Samnang took us to the next temple, Preah Khan. I loved this temple, again we had to walk through and turn left to meet Samnang at the other side, the temple itself was like standing in a hallway full of mirrors each way looked like it went on forever. It was very quiet this early in the morning which made it much better.
The best part was a huge bleached tree that had enveloped a wall it was great to think how old these temples are to have something of that magnitude growing up and around it. It made for some excellent tree pics and was even better from the other side.
We ended up walking too far and it was a creepy crawly way with lots of the huge spiders in their webs hanging above us in the tree tops. It was worse when you couldn’t see a spider, I got my revenge on Leia by dropping a leaf on her shoulder and scaring her.
We got to the end and realised it was the wrong way, but in some ways it worked out well because there was a huge expanse of water in front of us, with the morning sun shining off it.
The bad part meant we had to walk back under the spiders and cobwebs, Leia got me again my using a stick to tap my shoulder, I could’ve cried!
We eventually made it back to Samnang who took us to Preah Neak Poan, a small temple surrounded by a pool with four outer pools circling it. This was nice but nothing extra special, we did get to walk along a gangway over the lake which was fun.
Our next stop was a temple I didn’t catch the name of, it was small but when you walked through a doorway and turned around the whole thing had been overtaken by a tree growing round it,so the doorway goes through the roots. It looks like something out of fantasy and I absolutely loved it. Another temple was next and we were starting to get temple fatigue! This one was good with some elephant statues around it.
The next place was about 45 minutes away, it’s called Banteay Srei and it didn’t have the imposing size of the other temples, the carvings were possibly more ornate but after spending the morning mostly alone at the different temples this one was really busy. We breezed through it and even surprised Samnang by the speed with which we were back. I don’t think it’s worth the hour and a half round trip or the extra money it cost us at the end.
Tired and ready to get back we enjoyed the breeze of the tuk tuk and the views of lakes, forests and temples on the way back. At the hotel I got straight into bed and slept for a few hours. The others enjoyed the Jacuzzi while I dozed a little longer and sorted boring stuff like laundry. Then we got ready and went out for food, we ended up in the same place as we had gone the day before. It was cheap and cheerful and the food tasty. Now we were ready to enjoy Saturday night in Siem Reap.
The first rule of our nights out is cheap beer. So we ended up in a 50c bar which also had table tennis and connect4. Leia and I had a game of tennis but were soon overheating in the Cambodian evening warmth so we switched to a connect4 tournament. All three of us taking it in turns to play each other, connect4 is a personal fave of mine ever since I was in Gran Canaria and it was in every bar.
After this we went back to X bar, the rooftop backpacker bar we had been to previously. This time they had a really good band on, playing classics like ‘Fast Car’, ‘Wicked Game’, Chilli Peppers and ‘All along the watch tower’. Amongst this Leia and I played more table football and Liam pestered the band at intervals.
We spent a couple of hours there, it’s easy to just sit and have people bring you beers and not want to move. Eventually though we peeled ourselves from the seats and walked back towards the hotel, Liam was ready to go back but Leia and I stayed out, ending up on ‘pub street’ in a club filled with locals dancing to hip hop, dodgy dance and the YMCA. It was a lot of fun and we had a good time dancing like idiots, they even played the Macarena. It turned out that the locals even danced gangster style to this!
Exhausted and ready for home we sauntered through town, on the look out for food but not finding anything decent, so bed beckoned and the next day was totally free of plans!