Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, the worlds kingdom, tuk-tuks and cheap food from all around the world. I feel like this is the worlds melting pot! I have met so many people from all over the world. I have seen all kinds of Asian shops, a Mexican shop, all kinds of American brand name clothing, A Swiss guy, germans, English, Irish, United Kingdom, Russian and so many more people!
Daniel, a Swiss guy who moved to Cambodia to open “Swiss Food” restaurant.
Siem Reap is a city that shows The high of highs and the low of lows. Anything you want to do or see you can find here. It is a huge tourist city however because of the Angkor Wat temples and the huge amount of history that they have to share.
So many knock off brand name products! Very easy to find any brand name one could want!
To become more “cultured” I attended a traditional Khmer show to learn a bit about the culture as well as the Angkor National Museum (Trip Advisor Link) to learn about the history of the country before going to Angkor Wat and surrounding temples. There are large amounts of Hindu and Buddhist influence in the culture, and hence, Buddhism has a strong influence in the region.
Costumes and clothing of Cambodia
At the Cambodian National Museum. No photos? Oh come on!
Angkor Wat itself is stunning. The size, the architecture, the design, and just about everything about it. Sunrise over the temple is a spectacular view, but requires an extremely early morning start in order to see it. It meant I had to be up at 4am to head to the temple with the tuk tuk. This was an exciting experience. Riding through the middle of the road, no lights and other drivers going back and forth as well…locals believe lights use more fuel and you turn them on, so it’s not uncommon to see cars or bikes with their lights off, or only on when passing one another.
Most of the temples have extremely steep stone stairs to climb, and in addition to being to steep, they have been worn down by erosion over the last 800+ years. I climbed a few of these stairs to the top, it is quite the experience – they don’t have guard rails on most of the stairs so it’s not an activity for the faint of heart or the person who is scared of heights.
Hula Gril made an Angkor Wat appearance!
Bayan – One large temple, it is currently under restoration.
The tour is a self guided tour that requires the help of a tuk tuk driver. The temples are far apart from each other and they are farther from the city – about a 20-25 minute ride to the first temple. The roads are full of tuk-tuks and other tourists – stay ahead of the big groups and its not so bad!
Crossing a wooden bridge – tuk-tuks and trucks/busses alike cross this bridge Another one taken at Bayon. This guy tried to give me a tour of Bantaey Kdei. There are “tour guides” everywhere trying to collect tips for tours. He just started walking and told me to follow for pictures, so I did. At the end he asked for a tip and I told him no and took a picture with him instead! His friends all laughed when I told him no for the tip. Sorry buddy, not looking for a paid tour!
Everywhere you go you see Buddha and good luck incense burning near Buddha. There are hundreds of temples scattered throughout the countryside and most of them have many Buddha inside as well. Many temples are still being used and still decorated with many artifacts and colorful fabrics.
Buddha inside a temple.
The temple that was in Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider film is here – Ta Prohm. It is overrun with trees and in ruins but is quite a site to see. Trees growing on top of stones and rocks, and the Cambodia Heritage group is restoring part of the temple as well.
Trees growing on the temple, probably holding a lot of it together!
Michaela, Claire, Lauren from the UK, Ireland and Wales. Ran into them multiple times at the various temples – they ended up taking some jumping pictures for me! Thanks guys, enjoy the rest of your trip!
Ta Prhom temple – photo credit to Michaela A Cambodian Heritage Police officer, he got a kick out of Hula Girl, and it kept him cool!
Kids selling goods to tourists around the temples. Its not recommended to buy stuff from these kids because it encourages them to NOT go to school. I told them to go to school and then took a picture with them.
I learned some very important words today as well from my driver – how to say “to expensive” (Plaaay Na) and “I don’t want” (Kyom ut Chung). The locals and the vendors get a kick out of it when I say these words in Cambodian/Khmer language, but it works and they laugh and we move on.
A fun family with a shop on the the road. I told her “Kyom ut chung” and she says “no, I dont understand! I dont know meaning”. She nicknamed me “monkey” because of my jumping pictures I take.
It seems as if people here are never in a hurry either. It’s a slow moving society – nobody speeding, nobody driving angry, just slow, calm and easy going. Even in the city when making turns or trying to cross the street, people move slow and out of your way and go around you. Light honking to let others know they are coming but that is all. It’s a nice change from crazy speeding city life!
Motor bike carrying a load of construction material – they can fit anything on a motorbike!
Wedding photo ceremony along one of the walking bridges.
Stay tuned for future updates of Cambodia. An adventure out to the far out country side is coming up to experience real, local Cambodian life as well as meet more of the local people that bring Siem Reap to life as well as other major cities in the region.