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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Temple-ing it up in Siem Riep.

After a long rest in Siem Reap Rooms, I got up to a hearty breakfast and some chats with fellow travellers (the couple beside me were from Northern Ireland - you can't go anywhere, seriously!) I explored Siem Riep on foot for a bit whilst April slept on. It is a seriously lovely town; very different in style to Phnom Penh - there are traces of French colonialism everywhere.
Me on the streets of Siem RiepAfter April had arisen, Phil (the hostel owner) gave us tips on exploring Siem Riep and the surrounding areas. He asked us what we liked and recommended some itineraries for us. We also had a tuk-tuk driver, Charl, on standby to take us wherever we pleased.
Laura arrived just in time for us to set off for sunset at Angkor Wat. If you've ever been, I don't need to explain how absolutely breathtaking the first sight of Angkor Wat is. The trip in the tuk-tuk was fun, watching all the little street stalls set up opposite the lake and the temples themselves. There were crowds streaming towards the entrance (and it wasn't even high season!) which we followed and we walked up to the main temple to watch the sunset. We watched the monks hurry across the pathways for prayer, resplendent in robes of gold/orange. Over the noise of the birds we could hear their chanting carried on the wind. It was very calming and there is something amazingly spiritual about the place. I can't explain it, to be honest so I'll just post some photos.....

People say it's more spectacular when the sun sets over Angkor Wat itself (The sun moves around at different times of year) but I've never seen anything quite so spectacular.

We were all fairly quiet as we toured around, taking in the magnificence of the temple. It's remarkable how much detail is in the carvings from thousands of years ago. I sometimes wonder if we're getting it wrong  - all the new gadgets and fandangled inventions - these people carved epic scenes in stone! It really is a wonder of the world. 

We visited the famous Red Piano for dinner, a popular day and night spot with great views over the bustling market and streets. We didn't sample the Tomb Raider cocktail there (every tenth one sold is free! Alarm bells were going off every second with people winning free drinks) as we were also doing sunrise at Angkor Wat so had a 4am start. The food was tasty, but nothing really beats street noodle soup in Cambodia. 

So after a fulfilling day we crept back to our fabulously comfy beds for dreams of temples and days gone by.

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