After Kampot we headed to Koh Kong so that Tee could do a border run to get a new visa. There we visited the mangrove forests. It was midday by the time we made it out to the forest so not too much was moving about. We did see and hear some raucous kingfishers and I had fun watching the little pipefish poking around in the water.
Then we were going to hang out in Battambang for a bit, but we didn’t connect with the place at all so we took a boat trip across the Tonle Sap to Siem Reap. The boat ride brought us through the floating villages and we saw egrets, herons, storks, anhingas, bee eaters, 2 types of kingfishers and possibly a fish eagle.
Siem Reap is the town that provides all the services for Angkor Wat visitors. In Siem Reap we found the cheapest and most delicious bbq.
We visited a handicraft workshop making palm leaf boxes, soaps, candles, incense, etc on our way to the War Museum.
The night before we went to Angkor Wat I realized I wasn’t all that excited about going there. I am much more into living, breathing things than museums and ruins. Nevertheless we got up early and headed out to Angkor Wat just after sunrise. From a distance Angkor Wat was more impressive than I ever imagined. It is freak’n huge.
We made a very silly/stupid decision in the name of saving a few bucks. We decided to walk from Angkor Wat to the other three major ruins. This was a bad idea for many reasons. First, it was very hot. Next, the ruins are 2-3 kms apart and lastly, this put us is sync with all the tour buses. VERY BAD IDEA! Walking did have one major perk in that when we came upon a troop of monkeys we had all the time in the world to sit and watch them.
After the initial rush wore off, I knew the crowds were going to get to me. I tried to go around some of the more packed areas, but never have I been so appalled by the actions of fellow travelers. Besides wearing grossly improper attire for a temple visit, touching and climbing all over the ruins despite numerous “No Touchie” signs, people were downright rude. I was pushed aside, shoved on the stairs, elbowed in the chest and nearly stabbed in the face with an umbrella. I had a minor melt down and we moved on.
The most interesting temple complex that we visited was Ta Promh. This is a less restored site with ficus growing over the ruins, its roots resembling a carrot grown in hard soil. High up in the treetops parrots squawked as they flapped from tree to tree.
In the end, the highlights of the day were the living, breathing parts. The monkeys playing in the trees and the parrots screeching in the treetops. Trust your gut.
From what I had read about Cambodia before I came to SE Asia I had a feeling I would fall in love with this country. I was right. I can’t wait to come back and explore more of this magical country.
With that, Goodbye Cambodia.
|The tuk tuks look different in each country and the call of the tuk tuk drivers will echo in my head for the rest of my life.|
Next stop, Chiang Mai.