#WRULou: Siem Reap, Cambodia
First of all, this will be semi photo heavy. lol. I can’t be bothered to divide my Cambodia trip into lots of parts because our stay here was short–but all the while very meaningful. And because my photos are mostly from the Angkor Wat Complex. How many times have I told myself while we were there that I would bring my parents back here someday, that I think they would like the place, because it feels so close to home. And my dad likes to walk a lot and enjoys historical places so…
Cambodia was our last stop off our Asian trip before going back home for Christmas. And after 10+ hours of travel time, with our butts stuck to the seats of the train-tuktuk-bus-van-tuktuk ride, we finally arrived in Siem Reap! Will maybe write about border crossing and the long land travel next time. But yay! We did not die in the process–and I got to cross that one off my bucket list. (I think isa nanaman to sa masochistic sht ko. I enjoy torturing myself with the hassle of backpacking commute and might do another border crossing adventure early next year: Malaysia-Singapore. I hope that pushes through! But seriously, do it for the thrill and adventure at least once in your lifetime.) Still so proud I did not die! (Or at least get scammed.) Haha.
We arrived around 4 or 5pm in our hotel, The Villa, and a big shout out to them for making us feel so welcome and comfortable during our 3 day stay. They were such a pleasure to contact too, prior and after our vacation. And after DIY-ing our Bangkok trip, we wanted to lay it down a little so we opted to get their 2 nights fully guided package–this includes accommodations, itinerary, Angkor tour guide, some meals and a dinner buffet even, and a tuktuk driver for your whole stay–for just US$120/head. You could email me if you have questions or if you’re planning to have them for your trip–I’d contact them for you and they might even give an additional discount. I highly recommend The Villa if you’re visiting Siem Reap! (And I could not just emphasize that enough. And no. This is not sponsored. They were just so good to be with!) There are a lot of scammers in Cambodia so it’s best to have someone you can trust to tour you around the place.
Because we only had 3 days there, our main agenda was to visit the Angkor Wat. And apparently, it’s not just the Angkor Wat but a whole complex of wats and historical royal temples. And it was more than 160 hectares in land area! For other backpackers, mostly Westerners staying for weeks, they get themselves 5-day passes and bike around the place. But we didn’t have the luxurious time for that–and I doubt I could bike that much. I got dead tired by the end of the day just by going around with the tuktuk already there. You still had a lot of walking to do too.
Angkor is a treasured archaeological site in South East Asia. And through those 3 days, I was so amazed with the Khmer Empire. But mostly with Khmer cuisine! (Everything I ate there was sooooo good. I swear! And I though Kapampangans already cooked so well. Go for the curry in coconut, and the grilled goods, and the amok! Seriously go for the amok!) It even convinced me to take up South East Asia (SEA) 30 as my last and only general education class for this semester. I wanted to know more about the place!
UNESCO has Angkor as a World Heritage Site and they continuously restore and maintain the place through the Angkor Archaeological Park. The architecture was just wow. Wow! And to think that this thing right here is centuries old. Wtf, the best of the best in sustainable engineering (which is our lesson for the past month) lol. I like to think that maybe one day, our traditional houses get to be maintained for years like this. (So kudos to Las Casas!)
The Khmer has such strong faith–and these massive temples are not just art, but a show of worship. And I have been talking a lot! Help me shut up. I’m off and I’ll leave it to the pictures to take you round Angkor Wat, the Bayon, Banteay Srei, Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom–and just take in all of it.
We capped the day off with a sunset atop Phnom Bakheng. It was foggy so the view wasn’t that great but it was already a great day anyways. Our very own Zambales‘ sunset is still stuck with me. Be sure to go earlier than sunset though, because they limit the number of people on the temple and the line afterwards gets really long which surprised me when we were already going down to leave.
I just wish people knew more of Cambodia–and would place it on their travel lists. From a third world country to another. It’s no where as city-fied as Japan, Hong Kong, or even Manila. But it’s one that’ll take a long time to forget (or never).