Monday, 25 March 2013

Siem Reap

After our stressful border crossing we were all excited to get some rest. My friend had recommended us to stay at The Siem Reap hostel, so I had booked all five of us into a dorm room together beforehand. The Siem Reap hostel is an amazing place to stay if you go to Siem Reap. It is very much like a hostel that you would find in Australia, but without the expense. The best part about this hostel was that we had a nice pool, a movie room and a free pool table.

The pool at The Siem Reap hostel

We arrived into Siem Reap at about nine in the evening so we just got some dinner and went to bed. The next day we all decided that we deserved a rest day so we all just lazed about by the pool, eating, drinking and napping. Noel, Kate and Jayne got massages also, it was such a nice relaxing day!

After our relaxing day we were all set to see the temples of Angkor, these are the reason that tourism in Cambodia is so high. We decided to go and see the temples at sunrise which meant getting up at 4:30a.m. The temples of Angkor are the pride of Cambodia and the main one, Angkor Wat, is even on their nations flag. If you want to read more about the temples, here is a link for you

Angkor Wat at sunrise

Jungle clad Ta Phrom temple
Bayon temple; There were hundreds of faces on the temple.

We arrived at Angkor Wat and it was still dark so we found a spot to watch the sunrise. I had stood in that exact same spot four years ago with Louise waiting for a sunrise too, and that time it was too cloudy so there was none. Just when we arrived it started raining. I was devastated thinking that only I could go to Angkor Wat twice for sunrise and not see a thing! Luckily the rain stopped and the clouds cleared, I was finally going to get my sunrise!!
Unfortunately the sunrise wasn’t as exciting or impressive as we thought it would be, but we still had fun. After sunrise we got to explore three of the temples, Angkor Wat (the biggest one), Bayan (famous for its many stone faces) and Ta Phrom (the temple covered in jungle, this was also used for Tomb Raider). Ta Phrom is my favorite as it is covered in trees and has a very mystical feeling to it.

Jason in Angkor Wat

Myself and Jason at Bayan
Noel at Ta Phrom

After walking around the temples in the heat we were all wrecked by the time we arrived back to the guesthouse. It was fun seeing the temples but I wish that we hadn't gotten up so early to see the sunrise, as we were all very tired and felt like we couldn't enjoy the experience to it's fullest. It was one of those times where something is  a lot more fun when you look back on it rather than while you are doing it. After a couple of hours nap we decided to venture out to “pub street.” Pub street is exactly what you think it is, a street full of pubs. It was really strange to see this here in the middle of a small town in Cambodia, there were beggers everywhere and seeing a child no more than seven or eight years old going through all of the rubbish to find some plastic to sell at 1a.m. on a Tuesday night was harrowing.

The next day we had a nice sleep in after our early rise the morning before. Myself and Jason rented a couple of bikes and cycled around the town. By noon it became so hard to cycle in the heat that we had to return to our hostel dripping in sweat. Today was the day that Noel, Kate and Jayne were leaving us. I had so much fun with them all, it really felt like we hadn’t been apart for long. I was hoping that we’d get to meet up again at some stage. Being back together with my friends really make me miss Ireland and Irish people, you really can’t find anybody like them! I’m sure Jason had a lot of fun meeting them too (although I think he couldn’t understand a lot of our conversations) haha.

Miss them!

 One thing that I have to mention 
when talking about Kate, Noel and Jayne is the Lily dance. This is a worldwide phenomenon that has been performed in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, U.K. probably many other places also but now Cambodia too! The "Lily" dance is named after Kates mom because it is her that invented it. Whenever she's had a glass or two the "Lily" dance comes out in all of its glory. Let's hope that some day the "Lily" dance can become famous all over the world ;)
The famous "Lily Dance"

After saying goodbye to “the lads” we just packed our bags and got ready for our bus ride the next day…we were off to Battambang!

Siem Reap is a nice town, with lots to do both within the town and on the outskirts. I was glad that we got to be there with friends, the best thing about this town is that you can have a crazy night out if you want or just as easily have a mellow night. And of course having the temples in it's back garden makes this town even better!


Accommodation: The Siem Reap Hostel $6 for a dorm bed in a really comfortable 6 bed dorm.
Tuk-tuk to the temples: $15 between myself and Jason
Entry into the temples: $20 for a day, $40 for 3 days and $60 for a 7 day ticket.
Meal: surprisingly western foods were the same price as local foods, ranging between $3 and $5 per meal
Bicycle rental: $1 a day
Bus ticket to Battambang: $7

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