17 Jan 2008
We left Singapore on 6 AM flight… that’s right SIX freakin AM… I stayed over at Mel’s house and it was a really freakin LONG day at the office, but I was pretty excited about the trip! Woke up at 3 am and dozed off the moment the plane took off. Mr Lee the oh so dedicated reporter didn’t sleep at all cos he had to finish up his work! Poor thing, but afraid not, being the total savvy and NERDY traveler, he blew himself a head rest… Thank god the infamous snorer didn’t snore on the flight… or maybe he did… but I wouldn’t know cos I passed out most of the time=)
After two hours flight from Singapore, we finally arrived at Siem Reap international airport. It was surprisingly cold when we step out of the plane. It was aircon cold so it’s cool. We went down to the immigration… and I tell you it felt like I’m back home in Jakarta cos the immigration likes to take their time and the amount of chops they put on our passport! AND as part of ASEAN members, I still have to pay US$20 for my visa and an additional US$2 for them to scan my passport pics since I didn’t bring a passport size picture. I didn’t have to pay for a visa when I went to Vietnam y’all!
Well anyway the hotel picked us up from the airport and took us to our hotel, Auberge mont royal d’angkor. It’s a small cozy hotel, with excellent hospitality and strategically located near the Psar Cha (10 min walk), where all the pubs and restaurants are located. The room is clean and it cost US$33 per night including breakfast and airport pick up. Me and Mr Lee shared a room. It is considered a budget-boutique hotel… After we had a surprisingly cheap – US$2 for a hotel American breakfast set meal – Mr Lee and Jefissa concussed while I hang out at the bar, drank my first Angkor Beer, and finally had the time to read about Siem Reap! hahaha This is the least-planned holiday I’ve ever had! When I went to Vietnam, me and Gani spent almost a month to plan our trip. But we visited 6 cities in Vietnam and traveled from North to South so we needed to plan more for that. This happened in end of Dec 2006! hahaha. I hope I have time to post the pictures! Anyway back to Cambodia… since we are only going to visit two places Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, we decided to plan our itinerary on the spot! Which was fine cos we wanted to visit the major places and of course taste the local cuisine:) (and for me: to taste as much local beer as I could).
When everybody had woken up and looked reasonably presentable for others:) we decided to start our holiday by making a trip to the amazing Angkor Wat. We hired a car which cost us US$10 cos it’s already late afternoon, and we bought the three days pass which cost us US$40 each. And it was a good idea to rent a car cos it was super hot and dusty, plus it’s economical, there were four of us sharing:)
A little background about the temples of Angkor; they are the soul of the Kingdom of Cambodia, not to mention the source of income for most Khmers as they attract tourists in the peak months of November – March. The principal attractions are Angkor Wat, and my all time favorite, the Bayon, in the walled city of Angkor Thom. Three days is just enough time for you to discover and appreciate the beauty and the history of the Angkor Temples, less than that, would be your lost. These temples dated back more than 1000 years-old. That dearie, is enough reason for y’all to come and visit this magnificent architectural breakthrough of its time… Not only the pieces together millions of rocks, but they also crafted bas-reliefs along all of those temples which mainly tells the story of the epic battle of Mahabharata and Ramayana which were major texts in Hinduism.
This is the map of the Angkor temples complex that I got from this site
The moment I saw Angkor wat, I was sold! It was utterly stunning! It was build by King Suryavarman II back in 1112-52 and it is surrounded by a moat, which forms a giant rectangle measuring 1.5 km by 1.3 km. It’s hugeeeeeeeeee.
We went around to see the bas-reliefs on the outside of the central temple (which you must read anti clockwise) and it took us a while to see all nine of them… and we haven’t even entered the central complex yet. Smart arse Mr Lee reasoned that the best way to understand the stories on the wall is by running alongside the walls and the scenes will be connected just like cartoon! hahaha Smart arse… but we did try… and went out of breath in less than 2 minutes=)
Below are the pictures taken from the central complex.
I think we spent almost 3.5 hours at Angkor Wat… please bring enough water, cos you need it and don’t forget to apply sunscreen, it’s mighty hot out there!
We wanted to enjoy the sunset from another temple, Our driver, Mr Ping brought us to Phnom Bakheng, at which we could see Angkor wat from there… but hell… it was a bloody tourist trap! TOO MANY PEOPLE there for us to actually enjoy the sunset… but honestly… looking at the sunset there, it was hard not to appreciate it! I’ve never seen the sun so round and so red before in my life… It was like seeing a ping pong ball slowly slipping down towards eternity.
After spending half-a-day at Angkor Wat, we went back to our hotel, took the best shower in our life… separately… and went down to Psar Cha (Old market) area to have our first Khmer dinner. We wanted to go to Khmer Kitchen restaurant, located at The Alley-between Bar Street and Psar Chaa which is recommended by our bible, “Lonely Planet: Cambodia”, but it was fuckin crowded… knowing we’re way too famished to wait, we decided to try out “the Traditional Khmer food Restaurant” instead. We had Khmer famous traditional dish call Amok, it’s basically sweet curry, and you can choose between fish, chicken, beef or pork Amok, we tried their vegetable curry, which was like Malay’s vegetable curry only sweeter and we had fresh vegetable spring rolls… it was yummeh! Mr Lee have all the food pics… I was too weak and hungry to take any pics… the pics you’ll see are after i refueled myslf:)
Ohhh… and I had my first Beer Lao there… I still prefer Angkor Beer cos Beer Lao is way too light for me… Lager Queen=)
Melisa… Kenyang Bego!
Mr Lee is such a sweetheart! When it was bed time, he patiently waited until I fell asleep before he slept cos he knows I can’t sleep when someone snores… and believe me Mr Lee snores… REAL HARD! hahaha I witnessed it at noon when he concussed and dang I thought someone was lawn mowing inside the room! hehehe…. thanks Mr Lee for being such a sweetheart!
Ok tom I’ll post the rest of the pics… It’s time for me to doze offfffffffffff NITE y’all