Spectacular Angkor

We make our way from Bangkok to the border crossing at Aranya Prathet and Poipet. This popular crossing is well-known for scams and extortion attempts, so we cross in the morning hoping the local scammers are still sleepy and less bothersome. We haven’t time for breakfast since we’ve overslept and will probably miss the bus to Siem Reap. The Cambodian visa costs $20 or 800 baht and since 20 dollars is more like 600 baht, we choose to pay in USD. The border guard demands an additional 100 baht, but the prices are clearly written over his head. Unfazed, we  point to the notice and he gives up quite quickly. Gettting up early appears to have made sense. It takes about three minutes to get the visa but it’s enough time to have a look at the stream of Cambodian peasants streaming into it’s richer neighbour. Many are pulling shoddy, wooden carts, most are dirty and it makes a strong impression. With visas in hand, we quickly pass by the uniform-clad touts outside, who claim we have to use the tourist transportation. We respond that we have to have breakfast in the city and actually make it in time to catch the departing bus. No breakfast though.

Angkor, or the seat of Khmer Empire from IX to XV century, may be the most famous sight in South-East Asia. Here, the god-kings have built over a thousand temples. Looking at our blog it’s easy to see we’re not temple fiends, so it actually takes us a bit of time to decide between the one day and three day ticket. Finally, we go for the three day option and on the first day hire a tuk-tuk to make the longer loop. Later we will take bikes and cycle around the nearby temples. Our initial doubts and resentment caused by crowds at Angkor Wat are quickly overcome. The intense heat doesn’t diminish our sense of excitement as we explore more and more temples. Angkor is truly spectacular. The ruins are beautiful and picturesque and so is the area around them. On the second day, the sunset catches us a long way from the exit and the place suddenly empties. We cycle back in growing darkness, while the jungle starts singing and the stone faces take on an ominous look. Still, it’s very beautiful. Come and see for yourselves…

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After five days in Siem Reap, we feel a bit lazy but our travelers’ batteries are now fully recharged and we’re ready to go on.

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