We didn't know what to expect from Cambodia and despite getting off to a shaky start we have ended our time here on a real high! The people of Siem Reap have made us feel welcome and have turned our time in Cambodia around. The locals here have a good sense of humour (especially the tuk tuk drivers) and they have been very friendly and chatty! What happened to this country 40 years ago was devastating and it's so wonderful to see them being positive and upbeat. Cambodia like all the other countries so far has been a real eye opener and has reminded us just how lucky we really are. But for now Siem Reap you will always be special to us 🇰🇭💚
This little one fishing down by the river today, we think he must have been about 2 years old! Had his own fishing rod made out of a wooden stick and he tired to throw the line in the water. Life here is so very different to that back home! 🐟
Our final day in Cambodia so we decided to treat ourselves, Kyle had a full body Khmer massage and I had a foot and half leg Khmer massage. We decided to pay a little more and not have it done on "the street" which was definitely worth it. Both feeling very relaxed 😊
26 November 2017
Our third and final stop was at Bayon Temple. This temple is known as the faces of the Buddha temple. This really felt like we were in the game Temple Run! It was built in the late 12th/early 13th century. The detail again was incredible and it was been changed from a Buddhist temple to a Hindu temple. The small statues of Buddha have been destroyed and the large carvings have had a third eye added to them to represent Hinduism. Each tower has four smiling Buddha faces on them. What we really liked about our day was that we got to see 3 very different temples and learn more about Khmer history and culture. We didn't feel templed out at all, in fact we really enjoyed our morning of exploring!!!
We then visited Ta Prohm Temple. This was used to film Lara Croft's Tomb Raider film. You can see me posing as Angelina Jolie did in the movie (similarity is uncanny!) This temple was really impressive as trees have grown over the rocks. Our guide said the trees grow like this because birds drop seeds on the stones and then they grow from here. Their roots were truly magical and mesmerising. Some of the trees have grown and killed other trees in the process by wrapping around them.
4am start for us today so that we could see the sunrise at Angkor Wat. We were not disappointed as you can see from the first photo, it was beautiful!! We had a lovely tour guide who was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. We explored Angkor Wat seeing the beautifully detailed buildings and carvings. It was built in the early 12th century and it faces the West. The centre of the building is 0° North, South, East and West. It was originally a Hindu temple but it was converted to a Buddhist temple and it is still used as a place of prayer and worship to this day. Inside the temple there are 4 pools to represent earth, wind, fire and water. These are filled in the dry season with river water. We really enjoyed looking at the detailed carvings and finding out some more information about Khmer history.
25 November 2017
Such a good afternoon! The owner of this course has created a mini-golf course in his back garden (Dad this would be such a good retirement idea). It's $5 for you to play and if you get a hole in 1 you get a free beer and if you get one of the top 5 scores you get a free t-shirt. Kyle got a hole in 1 so you can see him enjoying his beer. The owner was so friendly and chatty and it's great seeing his little business do so well with the tourists. It's in the middle of a local village so we got to see local life on our way there. At the end Kyle decided to buy a t-shirt from him as he was such a genuine and down to earth guy. We cannot recommend Angkor Wat Putt enough and we will be leaving a sparkling review on TripAdvisor as this is what he relies on to get the customers in!
*2nd to last picture is Kyle getting some top tips from the owner.
We've spent the morning booking our transport from Cambodia to Thailand. This involves an 8hour coach journey to Bangkok. Then from there another 8 hour bus journey South and then a ferry for 3 hours. A long journey but we really hope it's going to be worth it. This little guy helped arrange our bus to Bangkok, we sure hope he got the details right!!
24 November 2017
Siem Reap what a breath of fresh air you are!!!
Back to night markets and friendly locals 😊
The tuk tuk drivers especially have been so polite and friendly and even cracking jokes. We headed to pub street and the night market where we tried snake! 🐍 Then we enjoyed fruit shakes and noodles. This place really reminds is both of Thailand with its laid back vibes. Siem Reap you may have saved Cambodia for us!
23 November 2017
When you are suffering from Delhi belly in Cambodia what do you eat... beans on toast!!!
22 November 2017
Breakfast with friends. Yes the last picture is of a monkey with pink knickers he/she got onto somebody's balcony and took them from the line before wearing them as a cape. Great entertainment at 8am!
21 November 2017
On a much lighter note here is the wonderful tuk tuk driver who drove us around today! Great English and very friendly 😊
We then went to S-21 an old high school which was converted into a prison/interrogation/torture centre, where people would stay before being taken to the killing fields. The fact a school was used in itself just bought chills to us both. We saw some very graphic images of prisoners which left nothing to the imagination. We then met a man who survived his time in S-21 as he was a mechanic and the guards needed him to fix their type writers. He has written a book which we just couldn't help but buy to find out more about this time in Cambodian History.
This morning we hired a tuk tuk driver to take us to the Killing Fields this is where prisoners were taken during the Khmer Rouge Regime from 1975 - 1979. 3million of the 8million population were killed during these years, numbers we just could not comprehend! Babies were held by the ankles and smashed against the large tree whilst music played to cover their cries. Clothing, bones and teeth can still be seen in the ground where the bodies were burried. A very educational and emotional day for us both. We can't believe that before today we never knew anything about this horrendous time in history.
20 November 2017
We left Koh Rong Samloem at 10am this morning taking the speed boat ferry back to the main land. Here we had a quick lunch before taking a bus at 1.30pm to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The journey took about 5 hours and the traffic in the city is mad!! We will be here for the next 4 days before moving on to our next destination.
We woke up reasonably early this morning and after breakfast we headed out for a walk through the jungle to find Sunset Beach on the other side of the island. When one of the locals told us we need to be reasonably fit we didn't quite realise what we had in front of us. It was only 30mins but it was proper jungle trekking and climbing! Using ropes to pull ourselves up and down rocks whilst being attacked by mosquitoes. I have 16 bites!!! When we got to the beach we were unfortunately a little bit disappointed by what we found but perhaps we're just getting spoilt by all the beautiful places we are seeing so our expectations are higher. We wanted to snorkel but there was a storm the night before so there was a lot of rubbish in the sea!
We took a 1 hour speed boat ferry from the mainland to Koh Rong Samloem. When we arrived the sea and the views were gorgeous!! Checking into our bungalow resort for the next 2 days was not so gorgeous. No aircon, no hot water and no Wi-Fi! So we decided to explore and we found the most gorgeous puppies!! That night we had a BBQ on the beach with a Dutch couple we met.
18 November 2017
Ready to speak the lingo
17 November 2017
We have safely arrived in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. We never normally eat 'western food' but after 14hours on a bus, Kyle nearly not being let into Cambodia because facial recognition was confused by his beard and some pretty ropey driving we thought we deserved a HUGE lunch! We've booked our travel and accomodation for the next few days and hopefully there will be some beautiful views to come!