Angkor Temples... 8th Wonder of the World
09.10.2013 - 14.10.2013
Journey from Bangkok to Cambodia was looking to be a bit dodgey... we had read so many stories on the internet and in the lonely planet about people getting scammed with fake Visa's and expensive tariffs on rides etc. Most places also said we had to get 2 different buses and a tuk tuk inbetween - in short it looked like it was going to be a nightmare.
Well thank goodness for travel blogs! The day before we were planning on making this hideous journey Becs read another travel blog
(ARTY DUBS - http://artydubs.com/2013/04/18/direct-bus-from-bangkok-thailand-to-siem-reap-cambodia/)
- giving a step by step guide how to do the border crossing, which bus to take from which bus terminal and where NOT to get your visa. They said they had found a new bus company “The Transport Co. Ltd." that now do a direct bus from Bangkok, over the Cambodian border, all the way to Siem Reap.
So off we go to the Mo Chit Bus Terminal to find out if this bus exists and hopefully buy our tickets. Our Hotel was near the airport so we knew it was a fair journey to the bus terminal but we didn't expect it to take 2 hours ( 2 trains and 45mins getting lost through a city park)!
Anyhow we find the Bus Company thanks to ARTY DUBS clear instructions and purchase our tickets for the next morning.
Early next morning we sleep through our alarm only giving ourselves 2 1/2 hours to make it to the terminal for our 9am bus. The bus is on time and we set off at 9am as planned.
The journey to Aranya Prathet is smooth trouble free.... until we arrive to find the poor town has been flooded... people are practically ankle deep in water. Nevertheless the water does not seem to phase people and traffic continues as usual!
Before we get to the Cambodian border the bus driver takes us to a back office and tries to get everyone to purchase a Cambodian Visa - which of course thanks to our wonderful guide we know will cost us double the price. So we stay on the bus and wait for the 'Official Visa Office'.
We get our OUT stamps from the Bangkok office and continue on foot over the border to the Cambodian office in Poipet for our visa's and passport control. No-one else really bothers us, apart from a few people trying to sell us things and exchange money. We get back on the bus which is waiting outside the passport office and wait for everyone.
So the the last leg of our journey takes us from Poipet to Siem Reap. It is suppose to take 2 hours or so.... which means we would have arrived at 5pm.... we arrived nearer 7pm! We knew it was rainy season but we had no idea of the floods that have claimed hundreds of lives throughout Cambodia.... Despite most of the road being dry, the effects of the water had taken their toll on the road leaving massive pot holes and when we arrived at Seim Reap the water was ankle deep again. Luckily the water was draining and most of the city was dry. We breathed a sigh of relief finding our hostel sandbag free!!
Cheap $8 a night for our room, compromising on a fan instead of AC. Lovely relaxing area, good food in bar downstairs and really nice staff.
View of the river from Rosy Guest House..
Royal Residence and Gardens..
After walking around the town for a few minues Terry decides he is too hot - and finally after begging him for months gets a hair cut in the poshest place he's ever been to...
So there's not a lot to do in Siem Reap other than the Temples. Thats why we came.... we just hoped they weren't flooded!!!
There are a few ways of travelling around the temples, on foot, by bike, Tuk Tuk or Tour Bus. We used the friendly Tuk Tuk man 'Suka' for all our trips. Well worth it... definitely too far by foot, too hot and sweaty by bike and no boring talks by tour guides on the bus!
Just us and our Driver...
The Angkor Kingdom (map)
That evening we decided to take a walk to Pub Street for dinner. Becs took full advantage of the $2 cocktails...... maybe too many for the early 8am start the next morning!!
Day 2 Green Route
Neak Pean - disappointing - Terry was not impressed - the footpath was flooded so we had to take our shoes off getting wet and muddy feet - when we arrive the temple itself is flooded and therefore closed!
After an exhausting day we stayed in the hostel for dinner that night!
Day 3 Red Route
We had already seen Angkor Wat so went straight to the smaller temples of Thommanon and Chau Say Tevoda
Ta Keo was closed due to restoration so we only saw it from the Tuk Tuk...
Ta Prohm was our last temple..... feeling a little templed out...
The work being done on Ta Prohm was amazing..... and will probably take at least another hundred years!! It looked like somone has gone and dropped trees on the top and their routes were destroying the place!
Some of the Temples had praying places - we got collared a few times to pray for the cost at $1 per time!!
So our last night in Siem Reap we were going to head to the night market to try some local street food - then the rain started, and didnt stop!!
Fingers crossed our bus still leaves in the morning!!