A Travellerspoint blog

Siem Reap

Angkor Temples... 8th Wonder of the World


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!!

Rosy Hostel
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...
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The Angkor Kingdom (map)

Day 1 Angkor Wat at Sunset. Unfortunately the sun was in front of the Temples so not the best sunset photographs!

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


Smaller Temples in the Bayon Kingdom (including the Royal Palace and Elephant Terrace)

Preah Khan

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!

Ta Som

East Mebon

And the magnificent Pre Rup Temples..

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


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!!

Posted by becs and terry 04:24 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)


Backpacks down... a week of rest and relaxation!!!

sunny 30 °C

We were flying back to London for a wedding on the 28th Sept... Terry's Sister Diane was getting married! As it had been Winter in Australia we were both Lily white and felt we needed some sun before returning to the UK and seeing everyone!!

Bali seemed the logical choice for a week on the beach as its cheap and on the way home. Unlike most of our travels so far we weren't interested in seeing the Island or doing any adventures / tours. We simply were looking for a week to chill out and soak up some rays!

We stayed in Sanur - the other side of the island to the party town of kuta - but only 20mins by motor taxi.

Sanur was probably a little too quiet, with only a few budget places good enough to eat in and the rest a little more up market. Like the rest of Bali, the streets were dirty, filled with motorcycles and people trying to sell you useless stuff.

The beaches in Bali were not as special as we expected.... most were dark sand, Sanur in particular was very stoney with seaweed and plants spoiling your swimming. Having said that the waves at Kuta were good and we had another go at surfing and we still managed to relax and have some good days nights on the beach.

Sanur Beach....

Some lovely upmarket hotels along the beach (obviously we were NOT staying in these - our hostel was across a motor way which we had to run across endangering our lives at least twice a day)!!

Familar site - motorcyles and the beach..

For Becs birthday we thought we would splash out a little and went to a more up market beach front bar in Seminyak called Ku De Ta...

After a couple of cocktails we walked along the beach towards Legian. We came across this really cool bar, La Plancha..... where we lazed on a bean bag and drank till the sun set...

Linga Longa Bar - we spent a few nights here listening to the live music and trying the suckling pig..

So nothing very crazy but a lovely relaxed little holiday before getting on a flight to Bangkok. 2 nights in Bangkok to break up the journey and they we flew back to the UK for 2 weeks. The wedding was well worth the journey and it was so great to see our friends and family.
Looking forward to our next adventure in Asia......

Posted by becs and terry 08:22 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Perth and Margaret River

Wineries and Beaches

all seasons in one day 20 °C

We get picked up from Perth Airport by Clare and her Dad Mike (friends we met whilst travelling in South America).
What a better start to our adenture down to Margaret River than a few ice cold beers for the journey! Clare and Mike had very generously planned pretty much our whole time in Perth and had planned us a trip from Perth down to Margaret River.

As its 5pm we head half way down the coast and stop that night at Clares friends in Bunbury for dinner and a sleepover!

Next morning we head further down the coast towards our Final Destination, Margaret River where we spend the night before driving back to Perth the following day.

Margaret River...

Margaret River is known for 3 things... 2 of which are our favourite things... Wineries and Beaches!!!

Here are some pictures of just a few we visited....

The Leeuwine Estate, after a short taste testing of 15 different wines, we purchased a Chardonnary to drink whilst we enjoyed the grounds. Beautiful grounds in which they often hold concerts.

The Voyager Estate - Mikes favourite and VERY posh toilets !!

And some lovely bays / beaches including the lovely Eagle bay...

After a jam packed 2 days of sight seeing and drinking wine (mainly the latter), Mike and Claire dropped us back to Perth and paid some friends from the UK a little visit... Candice and Conner.

Candice was the perfect guide and took us to the Beautiful Kings Park...

And just one of Perth's lovely Beaches.... (Scarborough Beach)

And then to the Lucky Shag Pub to enjoy a few drinks with a great view..

Unfortunately Conner was working in the day but managed to join us in the evening for dinner..

Next day Mike collected us from Candice's for a day of ' Mike's Tours'. Mike crammed in everything into one day... we visited Tea Rooms to Breweries to Golf Clubs to the Casino!!!

Perth’s premier coastal venue, Indiana Tea Rooms, is located directly on Cottesloe Beach.......
Very posh... we only stopped for coffee!

The iconic Brewery in Fremantle.......

After a busy day we relaxed with a few more wines / beers and Mike and his lovely wife Sheila cooked us a BBQ.

So we were so well looked after in Perth. Mike and Clare was absolutely fantastic hosts and tour guides and it was great to see our friends from home too. Next for a week in Bali to get a little sun before heading back to the UK for Diane's Wedding!

Posted by becs and terry 07:19 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Port Lincoln

Cage Diving with the Great White Sharks

semi-overcast 22 °C

So after spending 7 hours sun bathing outside Adelaide airport waiting for our flight we spend 45 mins in the air and arrive at Port Lincoln.
Not having researched this place we were so pleasantly surprised with what we found..... we were expecting a run down old fishing town... and found exactly the opposite! with only 15,000 people the town quite small, but beautifully kept, with a heaving tuna, agriculture and tourist industry.
The town is surrounded by water on one side and green fields on the other! Apparently we were told that 1/5 of the population are millionaires so a really wealthy and booming area.
The YHA hostel we have booked is like a 5 star hostel... it has everything... a spotlessly clean kitchen, dining room, dvd room, table tennis, hair dryers in the bathroom etc. Its shark theme, facilities and warm atmosphere just made it a great place to stay.
Shark themed Hostel:

How better to see the sights for ourselves than to hire bikes and cycle around the coast line and up to the lookout points!
So we set off around the coastline, to billys point, through the fields and along the seafront!!

Billys point..

Pier seafront..

Despite the bikes being slightly tough on the buttocks, we decided to take the 10km uphill route to the winters lookout..... hard work to the top... about an hour up and a very fun 10 minutes ride down!!
From the top...

On the way down...

And then the Tasman Hotel for a well deserved Beer!

Cage Diving with the Great White Sharks..
SO this was our reason for coming to port lincoln.. i promised Terry for his 30th he would see sharks! So the pressure was on! We chose the underdog company - Bay Adventure Charter rather than the most popular Calyspo to take our tour with. Our company did not use bait unlike the other and therefore some may think we were less likely to attract the sharks. our boat uses sound vibrations... not causing too much effect on nature rather than effecting the food chain. Anyway...

(we did take all these photos - but some we took with the bay adventures charter camera - hence the logo) ....

We arrived at the port at 6.30am in time to catch the beautiful sunrise..

our boat..
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skipper Matt..

the trip out to Neptune islands was going to take around 3 hours..... it started off gentle and scenic...

seal colonies are what attract sharks to the neptune islands..

and got a little more rough....... and then the biggest waves for our little boat...

unfortunately Terry (who doesn't get sea sick) felt a little under the weather..... giving the sharks some bait of his own!!!

When we finally arrived at the Neptune Islands Terry looked Yellow and not at all like he wanted to jump in the water.. Becs hates the cold and usually would hold back but desperate to give Terry what she promised jumped in more than anyone else in the hope of spotting a shark. There was only 8 people on the boat so you could basically stay in the cage as long as you wanted .... clearly because it was so cold most people ere waiting until sharks were spotted before getting cold! The water so sooooo cold but i just kept thinking as soon as i leave the cage a shark will come!!!

Getting into the cage...

On Becs third time down in the cage and after a long and agonising wait - i finally spotted one... so calling Terry and the rest of the gang we took turns - 4 in the cage at a time to see these huge and magnificent creatures swimming around the cage!

first glimpse of the sharks....

and they got pretty close to the cage...

from the boat..

we could tell by the fish where the sharks were... if the sharks were present... the fish werent!!!

underwater,,, stunned by the sharks..

Yey sharks seen. Tick one more off the bucket list!!!!
Amazing. Although not sure how much Terry actually enjoyed himself :(

sunset on way back to shore...

Next day - still excited with the realisation of we actually did yesterday we were planning on an easy day.

However Debbie,,, owner of the hostel had other plans for us...
we visited the national parks and stunning coastlines, winery's (including Boston's winery) and coffee shops..

also that evening Debbie gave us free tickets to the Comedy of Errors Show....... google it for yourselves - truly the weirdest play / comedy we have ever seen!!!

Fab 4 days in Port Lincoln... now for Adelaide

Posted by becs and terry 01:39 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Alice Springs and The Rock Tour

sleeping under the stars at Uluru, Kata Tjuta & Kings Canyon

sunny 30 °C

After 6 months hard working in Sydney it was time to start a new adventure and enjoy ourselves again. On Aug 21st we flew from Sydney to Alice Springs. Having been in Winter in Sydney we were not quite prepared for the massive change in temperature... Alice sprigs was like a dessert, arriving in around 32 degrees heat!
We checked into our Hostel and took a day to unwind and get back into travelling mode before we went on the Rock Tour.
Our double room was a gutted caravan... Terry looking like a Pikey!!

3 day / 2 night Rock Tour (http://www.therocktour.com.au/)
Our guide was 24 yr old Adam who was on his 12th Tour.... Nevertheless he seemed to know his stuff and was a great Guide, looking after us and giving us all the info we needed. Many people hire cars and campers to drive to Uluru - but after the long drive from Alice Springs we were so glad we had booked a tour.

tour bus..

Tours are usually all about who is on your tour as much as where you go and what you see.... fortunately for us there were 3 Irish guys (Clare, Dara and Alan) on ours!
Day 1

Uluru - the giant, red rock, AKA Ayres Rock. we did a 6km walk around the rock. The rock holds huge sacred values and beliefs for the aboriginal communities living close by and there are many stories about how the rock was formed.

Although it is allowed it is frowned upon to climb the rock and 36 people have died as far as they know. When a person dies the aboriginal people hold a service and harm themselves to release the spirits of the dead. So in other words climbing the rock is like slapping the local people in the face - needless to say we didn't climb it!!!

That evening we had dinner whilst watching sunset over Uluru.

Was amazing to see how the sun effected the colour of the rock as it went down.

On the way to set up camp we had to collect our own firewood and catch our our dinner (joke) but we did have to collect wood for the fire!!!

The camp site was literally a plot of ground with a fire..... that evening we drank beer, toasted marsh-mellows and huddled to try and stay warm in our swags. Sleeping under the starts was an experience, but a very cold one!!!

Day 2
Up at 5.30 in time to be back at Uluru for breakfast at sunrise. Just as beautiful as sunset.....

Next destination Kata Tjuta... Valley of the Winds... (luckily for us it wasn't very windy)...

And a geology lesson about how the kata tjuda was formed - helped by terry and the irish guys!!

On the way to our next stop kings creek campground we stopped at some salt flats, sand dunes and a mountain (cannot remember its name)!!
sand dunes..
salt flats
mountain that looks like ayres rock...

That evening we made our way to Kings Kanyon Camp site. Terry and the Irish Guys were in charge of the fire - as tonight Adam used the fire to cook our feast of chilli, rice and roasted vegetables. He also managed to bake some bread using flour and beer on the fire!
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Claire keeping an eye on dinner...

That night we sat around the fire, sharing Irish, Aussie and English stories and of course drinking more beer! That night Terry kept the fire burning practically all night - so much so that i was toasted in my swag, and felt like i had smoked 100 cigarettes that morning - bringing on a chesty cough! Still i was grateful about not being cold i guess!

Day 3
Next morning up again at 5.30am, breakfast and then to Kings Canyon.
Heart Attack Hill to the top and then an easy 3 hour walk from there......

After lunch we headed to the camel farm.. for a spot of camel racing.... it was not the most comfortable ride... and Chelsea on the other came should definitely NOT have been wearing a skirt!

The journey was a long one back to Alice Springs but we finally made at and celebrated a great Tour in the Rock Bar that evening for dinner and drinks with Adam and a fellow Tour guide.

Day after the Tour Terry wanted to go to the Telegraph Museum (Yawn yawn). But as the loyal girlfriend i happily walked the 8km in the blistering heat to along the dried up river and back.
Alice springs was originally established as the main telegraph station to provide communications from Darwin to Perth.... I let Terry Play whilst i acted as photographer and melted in the sun!

The walk was all worth it as on the way back we spotted our first Kangaroo in the wild!

As if we hadn't done enough walking - we then climbed the Anzac Hill in the midday heat!!

That evening we met up our new Irish Friends to sample Australia cuisine.....
Crocodile spring rolls, kangaroo, burramundi (fish) and camel sausages. The crocodile Spring rolls were actually amazing....

After a fantastic and very warm 5 days in Alice Springs we headed back to the airport. Alice springs its self is a bit of a small and not so interesting town, but the tour was great. The only thing that has never been mentioned was the flies - the most annoying and persistent flies we had ever met. If your going - one of those silly tourist hats with the corks or netting is a must!!! They look stupid but i wish we would had had them!
Next stop to Melbourne to stay with Terry's friend Sharief and his family.

Posted by becs and terry 00:03 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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