Friday, 6 March 2015

Cambodia: Siem Reap

So here we were, about to embark on our 60 hour adventure across four countries, eventually ending up in Siem Reap, Cambodia. First we had to get a 6 hour train from Bangalore to Chennai where we had to wait a few hours before our flight to Kuala Lumpur. Arriving in Kuala Lumpur, we had about an 8 hour wait before our flight to Bangkok, so we got comfortable at the airport, did some shopping and had some food. Finally in Bangkok, we were to wait a further 12 hours before the first train of the morning to Aranyaprathet which allows land border crossings into Cambodia. We decided booking a room for this amount of time would be silly as we'd only had a few hours sleep anyway, so we donned Ko San road with our backpacks for some more food and a place to sit and wait for the hours to pass by. After about 4 hours in the same place, we gave up and decided to would be best to head to the train station where we could hopefully find a quiet place to rest for a few hours, so we hopped in a taxi. We found a suitable area and it wasn't long before 2 guys from England joined us as they were waiting for a morning train also. They were so funny, telling us how they'd spent their night on Ko San road, they really helped to pass the hours and before we knew it we were in the queue buying our tickets and jumping on the train. The train took 6 hours from  Bangkok to Aranyaprathet and really was awful! It probably didn't help that we had not slept in over 48 hours by this point and the guard on the train wouldn't let us lie down on the seats to rest, even though nobody wanted to sit in the seats next to us - it was so frustrating! Finally at the border and our journey wasn't over yet. We then had to queue at the Thailand immigration for our exit stamps, then walk to Poipet Cambodia immigration where we had to fill out forms and hand over our passports and money for visas. This was at a cost of $20 for a single entry, 30 day visa which took around an hour - all in all a total of 2 hours to cross the border. Next we were taken to a nearby bus station where we purchased bus tickets directly into Siem Reap where we were FINALLY greeted by our free pick up to our hostel! Words cannot describe how happy we were to see our beds at the Angkor Wonder Hostel - can you believe we had an entire double bed each! 


We had plenty of rest the first night, and got up bright and early the next morning to surprise our new Happy Wanderers at the airport. We were lucky enough to have two friends join us from home for the remainder of our trip - so now we were a massive group of five! It was so amazing to see Rebecca and Sophie's faces as they came through arrivals to see us waiting there for them, we were all sooo excited to see one another! We had a proper catch up during the drive from the airport and wasted no time getting out into the city for some well deserved welcome drinks.

The next evening was New years Eve, so we got all dressed up in preparation for a massive party. Siem Reap is well known for its party atmosphere along the amply named 'Pub Street'. We set off nice and early at 7pm to begin our evening with a nice meal and a few happy hour cocktails. It wasn't long before a few drinking games were in play - our personal favourite 'He's perfect but...'. It was soon time to hit the bars of Pub Street where we were met with one massive street party. It was a real effort to push through the crowds to enter any bars for drinks. However, we didn't mind we simply joined in the celebrations. After hours of dancing and now covered in every alcoholic beverage you could imagine (classic Bethan!) we decided to call it a night - not without a stop off for a large order of Nutella pancakes, yummmy! 

On New Years Day we didn't do very much at all. We wandered around the markets of Siem Reap and treated ourselves to a foot and leg massage, very much needed after all the dancing of the night before. Next we relaxed in a really cool coffee shop called The Blue Pumpkin, which we later found out is a chain store within Cambodia. We decided an early night was in order as we had to be up before sunrise for our visit to Angkor Wat. 

First Hindu, later a Buddhist temple, Angkor Wat is the largest religious complex in the entire world. It is Cambodia's most famous attraction, even appearing on its national flag. Design and construction of the temple took place in the 12th century and was used as the Kings state temple and capital city. We hired one of the guys who works at the hostel as our guide for Angkor Wat. We got up at around 5am to drive the 6km to the entrance of Angkor Wat. Here we joined the queue to purchase our day passes which cost $20 (three day pass $40 and 7 day pass $60). The queue didn't take longer than 10 minutes, however nobody warned us of the photograph that gets taken to put onto the pass, we were all still half asleep, looking very attractive indeed! We hurried along to the Angkor Wat temple to see the sunrise, which we have to be honest was completely ruined by the crowds and crowds of people. It was a real struggle to get a good photograph. We decided to get a head start of the crowds and entered the temple long before everyone else got going. This was a probably the best idea as it meant we got to roam around in side the temple with almost no bother from anyone. Then once we were done inside Angkor Wat, we got a much better view of the structure as the crowds had thinned out. For the remainder of the day our driver took us to numerous temples throughout the Angkor Wat park and after almost 8 hours of exploring we were truly exhausted. 

Here are some of our favourite pictures from our time in Siem Reap:

Our 60 hour journey across 4 countries
And then there were..
Five!
All ready for New Year celebrations!
Heeeeyyy Pub Street

Happy New Year!
Sun Rise at Ankior Wat
























The worlds cutest driver!


All worn out after all the activities...
The Happy Wanderers 

No comments:

Post a Comment