Ben and I flew to Siem Reap from Thailand and stayed for 5 nights. My older brother and his girlfriend were travelling through Southeast Asia around the same time and here was where our paths crossed. After two weeks of travelling on our own it was really nice to enjoy meals and explorations with some familiar faces. 🙂
We bought a 3-day pass for Angkor Wat and were free to explore all the temples on our own. The first day we rode on e-bikes (electric bicycles) out to the main temple of Angkor Wat (you know, the really famous one you see on all the postcards) and walked around for hours in the hot, humid weather. The second day, we also walked around for hours in the hot, humid weather, but we replaced our bikes with a tuk-tuk driver who was quite knowledgeable about the temples and spoke English. He drove us to three different temple sites and gave us a brief history lesson on each before we entered. On our third day, Ben and I were on our own, so we tried to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat as that seemed to be the thing to do. However, I am not a morning person at all (unlike Ben) and so we didn’t quite make it. I mean, we saw the sun rising higher, it was just too high for sunrise photos. But that didn’t matter because we went to see the rising sun from a yellow tethered balloon that brought us to a 100-meter height and gave us an awesome view of the area (you can see the yellow balloon in the background in one of the photos and then photos from the actual ride). And because we were late for the sunrise, we got a private ride as no one else showed up at that time. Win!
Other than the really old historic temple ruins we saw many other tourists, obviously, wandering cows, cool trees with roots growing around things, locals trying to sell something to tourists and barefoot kids either recycling bottles or also trying to sell something to tourists (and they can be really persistent!). I’d say it was an interesting mix.
And here are a few photos from the actual city of Siem Reap (the temples are a few kilometers outside). It is fairly small, so pretty easy to explore on foot in a day or two. One funky street is called the Pub Street and you can probably guess what’s there. 🙂 One other activity we partook in included a personal cinema for tourists (that’s how it was advertised – specifically for tourists). We don’t usually go see movies when we travel, but we were running out of things to do and it was a different experience than back home, as in we had our own private viewing room with leather seats and iced coffees included (how could we not go?!). Plus, we chose to watch a movie about the Cambodian genocide that took place in the 70’s (#educational).