Walking past the withstanding ancient structures that proved to be glorious amidst all forms of obliterations, I realized that once is really not enough. It was déjà vu. I was in the same spot three months ago looking over that amazing Wat, with my buddy and our trusted tuk tuk driver. I’m back at Siem Reap.
It felt so good to be back. Siem Reap seemed to be the most relaxed part in our Nepal-Southeast Asia backpacking trip. Nepal was adventure, Thailand was crazy, Vietnam was gastronomic and Cambodia was chill. Me and my buddy were acting like guides to our mates (my 2 guy cousins) who seemed uber excited to explore Angkor Wat. But then, I needed to show them Angkor What? Bar first.
After the 12-hour border crossing from Thailand, we finally reached Siem
Reap and checked in at Sokha Angkor Resort which will be our home for three
days. It was almost nighttime when we got back into grooves. We headed straight
to Happy Guesthouse and arranged our itineraries for the two-day tours around
Siem Reap (US$ 30 excluding entrance fees and temple passes) and then proceeded
to Pub Street for some real action.
|Angkor What? Bar in Pub Street|
The next day, we were collected by our trusted tuk tuk driver/friend, Nga, from the Happy Guesthouse. We were about to experience sunrise at Angkor Wat. With some breakfast packages on hand (prepared by our resort), we secured an Angkor Temple Pass from the APSARA office at around five in the morning (gladly, it was open that early). We promptly received our pass for one day to almost all the major temples in Siem Reap (US$ 20 each).
It was an Amazing Raceish type
of ride. Nga was speeding away like crazy to catch the perfect glow of the
sun’s first kiss.
|Trying out our tuk tuk at Happy Guest House|
We dashed into the crazy crowd of tourists at Angkor Wat. It’s as if everyone agreed that the party last night at Pub Street will resume there. There’s this Spanish-speaking Cambodian guide with a huge group of tourists, the Chinese and French delegation and everyone, I mean, everyone was looking for that perfect spot to check out the sunrise at Angkor Wat. For us, we settled on the grass somewhere and just enjoyed the view. It was spectacular, yes, but not as grand as our Angkor Wat sunset experience three months ago.
|Good Morning Angkor Wat!|
And then we carried on at Bantay Kdei, Ta Prohm, Baphuon and the Bayon. We completed the Angkor Group and Small tour in just a day with some siesta sessions near the Prasat Baphuon grounds. And just like that, we’re templed out.
The next day, we soaked into the saltwater pool of Sokha Angkor Resort. We spent countless hours just paddling and wading. It was such a fresh experience for everyone.
At exactly twelve noon we were again collected by Nga for our next destination, the Tonle Sap Lake.
|Tonle Sap Lake|
The one-hour ride didn’t bore us at all. The Siem Reap countryside scene was relaxing. The tuk tuk ride lulled me to sleep. I woke up at the sight of grazing lands where some herds of cattle were freely having their afternoon snack.
I immediately noticed that the water from the lake was shallower than when we were here last February (it was May at that time). The boat had really a hard time crisscrossing the water paths to the lake. The houses on stilts were literally so high that it felt like we’ll be burning some thousand calories climbing up and down the makeshift ladders. And it dawned on me that I needed to go back here during the monsoon season to check out the water upsurge.
It was a sweet comeback. Siem Reap is one of those places that will surely surprise you in so many ways. I will never get tired of it. Next time, I really wanna check out the Floating village during monsoon season. Maybe this year?
|WIth my two cousins this time|