Leaving our island life on Koh Tao behind us, we went again with a night bus on the long trip to Bangkok and once again, we swore we never to take a night bus again (but this intention is already obsolete). After a short stay in Thailand’s capital, we continued to Cambodia. The border formalities were fortunately easier than expected and after some negotiation, we even found a reasonably priced taxi to Siem Reap, the starting point for our great temple tour of Angkor.
The common name Angkor Wat is only just a symbol for the art of temple building, as it is only one of many temples in the area of Siem Reap. For though Angkor Wat is the best preserved temple complex, Angkor Thom, for example, is far bigger and the jungle temple Ta Prohm much more spectacular.
To be able to enjoy all the temples thoroughly, we “rented” a Tuk-Tuk driver for three days and on we went 800 years into the past. First we visited the Bayon, the state temple of Jayavarman VII, the most important of the Angkorian kings. This huge stone temple is covered with smiling faces and the confusing maze of corridors and chambers seemed very mystical.
After that we went into the jungle temple of Ta Prohm, which we had to share with many other tourists, thanks to Angelina Jolie. Nevertheless, the atmosphere between the half-ruined stone walls, overgrown with huge trees, was unique and at lunch time, the stream of visitors even cleared a bit.
After two days of intensive exploration of the temple we had to treat yourself with a break in which we explored Siem Reap and its cuisine a little closer. Then we felt fit enough to get up at five Clock in the morning to make our way to Angkor Wat to watch the sun rise over the five famous towers. Unfortunately, the weather thwarted our efforts and the sun hid behind the clouds.
Instead we had a final highlight with a small but beautiful temple hidden in the jungle, which had all to ourselves. So we felt a bit like in “Indiana Jones and the Apsara-Dancer.” 😉 Finally, we had enough of temples and so we went on to Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh.
There, we moved into quarters in a Girlie-bar/brothel what we only realized in the evening when they turned on the pink lights and some short-skirted girls entered the bar. In addition to this “interesting” experience we visited the Royal Palace in the city before we boarded our bus to Vietnam.