Cambodia…temples & all.
Welcome, one & all, to the third installment of our trip, during which I will be sharing all things Cambodia. It’s hard to believe that this is my third post & you’re probably wondering when I’ll stop talking about this trip, but as I said in the beginning, there was a lot to see & do.
So…you ready to do some scrolling? Here we go.
After our sun-downer on the beach, we headed back to the boat for our final night at sea. However, before saying goodbye to the Aqua Mekong, we had one final morning excursion the next day to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, the residence of the King of Cambodia.
That afternoon, we disembarked in Phnom Penh & waved goodbye to our home at sea. From there, we took a bus ride to the airport where we would be catching a flight to Siem Reap. Back on dry land, the bikes magically appeared once again & we got to the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor just in time to take a dip in the pool before dinner.
After a relaxing afternoon & a delicious dinner, we were up early to visit the Buddhist temples of Bayon before the huge crowds hit. Built around the late 12th or early 13th century A.D., this temple was at the center of Angkor Thom, the capital city of the Khmer Empire. Best known for the huge faces on its towers, the Bayon Temple was unlike anything we had seen yet. Especially because there were some fairly aggressive monkeys that seemed to run the place. We witnessed them fight a woman for her lunch & that may have been more entertaining for my brothers than the temple itself…but to each his own.
Spared by the monkeys, we jumped on our bikes to cycle 30km past & through the other temples. Although Angkor Wat is the largest of the temples & the main attraction, the Angkor Archaeological Park stretches over 400 square-kilometres & there are countless temples to explore.
We made a quick stop for a snack & to look a little closer at one of the other temples. The best part about biking, (other than the sights of course) is the fresh mango that’s always waiting for us…it makes up for the fumes & the traffic.
^^every time we saw a steep temple staircase, (which is often because every temple has one) my dad would make the same joke: “Well, it’s not easy to get to heaven.” The following would be our reactions every time:
Me: “That’s hilarious, Dad. Did you come up with that yourself? I can’t believe I’ve never heard that one befor – oh, wait. I think you said that at the last temple, which we saw about…hmm…let’s see…TEN MINTUES AGO.”
Temple guide: *Laughing because he has never heard the joke before, doesn’t really understand English & wants a good tip.
My brothers: *Non-reaction because they are too busy strangling each other, pretending to be French with their new scarves & provoking the disease-carrying monkeys.
My mum: *Turns to me & silently mouths, “help me”.
After finishing up our ride, we went back to the hotel to have lunch & change before checking the main event off the bucket list…Angkor Wat! A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. According to the locals, the best time to see it is at sunset. Not only do the crowds start to die down, but the setting sun hits the temple, causing it to change colours. We entered through the back of the temple, making it to the front just in time.
We had one last temple on the schedule before leaving Siem Reap…the wild jungle temple of Ta Prohm. This temple looked straight out of an Indiana Jones movie, so naturally, my dad & his hat fit right in. A lot of the site was rubble, but what was left had been overrun by nature.
After channeling our inner Indiana Jones & avoiding several giant boulders, we had some free time in the afternoon before our flight to Luang Prabang, Laos. So, the boys & I decided to make use of our temple pass one last time & get a second look at Angkor Wat. We were a little disappointed the day before that we didn’t get to climb the stairs to the highest point of the temple because of the long line, so we set out on a mission to make it to the top.
So, we finally came, saw & conquered Angkor Wat. After crossing another item off grandma’s bucket list, the only thing left to do was to fly to the third & final country on our list – Laos. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to wait another week for the details…sorry ’bout it.
Just a girl sharing the baubles she loves & the bliss she experiences!