Back from Angkor Wat
Published Monday, August 25, 2008 by Carolyne | E-mail this post
Bob and I flew down to Siem Reab in Cambodia last Sunday (17 August). We had a Free & Easy deal with Vietnam Airlines which included 2 nights accommodation. On arrival at the airport, we were not the only ones stunned with the beauty of the airport, and despite laughing at the Japanese and Korean tourists taking photos of airport, until Bob finally relinquished and took a shot too. We really were fortunate with the hotel, the Allson Angkor Paradise Hotel, a four star hotel with great amenities and the usual SE Asian surfeit of staff.
We hadn't expected the smiling bowing friendliness of the Khmer people, reminiscent of the Buddhist peacefulness of the Laotians. It wasn't early when we arrived, and after a bit of a wander around the township settled on a local hole in the wall which looked popular with the locals. We were handed a menu which included English which should have caused us some cause for concern . . . we settled on a plate of white noodles with vegetables and yellow vegetables with pork. It was pretty ordinary food, and we didn't hold out much hope for Cambodian food.
On Monday we headed a few hundred metres down the road to rent some bicycles for the day. Bob spent far too long looking for a couple of mountain bikes, finally settling on a couple of department store quality machines, many years old and worse for wear. Before we headed off the national route 6 to cycle to Angkor Wat, we soon found out that gears did not work and the brakes were a bit iffy at best.
After getting our passes for the whole week at a cost of USD$60 each, we parked our bikes opposite the entrance to Angkor Wat and ran the gauntlet of young teenage girls trying to sell us anything and ingratiate themselves with us. Escaping their clutches, we headed across the moat into the great temple compound. We weren't prepared for what confronted us in this mass of stone and bricks 800 years old.