Sunday, May 19, 2013

Siem Reap, Cambodia {Part 1}

Our first full day in Siem Reap, we decided to sleep in and eat our free breakfast at our hotel at a leisurely pace. Knowing what we know now, we would have woken up first thing. We decided we were going to take our hotel's free bikes to explore Angkor Wat. First, we had to buy our 3 day pass, which is a story in of itself. By the time that was done, it's close to 10am and getting hotter by the second. We arrive at the entrance, purchase water bottles from someone so they will "watch our bikes" and head on in.

Walking up to Angkor Wat is so impressive. Built in the 12th century in dedication to Hinduism (seems weird, right?), Angkor Wat is massive and equally as impressive. The ornate details and carvings are still visible even though the sandstone temple is slowly eroding away. It was amazing in the 21st century, so just imagine how stunning the temple used to be with intricate carvings on every surface of this 400 acre structure.

We enjoyed exploring all of the hidden passages and trying to stay in the shade. It was WELL over 100 this day and we could definitely feel it. One benefit to exploring during the hottest part of the day? Everyone heads back to sit at their pools or take a nap, so we mostly had the place to ourselves!

This was (no joke) about 3 minutes after we got off our bikes. The first of many times we did this.

After it got too hot to handle, we biked back to our hotel for the day. As far as food goes, I tried a popular Khmer dish called amok (very similar to a watered down yellow chicken curry) and Jason got a burger. Haha. We also tried sticky rice with fruit for dessert. We spent the rest of the day relaxing by the pool and getting the first of our 2 massages.

I feel compelled to mention where we stayed because I think it is a big reason why we really liked Siem Reap. We paid $50/night for our three night stay at the Golden Temple Hotel. The guesthouse welcomed us with a cold tea, cool hand towels and a tray full of snacks. In addition, we got a free hour long massage, a TV with HBO, breakfast every day, free picnic for two, free lunch or dinner for two, free bike rental and free water every time we left the hotel. We somehow ended up with 4 t-shirts as well! Plus, the staff was absolutely the nicest group of people we met in Cambodia…so incredibly kind and gracious. They were literally honored to be serving us. Needless to say, we definitely didn't mind spending our evenings here.

After our first day, we decided that hiring a tuk tuk driver for day 2 was our best bet. Some of the temples are pretty far away and we wanted to make sure we could see everything we wanted to. Up next - Day 2!

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