Lesson #1. Siem Reap (See-em Ree-ep). You're welcome. So we made it to Siem Reap and It is Obama-Fever around here. It was kind of cool to sit around a Hostel lounge and watch Air Force One land for the first-ever American Presidential visit to Cambodia. Really? No one has ever been here? (hmm).
So what can we tell you about this place? The life support of Cambodia has been the Temples of Angkor located just outside Siem. The town is quite charming if you ignore the hoards of tour groups. With its French shops, tree lines streets and a slow flowing river, it was little more than a village before the discovery of Angkor. The first hotel opened only in 1929 however the area remained sleepy until the 1990's due to the Khmer Rouge (and those guys were NOT nice).
i've never stayed in a hostel that nice in asia! wow! From, on Nov 25, 2012 at 04:21AM
We dropped off our bags and immedialtly grabbed food. Cambodian BBQ - the new official love for Brian and Jim. Take a small round camp stove, throw a slab of delicious pork fat on top to melt down the sides, some "fresh" meat, shrimpies, squid, veggies, herbs and noodles - and you have Cambodian BBQ. Brian is determined to search Amazon for one the minute we get back to the States.
There is a great area called the Old Market which shows the French influence of the early 1900's. Its a happenin' spot where everyone in town seems to hang out. Discos, bars, restaurants.... We went to Old Market and didn't even make it 1 full block when we were sucked in like moths to a light : "Foot massage... 20 minutes $1" . What was suppose to be a quick revitalizing foot massage led to 2 hours ($9) of pure heaven when we found out they served drinks. All on a street corner in downtown Siem Reip Cambodia. What we should have done next was go home, but we wandered dreary eyed and limp legged into a club to chat it up with a Brit, a Pakistani and one Crazy Scottish chick that freaked us out with her Scottish intensity and a lot of "F-Bombs". She was like a character out of SNL.
And then this happened....
We hired a private Tuk-Tuk (Sam) to drive us the 1 hour to Angkor. And left early to do so to try and beat some of the heat. Also - it can take you days to see it all. Its massive. Way bigger than we expected. We have seen lots of Temples and Ruins in our travels, and this ranks right up there. It is exhaustingly large, hot as all hell and about 90% humidity, so the fact that out Hostel has a pool we can dip into later is like a gift from Buddha himself. Angkor Watt is ridiculous - in a good way. It is far bigger than we expected. We have seen lots of Temples and Ruins, and this ranks right up there. Its is exhaustingly large, hot as all hell and about 90% humidity, so the fact that out Hostel has a pool is like a gift from Buddha himself. OO has been convinced by the inter webs that dinosaurs coexisted with humans and roamed freely across Cambodia because of some random temple carving. We shall see OO - we shall see.
Marisha's theory wins.
We got back late and went in search of food and a delicious cold beverage. What we stumbled upon was most glorious discovery since Angkor Watt itself - the Jeep Bar.
Our second day of Angkor was to explore the outer temples that most people don't even know exist. Our same TukTuk driver Sam picked us up and we hit the road early. On our way there we had him drop us off in a small village so we could walk around and take it all in. Walking through a village out in the middle of nowhere is was one of the coolest local experiences we have had traveling. It is super chill here, people stare a little but they all say hi and no one hassles you. The people are so friendly that they will stop and talk to you if you engage them at all. We got to see an up close and personal side of what it is like to live here.
Views from a TukTuk
They look like Johnny Walker Red bottles. From, on Dec 5, 2012 at 07:15PM
One of the things we were pretty excited for was to take a boat into one of the water villages off Lake Tonle Sap. Monsoon waters still flood the rice paddies and roadways which turns the village into a lake most of the year. Our boat driver was maybe 13 - which could be part of our next problem. We proceeded to break down in the middle of the lake, float down stream so we couldn't be seen by other boats, ran aground on a treetop, got moving again over an hour later just to crash into another boat on our way to the wildest mechanic shop in the middle of nowhere. Thank god they don't move very fast. Only us.... This kind of crap happens to us all the time. Welcome to traveling with the Cowles Double O.
Well, as much fun as Siam Reap is - it is time to move on. This place is certainly geared more for tourism offering plenty of lodging, food and entertainment options. We are hoping to see and experience a little more of an off the grid vibe as we move on into the inner parts of Cambodia.