Sunday, April 6, 2014

Siem Reap - Day 2

Day 2
Early call time. Our hotel booking comes with breakfast for three. I grabbed a hearty breakfast thinking we might not eat on time later in the day. There was a buffet table with croissant, poach egg, veggie spring roll and potato, which I initially thought 'This is all they have??'. But then they handed a menu for us to order one full meal each so we each ordered individual items to share. Got to eat fried rice and bacon. It was like home cook breakfast.

We then headed out the city to start our exploration with a walking tour. It starts from Wat Preah Inkosei and end at Pub Street at The Alley.
Wat Preah Inkosei, found in the north of the city, is one of the Angkorian brick tample which still stands today.

We walked along the river going south.

We passed by the Royal Gardens and FCC Angkor. The garden looked like a well maintained park while FCC angkor looked like a colonial rich people's hangout, quite fancy fancy. Then we have a stopover at the Post office to buy some postcard and stamps. The stamps where quite expensive at $1 each, but should be worth it for those who will be receiving post cards.

Then we started heading east to Wat Bo Temple, which is the oldest Buddist temple/monastary in Siem Reap. At this point the sun is starting to get really intense. I think I smelled like burnt sun and dusty and it wasn't half out day yet, but enjoying it and the fun company (and I'm envying Dane's GoPro)

Its time for a break from the heat and some refreshing drink. Walking a few streets further Wat Bo is the Butterflies Garden. Its a dainty place, like a garden outside someone's house, there were a few butterflies flying while we lounge around. Didn't want to spoil lunch so we just order some refreshments and posted a few updates in twitter and instagram, there is free wifi yipee!

Close to lunch we started walking again and headed south West of the city. We passed by Psar Chaa - Old Market where there are so many shops to choose from. But no time to shop and not really ideal to carry goods since we still have plans later in the day. I do love markets, especially clean and well maintained wet market with fresh produce.

Last stop, Pub Street, The Alley. We choose to go to AHA which is one of the recommended must try place for Khmer Dish with a twist. Time for lunch, we have roughly an hour before our tour guide arrive for the next half of our day itinerary.

For the rest of our stay in Siem Reap we have rented a TukTuk driver to tour us to the temples. Manoy found our tuktuk driver Samboen with his website Tuk to the Wats. When you read his story, it will make a good episode of MMK, but I think he is still one of the lucky ones who learned and speaks english well. Anyhow itnerary for the afternoon is Beng Mealea, which is a at least two hour tuktuk ride

After two hours with an unplanned toilet stop to some random generous strangers home (courtesy of my small bladder), we reached our destination Beng Mealea. It means Lotus Pond. Its amazing to think how enormous it once stood in the middle of the forest. It was designed to catch rain water as it was surrounded by moat. And you can see how the forest has claimed back its land. The roots of the trees are overwhelming and it covered most of everything. Its amazing!

I slept most of the way back. Body is tired but not ready to call it a day yet. When in Cambodia a must watch is an Apsara dance, which is a traditional dance of cambodia. We had a buffet dinner plus enjoyed a full packed show.

All in all this day is just amazing though its tiring. Doing a city walk, I think you can never go wrong with it. You can get lost and walk back your tracks, but its quite fun especially reading a map and figuring out where to go. Renting a tuktuk is a must, its less expensive than renting a car, but a good guide will also tell you things only a local would know. And lastly, I think I wouldn't have lasted the day without energetic company who don't mind getting down and dirty and encouraging to cross heights and the unknown. Fun Fun Fun day!


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