Erin’s turn again…
The past 2 days we have been in Siem Reap in the Kingdom of Cambodia. I was surprised to see the full country name and learn that the country is ruled by a monarch. The sole purpose of the city seems to be to support tourism generated by Angkor Wat and other surrounding temples. The city center has a night market, Pub street (pumping loud music all night), restaurants and tuk tuks galore.
The best part of the town was our hotel The Golden Temple. It was a boutique hotel with amazing service. Apparently we were on a VIP package for $60/night which includes airport transfer, free 1 hour massage for each person, free meal (which was excellent and prob equivalent to at least $60 back home), free breakfast, a picnic lunch, a great welcome drink, and pretty much anything else you wanted. At home a massage alone would cost more than the price of this hotel. Cambodia uses the US dollar and their currency interchangeably, but everything is sooo cheap! Beers were 35 cents, 1 hour massages $7, foot massage $1, and an all day tuk tuk driver to the temples $11.
The downside of Siem Reap is the constant annoying peddlers trying to sell you something everywhere we went. In front of the temples small children with no shoes would follow you from the tuk tuk to the temple saying the only phase they know over and over “You want to buy something?” Same thing in the markets. Chris and VJ can do an amazing impression… The best lines we heard where “my name is lady gaga” and “1 for $1” in which we respond no thank you and they proceed to increase the price “okay, 1 for $2”.
On a side note, as I write this on the bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh the guy next to me is eating dried bugs purchased from a sidewalk vendor. I’m pretty sure he just ate a salty cockroach…
The first night in Siem Reap we headed to pub street and the night market. We weren’t hungry since we had a huge lunch in Vietnam and then were fed on the plane. We had a few cheap beers and called it a night since we had arranged for a tuk tuk to pick us up at 8am for a full day at Angkor.
In the morning we did Angkor
Thom and then went back to the hotel for our awesome free lunch of Cambodian BBQ and curry and free massage. Erin had a full leg massage and the others did a traditional Khmer massage which Chris described as a tiny Cambodian chick doing jumping jacks on his back…he also almost entered the massage room sans pants but thankfully for everyone in the room, recovered at the last second.
We headed back out for round 2 of the temples for sunset
After we finished up at the temples we headed back to the night market with the hope of purchasing a few silk scarves and t-shirts. After more annoying peddlers and a purchase attempt that failed because the lady tried to give us fake US dollars for change we left empty handed. One of the fake dollars was on white construction paper, no joke. Good thing Chris was paying attention.
We had a Mexican dinner since we needed a break from meals you eat with chopsticks and a few more drinks on pub street. We retired early since the tuk tuk was picking us up at 4:30am to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat.
We saw Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm in the morning and were back at our hotel by 10. We took a few hours to relax and then it was off to the Cambodian Capitol of Phnom Penh (puh-non pen) via a 5 hour bus ride…