Apr 3-8, 2019
I had debated just showing photos as there’s not a lot to tell you about our trip to Cambodia except I think this is the hottest that I experience. It’s almost unbearable. It’s in the 40s (centigrade) for a good part of the day, all day. If it’s not in the 40s it’s in the high 30s. Even at night. What we find when it gets this hot is that we have to live in AC. Which is kinda too bad because there is a lot to see around. But it’s just not doable.
Of course we came here to see the amazing temples of Angkor Wat so we had to see them, but I was nervous about heat or sun stroke given how quickly we lost water. I usually worry about finding public toilets but when you’re not even peeing, there’s hardly anything to worry about (ok, that’s a joke).
Really not much to report except we had a wonderful bus ride to Phnom Penh where we spent less than 12 hours there I think.
The highlight was seeing our friends Roman and Julienne from France. They were coming around the other way from Laos (where we left them) and we managed to meet up with them for dinner.
It was so great to see them and eat dinner with them and connect with them again. Vivi absolutely loves them and so she was so excited to see someone else we knew!
We didn’t stick around long enough to get to know this big city but I understand it’s not that interesting and there’s a lot of garbage and prostitution happening so I’m happy to make a quick stop and go.
They did cancel our booked bus when we got here for the next morning but we just booked a better bus (Giant Ibis). So spacious and lots of stops. Highly recommend paying the extra to get this bus.
Again another all day bus trip to get here. We had booked an Airbnb that was a little outside of Siem Reap but it had a local school that the owner ran so we thought it would be great to volunteer in the afternoons with the kids.
We were not anticipating what came next. Well it was officially low season so there was no one else (tourists) staying at the Airbnb. We were anticipating lots of action and people to meet from the photos. It was basically empty. The room we slept in was ok, but the bed was horrific. Probably a 20 or 30 year old mattress. And me with my PTSD about bed bugs didn’t sleep at all.
Our French friends told us about this place in Siem Reap that was half the price that had a pool. The place we booked didn’t have a pool and it was blazing hot.
And, it was some sort of Cambodian holiday (easter break?) that there weren’t any kids at the school.
So we were all alone, down a remote road for 4 days. Since we were the only ones there, they moved us to a better room with newer beds and pumpin AC. But it’s pretty isolating when there’s no one around except the 3 of us.
We had been put in touch with a tuk tuk driver from our French friends in Koh Lanta and he picked us up the next day and we did a tour of the temples. That night we went to Pub Street where we had some 2 for 1 cocktails and dinner.
We had decided that we would do one day of temple hopping, then a day off to explore Siem Reap and then another day of temple hopping and then we leave. So the next day was spent at the museum (AC) learning about the temples and different religions that are celebrated here. Then we visited another silk farm. Then back home to regroup in the AC.
The following day we were up EARLY to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat. A friend and cousin both told us to go at sunrise but then go into the temple while everyone is outside waiting for the perfect shot. Yes you’ll miss the perfect shot but you’ll get to see the temple before the masses arrive. So we did that and it was really nice to be walking around getting great pics without a ton of people in the photo.
We sat with a monk who blessed us with nice smelling water and tied string around our wrists. Right for women, left for men. For me, I had seen this in blogs and pics, and it was really special to be able to do this little ceremony with my family.
Then we set out and visited more temples. My favorite was Bayon with so many faces and the golden hour after sunrise shining on the rock carvings was stunning.
There were a few more temples that Vivi couldn’t go into due to safety issues I think so we took these opportunities for Luc to adventure and us to sit and fan ourselves. Sometimes we would meditate together.
The day continued with temple after temple. I was drenched by the end of the day. It’s exhausting being in that heat. I just don’t understand how the locals do it.
The next morning we got a ride to the airport and we took off on an airplane to Malaysia for a one night stopover in Kuala Lumpur.
- I’m glad we went. While it was a long 2 day bus trip and it was stupid hot but to come all the way to South East Asia and not go to Cambodia to see these amazing temples, would be a shame. I’m not sure I would get over to this area of the world again in the next 10 years.
- I think we could have picked a cooler time to come and I would have appreciated it more.
- Hind sight is 20/20 and we should have picked a place in town with a pool. There’s just no way that we could have known that the school would have been out and we would have been alone.
- I’m officially “templed out”.
- You could definitely feel the difference going from Vietnam to Cambodia. Immediately the roads were worse, back to a lot more garbage and you could feel that this country was a little more rustic than Vietnam and Thailand. More like Laos as far as development went.