18th of February 2016:
We had a well deserved sleep in and started the day at 9am. At 10am we were off down the road to do the small circuit of Angkor Wat temples. We found a tuk tuk that was happy to drive us for the day for $13 U.S. Dollars. The drive only took 20 minutes to the ticket office where we bought a three day pass for $40 dollars. The first temple was the breath taking Angkor Wat. As the tuk tuk approached the original stone bridge we saw 100’s of tourists flooding to see the historical temple.
As we joined the crowd we walked through archways still standing strong from centuries before us. The stones represented such vast histories both ceremonious and disastrous. The King in the 17th century banned Buddhism and forced Hinduism amongst all civilians, for years to come. Fortunately as time past so did the forceful rulings of the Kings before. Now the temple is a wonderful historical blessing, that has been restored in certain areas. Angkor Wat temple alone is built on a million pieces of stone to create what it is today. A guide told me millions of Cambodians sacrificed their lives for their God. I don’t believe anyone should have to sacrifice their own individual life for a religious point of view, but that’s my opinion. After walking around the huge temple for 2 hours we headed back to our Tuk Tuk ready for the next one.
The four temples after became a blur of old stones with Buddha faces and tree roots entwined within the temples. They were all absolutely breathtaking but surprisingly walking around temples becomes exhausting. The heat became unbearable from the reflection off the stone. I felt disgusting and fatigued by the last temple that we were happy to go back to our hostel.
The small circuit took us 6 hours to complete. It was definitely worth every moment though but wouldn’t recommend in the middle of the day. As we got back to our hostel we instantly changed into our bathers to go to the sister hostel 300m down the road with a pool. The water was so refreshing and just what we needed. After the sun set we went to get dinner. Unfortunately Siem Reap, Pub Street is very touristy. It is so difficult to find many local foods as its bombarded with lights, pubs and numerous restaurants. We went to a place called Texmex where we had Mexican food. It was absolutely amazing to have something different than rice all the time. It was one of the most satisfying burritos I’ve ever eaten.
19th of February 2016:
Today was a well deserved rest day. Yesterday took it out of us a lot more than you would ever expect. So up until 12pm we were playing pool, we would of played over 10 games and never once did I win. After this we walked to the other hostel to spend the day by the swimming pool. There was no hassles for the day. I wish I could say I got tanned from spending the entire day in the sun but that is impossible! As the sun set we went out for dinner again, however we found a Khmer restaurant. Weirdly I wasn’t hungry at all so I just ordered spring rolls. They were delicious, one of the best spring rolls I’ve ever eaten. Today was a amazing and it was so nice to just have a break from all the hassle from locals and to just enjoy some of your own time.
20th of February 2016:
Today we did the big circuit of the Angkor Wat temples, however this time we learnt our lesson from the first circuit and went in the morning. We left at 9am prepared for another long, exhausting day. We were not the only ones who had this idea.
There was a traffic jam for 5 minutes as the south entrance is a one way lane through the original gates. Both sides have the Buddhas head carved out of stone. Surprisingly, the big circuit doesn’t actually take as long as the small circuit. It’s the same amount of temples but they are a lot smaller. One temple took us 5 minutes as it was a long walkway over a huge swamp as far as the eye could see and at the end was a little temple in the middle surrounded by water. We couldn’t walk around though so spent more time walking across the bridge than looking at the temple.
It only took us four hours to see all the temples so we were pretty happy to get lunch by the pool again. For dinner we ordered probably the most expensive burrito I think I’ve ever paid for, $7 U.S. Which is $9.50 Aus, and unfortunately it wasn’t very nice. I was so disappointed, there’s nothing worse than spending heaps of money and receiving horrible food.
21st of February 2016:
We organised a bus at 9am to take us to Luang Prabang. Unfortunately the night before I wasn’t feeling very well, so I only slept 3 hours. A man came out and told us to hop on the most terrifying bus I’ve ever seen. The back end was missing so the engine was out in the open. There was no room for our luggage so we brought it on to the bus. It literally looked like a broken down bus that had been sitting out in the outback for a decade and they decided to put a semi functional engine in it. As we got on all I could think of was how are we possibly going to make it all the way to Luang Prabang. This bus couldn’t possibly drive continuously for 6 hours. However thankfully after 10 minutes he dropped us off on the side of the street. I tried to stay awake but was so exhausted I felt like I was just dosing in and out. As another bus came we jumped on with all the local people. A guy around 20 years old with his mum sat opposite us. His mum indicated to us that he had a mental problem but I wish I knew what it was. He would be fine and then his eyes would glaze over and it was like he would start sleep walking. No recollection of what he was doing. Numerous times his mum would chase him down the street. He would call me sister, and seemed to want to touch me. Unfortunately from the nights events I really didn’t have much patience and all I wanted to do was sleep peacefully rather than have one eye open the entire time. At one point the kid in front of me was watching me sleep whilst trying to grab something from the back of the seat. There was the water bottle and Oreos, any kid back home would prefer the Oreos but instead she grabbed the plastic around the water cap and ate it. I didn’t know what to do, she just seemed so normal about the whole thing. As per usual there was no toilet on the bus, so when the child had to go her mum would escort her down the stairs to literally pee on the ground. Nick said she did this twice! After 6 hours we had finally made it to Luang Prabang. Our map said we were 1km away so we jumped off to walk there. I have no idea why I agreed to this because only after 3 gastro tablets did I feel semi functional again, however I was still drained. As we arrived to where the map said the hostel was we realised there were numerous places in Luang Prabang called Happy Hostel. Ours was called 19 Happy Hostel. Same same but different! We got a tuk tuk to take us, he arrived at one hostel and I waited while Nick went to check, thankfully we did because it was the other one two streets away. As we arrived I was happy to go to sleep, but the room we were given had no working fan or air conditioning so thankfully with no hesitations they changed us to another room. The good part about the hostel was it had DVDs you could choose from, so us and a couple of guys wanted to watch the killing fields before tomorrow. Prior to a week ago I did not know of the killing fields, and I was surprised it was in 1975 and onwards.