Far East

Discussions regarding holidays in the Far East.
Our second day was the temples. We had been here 3 years ago but I really wasn't well and missed a lot. I just had wanted to return to make up for it( and because I liked Siem Reap itself). You need to buy a pass to visit the temples. You can get one, two or 3 day passes( think you can also get up to a week but you would need to be really dedicated to spend that long!) The one day costs 20 dollars. We hired a car and driver for the day. Lots of folks take tuk tuks. You definitely need transport between temples.
There is a huge amount of walking as many of the temples have very long walkways to get to them. Wear loose fitting clothing, take a sunhat and loads and loads of water. You will never feel so drained as you do there! After a couple of temples I had to keep wringing my hair out as it was soaking!
I cant explain what it is like to visit these temples. Angkor wat is huge and I can't imagine how many people worked on it. Every wall seems full of intricate bas reliefs showing life 800 years ago, the battles and folk lore. There is just so much to see. There are lots of steps and the final climb is steep but safe. You just take your time and most go up side ways, and some come down backwards. I have suffered for years from labyrinthitus and I just took my time and got there. I was pretty proud of myself. I can tell you that a few times you are at the top and you look at the steep stairs down and think you are not going to do it! We did the small circuit and that covers 17 kilometres. The first few temples have lots of steps to climb and you end up exhausted( heat mostly) but the final two temples have only a few steps so it does get easier!
A major tip would be to take a long lunch break. We took ours at a line of basic shacks just before we went into Ta Prohm. I didn't want anything hot so just went for a chicken sandwich- the best one I've ever had! And running our feet were chickens. We even had one which roosted on the bar under our table. We had a couple of drinks and must have sat for over an hour but what a difference it makes. Your energy returns!
Ta Prohm- amazing place!
A lot of restoration has been done to it in the 3 years since we have been. And many of the huge piles of rubble have now been reconstructed. This is of course the Tomb Raider temple. The ruler built it to honour his mum and then thought he had better get one built for his dad! This was the next one we went to and turned out to be my favourite. Both of these really are jungle temples but the second one was virtually empty of tourists and we sat for ages looking around and listening to the jungle noises.
You really can't begin to describe all the temples. Truly a magical place
That night we went to the night market and enjoyed a pretty bizarre cabaret involving ladyboys and something like Stars in your Eyes. Good fun. We went on to eat at Khmer Kitchen- wonderful food! A must try is the fish amok. We liked it so much that we ended up there the next night!
The next day we visited the War Museum. Its very quiet and run very much on a budget. I think it was started by a small group of men who wanted to document what had happened. On the face of it, its just a collection of rusting war machinery. However, it is so much more. It is $5 dollars entry.. Take the free guide. He makes the whole visit. All guides are war veterans or injured during the civil war or Khmer Rouge time. Some of them were child soldiers. The guide really explains the last three decades. It is shocking to realise that the Khmer Rouge killed half the population of Cambodia. There are different areas for shade along the way which are filled with photos and the guide will tell the stories behind it. Our guide lost most of his family. I think this place is a must visit.
We also went to Phare The Cambodian Circus.
This is great fun. Some peope compare it to Cirque Soleil but that is a bit ambitious!! These are young people from difficult backgrounds who are encouraged to develop their skills. Phare Ponleu Selpak also have a musical and theatre schools and 1200 children are able to attend public school. The circus performance tells a story based on traditional values and stories. Our one was about facing fear. Translation is on a screen so you can follow it. They include all the circus skills- acrobats, juggling, ariel acts, fire etc .Some heartstopping moments. Really enjoyable and the kids look like they absolutely love it.
There is also a bar before and after and you can eat there as well.
We left after a leisurely breakfast. This time I had insisted on a taxi as it had bucketing rain all through the night!
Loved reading this Fiona thanks, it's really interesting :tup
Nice post Fiona and although I won't be visiting myself, I enjoyed reading it. thanks :tup

What a shame though that after all the time and effort to write it all, and over 60 odd hits on the thread, only Glynis has the manners to say thank you.

Sanji x
Wow fiona that was a lovely detailed post loved the pictures..You go to some really interesting countries love your posts.
Looking forward to seeing all this next feb! Lovely report.
link to my photos
Thanks all :)
Sorry for the delay in responding. I am not on HT much now as I gave up modding almost 2 weeks ago.
  • Edited by Fiona 2014-09-02 21:28:57
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