Making our way overland from Thailand to Cambodia
21.04.2011 33 °C
We just wanted to say a big thank you for checking out our blog and for all your comments. :-) Here is our next update….
Our intentions were to leave Chiang Mai on Saturday 16th, but all transport was fully booked due to everyone leaving after Songkran. We booked another night at MD house and went out later that night, had some Mexican food and watched City beat United in the FA cup! So, did we leave the next day I hear you ask??? Nopes, Kayleigh was very poorly sick with heat exhaustion (not nice). Eventually we left on the 19th and by then we were more than ready to go somewhere new.
After another 10 hour bus journey from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, we were lucky enough to be dropped off pretty much outside our Guest House. We checked in at 6am and slept most of the day. Ha. This was just a stop over really before leaving the following morning and making our way to Aranyaprathet to cross the Thai-Cambodian border.
We had heard about many scams involving people charging excessive amounts for visas and charging you to leave the county etc, and sure enough they were all on form! Before we even reached the official border itself we found ourselves in an office being told we needed to pay 1200 baht each before they could let us go any further. When we told them we would not be paying their fee the fake officer guy got pretty moody with us and threw a bit of a paddy saying that we were out of order for not trusting him, Lol….cheeky sods! After that it was pretty plain sailing, there were no queues for our visas that we got once in Cambodia and just an hour later we were sharing a taxi to Siem Reap (although the taxi driver over charged us we found out later, dammit).
Anyway, our Guest House was incredible; we were greeted with fresh orange juice, a cold towel and a warm welcome from the manager called Sonny. We decided to get something to eat at the little restaurant next to the Guest House, and ended up finding our new favourite (and very cheap) beer, Angkor! :-)
The ultimate reason for visiting Siem Reap is the temples, particularly the world's largest religious building, Angkor Wat. We decided that we would wake up really early and ride our rented bicycles to the temple and watch the sunrise. Although when our alarm went off at 4:30am we decided to stay in bed – only to be woken up 15 minutes later by the way-too-efficient Sonny who had remembered our plans, HAHA! So, up we got, hopped on our bikes and raced the entire distance (about 6 miles lol) to try and reach the temple in time – we made it but unfortunately it was a little too cloudy to see the sun....typical. By then we were absolutely shattered from riding at full pace in 33 degree heat.
The temple was well worth the trek on the bikes though, and we spent about 2 hours walking round the gardens and up the main tower to get the view. After having a bite to eat for breakfast, pancakes with lemon and sugar, we moved onto Angkor Thom, the once 'Great City' within the region.
On the way we stopped to see some wild monkeys which were playing and jumping between trees, they had found a great spot by the road where locals were giving them fruit to eat.
After about 5 hours of temple-spotting, we decided to call it a day and make our way back to our Guest House. The weather had improved the more the day had gone on, so we rode back in the sunshine. About 10 minutes away from our Guest House however, the heavens opened and it absolutely threw it down, so we made a quick detour and got under the nearest shelter. With rain in Cambodia though, 1 minute and your absolutely soaked! :-)
Our next move in Cambodia is to visit the beach town of Sihanoukville, about 8 hours south of Siem Reap. We intend to be beach bums for the next few days but will keep you updated as much as we can.
Kayleigh & Phil