Cambodia has come a long way in the last 25 years (it was the 25th anniversary of the end of the killing fields the other day) – as witnessed by the fact I’m now sitting in an Internet cafe in Siem Reap. It’s now been a week since I landed in Asia, a few fun, hectic pat thai filled days in Bangkok and then a crazy day of travelling across the Cambodian border and now I’ve been in Siem Reap, near to the awesome Angkor Wat temple ruins, for four days.
First up, the border crossing… Intense and vaguely stressful is probably the best way to describe it – an ‘experience’. Running en masse through the grey muddy marketplace that surrounds the Thai border with small thieving kids watching your every pocket is great fun. The gateway to the Kingdom of Cambodia is highly impressive, but once through you are surrounded by madness – normaly riding a motorbike (or with up to 5 people riding one motorbike). The whole town square is surrounded by motorbikes and people who just watch you all the time which is slightly unnerving. Then one of the guys on our coach to Siem reap got scammed in a most obvious way, but then the threat was ‘if you don’t pay, we leave you in Poi Pet’ – not an attractive prospect so he paid up, be warned! As for the ride, well… bumpy is a bit of an understatement to say the least – but watching the local countryside unfold, complete with ‘danger mines’ signs was awesome.
Briefly now – Angkor Wat… Wow! This is an amazing sight indeed. Such a mix of temple types and all stunning in their own ways. Precipitous steps, overgrown walls with tree roots pushing blocks out, and small children constantly asking you to buy everything for ‘one dollar! one dollar mistah!’. Took so many photos, in fact all of us did… expensive hobby this travelling malarky.
OK – back out into the madness of Siem Reap now. More laterer…