I woke up at 4am to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. At 5am, I boarded the Tuk Tuk I charted for the trip to Angkor Wat. As a first time visitor to the Angkor Temples, I knew a hindsight to the little histories of the temple since visiting the Angkor National Museum yesterday. Angkor Wat isn't just the main temple but a small part of the temples. Compared to Angkor Thom, the 'Big Brother' is 4 times larger that Angkor Wat (measuring at least 4km at the longer edge).
Reaching Angkor Wat, I was advised to walk in, where I can catch the sunrise at 6.30am. As I walked in, I recognize 'Naga', the seven-headed serpent protector of Buddha. Ticket control was present to check tickets for entry.
The journey to Angkor Wat was through a stone pathway cutting through the temple moat. Walking through, one can feel the peace and serenity of its surroundings. A calm wind blew from the east as I walked closer and closer to my destination.
Passing by an entrance, I spot the dark silhouette of the Angkor Wat. Beside the path, there was a large field surrounding the pathway for visitors to take the world famous Angkor Wat Sunrise pictures.
As the sun rose, the sun shined beneath the one of the world's great wonders, the Angkor Wat. The silhouette form from the sun made it seem like a dream and I stood staring at it for quite awhile, while snapping pictures after pictures.
Walking in, I passed the great west entrance of the temple where a long outer corridor greeted me. Covered with ancient drawings depicting stories of the past, the corridor is a great place to slowly stroll in.
Past the corridor, I entered the inner portion where large washing basins are held. These washing basins collect rainwater, for use in the temple. In one of the corridors around the basin, there was a religious statue where a few monks gathered to give prayers. Visitors were also welcomed to visit the monks to receive a blessing, with a donation of course.
I made my way to the east entrance of the temple to view the quiet side of Angkor Wat. It is said that the Eastern gate represents the death gate, where the dead leaves. The Western gate is where the living enters. From there, I strolled along the corridors to understand more about Angkor's Rich history. In the stories, it mentioned that there were many battles fought, where people became great, where their work bear fruit after long periods of battle. With the inscriptions worn out and weathered, one can feel the aged of the temple as with its extensive history during its existence. Well, that's all based on what I inferred from the inscriptions.
From there, I walked back to the basins to take a break. Temple fever rose and I left the temple. It was 7.30am, I was too early and went about to grab a drink at the nearby stall. Prices were expensive compared to the town area, where food ranged from $6 onwards. Drinks were slightly more affordable, where a natural coconut cost only $2.
Soon I boarded the Tuk Tuk, where I journey next to Angkor Thom, the ancient capital of Angkor.
The night was spent at Pub Street - the most lively part of town. Pub Street transforms itself into a hive of activity ranging from quiet bars, to disco clubs that serve cheap and affordable draft beers, alcohol and snacks. Also in Pub Street consists of Happy Pizzas that serve Marijuana Infused Pizza (Which I obviously could not try) and a variety of local cuisine. Street stalls are rampant and a majority of the stores were selling food like fruit juice, flavored pancakes, and BBQ skewers.
I settled down at a bar directly opposite a disco club where I savoured a mug of draft beer at only $0.50 and a beef skewer ($1.50). Music and atmosphere was great, where the disco opposite played great club music.
It was late, I got some breakfast and walked back. Passing through the Angkor Night Market, where a once quiet street transformed into a bright and lively street. Overhead lights were lit, and people walked in both directions. Walking into Angkor Night Market, I saw that it consists of several bars and multiple shops that sell almost the same thing - scarves, handmade soap and shirts of Cambodia. It's repetitive content made it sort of a boring place to walk around.
I headed back to my hostel, and prepared for the next day - a full day at Angkor Wat for Sightseeing. Join me, next week for the next day!
Morning was blue and quiet. It was 6.30am, a light breeze blew as I set foot in the town of Siem Reap. I was indeed, in a state of excitement. At the entrance, there where lots of Tuk Tuk Drivers. I thought maybe the demanding ones where bad peeps linger, so I walked out more in search of a driver.
I met a driver, probably in his late 20s that offered me a ride for Free to my hostel. It sounded absurd at first, but after getting to know him better, he looked more like a nice person (Was I being too nice?). He spoke almost perfect English, in a right tone and looks legit. Thus I took up the ride.
The ride was great. Lots of cool wind and fresh morning air, amidsts the rustling city of Phnom Penh. During the ride, the driver and I discussed on destinations to go in Siem reap. Despite having made an offer to BatMan Tuk Tuk, I went ahead to schedule an Angkor Wat visit ($30) with him tomorrow. He mentioned that we would head to buy the tickets later. In about 10 minutes, I've reached my hostel - One stop Siem Reap Hostel.
One Stop Siem Reap Hostel is a young and newly established chain of hostels that provide accommodation to various travelers from all walks of life. It features rooms from mixed dormitories to female ones, to single rooms too. In addition, the hostel has a in house cafe, roof top swimming pool and laundry service - more of it in another post!
Having booked my stay from Agoda, I read that check in time was stated as 12 noon. It was 7.30am. What should I do?
I first dropped my bag and went to ask the receptionist (which tried his best to help me ✌️) where I learnt that Cellcom is Cambodia's largely used mobile service provider. If you had read my previous post, I bought a useless SIM card that only works within the airport. Thus, I need another one that works!
I headed out of the hostel and explored the area around. The area around was quiet and shuttered in the morning,
but as researched, the area would transform into Pub Street in the evening.
I first got breakfast at a nearby restaurant. It turns out it was a Chinese restaurant that serve Chinese food. I ordered a bowl of Beef Soup Noodle ($2.50). The beef was plenty and it's broth was well cooked. Served with Chinese tea, it was a great start to the day. It was then that I found out that restaurants don't accept large notes such as a US 50 bill - lucky I had small change!
I then visited the old market. The old market was situated amidst a busy junction, where it sold a variety of products from fresh vegetables to poultry to home goods such as electrical and fashion accessories. However, there where many shops distinctively
selling similar goods, purposed for the tourists.
I walked far, exploring places and back alleys in
broad daylight. Siem Reap was indeed a beautiful city with great people around. However, it's streets are a challenge to cross.
I visited the Angkor National Museum, where I learnt more about the ancient history of Cambodia. It was an informative journey, despite the high entry cost ($12). Nonetheless I did not regret going there as I wanted to find out more about the Angkor and its history.
Lunchtime! I got back to the hostel for some lunch, a plate of fried rice for $2.50, add a can of Cambodian Beer ($1) - sumptuous indeed.
Finally, it was time meet up with the driver to get the tickets. The tickets for angkor wat had moved to a new location somewhere 1km East away from its existing building. It's building represented the looks of a royal palace, had large spaces and a number of ticket counters. Processing was swift, and I got my tickets immediately. For a 1 day pass, it costed me $20 where tickets for longer periods would cost more.
The driver then took me to Old market where I can get some dinner. During the journey we spoke and I asked him what foods should I try while in Siem reap. He mentioned about trying fish amok, a curry made with fish and vegetables.
Upon reaching, I got some snacks and munched away as I went look for dinner. I found dinner at Old market. A plate of fried egg black sauce noodles.
Tune in soon for part two of day one!