Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Cambodia - Siem Reap

After the hustle and bustle of Vietnam, it was time for the much more sedate surroundings of Siem Reap in Cambodia, a place of many temples. The first one to see was Ta Prohm, where I'm told that the film Tomb Raider was made - this was the least interesting feature for me. The trees growing over the walls and stones of the temple were beautiful. Later we went down Pub Street in Siem Reap town, which is not beautiful. Nevertheless, despite loud music we had great Khmer food and beer.

On our second day we took a boat down the Siem Reap river to TonlĂ© Sap lake. This was a fascinating excursion to see houses built on high stilts to avoid being submerged during annual floods during the rainy season. We were also treated to seeing how small fish are dried in the sun and later smoked. The lake has floating villages which seem very isolated and must be a tough place to live. Later in the day were went to see the famous Angkor Wat temple - a magical place that shows the skills of stone masons from nearly 1000 years ago. 

On our last full day we went to see some shops and crafts. The Old Market is a great place to while away some time, but you wont leave empty handed as everywhere you go you are constantly approached by polite market sellers to "You buy something?"! We also had a great tour of the APOPO Hero Rats charity. This is where Tanzanian rats are trained to detect landmines, which are still all over Cambodia since a civil war in the 1970s. I made a new friend called Dora here - she crawled all over my arm and shoulder.

Siem Reap is a great place to visit if you love your history and like relaxing. The traffic here was mercifully miles lighter than in Hanoi or Saigon. The Tuk-Tuks are cheap and a fun way to get around. The food is great and fantastic value - all provided by the kindest and most polite people you can meet.

Trying out some stone carving at Artisans Angkor.

My new job as a Tuk-Tuk driver!

Angkor Wat at sunset.

Angkor Wat temple.

One of the stunning trees at Ta Prohm temple.

Driving a boat on Tonlé Sap lake.

On the Siem Reap river.

With Dora, the mine-detecting rat.

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