I realized that I never finished writing about the Cambodia leg of our trip that we had until I saw that it’s been almost a year since this happened. (Almost, because this time last year was the Bangkok leg of the trip.) Then I saw this in my drafts, and I thought – why not post it on the anniversary?
Massive photo dump. And I may not remember the order of the places we went to. But even so, that Siem Reap trip was a good one. I think I kind of fell in like with Cambodia after that, and now I smile every time a photo of the Angkor Wat or Ta Phrom or any of the temples appear on my feed.
So here’s a very, very late recap, because I kind of want to reminisce. :)
I am no stranger to crossing borders in trains, I realized, as I was thinking of how to start this post. I realized that I had done that several times when I was in Europe – when I rode the train from Switzerland to Paris, then Vienna back to Switzerland. Somehow, this border crossing from Thailand to Cambodia felt different, perhaps because of the company, and the fact that the Asian experience was different from the European one.
So early morning on the third day in Bangkok, we headed over to the train station at Hua Lamphong to ride a train to Aranyaprathet. I didn’t have high expectations for the train, based on the blogs I’ve read, and I was glad that I didn’t, because the it was a third class train, very much unlike the ones I rode in Europe. Nevertheless, I was in good company, so it was all right.
It was a long, long train ride, though. We arrived at Aranyaprathet about an hour later than expected, and it was hot and we were tired, but we must press on! We rode a tuktuk, had lunch, had a money changing experience, and then we made our way to the border.
And then we were in Cambodia! But there was a bus ride, and then a long van ride, and we almost got lost in Siem Reap. Thank goodness our hotel owner was nice.
Then, hello, Siem Reap!
Photo dump + commentary below. :D
I think the two-day temple running part was good enough, because by the end of the second day, we were getting a bit sick of seeing all the temples. You need lots of water and energy for the heat and the walking, though! We had an extra day at Siem Reap that we spent sleeping in, enjoying breakfast, and going around Pub Street for lunch and souvenirs. Oh, and we also did some bookstore hopping (because why not!), some of us rode bikes, and just generally enjoyed the city until we had to fly back (which was past midnight already, because our flight was delayed). I wished we had the time to visit Phnom Penh, or go to the other sites that would tell us more about the more recent history of this very beautiful country.
I remember saying that the Siem Reap part of this Indochina trip was the a chill part of the trip. Aside from the early morning that we woke up to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat, we were hardly in any hurry all throughout the trip. We had time to get enough sleep, eat leisurely breakfasts, watch TV, talk, and enjoy the place and each other’s company.
So if you’re wondering if the trip there is worth it? Yes. Is climbing the Angkor Wat worth it? Yes. Waking up early, walking in the heat, jostling with the other tourists to see the temple better and take good pictures, climbing up narrow, rickety steps to get to the highest point of the temples – all of them are worth it. :)
Now I want some fish amok.
Saum arkoun, Siem Reap! ♥