The temples of Angkor Wat in mind

27 07 2009

Ann told her experience and feeling in Angkor temples as well as in Siem Reap, Cambodia when she took part in an eighteen day travel through Asia with her husband.

Reflection pool of Angkor Wat at sunrise

Independent travel has been great, but after 4 months on the road all the planning and organizing was getting a bit tiresome.  We booked an 18-day guided tour that would take us from Bangkok all the way through Cambodia and Vietnam with the luxury of nearly everything being planned for us.

In Bangkok we met up with our group of 11 fellow travelers, as well as our guide and a new trainee. As it turns out, everyone has been great and our group is getting along quite nicely.

Boy Monks at Angkor Wat

The first part of our tour took us into Siem Reap, our first stop in Cambodia.  Before I get any further, I’d like to go over some shocking statistics.  The average age in Cambodia is 57.  About 50% of the population is under the age of 18.  Their literacy rate is said to be between 40-50%.  And about 1/3 of their population lives on less than $1 USD per day.  Another interesting fact???  80% of all visitors to Siem Reap are either Japanese, Korean, or Chinese.

Getting from Bangkok to Siem Reap involved a 12 hour bus ride across the boarder, of which the last 160 kilometers were on a very bumpy and unmaintained gravel road.  At one point our bus had to stop for repairs as we had 3 flat tires.  As we crossed from Thailand to Cambodia the changes were immediate.  Garbage was everywhere you looked, piled high in fields and ditches.  At the boarder we had to get off the bus, walk through customs, and wait on the Cambodia side to be picked up again.  Brian managed to get robbed in the first 5 minutes in Cambodia, luckily it was only his bottle of water.  A young barefoot and filthy boy walked very slowly up to him, looked him in the eye for a few seconds, bent down and grabbed the bottle sitting near Brian’s feet, and ran off.  Everyone in our group just watched in a combination of amusement and sadness…then clutched their belongings a little tighter.

Day two, and three, and four brought us on a guided tour of the famous Angkor Temples which were built between the 8th and 13th centuries and are spread out over about 40 miles around the village of Siem Reap.   Some were in nearly complete ruin, some in the middle of restoration, and some in surprisingly great condition considering they are a tiny bit old.  For you movie buffs, the Angelina Jolie movie Tomb Raider was filmed in one of the jungle temples there.

While in Siem Reap we also took a boat ride on lake Tonle Sap which is home to a floating village of houseboats, floating stores and churches, even a boat that serves as a basketball court.  We did some shopping around the temples and in Siem Reap, because every few feet there are children surrounding you begging you to buy there bracelets/scarves/books /etc.  We’ve also done a lot of eating – Cambodian Khmer food is very tasty.  Lots of pumpkin, coconut sauce, and fresh fruit.

This is one of my favorite pictures

So far our travels in Cambodia have surpassed our expectations.  Next stop?  Phnom Penh.  Stay tuned…..

Author: Anne
Source: The Hallgrens’ Blog – Realtravel
They are traveling as a couple in their 30s from Belle Plaine. They decided to quit their jobs, sell their house in the suburbs, and spend time exploring the world.

Angkor wat stories and travel guide:
Angkor Wat Discovery Tour:
Other Adventure Tours in Cambodia:
Tours in Asia:

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Angkor Wat Tags: Angkor wat tours, Travel Angkor Wat, Angkor Wat travel, Discover Angkor Wat, Angkor Wat Cambodia




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