Angkor Wat and Siem Reap
Today was our first day in Siem Reap. the anticipation was high as we rolled in from Phnom Penh.
The bus ride took us a while longer than expected since the road was a trailer wide orange dust cloud. But our Chinese and Cambodian fellow travellers seemed to enjoy it as we bumped down the orange dust.
We have both been waiting a long time to go to Angkor Wat and Siem Reap. As you might know, Angkor Wat is one of the most famous temples in the world. And ranked as one of the worlds seven wonders giving it a place in the UNESCO world heritage site list.
So this morning there was no stopping us in going to Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples.
But as a well orientated traveller, in my opinion of course, I felt that it wasn’t going to be that easy.
Leonardo asked me to head down to the hotel reception to ask about motorbike rental.
“There is no motorbikes to rent here” the receptionist said. “It is illegal to rent out to tourists in Siem Reap”
That is the most stupid thing I have ever heard! What is this? Is it a TukTuk Mafia in town afraid of motorbikes getting all the customers?
But apparently no one knows and no one has lived to tell the tale. But the most common reason we have heard is that the government in Siem Reap made it illegal because tourists where frequently in accidents because of not being used to Cambodian driving.
Really? we thought. Thinking of our days back in Vietnam and my first encounter with Asian style traffic, and Leonardos encounter with India. Siem Reap? no this is peaceful and calm in comparison. Sure, they feel like driving where ever they feel like it. Even on the promenade or sidewalks, the parks, the markets, the restaurants. And they do tend to squeeze in where ever there is space. Even though there was more space on the other side of you as they pass you by. But it’s still not near other cities or countries we have travelled to.
Our plans faded. What were we to do. We have gear to bring with us. A DJI Phanom 2 Vision, cameras, GoPros, Tripods and we had to fit us in somewhere in between too.
Bikes are available for hire for 1 USD per day in Siem Reap. But with all that gear in heavy rain and humidity we would be there by tomorrow.
So after a little breakfast at Pub Street we decided to ask a TukTuk driver. And very well, our new friend and TukTuk driver agreed to take us.
For an amount of 10 USD for the “small tour” (Leonardo bargained it down from 15) we drove through the patchwork of asphalt they call roads.
The town of Siem Reap is a touristy town, but not as well maintained if you’re not on the riverside. The riverside is the pride (except Angkor Wat of course) and they flaunt it at every chance they get.
But we liked it and as we got closer we could see the entrance closing up on us. We where finally there. Angkor Wat.
Have an amazing day!
Love from Charlie & Leonardo