Let this second post be a testament to how much I really loved Siem Reap. If I hadn’t enjoyed it so much, you would have received a jam-packed, one post rendition of my adventures. Instead you get two. So lets begin where my previous post left off:
I woke up with just enough time to shower before meeting Ana at her hotel for a little shopping. I seemed to be getting use to the pace of life I was keeping, as this day I’m not hungover. For me, 0ne of the best things about traveling is the presence of markets everywhere you go. For the most part you can buy anything and everything in one of these glorious establishments. I think they may be my favorite part of life on the road. Not because I have a shopping addiction mind you, but because of all the noises, smells (minus the raw fish one – yuck), sights, and overall enjoyment I get out of haggling for no real reason at all. There just seems to be a certain life to a market, and the one in Siem Reap was no different. Of course this time I really was there to shop and so was Ana. We bought a large variety of things for both ourselves and as gifts for those back home, and had such a blast in the process.
Next we headed back to Ana’s hotel to pick up Jo, who shockingly didn’t want to spend his morning shopping with us. He’s such a guy that way. Our next stop was the Angkor National Museum, which is where almost all of the images from Angkor Wat now currently reside. It’s a pretty interesting place if you want to know more about the religion in the area, look at lots of Buddhist and Hindu images. The three of us spent most of the afternoon walking from exhibit to exhibit, and although we found everything interesting, there is a limit to the amount of time you can spend staring at paragraphs of information before you get bored. Luckily there was this amazing setup to occupy our time for a few minutes anyway:
After the museum we parted ways to give one another a little time to nap and wash up before meeting up for a walk through the night market and one last dinner together before we parted ways. The night market isn’t anything special, so we made our way to Viva!, and once again I found myself enjoying the best Mexican food in Asia. I really am a sucker for Mexican food.
Sadly I couldn’t convince Ana and Jo to come with me for a drink before they left, so we had a sad goodbye in front of the restaurant, and I headed off to meet Chili and Jamie on Pub street. They weren’t hard to find, as there were really only 2 bars we found ourselves spending time with, and thus began one of the strangest nights of my trip. Before I had even gotten the chance to order a beer, I found myself zooming through the streets of Siem Reap in a tuk tuk with Chili. She was determined to find a tattoo parlor, and our kind driver was more than willing to indulge her needs. We went to 3 shops, all of which were closed, before the owner of the third shop, a Russian guy, told us of his friend who had a shop open a few minutes away. The tuk tuk driver got the address and we were off.
Much to our surprise, this place was a little further than a few minutes away. Closer to 20 or 30 to be exact. We had left Siem Reap and were driving out through the country on a bumpy dirt road with no civilization in sight. It was about this time that we began to question our decision-making process, and wondered if we had stumbled into the beginning of a Cambodian horror film. Thankfully we hadn’t, and a few minutes later we arrived at a small house with a group of guys sitting around a table enjoying a few beers and some fresh bbq. This was the home of the tattoo artist the Russian guy had told us about, and he was more than willing to make some money.
Excited, Chili headed into the living room and began explaining what she wanted. I had promised to hold her hand through the experience, and that’s exactly what I did. For some reason I agreed to get a tattoo too, and soon found myself in the opposite position with Chili holding my hand as a Cambodian artist inked me. I once again found myself evaluating my decision-making process. I can’t even claim to have been drunk during this process. I was stone sober. Oh the decisions I make after Ana and Jo leave me. After we were both done we were handed a free beer and waiting for our tuk tuk driver to return with his wife for the journey back into town.
The master plan this day was to take a balloon ride over Siem Reap to get a bird-eye view of the temples. When we arrived, the balloon wasn’t flying due to wind, so our small group made the decision to reserve the balloon for sunrise the following morning. We all split up and I headed back to Angkor Wat with Chili. We arrived in the middle of the afternoon, and it was deathly hot outside. Since neither of us were hung over, we were a bit more serious about sight-seeing and ended up being a little more adventurous than Ana, Jo, and I had been.
We did the temple of Angkor Wat and the furthest gate, where we met and became Facebook friends with a monk. We explored the jungle nearby and came across dozens on Monkeys.
We were given good luck twice inside the temple of Bayon, and practically had Ta Prahm to ourselves in late afternoon.
It was a great day to say the least.
We were up before the sun and riding along in a tuk tuk headed towards Angkor Wat. Unlike everyone else this morning, we had a balloon to catch. While I’m sure the view from the ground, where thousands of people seemed to be as we drove by, is excellent, I’m very happy we decided to take a balloon ride this particular morning. Although we did miss the peak of sunrise thanks to the operator who enjoyed the view on his own, the overall experience wasn’t lost on any of us. In fact I’m sure the view is spectacular at any part of the day.
Things like these never last long enough, and no sooner than we were up, it seemed like we were coming back down. By now we were all hungry so we headed back into town for some breakfast and then Chili and I parted ways with Jamie at the hotel. It was down to the two of us, so we did what all sensible girls do in times such as these. We went off in search of some Cambodia bbq complete with reptiles and animals we had never eaten.
First there was Crocodile:
Then we tried some snake:
And finally we snacked on some frog legs. My late grandmother would have been oddly proud of me for this one.
It was our last night in Siem Reap before we both headed our separate ways, so of course we ended our evening with a few drinks. There’s always something sad about leaving a city you love and people you’ve enjoyed spending time with. I’ve said it once before, but goodbyes really are the worst part of traveling.