Driving from Popiet to Siem Reap..
How can it be possible for one drive from place to place open your eyes so much?
Driving along one long, flat, straight road through “towns” of dirt tracks, boggy fields, old farms, very skinny cows in the fields and people sat in their little huts made of bamboo, wood and metal shields. Just trying to make a living in them!
I didn’t realise how poor of a country Cambodia really was, they use dollars instead of their own currency because their own currency is pretty much worthless.
These people have nothing of material worth compared to the UK and other western countries, yet they seem to be the happiest people I’ve ever met and seen! Makes you think doesn’t it? Money isn’t the be-all and end-all to happiness, especially when you take away necessities!
You see, Western life is so spoilt and so different yet there’s so many people who aren’t happy within it, everyone has problems but it definitely makes some “problems” I’ve once thought I’d had seem minuet. It doesn’t half make you see what we take for granted. (Including running drinking water and electricity).
I’m glad now I got the bus to Siem Reap and have had the chance to drive through and visit these parts of the world because it’s truly humbling and definitely the culture shock Ive been searching for.
Arrived In Siem Reap.
After making it through the borders..
‘ word of advice: Be aware of the fake borders made by the ‘mafia’ and them trying to sell fake visas! We were warned quite a lot about this so didn’t fall victim to the trap and bought our Cambodian visas legit from the border! Remember you have to actually leave Thailand and reach Cambodia before you can purchase a legit visa. ‘
We then arrived in Siem Reap and jumped on a a motarbike tuk tuk (the main way to get around) And finally, we made it to the hostel!
So What Did We Get Up To And What To Do In Siem Reap?
We got a tuk tuk into town which was 2 minutes away (it’s too scary to walk around at night so especially girls I’d advise to never walk). The Night Markets are definitely on my list of things to recommend for someone having time in Siem Reap they’re super cute and they sell some really cute exquisite things. (Shame we’re backpackers on a budget or I’d be bringing a spare backpack full of things home)
We did this as a joint tour where we went round a few temples all for $37,it used to be $20 and no Cambodians have any idea where the huge amount of profit from the tourism of these temples is going which is one of the many sad sides of the so called corruption and mafia involvement in the country that I and many others have heard about while travelling.
Instead of getting an organised tour booked you can just hire a tuk tuk for the day and get them to take you around, however we benefited from having a tour guide called Jonny who loved it- Meet Jonny, here he is enjoying a tree that he said “looks like ass”
Ankor Wat is the biggest religious monument in the world! (Funny fact– we thought it’s 1 of the 7 wonders of the world and so where telling people who hadn’t been that it was, only to google and find out it really isn’t- oops).
We went on a sunrise tour meaning we had to get up at 3am local time and be up and out the door for 4am! It was totally worth it though! In our group it was all people from Funky Flashpackers (our hostel) there was us and 3 others who went out the night before and went straight through- still drunk, safe to say their company was entertaining, and enjoyable! (Alex, Bernie & Alex If you’re reading this, hats off to you guys I don’t know how you did it but you made our day trip even more fun).
The photos of Ankor Wat speak for themselves how amazing it was and they don’t even do it justice! We climbed to the middle point (which they call heaven- yes I’ve been to heaven) and it was just so picturesque! Ankor Wat at sunrise is an absolute must and we finished this Temple by like 7am.
Bayon- Temple Of The Faces
Yeah I particularly found this Temple really cool! Every stand has a different face. Some happy some sad all different emotions. (like a hormonal woman). The architecture was truly phenomenal and I would really recommend doing this Temple as well because it was a favourite of all of ours!
Tomb Raider Temple
It’s real name is “Ta Prohm” but it’s easier to remember as Tomb Raider Temple because what’s cooler than exploring a temple with trees growing through the building thinking you’re Lara Croft?
This was on the day of Martyn’s birthday! What a fab way to spend your birthday right? So we got a little bus which took us to a river so to speak where we all boarded this old little boat with a propeller engine to take us around the village for the day!
Yes it is what it says on the tin really! It’s a village totally on water or on stilts and they get about via boat (barely any roads and zero roads during rainy season). Even kindergarten children go to school by boat and learn to swim before they can walk- True fact!
This again was a huge culture shock! Seeing the way these people live in their homemade huts on stilts compared to how we live at home was a whole new world! We saw children playing in the water, woman showering outside their huts with buckets of water, and people just rowing around their little water village!
I didn’t know what to expect in Siem Reap but it was definitely an eye opener, I have laughed until I’ve cried and we’ve seen things and met people, we won’t forget here! It was a another short but very sweet trip because we still have so much more to see….