Sweating a lot doesn’t necessarily mean you’re already losing weight…
…I learned this in a rather disappointing yet touristic way.
Getting out of our comfort zone – beaches, Pats and I have decided to try out one of Zari’s prime passions: visiting temples and ruins – in Zari’s term: bato-bato. So, we boarded the early Friday morning plane, ’twas a holiday in Malaysia, and off we went to the Kingdom of Cambodia.
The Road Trip
We have taken the hot and bumpy 6-hour bus ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap – and back, since we only got the cheap airfare to PP. For US$10.00 each, we boarded the high-floor bus by Paramount Angkor Express. Unfortunately, the air-conditioning unit of the bus was so bad, that we were not able to sleep comfortably during the entire trip. So, I highly NOT recommend this bus line if you plan to take the bus. Master Alan’s suggestion was to take the Mekong Express bus instead. Too bad, I didn’t listen.
The road is bumpy and dusty, just like the good old rural days back in the Philippines. And, you only get a rest from that for the 20-minute lunch and wee wee break, which is only after 3 hours. Take note, just one stop. So, condition your bladder well if you don’t want to pee on that dusty roadside, and pack enough food for the road.
In addition to this, the bus driver picks up and drops off passengers, mostly locals, along the way.
Nevertheless, you’ll get to appreciate the greeneries you’ll see along the way, especially if you’re used to the “city life”.
At Siem Reap
At the bus terminal, several aggressive tuk-tuk drivers has swarmed the bus’ door. Amongst them all, there was a guy standing quietly behind.
He’s Narith. A 20-year old local who’s currently studying English to earn his “Tour Guide Certification”. His English is not really good, but you’ll feel the sincerity in his “Thank you’s”.
With him was his older brother, Bomih, who’s already a certified guide. On the way to our hotel, Lin Ratanak, Bomih was negotiating with us, while Narith drives.
We agreed to the tuk-tuk tune of US$20.00, with a little “extra” for Narith.
- US$2.00 – ride from the bus terminal to the hotel.
- US$18.00 – tour from 4:30PM to 5:00 PM (next day).
Lin Ratanak Hotel
To keep this simple, it’s a pretty nice hotel, which is only a few minutes from the airport and Angkor Wat.
Our booking costs around US$30.00 a night. And to our delight, we were given a free upgrade. Simply nice!
On our arrival, they gave us one krama each – a Cambodian scarf, for free. Even though I have no intention of using it – because it has a touch of pink, it was really nice of them. Anyway, it’s a very good nose cover for those with allergic rhinitis. :p
The room has all the basic amenities, plus a bathtub – which I’ve enjoyed a lot. A nifty reward for the hot and tiring bus travel.
As for breakfast, there’s only a few. But, the food tastes ok. And, their service is quite good as well.
Their pool area is quite nice as well. Water is warm and clean, but had too much chlorine. And I didn’t intend for it to rhyme.
But heck, who wouldn’t want a good dip after a whole day of sweating. SPLASH!
Guests could also borrow a bicycle to tour around the scooter-infested town. Despite the dusty roads, you’ll see a lot of barangs – “foreigner” in Khmer language, cycling around. I suppose you would have a greater feel of the town while touring around on one. But never mind, I’ve already had my share of sweat and aching legs.
Sunset at Bakheng Hill and Sunrise at Angkor Wat. These are two of the ideal itineraries once you’ve started your Siem Reap tour. Very unfortunately for us, the “sun” wasn’t there! It was cloudy, and worse, rain fell while we were at Bakheng Hill. Boo!
Nevertheless, we were fascinated by how delicate and detailed the temples are. We couldn’t help to wonder how it looked like during it’s pristine days.I really think it’s great.
We paid for the 1-day tour – US$25.00 each. That’s the only time we have for them temples. No need to worry on where you need to buy the tickets, as your tuk-tuk driver will definitely bring you there. You have to pass by the same place whenever you go back to the temples.
For those who have lots of va-cay time, there’s a 3-day, and a 1-week pass. I forgot how much they cost though. And, for those with lotsa cash, you may opt for a hot-air balloon ride to see the temples – bird-style.
The trip to these temples is rather satisfying, yet tiring. But then again, I won’t be visiting any other ruins soon. Well unless it’s the pyramids in Egpyt. *wink* *wink* Anybody who could sponsor a place to stay??? PM me. Hehe. 😀
Where’s the best place to spend the night in Siem Reap? In Pub Street of course, and in the nearby Night Market. 🙂
Why? Cheap beer and cocktails, ’nuff said. Okay, good food as well.
It’s a short strip of restaurants and bars that offer Cambodian cuisines, aside from Western and Asian, and cheap drinks – happy hour! Pub Street really is a go-to place when you’re in Siem Reap.
We, of course, tried out two of the local dishes: Cambodian Amok (chicken) and Beef Lok Lak, and both of them tastes great. 🙂
And the highlight of our Pub Street tour, FRIED FROG for dinner. Tastes like chicken!
At Phnom Penh
Well, we didn’t do much at PP as we only had the afternoon to waste – we spent half of the day on the bus. It was still hot and tiring just like the first.
We went to our guest house first to have a cool shower before walking around Sisowath Quay. We stayed at Home Town Hotel, as suggested by our new tuk-tuk driver. It’s walking distance away from the Royal Palace, National Museam and Sisowath Quay.
Our room costs US$15.00 for the night: a private room with queen-size bed, tv, private bathroom with tub. It was enough to spend for the night.
Before the end of the day, we took an afternoon scroll at Sisowath Quay, reminiscent of Philippines’ Roxas Boulevard-cum-Luneta Park, for some people-watching and seeing how Khmer’s spend their Sunday afternoon. It was pretty much the same: playing with the kids, picnic, sports, activities, inday-dudung (Pinoys, you get what I mean), cooling down by the river, and things like that.
Oh! If Luneta Park has horses, they’ve got elephants on the streets. :p
We ended the day with a dinner and few more cocktails at Anjali Bar & Restaurant, while watching people pass by along Phnom Penh Boulevard.
more pics to follow… 🙂