Kingdom of Cambodia

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 renowned Angkor Wat

The Road Trip

the "cool" bus... lech

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.

Narith, our Tuk-Tuk Driver

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”.

patiently waiting for us

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!

just a portion of the room

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.

Dining Hall, the "only us" Dining Hall

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.

the pool area

But heck, who wouldn’t want a good dip after a whole day of sweating. SPLASH!

swimming after sweating

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.

I want to ride my bicycle... baaysikel... baaaysikel...

The Temples

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!

steep climb at Phnom Bakheng, reminds me of Takeshi's Castle

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.

Now, that's detailed... Pats, did you carve this? :p

the real stone carvings 🙂

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.

a few shots from Angkor Wat

Ta Phrom Temple. Lara Croft, istatchu?

meet my pet

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.

For those with G's, try viewing the temples from above

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. 😀

Pub Street

Where’s the best place to spend the night in Siem Reap? In Pub Street of course, and in the nearby Night Market. 🙂

Into Pub Street

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. 🙂

Cheap and Delicious BBQ!

Ready To Order?

And the highlight of our Pub Street tour, FRIED FROG for dinner. Tastes like chicken!

Fried Kermit The Frog

Mojito, Margarita, Tequila Sunrise

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

At Sisowath Quay -What's unusual in this picture?

We ended the day with a dinner and few more cocktails at Anjali Bar & Restaurant, while watching people pass by along Phnom Penh Boulevard.

Anjali Bar

locals playing "Sey" - similar to "Sipa" back in the Philippines

my most seeked for "monk shot"

local kids at a nearby temple

busy night

more pics to follow… 🙂


8 thoughts on “Kingdom of Cambodia

What say you?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s