Siem Reap, a small resort town in the Kingdom of Cambodia who’s shining gift to the world , is a peak into the ancient kingdom of the Khmer Ruins of Angkor.
It has always been a dream of mine to visit Angkor Wat, but what I did not know while researching , was that there is more than just the world renowned temple of Angkor Wat. Seam Reap is a gateway into the Ancient Kingdom of Angkor. There are numerous temples and palace structures that showcase the beautiful lives of the Khmer people. Spread out over hundreds of acres one can only imagine what this kingdom was like , in all its glory. The mysteries are there for you to discover, and the energy , the spiritual power is ever present in every corner .
Siem Reap, literally translates to : Defeat Siam, As a legendary war took place in the 15th century between the often feuding Khmer and the Siamese kingdoms. The history here is one of complex wars, religion, and mysticism.
Angkor, once the seat of power for the Khmer Kingdom from the 9th – 15th centuries , was lost to the world for centuries. It wasn’t until 1851, when a young French naturalist named Henri Mohout discovered the remains of this ancient kingdom, and since has inspired archeologists from around the world to bring back to life the beauty of Angkor and all her temples and cities. But more on that later.
Siem Reap, Cambodia was my 2nd destination during my South East Asia tour, having just come from beautiful Hà Nội The Romantic Capital of Vietnam . We again took the lovely Vietnam Airlines , you can read more about how amazing Vietnam Air and what classes to choose, here: Hue: To the Imperial Citadel and Beyond
We visited Siem Reap in the middle of May in 2017, as part of our Indo China Exprience.
Flying over into Cambodia was amazing. From the window I could see a grid like excavated forest, with the ruins of Angkor so tiny like a miniature village spread out over miles and miles of forest.
We landed at Siem Reap International Airport. A really cute and gorgeous airport with Cambodian style pointed roofs and brown teak wood structures. It really added to the excitement and ambience.
For American tourists, a VISA is absolutely required, but not to worry, you can do this so easily when you land. Visa on Arrival is a very simple thing to do, and if you’re prepared, you can be in and out of there in no time. While making a visa for our arrival in Ho Chi Minh City: Saigon Dreams , I made 2 extra passport photos for my mother and I at Walgreens. So, passport photos in hand, a quick visa fill form on the plane ( they issued it to us in our coach) , and EXACTLY $60 ( $30 each) USD I was ready for my visa process. You hand your passport, and your form to the first officer, and it goes by down a line of officers each tasked with something I have no idea what, until you pay the second to the last person , and receive your passport back with visa attached from the last person, who just so happen to think he was being funny by being rude questioning something personal about me i’d rather not share. That was the one and only time I ever experienced someone rude in Cambodia. Never-the-less I could give a #$%^ … 🙂
When preparing for our journey to Siem Reap, I looked through sooooo many different hotel options. The funny thing is, that when my friend and co-worker M. Fong went back in the early 90’s , there were only like 3 hotels available and not so many visitors. Now millions of people visit Siem Reap , and there are also a plethora of hotels, both amazing and not so amazing to meet the demands of any type of budget and traveler.
Short story: …. I was initially supposed to stay at the Shinta Mani Hotel, which is right in town and a really cool looking place. We were going to stay on the bottom floor next to the pool in a lovely room. About 2 weeks prior to us leaving for Vietnam, I get an e-mail that the hotel has moved us , “upgraded” us to the Club version of its hotel across the street free of charge. I did not like the decor of the place at all, and I was a little let down by it. So instead, I decided to look for somewhere else.
I swear this was an absolute blessing in disguise . I found this stunning hotel : The Anantara Angkor Resort and booked straight through their website and scored some amazing deals and amenities. I will get into more of this later.
You are probably wondering why I jumped so quickly to booking a hotel. Well it is because waiting for us post immigration and customs was a lovely representative from out hotel in full regal suit and cap , and fiercely ac’d SUV ( it was blazing hot and humid outside) definitely welcomed in May, and ice cold bottles of water and cooling towels …
OMG this starting out to be amazing.
Our hotel, The Anantara Angkor Resort, is about 5 minutes from the airport and 15 minutes tops from the center of town. It is located off a busy highway, yet you would never know it as the resort is a peaceful oasis of luxury.
We pulled up to our hotel and was met by a hefty number of staff, and the 2 managers. The greetings were so wonderful. We were ushered straight to the spa, passing by tranquil gardens, and the sounds of beautiful lounge music, water , and outstanding smells.We were introduced to the Spa staff and took off our shoes, for a lovely foot wash and massage while we sipped on ice cold Champagne . This was an incredible introduction .
After our refreshing foot massage and bath, we were shown to our rooms. The manager stopped us for a photo op and we continued the lovely stroll through this extremely beautiful and tranquil oasis of a luxury hotel. I can’t begin to explain properly how beautiful and luxurious this hotel is. Finally we got to our room, right next to the drop dead gorgeous Salt Water Swimming pool. We were staying in a Premiere Terrace Suite. Our room, 118 is spectacular. The entrance alone would have you gagging . There’s beautiful Teak and bamboo everywhere. There are two large bathrooms. The first with a regular rain shower and the second with a sky shower and huge bathtub. There is also a separate Water Closet to do your business in private. The room we had booked comes with 2 double sized extremely comfortable beds, a large flat screen tv, gorgeous closet space, mini bar, and a private outdoor patio with private green shading and foot dip pool. It is truly heaven. Its such a wonder to go back in my memory and relive all of this as I write this blog.
We had nothing planned today as we arrived a little past 5 in the evening. We decided to do dinner at our fabulous hotel and it did not disappoint. Fortunately for us, one of the guests staying here , booked a private dinner outside which consisted of a solo table for two, surrounded by water and the garden and came with traditional Cambodia Apsara dance. So we were able to hear and see this beautiful dance while enjoying our drop dead gorgeous dinner. As the sun set and dinner was almost done, I kept hearing this very strange sound . I asked our server what that sound was and he said it was the resident Tokay Gecko. She was huge …. All I saw was her head peeping out from the corners of the restaurants roof . She’s harmless and does so much good-by eating all the dangerous mosquitoes should they make it past the sprayed gardens. I thought of it as a good omen. 🙂
When we got back to our ice cold room, there was a birthday cake , candles and a framed picture of my mother and I that we took earlier that day. It reminded me of my time In Varanasi , India Varanasi: The Holiest City of India where the hotel did the exact same thing. I sang happy Birthday to my mother ( again! ) and we enjoyed the absolutely delicious chocolate cake.
We turned in early after a fabulous bath as we needed to be up early for an 8 am pick up with our private guide and driver Poly.
When researching guides/ drivers in Siem Reap, you will never come short with options. However, I took the advice of a few Trip Advisor experts and hired Poly via email. His prices were not that bad, $120 for two days including a professional guide for day 2. For day one of touring, he picked us up in an air-conditioned car, day two was in a tuktuk and believe it or not, it was the best decision we made. I soon learned that getting in and out of air-condition doesn’t really help you cool down much, but staying in a temperate vehicle actually helped me to cool down naturally. So take my advice and do a tuktuk.
Day 2: Angkor short circuit
Today we woke up , got ready in the coolest outfits we could find as today the high would reach 98 F with 100% humidity.
Breakfast at the hotel was exceptional. So much fresh fruit and delicious hot choices made to order and presented beautifully.
On the dot, Polly met us at the car entrance of our hotel . He was a sweet man. Introductions were made, and we were first off to purchase our Angkor Watt 3 day pass. The prices may seem exorbitant but it is well worth it, and I feel as if I’m contributing to the continued restoration of the sights. You get your picture taken, and pay the $62 USD for 3 days pass , and this is now your ticket / passport into the maze of temples and structures in Angkor.
With tickets in hand we were off to begin our circuit tour. First stop Preah Rup.
Our first stop to Preach Rup was a fantastic introduction to the ruins of Angkor.
Preah Rup (Khmer: ប្រាសាទប្រែរូប) is a Hindu temple at Angkor, Cambodia, built as the state temple of Khmer king Rajendravarman:116:73–74:361–364 and dedicated in 961 or early 962. It is a temple mountain of combined brick, laterite and sandstone construction.
The temple’s name is a comparatively modern one meaning “turn the body”. This reflects the common belief among Cambodians that funerals were conducted at the temple, with the ashes of the body being ritually rotated in different directions as the service progressed. Courtesy of wikipedia.com
Next stop: East Mebon
The East Mebon (Khmer: ប្រាសាទមេបុណ្យខាងកើត) is a 10th Century temple at Angkor, Cambodia. Built during the reign of King Rajendravarman, it stands on what was an artificial island at the center of the now dry East Barayreservoir.:73–75:116
The East Mebon was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and honors the parents of the king. Its location reflects Khmer architects’ concern with orientation and cardinal directions. The temple was built on a north–south axis with Rajendravarman’s state temple, Pre Rup, located about 1,200 meters to the south just outside the baray. The East Mebon also lies on an east–west axis with the palace temple Phimeanakas, another creation of Rajendravarman’s reign, located about 6,800 meters due west. Courtesy of Wikipedia.com
These two temples already had filled me with so much joy and amazement. Not to mention sweat. As I was dripping with it . It was so hot and it wasn’t even close to 10 am yet. The cool ac of the car was a trick as every time I exited, I felt the heat even more. Never-the-less braving the heat was only minor with regards to the huge rewards of seeing these iconic and mysterious structures.
Our next stop was the 4 faced buddha entrance to Ta Som..
Ta Som (Khmer: ប្រាសាទតាសោម) is a small temple at Angkor, Cambodia, built at the end of the 12th century for King Jayavarman VII. It is located north east of Angkor Thom and just east of Neak Pean. The King dedicated the temple to his father Dharanindravarman II (Paramanishkalapada) who was King of the Khmer Empire from 1150 to 1160. The temple consists of a single shrine located on one level and surrounded by enclosure laterite walls. Like the nearby Preah Khan and Ta Prohm the temple was left largely unrestored, with numerous trees and other vegetation growing among the ruins. In 1998, the World Monuments Fund (WMF) added the temple to their restoration program and began work to stabilise the structure to make it safer for visitors. courtesy of Wikipedia
Entering the temple surrounded by wild vegetation reminded me a lot of what it must have been like to be an explorer discovering the covered temple. The architecture and carvings are absolutely stunning. And so is the shopping 🙂 By this time I had sweat through my gorgeous linen top and so instead bargained with a local merchant selling t-shirts and opted for a cotton T to keep me cool and dry. At every temple we encountered merchants selling scarves, T-shirts, books on Angkor , and miscellaneous items. What I noticed though is that at each location, the prices got cheaper and cheaper. It is as if , these merchants know how tourist trek and traverse through the temple circuit , so they hit you hard at the first temple where unfamiliar tourists think they are scoring a deal. Very ingenious in my opinion. After the lovely shaded reprieve of Ta Som, we headed off to yet another fantastic temple , this time, surrounded by water.
Neak Pean (or Neak Poan)  (Khmer: ប្រាសាទនាគព័ន្ធ) (“The entwined serpents”) at Angkor, Cambodia is an artificial island with a Buddhist temple on a circular island in Jayatataka Baray, which was associated with Preah Khan temple, built during the reign of King Jayavarman VII.:389 It is the “Mebon” of the Preah Khan baray (the “Jayatataka” of the inscription).
Some historians believe that Neak Pean represents Anavatapta,:174 a mythical lake in the Himalayas whose waters are thought to cure all illness.:124–125 The name is derived from the sculptures of snakes (Nāga) running around the base of the temple structure, neak being the Khmer rendering of the Sanskrit naga. “They are Nanda and Upananda, two nagas traditionally associated with Lake Anavatapta.” courtesy of Wikipedia
Walking the long bridge across the lake was very tranquil. There were musicians who were products of the devastation during the Khmer Rouge insurgency . Some where missing legs, arms, eyes, etc. , but the music they played was so ethereal and beautiful that I couldn’t help but stop , listen , and close my eyes, imagining hearing these beautiful ancient instruments being played welcoming ancient Khmers to the temple.
The temple itself was in my opinion sort of modern looking. The round coiled centerpiece reminded me of a few temples I’ve visited throughout Thailand. So far , the combination of both Hindu and Buddhist religious artifacts, sculptures, and architecture reminded me how both religions coincide somewhat with each other.
Next stop along the many stops we’ve been having, included the very grand Temple of Preah Khan
Preah Khan (Khmer: ប្រាសាទព្រះខ័ន; “Royal Sword”) is a temple at Angkor, Cambodia, built in the 12th century for King Jayavarman VII to honor his father.:383–384,389:174–176 It is located northeast of Angkor Thom and just west of the Jayatataka baray, with which it was associated. It was the centre of a substantial organisation, with almost 100,000 officials and servants. The temple is flat in design, with a basic plan of successive rectangular galleries around a Buddhist sanctuary complicated by Hindu satellite temples and numerous later additions. Like the nearby Ta Prohm, Preah Khan has been left largely un-restored, with numerous trees and other vegetation growing among the ruins
Preah Khan was built on the site of Jayavarman VII‘s victory over the invading Chams in 1191. Unusually the modern name, meaning “holy sword”, is derived from the meaning of the original—Nagara Jayasri (holy city of victory). The site may previously have been occupied by the royal palaces of Yasovarman II and Tribhuvanadityavarman. The temple’s foundation stela has provided considerable information about the history and administration of the site: the main image, of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara in the form of the king’s father, was dedicated in 1191 (the king’s mother had earlier been commemorated in the same way at Ta Prohm). 430 other deities also had shrines on the site, each of which received an allotment of food, clothing, perfume and even mosquito nets; the temple’s wealth included gold, silver, gems, 112,300 pearls and a cow with gilded horns. The institution combined the roles of city, temple and Buddhist university: there were 97,840 attendants and servants, including 1000 dancers and 1000 teachers. courtesy of Wikipedia
One could easily get lost in this mini city. There are twists and turns and over turned stones everywhere. One must be on their best so as not to disrespect the space, trip over fallen rock, or actually even get lost. My mother did not want to really do this temple as she was becoming exhausted from the heat. So instead of really digging deep into this beautiful mini city of temples and palaces, we took the short cut out. A little bummer but its ok, as I’ve already been completely overwhelmed by the majesty of these temples . However, thus far, this was definitely my favorite place. It is absolutely amazing. The carvings, are so beautiful its like reading a book and imagining the tale unfold in your mind. It’s exquisitely beautiful. This place is so huge, that Poly told us to meet him on the other side. It would’ve taken us double time to walk back towards the entrance . So we just walked through and exited out on the West end. That is how huge this place is.
Over heated, tired, and actually quite hungry, Poly suggested we break for lunch , but somewhere closer to our last stop for the morning , Banteay Srei.
As we drove for a good 20 minutes outside and away from the Angkor circuit of temples, we got to see the real life of the people of Siem Reap. Most homes are built on tall stilts, probably ideal during monsoon season. I noticed throughout our drive, little stands selling bottled liters of a strange substance. At first I thought it was the local liquor, but Poly explained that gas / petrol, is so expensive, that people either water it down or mix it with something else. So what I was looking at was different types of purity . That’s one way to save money I guess.
We soon came to a little hut of a restaurant which probably was a massive tourist trap. We were quickly seated . The food on the menu were so foreign to me. I didn’t do proper research to understand the different dishes offered . Well we went for the Ayok, a curry of vegetables and chicken stewed in a coconut. Yes a coconut. It was heavenly and rich. YUMMMMMM.
After cooling down and a delicious lunch, we headed off to our last temple of the day. The jewel of the area and the most preserved temple in all on Angkor, Banteay Srei.
Banteay Srei or Banteay Srey (Khmer: ប្រាសាទបន្ទាយស្រី) is a 10th-century Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindugod Shiva. Located in the area of Angkor, it lies near the hill of Phnom Dei, 25 km (16 mi) north-east of the main group of temples that once belonged to the medieval capitals of Yasodharapura and Angkor Thom. Banteay Srei is built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still observable today. The buildings themselves are miniature in scale, unusually so when measured by the standards of Angkorian construction. These factors have made the temple extremely popular with tourists, and have led to its being widely praised as a “precious gem”, or the “jewel of Khmer art.”Couresty of wikipedia
It truly is the Jewel of Khmer art. The red sandstone carvings are so intricate and so visible that it is no wonder why this is definitely considered a precious gem. My mother decided to stay in the car as she was exhausted. It’s only now a little bit past the noon hour, but the sun is at its highest and its scorching. I walked around alone taking it all it but I too was exhausted.
We decided to call it quits for the day and return to the heavenly retreat of of our hotel. Our fully cold AC was a welcomed reprieve from the scorcher of a day, and after a nice shower , I sat outside pondering what I just witnessed, the grander of Angkor’s surrounding temples, and dipped my little toes into the icy cold water in our private patio. After a good 3 hour nap, we decided to get ready and hit the center of town and walk around and see what there is to offer.
Our hotel is so amazing , they offer us a private cellphone to use while we are there, as well as the opportunity to utilize the hotels private cars and tuktuk’s to take us wherever we needed to go.
Our driver dropped us off at the beginning of town and pub street. As expected from any Westernized South East Asian city, Pub street was full of Europe decent tourists chucking away their crafted beers. There are restaurants serving alligator, and all other types of monstrosities. You could eat scorpion, snake, centipede etc. Of course I opted for none.
We walked and walked around, and found ourselves starving. Instead of sitting down for dinner though, we decided to check out their night market. Similar to my journey to Chiang Mai: The Capital of the North , the night market was a little more organized but still offered nothing to be desired, at least for me. Hungry for something outside of the Asian Box, we stopped to order a pizza, called our hotel for car service, and headed back to our hotel. We needed some deep early sleep, as we would be heading out the door by 5 am to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. I let my hotel know that we won’t be able to have breakfast in the morning since we are heading off to see the sunrise the next day. They asked if we would like a little to go box and of course I said, that would be much appreciated.
Day 3 : Angkor Watt.
We slept like a rock last night, and was up by 4 am to shower and get ready for our amazing day. We were out the door and at reception by 4:50 and was pleasantly surprised to see that the front desk had prepared (2) Large Picnic baskets for us for breakfast. I’m talking about 2 gigantic woven picnic baskets filled with breads, jams, eggs, juices, fruits, and water. Talk about spoiled. Another reason why I loved this hotel so very much.
Poly was there promptly on time, but this time he came with his cute Tuktuk and a very nice guide. As we traversed the streets in the dark, as quietly as we could so early in the morning, the cool air , and the sweet voice of our guide filled us with much anticipation for Angkor Watt.
Upon our arrival at Angkor Wat , there was a sea of camera flashes, phone lights, car lights, and the buzzing murmur of hundreds of other tourists who had the exact same idea as we did, to see the sun rise of Angkor Watt. Finding our way in the dark to the water’s edge seamed tricky, but we found a coveted spot and remained there still as a stick for over an hour until we saw the first glimpse of the sun peaking its way out and above the temple.
Oohs and ahhs, cheers and laughter filled the air , the moment the sun, in all its glory reached the pinnacle of its showcase and shone so brightly after minutes of slowly revealing the marvel of its prize, Angkor Watt.
Now in full view, I was kind of in a weird funk. I was in awe, yet not completely overwhelmed like I thought I would be. Was it all the anticipation leading up to it? Or was it because I’ve already seen so many beautiful temples. It took a moment or two, and then I snapped out of it, and what was so surreal became instead a beautiful Reality. OMG I”m Here! OMG it’s Angkor Watt in all her glory.
With our guide next to us, we crossed over the celestial bridge and entered from the south side, where very few tourists were. Our clever guide knew exactly when, and were to enter from, and visit while the muck of tourists crammed , jammed, and fought for space , time, and a moment. We practically had places to ourselves until we reached the center of the temple.
Then temple structure is enormous. The beautiful carvings of the dancing Apsaras are phenomenal. Everything about this temple just takes your breath away, once you get over the shock of course. There were monkeys everywhere, and even my mom did not want to believe me, thinking they were dogs, once she heard, smelled and saw them, she was jumping with glee. Angkor Watt is a city within a city. It’s so huge and so decadent, I can only imagine what it must have been like in all its glory. Definitely a bucket list checked off.
After our beautiful visit to Angkor Watt, we sat down in a nearby restaurant and ate the food presented to us from our hotel. We offered to share some with our driver and guide, but they wanted instead to have a traditional hot Cambodian Meal. There was no way we would’ve finished all the food they gave us, so we asked them to please take it home to their family.
At this point we really didn’t know much about Poly except for the basic questions asked early on. I learned that he has a family of 4 , and that the money he makes goes towards the education of his children. When busy, Poly can make a lot of money touring people around, more than 20 x’s what people make in a year, he can make that in a month. Because of that, he is able to take care of his family and extended family and educate his children so that they may have a better future. I’m so happy to support local businesses like his.
Our guide, is a professor at a university where he teaches history. His wealth of knowledge of Angkor Watt, and of his area and country is amazing. He also told us about how many countries sponsor certain temples. Japan has the largest stake, contributing millions of dollars to the restoration and preservation of the temples.
As we enjoyed the cool morning air in our open aired tuktuk, we passed by acres of forests, people walking to work, and learned the history of the area, and the next temple we will visit by our amazing guide.
The Capital City of Angkor TTom:
Angkor Thom was established as the capital of Jayavarman VII’s empire, and was the centre of his massive building program. One inscription found in the city refers to Jayavarman as the groom and the city as his bride.:121
Angkor Thom seems not to be the first Khmer capital on the site, however. Yasodharapura, dating from three centuries earlier, was centred slightly further northwest, and Angkor Thom overlapped parts of it. The most notable earlier temples within the city are the former state temple of Baphuon, and Phimeanakas, which was incorporated into the Royal Palace. The Khmers did not draw any clear distinctions between Angkor Thom and Yashodharapura: even in the fourteenth century an inscription used the earlier name.:138 The name of Angkor Thom—great city—was in use from the 16th century.
The last temple known to have been constructed in Angkor Thom was Mangalartha, which was dedicated in 1295. Thereafter the existing structures continued to be modified from time to time, but any new creations were in perishable materials and have not survived.
Angkor Thom was abandoned some time prior to 1609, when an early western visitor wrote of an uninhabited city, “as fantastic as the Atlantis of Plato“.:140 It is believed to have sustained a population of 80,000–150,000 people. Courtesy of wikipedia
Our final stop of the day was to one of my favorite temples during our two day visit.
Ta Prohm ( Tomb Raider Temple)
Ta Prohm (Khmer: ប្រាសាទតាព្រហ្ម, pronunciation: prasat taprohm) is the modern name of the temple at Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia, built in the Bayon style largely in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and originally called Rajavihara (in Khmer: រាជវិហារ). Located approximately one kilometre east of Angkor Thom and on the southern edge of the East Baray, it was founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII:125:388 as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm is in much the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor’s most popular temples with visitors. UNESCO inscribed Ta Prohm on the World Heritage List in 1992. Today, it is one of the most visited complexes in Cambodia’s Angkor region. The conservation and restoration of Ta Prohm is a partnership project of the Archaeological Survey of India and the APSARA (Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap).courtesy of wikipedia
This temple made famous from Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider movie, was absolutely my favorite. The beautiful Banyan trees seem to caress and encase the temple as fortified tomb. Without the beautiful roots surrounding and incorporating themselves in some of the foundations, I feel the temple would’ve been more in ruins. The trees, are majestic, almost Holy and magical. Look for the hidden Buddha between the roots. 🙂 It’s like looking at natural art, something no one or nothing can ever duplicate. It may be a bit tricky to traverse at times, but it is still such a wonderful and beautiful temple to visit and it is forever etched in my mind.
My mother found this temple very magical and romantic.
As our temple circuit tour came to an end, I was so full of awe , wonder, and love. I could not believe that in the course of two days, I was able to visit a stretch in time that was so beautiful . The Khmer culture is so beautiful and it shows in their artistic impressions, temples, sculptures, and landscape. I’m so grateful for this experience. And I would one day love to return and explore more .
We said our goodbyes to Poly and our guide, and thanked him for a most memorable experience. If you or anyone you know of are looking to visit the Siem Reap and need an excellent guide, his contact are as follows: email@example.com Tell him Erika from Hawaii sent you and have a wonderful time.
After returning to the hotel, we decided to order lunch in off our hotel’s fabulous in room dining menu. The Chicken we ordered was to die for. My mom decided to take a nap, and I decided to hit the town again for more adventure this time, solo.
I had the driver drop me off at one of the city temples next to the tranquil river walk. I can’t’ for the life of me remember any of the temple names, but there were a few and they were beautiful.
I tried my best to do some shopping but didn’t really find anything that peaked my interests. I sat down at a bar in Pub Street, and listened to a girl sing a beautiful american song. Again memory fades me, as I can’t remember the bar name or the song sang, but the craft beer I had was amazing and cost less than 60 Cents. As the sun began to set, and the cool night air started to settle in, I picked up some stir fry from a street vendor and headed home to our hotel. My mother was in awe at how delicious the food was . I was a bit nervous about eating off a street vendor, but I made sure that what I ordered was cooked in a hot hot frying pan ( wok) , better chances of killing any germs.
Our last night in our hotel was met with mixed emotions. We fell completely in love with the Anantara Angkor Resort Hotel and Spa. I felt like a Princess with my queen next to me. They did everything possible to ensure that our stay was beyond pleasant. The history we witnessed , the magnitude of the beauty of the ruins we absorbed and the kind spirit of the people of Siem Reap with loved so much. We were actually sad to say goodbye …
Day 4 : Goodbye Siem Reap
We had a most spectacular breakfast yet again, and packed our bags, took a lovely shower, and headed to the airport for our flight to Bangkok. We said our sad goodbyes to our hosts at the hotel, while one of the front desk workers spoke to my mom in Japanese. They were the loveliest people we met and would return there in a heart beat.
Check in on Bangkok Air was a breeze, and in no time we were enjoying the free lounge access offered to every customer flying on this airline. We passed through a tiny Duty Free , passed through Immigration, and hopped on our flight to Bangkok. As we ascended into the skies above, I took one last look at the Peaceful and Heavenly town of Siem Reap and Angkor and said quietly Thank you….