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Cambodia

13th November
2011
written by Hazel

In between all of our temple watching we had a chance to explore the town of Siem Reap.  We were extremely lucky because the town had suffered from some serious flooding the week before we arrived.  It was bad enough that a couple of people died and there were still sand bags and lots of water about when we got there.

Flooded street - right outside our hostel!

Flooded street - right outside our hostel!

The city and our hostel (Rosy Guest House) were drying out and recovering from all of the water.  It didn’t affect us too much though and we considered ourselves really lucky to have decent weather for temple viewing.

Siem Reap is a pretty touristy place.  There are lots of good restaurants (a good thing), but lots of people hassling you to buy stuff (and they are PUSHY here).    Honestly, it got pretty tiring constantly being shouted at to buy things.

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13th November
2011
written by Justin

The second day we hired a different tuk-tuk (our first driver was a bit pushy and upsold us a little too much) and went to the famous Ta Phromh which is a temple that’s been left in its semi-ruined state.  Trees are growing literally out of the walls!  It is pretty cool and very atmospheric (and part of Tomb Raider was filmed here).

I've seen sand castles but not sand temples before

I've seen sand castles but not sand temples before

Crumbling Temple

Crumbling Temple

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12th November
2011
written by Justin

Once we arrived in Siem Reap, we quickly found out that there was more to that area than just Angkor Wat.  Angkor Wat itself happens to be the world’s largest religious building, but immediately adjacent (i.e. 5 minutes drive by tuk-tuk) is the humongous 9 square kilometer Angkor Thom which was an entire walled city.  Within it is Bayon, the state temple, and numerous other ruins inside.  Other temples can be found all over the area.  Indeed it would be difficult to see all the sights in this area in one trip if only because you’d get so bored of seeing temple after temple!

We made a plan that served us pretty well as far as getting to see a lot without paying too much.  The first day we hired a tuk-tuk driver and an English-speaking guide to take us around several of the sights, point out what we might miss, and explain the history and geography of the temples in the area.  That day we went to Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and another smaller temple, Banteay Srey, which was quite a distance out of the way.

The Entrance to Angkor Thom

The Entrance to Angkor Thom

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11th November
2011
written by Justin
Stop.. So We Can Rob You

Stop.. So We Can Rob You

The title says it all.  For what it’s worth, the land route from Bangkok to Siem Reap (the home of Angkor Wat and other cambodian temple complexes) is one of the most unabashedly corrupt places on earth (as far as we’ve seen.) It is so corrupt that an entire web site (it took Hazel and I about 2 hours to read the whole thing) has come into existence with the sole goal of guiding helpless travellers through the gauntlet they will experience taking this trip.

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