KPC-SGN Day 1: The Ancient Angkor Wat

Just when I thought my trip is coming, I never realized that I am departing to Kampuchea the next morning at 7am. A night out having steamboat dinner with colleagues gone so wild with some beers and laughter and I ended up dragging my exhausted body home late at 10pm to realize that I have not started packing up my luggage for the trip. DAMN, I gotta be hurry!!!

I boarded the plane bounded for Siem Reap early 7 in the morning. Weather was nice and sky was clear in the morning. I was really enjoying my pleasant flight with Air Asia :).

The plane landed at Siem Reap International Airport around 8am in the local time. Hurray! After months of planning and waiting, I set my foot on Kampuchea finally. As what I have expected, the airport was small but looks great with it's Khmer style of architecture. First thing on my mind was that I am not sure if the Guesthouse that I booked had already sent his driver pick us up at the airport. As I collected my luggage and cleared the custom, I was staring around trying to spot our driver. Thanks god that Mr. Makara (our driver) was there with a name card holding in his hands - "Michale" =.= ... I am Michael please...

Out from the airport, my first sight of Siem Reap was like a small town like one of the remote villages in Malaysia. Road condition was bad as lots of holes on the road and drivers needed to avoid one by one to cut down the damage on car tires. I saw children leading herd of cows walking by the road side and constant horn sounds from motorcycles running into my ears all the way down the road. Terrible, Cambodian really horns as if they are making fun out of it =.= . As our car was moving into the city, I saw that the road condition went from bad to worse. The road was dusty and once a car or motorcycle moved across it, the dust being lifted up by it blur our sight and makes driving totally difficult in the city. Motorcycles together with bicycles moving on the road without order and that really gave me a feeling that no traffic rules were applicable over here.

Soon, we arrived at the guesthouse - Golden Temple Villa. Welcome drinks were ready for us upon our arrival serving by the friendly and cheerful guest house's staff.

After checked in to our rooms, we taken up a day trip which was organized by the guesthouse and I felt that most of the day trips offered by travel agents at Siem Reap were pretty standard -
  1. 1st day: Mini Angkor Tour
  2. 2nd day: Grand Angkor Tour
  3. 3rd day: Beng Melea or Rolous Group or Kompong Plok
So as our first day trip, we opted for mini Angkor tour as I thought the word "mini" means minimal walk but to know in the end that it was totally the other way round! Below was the route we had taken for our first mini Angkor trip:

South Gate -> Angkor Thom -> Bayon -> Terrace of the Elephants -> Baphoun -> Terrace of the Leper King -> Victory Gate -> Thommanom -> Chau Say Tevoda -> Takeo -> Ta Phrom -> Bantaey Kdei -> Prasat Kravan -> Angkor Wat -> Sunset @ Phnom Bakheng

Mr. Makara sent us to the Angkor entrance to stop us for purchasing the 3 days Angkor pass which was costing USD 40 /pax. That was the most expensive picture of my life as I paid USD40 to have my face captured and printed on the 3 days Angkor pass. Well, I was talking to myself that the beautiful Angkor will definitely deserve the money I have paid to visit it.

So we entered the Angkor ruins through the South Gate to kick start our mini Angkor tour.

Angkor Thom

Terrace of the Leper King:

On our way to lunch, we passed by the Sras Srang pool which was located right in front of our restaurant. I saw children was bathing and playing water in the pool while others were sitting under the trees resting. Yea, the sun was really HOT.

Ta Phrom:

The 2pm sun was too hot in the afternoon and of all the ruins that I was visiting, I tried my best to hide myself under the shade of the shadow of trees or the big block of stones. And to my surprise, the driver was dropping us right at a remote place within Angkor ruins in front of a guard house. He was pointing to the end of the road beyond the guard house and kept saying Angkor Wat. I set my sight to the end of the road and I saw only trees and a dusty road. I started to worry if he was pointing me to a dead road. There he went off after dropping us and said will meet and pick us up again in front of Angkor wat around 4:30pm. Damn ... I was swearing that time as we were left burning under the afternoon hot sun, walking on a dry and dusty road towards no where. Upon reaching the end of the dusty road, we found that it spilted into 3 directions and here we were left in dilemma for which road that we go for.

Left with no choice but to believe in my luck, I opted for the middle road and which leads me to the left and after a corner to the right -> HURRAY! I saw the BACK of Angkor wat. Yea, you did not get me wrong. It was the back of Angkor Wat. Our driver dropped us off at the back of Angkor wat for us to walk from the back entrance and exit at the front. He was really a funny lad.

After 2 hours walk at Angkor wat, we met up with Makara at the front of the Angkor wat to see him playing game with some local lads. Haha... he was really enjoying his driver job while waiting for his passengers he enjoy his time playing games. Cool guy!

To be on time to catch the sun set view, Makara rushed us to the Phnom Bakheng immediately. It was some 20-25 mins climb to the top of the hill where the Phnom Bakheng temple was located. For tired or senior citizens, you may go for an elephant ride uphill which is costing USD15/pax. I think that was a real good price considering that you have different experience by riding on the back of an elephant but I did not go for it as it was way out of my budget. I am just a poor tourist with limited budget.

After sunset, we met up with Makara and he drove us backed to the guest house and that was the end of our first day in Siem Reap. The only thing left in my mind at the end of the day was - I need to get a GOOD SLEEP.