Oh boy, it was early when the alarm clock yelled. Right on time, we heard our driver stop at the gate to the hostel. With the 4th key on the keychain from our hostel, I could open the padlock on the door. It was still very dark at 4.45am, when we drove off in the Tuktuk. Apparently, it was colder this morning because Som Nam and many other Asian people were wearing long sleeves. For us it was quite agreeable. Some people on the road were still (or already?) drinking beer in the few pubs that were still open. We stopped at a supermarket to buy croissants and then our driver brought us to Angkor Wat. Quite bizarre to drive through a forest by night.
Guess what? We weren’t the first ones there…
Unfortunately, there were so many clouds that it just became daylight really quickly without a romantic red background or at least a few golden stripes behind the Wat. Therefore, we didn’t spend too much time taking pictures from the outside but went inside and had the beautiful temple to almost ourselves. The heights of the Lotus towers and just how the rocks are piled up are very impressive. We didn’t go up to the top because a sign said that they were cleaning it today but a man (he told us he was a police officer and that’s why we mustn’t take a picture of him) let people up anyways in exchange for a small fee. Probably a scam, because when I whined a bit, he told us we could go up there at 7.30 but when we came back from visiting the temples behind the center, he was gone. The sign was still there though and so we saved our strength for more stairs to come at other temples.
We met our driver again at the entry after the settled time of two hours. If we had known how big this thing is, we’d have said two and a half hours, to also have some time to just sit around , relax and enjoy the scenery. But so, I bought an iced coffe from a booth for $2 and then we were off to the Bayon temple, where we first enjoyed our beverages on the brim of the first story.
Afterwards, we climbed to the top of the smaller buildings (again, I forgot that getting down is much worse than getting up there…I’m starting to believe that the Cambodians just love steep stairs.) and once we reached the outer platform, we realized how big the center really was.
There were so many huge faces carved into the rocks. The way how the stones were piled up made the temple look like a sand castle (when you let wet sand drip on a pile). It was amazing! I think this was my favorite temple.
After that followed Angkor Thom, the inspiration for Tomb raider. This one was impressive again because parts of it were covered by plants. It was on a huge area and we were beginning to feel rather tired from all the walking. On top of that, the sun was shining now and from time to time it was very hot plus the whole time extremely humid. Gross. But I guess that’s something we have to get used to here and we surely weren’t the only ones sweating. Attractions next to the temples were a huge spider (body about 2cm diameter/legs: 5cm) and a 10cm “tuusigfüessler” (millepede?).
We had three more rather big temples to go and of course we didn’t want to miss anything but climbing up and down started to feel harder every time. At one of the vendors’ places we finally also gave in and began a touristic sin. You might see our acquisition on one of the pictures over the next days. What do you think it is 🙂 ?
The last temple, Ta Prohm, was more interesting again, because there were trees growing on top of it but there were so many Chinese tour groups and moreover it started to rain, so that we walked through it rather quickly and then were in bad need for some lunch.
We told our driver to drop us off at pub street. All in all we owed him $35. That was for driving us around for about 16 hours in total. By the time we decided on a restaurant it was almost 1pm. I had a coconut curry at a Khmer restaurant, which was delicious. The portions are overall not very big here. I would say exactly the right size that you have enough to eat but don’t have to give anything back or throw away.
On our way back to the hostel (the way looked very different during daytime because the night market and all the booths were closed) we bought some more water in the supermarket and then enjoyed the pool which we had to ourselves again. Finally, we just needed some relax time in the room.
Later, we sat on the terrace and the owner recommended a lime tea to me because my throat hurt slightly from all the fans and being constantly sweating. It was a lime-sugar tea which actually reminded me of Neocitran 🙂 It really made me feel better and I’ll just watch out more from now on and wear a scarf even though it makes your skin drip even more.
We had dinner with the owner and Hector, a man from Switzerland who is currently traveling the world. The owner’s wife is a chef. Unfortunately, we didn’t know this before, because the food was absolutely delicious! Plus, it’s cheaper than in town. But it’s good to explore several places anyways.
Although we still felt tired, we decided to go have a cocktail at the Island Bar in the middle of the market. All the cocktails cost $2.50 and ours were very tasty!
When we came back, we sat down with Bun Te to pay for our stay at Bun Linda Hostel. For three nights and all the food, coffees and teas we had, we only paid $29! Additionally, Bun Te organized bus tickets for us, so that we should get to Bangkok tomorrow without any troubles (for $10).
The owner family was so nice and helpful, I would stay here again right away!
Now, we have to pack our bags for the trip to Bangkok tomorrow and we’ll hopefully be able to sleep despite the heat in our room and get a longer night than yesterday.