Siem Reap // Cambodia

 

I never expected to be in Cambodia and not be able to get a table at a restaurant because I didn't have a reservation. Whelp... that happened. According to our tour guide, tourism in Cambodia is skyrocketing, and Siem Reap is one of its most popular destinations. More and more people are flocking to Siem Reap to see the ruins of Angkor Wat, and we were one of them. Despite all the signs screaming "TOURIST TRAP", we were able to relinquish our usual desire to live like locals, and instead, jump head first onto the tourist band wagons rolling from temple to temple. All in all, we had a very memorable couple of days!

The first day we hired a guide along with a tuk-tuk driver, and the guide was definitely worth it. It was really nice to engage with a local for a few hours and hear about the history. We got to chat about small personal things as well, like family life and learning English and growing up during the war, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Anyway, we spent the afternoon seeing Bayon, Ta Prohm, and Angkor Wat. Bayon (the one with all the faces) was by far the coolest for us! Walking among the carved faces was just so hilarious and intriguing. Angkor Wat was rather underwhelming to be honest, but perhaps it was simply just because we were tired. I had high hopes for Ta Prohm, but unfortunately we caught it during a busy time and were a bit rushed by our guide.

On our second tour of the temples (sans tour-guide and after a day's rest), we made sure to take our time exploring some of the smaller temples at our own pace. Preah Khan was pretty awesome for that! We were a bit lucky that we went out on Sunday, because we actually got to see all the locals coming out to the temples to picnic and hang with friends and family. It was really fantastic to see and hear that the Cambodian people actually visit the temples as well.

Besides temples, we had a really nice stay at Villa Indochine d'Angkor. Their pool is perhaps the most wonderful pool I have ever been in! No joke. And the staff were all very nice. The Cambodian people tend to have very friendly faces with big smiles, and many of them seemed keen to have lengthy chats with us. They all seemed very optimistic and hopeful about the future of their country. It was so refreshing.