Friday, 19 May 2017

Visiting Ta Prohm & Angkor Thom, Cambodia.

As well as Angkor Wat, there is also the famous Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones temple to visit in Siem Reap. Clare and I decided to visit this one first, and then save Angkor Wat for our final day. I'm actually really glad we did this, as we found Ta Prohm to be a lot busier and more stressful than Angkor Wat. Despite the hectic feeling at Ta Prohm, it's still well worth visiting, and it's honestly mind-blowing to think it was built nearly a thousand years ago.



Even being British and being used to the common occurrence of seeing buildings that are hundreds of years old in our day-to-day lives, nothing can really prepare you for walking around the temples at Angkor. I think it's the knowledge that they were once lost, buried in the jungle. You walk around and feel as though you're in the middle of a movie set.

We found our lovely Tuk Tuk driver the previous evening when we'd had a disastrous adventure on Pub Street (don't go there, it's touristy crap). He took us back to our hotel for just 3USD, and we liked him so much with his cheeky grin that we used him for our two day trips to Angkor! He picked us up bright and early in the morning around 9am, and we headed over to the ticket booth to buy our pass for the next two days. We got the three day one for $62 (I think!), and then he drove us to Ta Prohm.


Our Tuk Tuk driver warned us about the Korean and mainland Chinese tourist groups, and told us how they come in huge groups and are causing all sorts of issues for the Cambodian tourism industry. Apparently they come in such large groups that the tour leaders can't control them easily, so a lot of rubbish is left behind and they push and shove the other tourists around. We laughed him off and I thought how rude to generalize people like that. 

But then we saw it first hand; and when I was shoved into the side of a wall by one lady, and then when a man slammed into my camera and didn't even apologise, and then when everyone was politely queuing for a photo with the famous Tomb Raider tree, and when it was our turn a woman just ran up and wouldn't let me have a photo as she thought she deserved to skip the queue and have hers first, well...I now agree with our Tuk Tuk driver. Rude. So, so rude. It just made the experience so much more stressful when you're constantly being barged into and pushed around.

Anyway, rude people with no manners aside, we had a wonderful time despite being pushed and shoved around in the 37 degree C heat! We absolutely loved wandering through the temple, finding little rooms with old carvings, rounding a corner and finding yet another crooked tree coming out of a building...ahh, it was just magical. I also had my photo taken with far too many doorways!

The time of day that we went (around 10-11am) was probably the worst time of day for photos as the sun was so high and bright it meant the sky kept blowing out. I'd recommend going first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon/evening to get the best light and less crowds!



After Ta Prohm we wandered back to our Tuk Tuk driver and he then drove us to Angkor Thom. The drive between the two was absolutely beautiful, we drove over an ancient bridge, saw monkeys on the side of the road, and when we finally arrived at Angkor Thom. 



We began at the Terrace of the Elephants, and walked along to Phimeanakas.


On our way from Phimeanakas to Bayon, we stumbled across Baphuon. Again, it was like something out of a movie; an endless stone walkway high off the ground leading you to the temple.



By the time we arrived at Bayon after exploring all of the temples along the way, we were exhausted. It was 37 Degrees Celsius and the humidity was unbearable. The sweat was literally dripping off me, and I had makeup marks on my dress from where I'd tried to blot my forehead out of sheer desperation to get the damp feeling off my skin. We took one look at how huge Bayon was, and decided we'd been beaten, we just couldn't face it.



We were a little disappointed as it looks so incredible, but we'd run out of water, and desperately needed aircon and some lunch. We took a snap, found out Tuk Tuk driver, and made our way back to the hotel.

We spent the rest of the afternoon lazing by the pool at our hotel with our books, sipping on freshly made juices and diving in whenever we needed to cool down. It was bliss and the perfect way to recover from such a busy morning!




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