Asia 2012:
Day 9 - Siem Reap, Cambodia [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

Asia 2012: [Day 1 - Hong Kong] [Day 2 - Hong Kong] [Day 3 - Hong Kong] [Day 4 - Hong Kong] [Day 5 - Thailand] [Day 6 - Thailand] [Day 7 - Thailand] [Day 8 - Thailand] [Day 9 - Cambodia] [Day 10 - Cambodia] [Day 11 - Singapore] [Day 12 - Singapore] [Day 13 - Singapore] [Day 14 - Indonesia] [Day 15 - Japan]

Monday, April 2, 2012: Before dawn, we waited for our driver to arrive from Bangkok Airport Limosine. Even though we had paid a deposit of half the cost, the driver didn't arrive, and it took three weeks and three customer service reps to get a refund. We took a hotel to the airport instead, and got an early morning Maersk shot on the way.

This statue is called "Churning of the Milk Ocean." We would hear much more about this story during our visit to Cambodia.
This rubber food looked like a great option for breakfast, especially the Pad Thai...
... but we had to settle for sandwiches because it was too early for the full menu.
We hadn't ever gotten a photo of the signs on the BTS trains indicating which seats were priority seating for monks, so we got a second chance at the airport when we saw this one. That mummy-like symbol on the left represents a monk.
Our Bangkok Airways flight to Siem Reap was aboard this cute little plane decorated with an Angkor Wat design. Let's go there!
Here's Bangkok Airways' lunch offering. We were well-fed on every plane in Asia, no matter how short the flight.
On our approach to Siem Reap, we could see that most of the roads were dirt and the landscape was lush and green.
The airport was small but very nice. We had brought extra passport photos and US cash to purchase our Cambodian visas on arrival.
Exactly fifteen minutes after walking across the tarmac, we had gotten our visas, claimed our luggage, visited the restroom, and found our guide, Thy (pronounced Tee). We followed him and our suitcase to our waiting car and driver. We had booked a two-day tour through Cambodia Travel.
It's a short drive into Siem Reap, less than 20 minutes. We passed many people on bicycles and groups of two or three people on motorcycles.
This was Club CNN, a karaoke bar, one of many American influences we saw in town.
Here's our driver, Sam, and the main road leading into Siem Reap. The welcome sign with our names on it rested on the front dashboard.
There are many hotels in Siem Reap, in every price range. This is the City Angkor Hotel, ...
... and this is the Apsara Holiday Hotel.
We're guessing that this young man is a monk.
Sivatha Ave to the right. Angkor Wat Template to the left. Royal Residence straight ahead.
This is the only photo I got of the front of our hotel, ...
... the Angkor Century Resort & Spa.
It's a beautiful, elegant hotel.
We were welcomed with two pink scarves, called krorma, and two tropical drinks.
Here's our large, comfortable room, ...
... and the bathroom, where two small elephant figurines served as shampoo and bodywash dispensers.
Our room had a view of the courtyard and pool area.
These are the silk scarves we received as welcome gifts.
We made arrangements to meet our guide in mid-afternoon and it was only 10:30 AM, so we went out to explore the grounds. There's a small park-like garden at the back of the property.
We found this model of Angkor Wat, and were even more excited to see the real thing soon.
Anytime we encounter mimosa, we have to get a photo of Tom pointing at it.
After seeing the gorgeous pool up close, we decided to spend a little time here.
Yes, Cambodian Coca-Cola Light is just as delicious as the American version. We had clear skies and dunked in the pool anytime we got a little too warm. It was glorious. We came out to the pool later at dusk and we had a nice chat with the waiter, who asked where we were from. When we replied, "The United States," he excitedly asked, "Kentucky? I love Kentucky Fried Chicken!" We had a conversation about KFC and about other hotel guests who were from the United States but not Kentucky either. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes were coming out so we didn't stay much longer.
For lunch, we headed to the hotel's Grand View Coffee House and ordered the Cambodian set lunch. We started out with bread and butter, pumpkin soup, and a delicious salad with corn, peanuts, anise, peppers, and fish (we think -- if only we'd gotten a photo of the menu!). A beautiful flower decorated the tray.
Next up: mixed tropical fruits, mixed vegetables, garlic slices, lime wedges, soy sauce, a perfect cone of rice released from a ti leaf mold, and a delicious beef entree.
Sam and Thy picked us up in the afternoon for our tour. Our first stop was the Angkor Wat entrance building, where our guide bought two-day passes for us for $40 USD each, featuring our photos on them.
Thy showed us on a large map where we'd be visiting in the afternoon.
The day before, the Chinese president, Hu Jintau, had visited the Angkor Wat complex, and signs along the road proclaimed "Long Live Kingdom of Cambodia!" and "Love Live People's Republic of China!"
Photos of the esteemed visitors and the King of Cambodia were on billboards as well.
This lake in the shape of a square surrounds ...
... Angkor Wat! We waved and promised to return at dawn the next morning.
Our afternoon plans were to visit the Angkor Thom complex. This is the main entrance gate.
Our guide has told us that short sleeves were not allowed in some of the temples, so we dutifully wore long sleeves. We were morons. Apparently, sleeveless is what he actually meant, and that short sleeves were long enough, which is why he called them long sleeves. We're pretty sure people were pointing and laughing at us.
The entrance to Angkor Thom is flanked by figures enacting the Churning of the Sea of Milk.
Here's the South Gate itself. There are faces on all four sides on it; the first occurrence we had seen of it, but not the last.
Just inside the South Gate, monkeys were hanging out by the side of the road. A few of them had babies, and one had a banana.
Our first stop was the magnificent Bayon Temple.
Many of the ruins have been or are under some sort of restoration project sponsored by a country. Bayon Temple is benefiting from a five year project of restoration led by the government of Japan.
Here's a reclining Buddha.
Let's walk around and take a look.
There are carvings everywhere.
Here's another sculpture with a bowl to burn incense and another to accept donations.
This is a view looking straight up.
These are some of the towers surrounding the temple.
Each of them has four faces. They were so cool to see. At the hotel gift shop the next day, we bought a small figurine in this shape.
Another statue, shrine, incense, and donation bowl combination.
Another view taken from further up showing the different levels of the temple.
Some of the carvings are of Apsara dancers.
We left by another entrance to the complex.
Our next stop was the Baphuon Temple.
Let's look around.
We went up these stairs ...
... and looked around, ...
... then went up these stairs, ...
... and looked around, but did not go up the final stairs because they were off limits.
The view from here was very nice though.
The stairs were very steep and we got a good workout in our long-sleeved sauna-like shirts.
We went out the back way. This sign shows how to spot the outline of the large reclining Buddha depicted along the entire back side of the temple.
By now, we were getting into some jungle and this is where the first mosquitoes struck, so we got the bug repellant and bug sting packets out.
We were seriously overheating, so we opted not to climb this temple, Phimeanakas.
There are several pools next to the temple slowly being overtaken by water plants.
This is the gate to exit the Phimeanakas area, which leads to ...
... the Terrace of the Elephants.
It's a long promenade stretching in either direction, ...
... and jutting forward in one section as well.
It is a multi-level structure supported by figures carved into the side of the upper level, ...
... with elephants out front flanking the stairs down to the large, grassy yard, ...
... and more elephants carved along the walls of the lower level.
To the north of it along the same expanse of yard is the Terrace of the Leper King.
It features ornately decorated walls.
Here are some snakes, ...
... and some lovely Apsara dancers.
A fresh new walkway and support walls helps to protect the beautiful carvings.
On the terrace itself, this fine gentleman keeps his eyes on the tourists.
This shot gives an idea of the walkways surrounding the terrace.
Our final stop of the day was Phnom Bakheng, a temple on the top of a small mountain.
Thy showed us a few things about it, including the walking route we'd be taking, and the much shorter route that the elephant rides took.
We walked it.
This was a grown-over and blocked-off stairway to the top. We continued walking around the mountain on a circular path.
This is the same stairway headed down to the bottom on the other side of the path.
This scenic overlook offered a view of the West Baray reservoir with the West Mebon temple on an artificial island in the middle of it.
When we made it to the top of the mountain, we headed up the stairs to the top. Our guide told us about how long the line was to go up the stairs during the high season. We were very glad to be there when it wasn't crowded.
There is a nice view of Angkor Wat from up here, ...
... although this photo of Orchy gives Angkor Wat's distance a bit of perspective.
Here's a view of the yard below where restoration work is ongoing, and where the elephant rides originate.
On a hot evening, it's a nice place to have a drink or two of water. A large group of people on the western side of the temple had staked out their territory for watching the sunset an hour later.
We did not stay for the sunset because we were ready to get back to the hotel and cool off.
The view of West Baray was getting prettier, so it's clear to see that this would be an incredible view at sunset.
There are a few spots on the trail that reveal unexpected glimpses of ruins.
Outside most of the major sites, tuk-tuk drivers awaited customers. We felt very spoiled to have a nice air-conditioned car to drive in, with ice-cold bottles of water and cool washcloths in a cooler in the trunk that appeared every time we returned from a visit.
We got one last shot of Angkor Wat on our way back to town.
We passed this Charming Tourist City Market. Literally. And that is the correct use of "literally," by the way.
The local hospital had this sign: "Severe Epidemic of Haemorrhagic Dengue Fever. Please help the children in shock by your blood donation (especially group B & AB)."
This picture of a Forever Living Products sign is meaningless to anyone who didn't grow up in the Schilling family. But to those of us who did, this was a pretty surprising sight.
It turned out that we had a pretty nice sunset view from our air-conditioned hotel room, enjoyed after a nice, cold shower.
We had such good luck with our Cambodian set lunch that we decided to try the Cambodian set dinner. But first, two foofy drinks were in order to toast a great day.
We started out with another beautiful tray of food each, serving up a beef salad and spring rolls with dipping sauce. Like lunch, anise was used to season several of the dishes.
After a course of artichoke soup with fish puffs, we were served this amazing display: large prawns, some sort of egg/cream thing baked in some sort of green thing, mixed vegetables, pork, another cone of rice unmolded tableside, and sliced garlic, red peppers, and limes for seasoning.
Dessert was a plate full of things we couldn't identify except for the rice pudding-esque bowl on the right. We could tell that one or two of the desserts were made with pumpkin or sweet potato, but that's about it.

We added our two new flowers to the pair from our lunch.

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Asia 2012: [Day 1 - Hong Kong] [Day 2 - Hong Kong] [Day 3 - Hong Kong] [Day 4 - Hong Kong] [Day 5 - Thailand] [Day 6 - Thailand] [Day 7 - Thailand] [Day 8 - Thailand] [Day 9 - Cambodia] [Day 10 - Cambodia] [Day 11 - Singapore] [Day 12 - Singapore] [Day 13 - Singapore] [Day 14 - Indonesia] [Day 15 - Japan] [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

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