Siem Reap: Angkor Wat, Pub Street, Waterfall exploring

IMG_3806 The first thing on our list was to get out of that hostel and find a new one. Luckily, Siem Reap has loads to choose from due to the rise in tourist.
Siem Reap was completely different to what I expect. In my mind, it was going to be a small, quiet place with little foreigners. It was quite the opposite: large, loud and definitely plenty of tourists. It has become more popular in recent years due to the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat being near by.

I have to say the bad start to Cambodia made me not want to be there but that was soon turned around. After finding a suitable place to stay, we wandered around to see what this area had to offer. We came across several markets full of food and clothes, and pub street with masses of tuk tuks and tourists. There wasn’t much going on but I just loved the feel of the city.IMG_3493

During the afternoon, we decided to have a Cambodian massage, which an interesting experience. Two young girls (they looked about 14 but later found out they were 18) gave us a light massage while talking to us. The girls were lovely but I usually like my massages in silence and slightly harder. For dinner, we decided to have some western food, Mexican, as it was pretty cheap. IMG_3809This is the first time I’ve had western food since being in Asia.

The next day, we woke up early to get our ride to see Angkor Wat at sun rise. I was looking forward to this as some might consider it being one of the wonders of the world: it didn’t disappoint. However, before sunrise, I didn’t expect to have a photo taken of me for the ticket. With hundreds of tourists waiting, the sun slowly emerged from the ground being Angkor Wat: words can not describe the beauty around me. After appreciating the main temple of Angkor Wat, we found our driver, who was sleeping in the tuk tuk, to take us around the huge complex. We wandered around Bayon, Elephant terrace, Chau Say Tevoda, Thommanon, Ta Keo and Ta Prohm; all different in shape, size and style.IMG_3639 If anyone plans to visit Angkor Wat; my advice is to have a driver as the area is massive and it can be tiring walking around in the high heat. We still had a nap once we reached our hostel before having lunch and chilling along pub street with a beer.

IMG_3614In the evening, we were searching where to have our evening meal when we found a cheap burger place. Our waiter, Borey, who we later found out was the owner, was extremely friendly and invited us out with him. In Cambodian style, along with an American guy and Brazilian girl, he took us to a karaoke bar, where the voices were a little screechy, then to a club, which had heavy strobe lighting and was full of teenagers. We didn’t stay here long before returning to pub street to experience the typical tourist night life in this city, where we met a group of guys from Brazil.IMG_3796

Soon we were surrounded with pumping music, loud tourist, strobe lights flashing, and huge crowds dancing outside two of the clubs, which were opposite each other. here was a young girl, who was 14 getting the clubbers going. She was an amazing dancer with some attitude selling bracelets but the crowds just loved her circling and cheering her on. I was in two minds, she shouldn’t be out that late in a drinkers surrounding but she was dancing to earn money for her family. She really did make the night and after talking to her, she enjoyed being there and dancing.

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Cooking class

The following day, we decided to have a chill morning before experiencing a Cambodian cooking class. This was a first as I’ve never done a cooking class before. Walking into the local market soared my senses into overdrive. Smells of sweet fruit and unusual spices whiffed up my nose. Colours and shapes of different types of food: many I didn’t even recognise.

After been shown the different vegetables and spices we were using as our ingredients, we climbing the stairs to the kitchen. There were six of us doing the class with people from different nationalities.

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Beggars on steps to the temple

Even though, we were all cooking a different Cambodian dish, the chef showed us exactly how to cut and cook the ingredients. As with all cooking, we prepared and cooked the vegetables then cooked a certain way to perfect our delicious meal, which we could taste and enjoy after. I made vegetable spring rolls, amok seafood and a sweet pineapple and passion fruit dessert. It all tasted incredible.

In the evening, we met some of the others from the night before and relaxed at Mad Monkeys with a beer.

On the next day, we planned a coach excursion with a company. We were shown 1000 lingos, which was large stones in a lake: they represented women in the Hindu religion. Our guide wasn’t clear so I’m not sure about the importance of them. As we were walking to the huge reclining Buddha, beggars sat on every step facing the ground wearing minimal dirty clothes. Many people who walked passed gave them small change. It just showed how poor the country is outside of the main city. IMG_3750For those who have not seen poverty like thus, it can be a shock to the system but I feel it can opens ones eyes to the reality surrounding us every day.

From here, we wandered to the huge waterfall. At first, I thought it was such a disappointment but we were not shown the main future at first. We had some time to relax, swim in the waterfall and climb rocks. It was heaving with people: tourists and locals, bathing and jumping off the huge rocks. We were rushed to leave, which was slightly irritating as we were up to stay there a little longer. On the way back, we were taken to a restaurant in the middle of nowhere so that the driver could get a free meal. We decided to have lunch in the centre of Siem Reap followed by ice cream with one of the girls.IMG_3772

I was slightly disappointed with the trip as u thought the excursion was expensive for what we did and saw. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to others.

As the weather was extortionate, we hid in the room with the fan to relax during the afternoon. Once we had rested, we met up with some of the people at Naga before heading to Pub Street to dance the night away.

In Siem Reap, there is not a masses to do so the following day we laid by the pool in Mad Monkeys before heading back to Hua Hin to celebrate our friends graduating from the TESOL course.

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