So, we arrived in Cambodia after a pretty long journey from Phuket - it took us just under a day to get from one hostel to the next. Our first stop in Cambodia was Siem Reap - we would be there for New Years and also to go and see the Temples of Angkor Wat.
|Arriving in Cambodia|
After we'd had a beer (ahem) we went to get some food and noticed this little restaurant was doing 3 courses for $4 - bargain! I had a really tasty curry called an Amok, which is a Cambodian national dish, and Tone had a normal Cambodian Curry. But mine was way better, purely for the fact that it came served IN A COCONUT!
Also, Cambodians are super-friendly, and everywhere you go they want to get you to buy something! You constantly here the shouts of "laydeee, siirr, you wanna massage laydeee??" Or something like that...they like their massages in SE Asia...
|Amok Curry in a Coconut!|
|A Cambodian Tuk Tuk - basically a carriage attached to a moped!|
Aside from the normal massage places that are in abundance in the centre of Siem Reap, are the "Fish Massage"places that are everywhere - including in bars and markets! Basically, it's a tank of fish that you put your feet into, and then they "massage"your feet by nibbling away all the dead skin. It's less massage and more "tickles" - I couldn't actually keep my feet in for more than 10 seconds at first, and you get a 20 minute go! It's almost like torture! Still, you get a free beer with it so all in all it was a pleasant, if odd way to spend 20 minutes of our day.
|Tony and Me getting our Fish Massage|
|Fish nibbling at my feet|
On the 30th and 31st December we went to see the temples of Angkor Wat. The first day we hired a Tuk Tuk, with our driver Niel, to take us to the furthest away temples and on the second day we hired a bike to cycle round the closest and most famous temples. What both of us didn't realise is just how spread out these temples are - they are in area about 10km x 15km - so there are a lot of temples. I think we barely scrached the surface of what there was to see. It was cool getting a tuk tuk on the first day, as you can sit back and enjoy the view in (relative) comfort.
|Me and our Tuk Tuk driver Niel|
|Engravings on the walls of one of the Temples|
There are trees growing out of many of the walls and into the temples, which look really bizarre but amazing too.
|A girl sitting in one of the Temple "windows"|
|Trees growing out of the ruins|
|An Elephant statue at Pre Rup|
We didn't realise quite how big it was, and it took us about 3 hours to get round most of it, and we were trying to hurry a bit as well because Angkor Thom was even bigger!
There are loads of statues throughout the corridors of Angkor Wat, that are taken care of today by Buddhist monk who live and work in the temples, maintaining it and keeping the grounds clean. Most of the statues are adorned with flowers, or a bright orange sash and you can make an offering to them by lighting incense.
Some of the carvings and engravings in Angkor Wat are really well kept, and it's unbelievable to think that they've been around since the 12th Century! Angkor Wat is also unusual as it''s the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation — first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. It is the world's largest religious building!
Probably the most famous features of Angkor Wat is the huge bas-reliefs found running along the 4 walls of the outer wall of the temple. They are hugely detailed wall carvings that depict various religious symbols - mostly Hindu.
We went on to Angkor Thom to see some of the temples there, but decided we'd go back to Angkor Wat for the sunset (us and about a million other people!) . You're "meant to"see sunrise and sunset at Angkor Wat to see it's true beauty, but we were quite happy with just seeing the sunset, which was really beautiful.
So after our jaunt around the temples we got back and got ready for New Years Eve. We heard that there was a street party going on in Pub St, but we wern't sure whether there would be many people there...how wrong we were! We got there at around 10pm and it was rammed! There was the same music playing in all the bars and on the street, and everyone seemed to be drinking some kind of bucket drink. The drink of choice I think was a "whiskey bucket" which had in it half a bottle of Mekong whiskey, coke, red bull and lime! Potent and cheap ($5!). As you can imagine we didn't do much the next day, other then nurse our sore heads...
|Tone on his bike|
|Man pumping water from a well|
|Buddha statue in one of the Temples|
|Engravings of Apsaras|
|Bas Relief on the side of Angkor Wat|
|Angkor Wat at sunset|
The Cooking Course
One thing that I was really keen to do whilst in Cambodia or Thailand was learn to cook some native food. It was pretty cheap to do it in Siem Reap, only $10, and we got to cook 3 courses and then eat them all! I learnt how to cook an Amok (one of my favourite dishes here) and fresh Spring Rolls, plus a banana/coconut/tapioca pudding. Tone cooked a Cambodian curry, freid Spring Rolls and a similar pudding to mine but with pumpkin instead of banana.
|Us before the cooking began|
|Tony chopping his onions|
|Cooking the Amok|
|Eating the Amok|
|Curry and Spring Roll induced food coma|
So, we're in Sihanoukville at the moment - on Cambodia's coast. We're trying to spend the rest of our time out here on a beach, before going back to the cold on the 24th. This is our penultimate stop - the last one will be Koh Phangan in Thailand for the Full Moon party and then it's home time! Crazy!
PS there is a man in front of me who is coughing his guts up every 2 minutes, and when he does he sounds like he's about to puke and it's making me feel a little more than queasy...it's proper minging. So sorry if this post seems a little short on words/descriptions...