The Temples of Angkor, Day 1
Mar 8, 2012
|We had a tasty (and free!) breakfast this morning at the hotel, sharing french-toast with honey and fried eggs and a baguette. We also took advantage of the fruit, enjoying watermelon and pineapple. Yum!
Our tuk-tuk driver found us at 8am and we discussed our plan for the next few days. We will be leaving by bus for Bangkok at 8am on 3/10, so we have 2 full days (and a sunrise if we want it) to enjoy the temples.
It's hard to believe that the temples here don't count as one of the "wonders of the world". What we saw today was spectacular, and there's more to come!
Today we pretty much did the classic small circuit. We started at Angkor Wat (the name means 'temple that is a city'). The place is HUGE! It's the best-preserved temple at Angkor, and it's one of the most popular-- it was swarming with tourists. We did find some quieter spots in the back by the East Gate, which we shared with a troop of monkeys. I'd never been so close to wild moneys before!
Our next stop was Ta Prohm, which I definitely preferred to Angkor Wat. The trees have dominated at Ta Prohm, the roots slowly breaking apart the intricate stone. Beautiful!
The only negative of the day was lunch, which was our next stop. The food was delicious and the portions generous-- we shared chicken and broccoli, Khmer-style, and fired rice with Khmer sausage-- but the prices were far too high, 2 to 3 times what they should have been. We debated walking away after seeing the menu, and I do think that would have been the right choice. Obviously that restaurant has some sort of deal with the tuk-tuk drivers. Paying over $10 for lunch left me feeling bitter...
After the meal, we spent the afternoon at Angkor Thom, another enormous temple complex. My favorite part by far here was Bayon, where there are over 200 giant, enigmatic smiling faces. They are at all angles and various heights, so it appears as if many faces are constantly looking down at you. It was really unique and we both enjoyed being there. We've been taking so many pictures!
Other highlights of Angkor Thom included Baphuon ("the world's largest jigsaw puzzle"- renovation records were destroyed during the Khmer Rouge years and restoration teams were left with 300,000 stones to put back into place), the Terrace of the Leper King, and the Terrace of the Elephants.
For sunset, our driver took us to Phnom Bakheng, where we watched the sky change color over Angkor Wat. Beautiful!
We were dropped off at the Night Market in Siem Reap by request (around 7pm) and we had a fantastic dinner (the price of which slightly made up for lunch...). We each had one of the delicious noodle dishes from the street vendor, we had 2 smoothies, and we shared roti for dessert. All for $4.50. Yum!!
Such a great day!!