I was supposed to go futsal at OU tonight but unfortunately I was booked for a long discussion with my boss. I am glad to finally conclude a pleading for which I have been cracking my mind for one month, if not few weeks, to find a logic defence for the action. I missed a meeting at Legal Aid Centre as well. I am not in the mood of going out tonight too. Just to kill some time before I doze off to the dream land, I shall put in writing my trip to Siem Reap.
Let us start from the day I left Phnom Penh for Siem Reap.
As I had bought a bus ticket that departed early in the morning at 8.30a.m., I asked my loyal tuktuk driver to fetch me from the apartment at 7.30a.m. so I had time to drop by at Mamak’s Corner (a Malaysian restaurant in Phnom Penh) to buy nasi lemak. I had been forewarned about the near impossible state of finding halal food in Siem Reap. It took about 5-6 hours to reach Siem Reap. The bus had one stop at Kampung Thom. This bus was much better than the one I took to Phnom Penh. It had a girl who would announce if we were passing by any historical places such as the village where Polpot was born.
With the humid and hot temperature, the air conditioner was not functioning. Just imagine a hot-baked bus of people being steamed in the bus to death! 30 minutes away from Siem Reap, we were asked to board another bus and wait for our luggages at the bus station.
We did as told and reached Siem Reap at 3.30a.m. I had made a deal with women travellers on the same bus. One Nono from German. One Thalia from Los Angeles. One Noah from Israel. We would cost-share the tuktuk to Siem Reap town. In the end, they said they did not want my money. I was thinking about traveling through Angkor Wat together with them. But we went separate ways in finding a suitable budget hotel that met our budgets which were different. We decided to meet again in the Night Market later that night.
I found a guesthouse that could give me a good rate of USD7 one night. Two single beds and an attached bedroom and a cable tv, all to myself. The receptionist was so nice to tell me a couple who flew from Malaysia just checked-in the earlier in the morning. I was later introduce to two amazing people I have found in the journey. A couple from Holland who have been traveling for 20 years. I did not mistakenly write 20. It is 20, you see it correctly.
After a short encounter, I took a shower and went off to Angkor! I found a good English speaking tuktuk driver. One of the major highlight in Angkor Wat is the sunset at Bakheng temple. One should not miss this one even though it means that you have to travel up the hill to have a good view of it. Minus the crowd, it is all worth going. I played the trick that had been revealed rather widely in the internet. The Angkor Wat entrance will be closed at 5.30 p.m. However if you buy a ticket at 5.00p.m. for the next day pass, you get to go in to see the sunset on the day itself at 5.00p.m. for free. That was what I did.
Sunset was beautiful. I hiked the mountain with heavy tripod I brought all the way from home. When you were a lone ranger, you have yourself less in the pictures. And you need to know how to ask around for favour to take a picture of you. For a DSLR user, it can turn out to be a nightmare for not everyone has the skills needed to use DSLR. Two Malay girls I met in Bakheng were the most sombongish travellers I had found throughout the journey. When you asked another DSLR user to take your pictures, who knows you would end up making friends with them. I did make friend with American-Filipino guy. Suffice to just call him Paul.
This is my new friend. You can call him Paul. Good vibe.
More Bakheng pictures?
I came down from Bakheng to find my tuktuk driver patiently waiting for me. He brought me to a souvenir shop and I told him I wanted to see Beatocello Concert in cellist cum Swiss paediatrician who opened up at least five hospitals in Cambodia. I was brought to Kanta Bopha research centre, if I get the name of the place correctly.
As soon as the concert finished, I went in search of the two girls but to no avail. My goodness, the night market was huge. I bought some snacks and went to sleep for I needed to wake up at 5a.m. for the sunrise the next morning.
*end of day 1*