#1: Temples, Floating Villages and Ziplining

Living in Singapore, a very travel-friendly base in South-East Asia, I started to explore other countries a few weeks ago. My first trip went to Siem Reap in Cambodia. I chose this as my first destination mainly because I have always wanted to see the temples at Angkor.

I went during a public holiday, so had 3 days in total (2,5 days excluding travel time). I arrived on a Sunday morning and left the following Tuesday evening again.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

On my day of arrival I decided to first visit the war museum to learn more about the history of Cambodia. My guide told me many things about the Khmer Rouge regime and the tough conditions the people in Cambodia have been living under for the last 100 years or so. While there was only really peace from 1999 onwards (if I recall correctly), there now still is a big problem with hidden land mines left over from the wars (though this issue is slowly improving). Many people have lost limbs because of land mines, my guide including. He also told me about his experiences during the war, having lost quite some family members, either because they fled to Thailand or because they died.

After this impressive museum visit I went to a temple on the top of a hill to view the sunset. And I wasn’t the only one. Loads of people crowded around each other to get the best view, which I sometimes enjoyed watching more than the actual sunset.

P1080931After the sun had set I went to the night market and had a relaxing foot massage. I then went back to my hostel for a good night of sleep as I had to get up very early the next morning for my bike tour of the temples and ziplining adventure.

The company picked me up at 5am. We set off to Angkor Wat to see the sunrise there. Unfortunately it was quite clouded so the sunrise wasn’t amazing, but I still enjoyed it a lot (see first picture), especially since my guide knew exactly how to avoid the crowds and I was the only one in my tour so I had basically a private tour that morning!

After the sunrise, we went inside the temple complex for a tour and some amazing views, followed by an awesome freshly made breakfast by our driver before starting the bike tour around the temples.

It turned out to be an amazing morning! I saw many incredible temples, went through deserted paths and jungle, and the weather was really good (dry and clouded, so not too warm). My favourite temple was definitely the Bayon temple with all the (Buddhist/Hindu) faces.

P1090065 P1090095

In the afternoon I went on a zipline adventure in the Cambodian jungle. I had done a similiar thing a few years before in Thailand, so I was really excited about this. As last time it was a bit scary in the beginning but quickly you get used to it and it is so much fun! There were about 10 platforms. The highest platform was about 45 metres high and the longest zipline about 135 metres.

P1090128

My final day in Siem Reap I went to Tonle Sap lake to see a floating village and forest. I enjoyed both a lot. A very interesting sight to see! The lake itself is also very impressive (it changes size according to dry and rainy season and right now it was the end of rainy season so the lake was on the bigger end).

P1090177All in all, this was a great first trip in Asia and I am looking forward to many more.

 

 

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