In November we decided it was time to venture out to a lesser visited country, Cambodia. We flew into Siem Reap from Kuala Lumpur. We stayed at the Boutique Hotel La Maison d’Angkor (http://www.lamaisondangkor.com/new/). The reason we decided to stay there was that one of our former colleagues was managing it at the time, but it was beautiful and peaceful so we had definitely made the right choice. For our first day we decided we just had to go and see Angkor Wat for sunrise. We got a tuk tuk to come and pick us up at 4:30am. Before getting to Angkor Wat we had to buy tickets. The choice is either a one-day, three-day or seven-day ticket. We went for the three-day ticket ($40). We waited for sunrise with the other tourists. While waiting, Cambodian’s came by to unexpectedly take drink orders. For the time of day, we decided a coffee was needed. We thought the Angkor Wat sunrise was beautiful, especially having the reflection in the pond.
Our view of Angkor Wat for sunrise.
After the sunrise we went and explored the ruins of Angkor Wat which, for us, took quite long. We then got back into our tuk tuk and drove around the Angkor Archeological Park. We explored quite a few ruins and temples around. We then went to what would be our favourite place of the trip: Prasat Bayon, the Khmer temple full of stone faces. We started feeling like Lara Croft!
After having spent a day wandering around stunning ruins and temples it was time to go back to the hotel, sit at the pool for a while and go and have dinner. We decided to go to the Butterflies Garden Restaurant (who would not want to eat somewhere with butterflies?!? http://butterfliesofangkor.com/). On our way back to our little home away from home we came by a bicycle rental place and decided on cycling to the Angkor Archeological Park the next morning. We had the clever idea of sticking our “Playboy” bikes (that was their very official name) into our tuk tuk and get them to the hotel (we are sure wine must have helped with this decision).
Transporting “Playboy” back to our hotel
The next day we set off on our bikes Lara Croft style back to the Angkor Archeological Park. This time it was time to go and see the “Tomb Raider” temple Ta Prohm. It is a fascinating temple with the big tree growing in between it.
Ta Prohm made famous through the movie “Tomb Raider”
After spending time playing around at Ta Prohm we got back onto our “Playboy” bikes and cycled around the area. Cycling is an easy way to get around; streets and ways are flat though the heat makes cycling harder. On our way back home we cycled past a big yellow hot air balloon and decided we would try it. The Angkor Balloon gives you a great birds eye view of the Angkor Archeological Park.
View of Angkor Wat from the Angkor Balloon.
The next morning, we decided we needed to have a culinary Cambodian experience, taking part in a cooking course. Mmmhh yummy, definitely worth doing. We did our cooking course at the restaurant Le Tigre de Papier (http://www.letigredepapier.com/en/cooking.php). We were four people taking part in the cooking course ($15 per person). As a starter the decision was to make a papaya salad and then each of us chose the main dish we wanted to make. Once we had all decided on our dishes we set of to the market to buy the ingredients.
Buying fresh ingredients at the market
When we had all ingredients we started cooking. Our teacher was very bubbly and smiley and all of us had a great time together. When we finished cooking we sat down in the restaurant and ate what we had made.
As we bought the three-day pass for the Angkor Archeologica Park we got a tuk tuk back there again to visit Phnom Bakheng for a sunset view. We recommend to ask the tuk tuk driver to wait as it gets very crowded and can be hard to find transportation back to the hotel. There are quite a few steps to climb up to get to the top of the temple.
We did get a great view for sunset, but at this point would like to point out that you will be sharing the view with quite a few others (tourists as well as Buddhist monks on mobile phones).
Cambodia was definitely worth the visit (and journey). The temples are awe striking and we would recommend taking a bike for a day (who knows, you might even be able to find our “Playboy” bicycles). The food in Cambodia was delicious and when we got back we had a little dinner party and cooked the food we had made at the cooking course for some of our friends (lucky them).