Day 1 in Angkor Wat
Our first day in Cambodia was our eldest sister’s 28th birthday and Ate Jane who happens to be a friend of my mom who traveled with us. It was a very special day for them so it was made sure that our first tour was something that’s new and very… special.
Our first activity was to watch the sunrise in Angkor Wat. It was quite a demanding day since from the time of our arrival early in the morning , we have to wake up around 4:30 am to catch up the sunrise.
I tried to take a few photos from different angles around the Temple area and that is not easy either as there are hundreds of people (if not thousands) also trying to do the same! But this was one of the highlights that day; Watching the sunrise in Angkor Wat. Isn’t it spectacular? Now I get it why they said there will be 2 suns showing up during the sunrise! It’s because of the reflection of the puddle. Truly amazing sight and a sunrise I won’t forget for a long time.
After the tour, we were supposed to be picked up by a van but we decided to ride the tuk-tuk instead. The tuk-tuk transportation is one of the most popular things for tourists to do in Siem Reap. A tuk-tuk is like a motorized rickshaw, a tiny 3-wheeled vehicle that runs on a motorbike engine, and fitted to carry 2-3 passengers at most. Taking a tuk-tuk is an incredibly fun thing to do, but there are some safety tips you should follow if you want to take a tuk-tuk safely. Like, Agree with the price first before leaving, Don’t cram too many people and avoiding clowning around while inside the tuk tuk. Remember this, You don’t want to spend your vacation in a hospital bed.
Other than that, tourists also love renting bikes on their way to the Angkor complex but if that is you now how to ride the bike.
Oh btw. Before I forget this, let me give a few tips on what to do and bring on a Cambodia tour:
1. Dress appropriately. Honestly speaking, I am a bit guilty. 😉 Anyways, just want to let you know that the Angkor complex is not like Disneyland. There aren’t nice paved roads between each temple. Make sure that you wear either a nice pair of trekking sandals or shoes. Also, don’t wear any nice clothes because you will be covered in grime by the end of the day. But some temples won’t allow tourists wearing blouses without sleeves even spaghetti, shorts and skirts above the knees and if you happen to forget this, you can buy their sarongs before you enter the complex.
2. Keep hydrated and wear sunblock lotion. Always carry water and sunblock with you in a small day pack. You can buy water at most of the temples for about double the regular price, but having a nice cold water in the unrelenting Cambodian heat is worth a few extra Riel. Also bring a handkerchief or a scarf to wipe away all of your sweat.
3. Make plans before the trip. It’s best to have a detailed iterinary and a general idea of what you want to do when you get there.
Before entering the Palace, We had to hear the history of Cambodia. You’ll be amazed at how the whole thing was done by people hundreds of years ago! Without the benefit of modern machinery and equipment. You will realize how awesome the architect/s and the workers were at that time.
A little bit of advice: DO NOT do Angkor in one day. I don’t think we can visit a 400 sq kilometer complex with dozens of temples in up to 40 degree heat in one day. Hihi. That’s why it is really important to make a detailed itinerary and a general idea of what you want to do.
Next stop: Ta Phrom Temple
According to our Tour Guide, Ta Phrom was formerly dedicated to the former King’s mother. This temple was left to age in its natural state.That’s why right now gigantic trees have overgrown these structures and gives the temple its ancient stamp on it.
Upon arrival, seeing all the gigantic trees growing on top of rocks, or even above the temples totally felt so surreal.
The place is a little bit familiar to you? Yhup. You got it right cause this was the place where the movie of Angelina Jolie “Tomb Raider” was filmed. Cool, right? That very awesome feeling where in you visited a place where a famous movie was filmed.
What I like best about the temples are their rustic feel. How they look aged which shows their rich history. The intricate details of their carvings too.
Ladies and Gents! After years of just seeing the huge trees in Tomb Raider and on countless travel shows and channels, I finally got to see the gigantic trees of Siem Reap!
Got totally hungry after the tour and good thing our tour guide just brought us to the right restaurant! Twas not a very expensive restaurant, the meals were affordable and mouth watering!
A MUST TRY! Amok is their national dish which is anything that is swimming in coconut milk. You can choose chicken, pork or fish with your Amok.
Your meal wouldn’t be complete without a dessert to cool you off! So, I had a Coconut Milkshake. Seriously, this milkshake is the best coconut milkshake that I have ever tasted so far. I was never a fan of coconut milkshake, I even hated it, not until I tasted this one! And until now, i still am craving for this heavenly taste.
Next stop: Mekong river, Floating Village
Visiting Tonle Sap Lake and the Kompong Khleang floating fishing village was a great experience because you get to see things that are so different from what you normally see in your life.
Once we reached the floating village, we saw a village of thousands of people whose stilted houses were about maybe 10 meters high due to the flooding of the lake during rainy season. This was a sight I won’t soon forget. The villagers were really unfortunate and they only depend on the water for fish.
Look at the cloud formation and tell me what do you see? (I see a shark with creepy eyes hahaha)
Next stop: Dinner at Koulen Restaurant
Koulen Restaurant features a buffet with Chinese, Khmer and Western food all on offer. Not only do you enjoy an unlimited serving of food but you’ll be entertained by khmer dancers. I’m not saying the whole show would be very entertaining, some parts were kind of boring to me. Hahahaha! No offense.