03.04.2009 94 °F
While our stay in Cambodia has been short, it has also been very enjoyable and memorable. It's also been the first time I felt like we were really just vacationing.
We arrived around 1pm, toured our hotel and just loved everything about the place. It was recommended to us by Emilie, Conrad's older sister, and I am so glad we took her advice. We stayed at the Palm Village Resort, not really in Siem Reap center, but out in real life cambodia (the dirt road we are on is very bumpy, dark, and its otherwise a poor area). Upon check-in, the hotel gave us a packet of menu-like pieces of paper. A page for ordering drinks, a page for ordering breakfast, a page for lunch/dinner, a page for Angkor Wat tour guides and/or taxis or drivers for your trip to the temples, and a page for all the massage options. The food pages are extensive (with Khmer and Western food) and then we have the option of having the food delivered to our room, eating in the restaurant, taking it away, or eating by the pool. our first breakfast was take away since we left to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat. tonights dinner was by the pool and tomorrow we have ordered pineapple pancakes for by the pool. We also had cocktails by the pool, and after a long day at Angkor we had hour long relaxation massages for $9/hr each.
We heard the guides through the hotel were good, so we booked through them. We left when it was pitch black at 5:15 and went to Angkor Wat for the sunrise. Unfortunately for us, the sunrise was not crisp and clean (too many clouds), but the colors were great, and it was just unreal to see so many people waiting to start their day on this incredible and powerful structure. After 5 mins of walking through Angkor Wat, I knew my expectations had been met. For those who don't know, I have wanted to visit Angkor Wat ever since 2003 (the first time I visited Thailand). I had such an amazing time exploring the similar styled Thai temples, and since angkor is bigger and older, I just had to visit the place. I finally have, and it was an amazing day. For those unaware, the Angkor Wat complex has hundreds of temples on it (all built by past Khmer kings in a style of a mix of hindu and buddhist). We visited all of the major ones (along the "short circuit"). Some tourists come and stay a whole week, most stay 3 days, but we only did one long exhausting day of the temples. You could easily fill 3 days with visiting them all, but since each one is in a different state of construction (some just rubble that you cant even walk through), I think we did just fine. We visited Angkor Wat (huge, immense and the "8th wonder of the world"), Angkor Thom and the Bayon (where Tomb Raider was filmed), Ta Proem (the one overtaken by trees). I enjoyed them all, but the Bayon was my favorite. I just loved it because I felt the most connected with it. Its been nicely restored but preserved in architecture, so we were able to walk up and down so many towers. Angkor Wat, on the other hand, is a bit more dangerous and less sound in structure, so you cant climb the stairs. We climbed our fair share of very scary stairs today, and Conrad did quite well for someone who is modestly afraid of heights.
Sorry to cut this short, but I have to run. I will continue this post tomorrow.