Cambodia Food House Sitting Photography travel

Angkor Wat and Siem Reap

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We received more than a few curious looks from children when they realized there were foreigners in the tuk tuk beside them.

We have been so fortunate to have had our introduction to SE Asia begin here in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Starting with a fantastic house sit looking after two very interesting sphinx cats in the heart of Siem Reap. It has been a wonderful experience.

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Sam was very affectionate, even rather demanding of attention. He had a very interesting personality.
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The female, Dotty, loved to be up high, watching over everything. It took a bit of getting used to.

The primary reason most people come to Siem Reap is to visit the largest temple in the world, Angkor Wat. This incredible assortment of temples, gates, walls, and former cities truly is a testament to what humans can create.

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Once you see this place you understand why Tomb Raider was filmed here. The buildings and nature are absolutely surreal.
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Even after visiting Angkor Wat I have trouble fathoming the size of it. The detail in every aspect of its construction and the fact that is over 900 years old. Oh….and is in the middle of a jungle.
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We hired a guide for our introduction to Angkor Wat. Ta provided great advice and even had extra umbrellas for the sun or the rain.
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It is a photographic smorgasbord walking and driving around the area. Not only the buildings, but the wildlife and people are beautiful to behold.
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These local kids were having a blast playing and splashing in the moat around one of the temples. As well they were collecting snails for the dinner table. A very productive way to spend a brutally hot afternoon.
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As with any popular tourist site in the world, there were no lack of hawkers trying to sell there goods. A constant chorus of “Just one dollar, you buy?”
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We asked Ta to take us to where the locals ate lunch. He delivered, big time. As we sat down with the tuk tuk drivers and delivery drivers we were able to watch the cooking, washing, and family interactions as we ate lunch. The cost of $5US for both of our lunches was an incredible deal.
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This brief moment of blue sky over The Bayon from the SW corner was the only colour we got in the sky all day. Fortunately the site offers many ways to compensate for a drab sky.
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Sometimes the colour was good enough to come and find us. This fellow rode around on my camera bag for several minutes.
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The thing about the temples is no matter where you go, you are being watched. The faces carved into the temples, facing all four directions are omnipresent. Great for photography, but a bit unsettling at times.
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This hallway on the north side of Angkor Wat is one of dozens and dozens of incredibly aligned corridors that have stood the test of time. Perhaps with a bit of restoration, but none the less, amazing architecture.
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This hallway just inside the inner west entrance had incredible carvings on every surface. The remnants of colour were very cool.
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And just around the corner in the hallway this fellow had more than enough to meditate on with thousands of tourists walking by every day.
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Most of the day was overcast, so our “no show” for a sunset was no surprise. We still set up, just in case though.
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At least the rain held off for us. As we left Angkor Wat these clouds chased us down the street. The deluge started just as we got into our vehicle. All in, an awesome day.

In addition to the temples there are plenty of museums, restaurants, bars, and other points of interest to keep one busy. We took it fairly easy during our two weeks here, but the advantage of this type of lifestyle is there is a very good chance we will be back here sometime in the next 2 or 3 years.

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In addition to the conventional massage available (which were wonderful) there was plenty of opportunity to try a fish exfoliation on your feet. To say it tickled is an understatement.
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You start with the small fish then move your feet into the tank with the larger fish. The whole process took about an hour.

 

Within central Siem Reap there are at least 4 massage businesses on every single block, and that is being conservative. As well, when you get to the area called Pub Street, the price for draft beer is 50cents during happy hour.

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The tourist hot spot at night is Pub Street. I found it very busy, but not overwhelming. Tuk tuk drivers are constantly asking if you want a ride, but a polite “no thank you” and they back off.
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Apparently this bar, The Red Piano, became famous when the cast and crew from Tomb Raider started hanging out here. Nothing special as far as a bar goes, but it is in a perfect location for people watching if you get a table near the street.
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If you still feel the need to shop, the night market is right across the street from Pub Street. More importantly, we found there were some great places to eat in this area that were a little cheaper than Pub Street.

The last place we checked out was the Cambodia War Museum. It certainly is nothing like the war museums I have seen in London or Canberra, but it had a certain rawness to it that conveyed it’s point.

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The Cambodia War Museum is a very basic set of displays
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The displays were pretty good considering this is an extremely low budget museum. They showed just how destructive the after effects of the many wars have been on the civilian population.

If you come to Cambodia you have to see Angkor Wat. But don’t limit yourself to just that. There are several sights worth investing half a day checking out and transportation is cheap and easy, though for Siem Reap itself we found it small enough to be able to walk most places in town.

Off to Phnom Penh now.

 

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

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