How shocked was I to arrive at Siem Reap to see good roads, lined with rows of posh 4/5 star hotels. What with the media, this was certainly not what I was expecting at all. Maybe it is just Siem Reap which is like this, I guess I cannot make this judgement until I have explored more of Cambodia, which unfortunately on this trip I am unable to do so.
The above said I was glad to arrive and finally see Angkor Wat which is what I have waited to see for many years now. My hotel Tara Angkor was just amazing, with pool, spa, sauna, jacuzzi, bar, gift shop, free Internet what more could a person need. Of course me being me, I headed off to enquire about the spa treatments after a flight it seemed the only natural thing to do.
In the evening I took a walk to the main area of Siem Reap where I was greeted with Pub Street, you could have knocked me down with a feather another sight I was not expecting to see. That was very close to the busy night market which of course was worth a visit. Once I left the market I bummed into friends of mine, who said the world is not a small place, they have been travelling around Thailand for 4 months lucky things, it appears I have been one step ahead of them with my travel updates on my facebook page, how funny.
Now after getting up before the birds, 04:00am, I rise due to wanting to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat, I thought I was doing very well getting up at that time, when I leave my hotel to get the bus I realise that half of Siem Reap have the same idea. My first thought is that Angkor Wat had better be huge otherwise I will not get a good location to take any good photos, ok to those of you that had been before, given Siem Reap was not what I was expecting I was not going to presume anything. Yes it all worked out fine, my local guide told me not to worry he would make sure that I had a 6 star location to take my photos, of course I trusted him he was local. Oh and how right was he, we arrived in the dark and could hardly see anything other than the short distance we could see with our flash lights.
My guide informed me in the dark that I was in my 6 star location so get my camera ready, I was still not convinced when the sky started to change and I saw the amazing Angkor Wat, plus had the reflection in the lake, just breathtaking. A huge thanks to Sophy my guide who was outstanding and a real treasure, knew exactly where to take us and what we would want to photograph. Along with visiting Angkor Wat I also went to the following temples, Bayon within the walled city of Angkor Thom, Preah Khan and Ta Prohm, which is the temple in the jungle otherwise known as the Tomb Raider temple. Fantastic day visiting all the temples and taking photos. After such a long day, yes you guessed it a two-hour massage, followed by me falling into bed.
The rest of my time in Siem Reap was spent checking out the local food, going on a boat cruise, which was very different when out on the river we notice a motorboat with some some children inside, I noticed them waving and as with all the others in the boat thought how cute, we then started taking photos, when they got closer to us all of a sudden and started shouting $1, and it is then at that point that we all noticed the huge snake around this 5 year olds neck, OMG..... Some of the women started screaming, as the little boy was now right next to us, waving this huge snake at us. Not a good way to get any money from us as we all reside to one part of the boat and nearly fell into the water, trying to get away from the snake, then the 5 year old throw it to the bottom of the boat, realising we had all, lost the colour in our faces. The 5 year old and the other children were all very angry due to not getting a penny out of us, non of us felt brave enough in fear of the snake.
This finished with them following us down the river, waving their fists... just where did such children get so much anger at this age, just makes you realise how spoilt children of the same age are in the UK. Could you imagine sending your 5 year old out to earn money......