And what is there at Siem Reap? Mopeds,
and, of course, Angkor Wat.
A luxury coach with wifi was booked from Phnom Penh, for a cost of around $6 from memory, $1 per long torturous bumpy hour.
We hopped on the bus and headed off. After a few hundred metres the wifi stopped. I asked the driver who told me that of course there is wifi…. in the office.
The road was long, with many a winding turn. It was though, a fascinating journey. Before the era of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia was a country with a reasonably well advanced infrastructure. Post Pol Pot, there was nothing.
The roads are little more than beaten sand,
there were roadworks taking place the entire length of the road, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t be any better if I revisited in 20 years.
A stop half way down for fuel and food then back in for the final three hours. It was the rainy season and true to form, about an hour before arriving into Siem Reap it started to pour.
A tuktuk to the excellent hotel, a swim in the pool in torrential rain, arranged a tuktuk to collect early the following morning then relax with a few glasses of the local brew whilst being attacked by all manner of bugs, some who even wanted to share my bed.
Up early to see the fabled temples of Angkor. The journey from 21st century high tech to a bygone age was around half an hour. It was only last year, but I strongly believe that I will remember the moment when we turned left for the rest of my days. The lake came into view and there, at the end, was the famous Angkor Wat temple.
I’ve been very lucky in life, I’ve travelled extensively and seen things that very few people get to see, but when I think back over everything, I suspect these, the Angkor temples, are the most impressive things I’ve ever had the good fortune to feast my eyes upon.
Staggering, simply staggering.
Such a poor wordsmith as I could never hope to convey the feelings I had there.
The mystery of how and why, the amazement of this ancient civilisation in the middle of the jungle, thoughts of what the first Westerners who saw this must have thought.
Far better craftsmen and women than I have tried to explain Angkor Wat to those who haven’t seen it. Nothing yet that I’ve read comes anywhere close to describing it well enough.
The craftsmen and women back in the days of Angkor construction were incredibly skilled, the longevity of their work bearing testament to their ability.
If I was ever asked what would be the one thing you MUST see during a lifetime, I have no doubts that the temples of Angkor Wat, in Siem Reap, would be the answer.
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