Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand – 3 Countries in 10 days! What??? (Part 2)

(Read Part 1 – Ho Chi Minh here.)

Siem Reap

After a two-hour flight delay ( Vietnam Airlines), we finally landed in Siem Reap at almost 10pm. Out of the three places we planned to visit, this one is where I am most excited about. As we know, this is home of the famous UNESCO Heritage site – the Angkor Archaeological Park.

Our hostel sent 2 tuk-tuks as a free pick up from the airport. The drivers are really nice Khmers (whom we both call “Kuya” – which means a big brother in Filipino), and one of them also lives/works in the hostel we are staying at. They also became our official drivers/semi-tour guides for the next 3 days in Siem Reap.

A poster in our hostel. I like it! :)
A poster in our hostel. I like it! 🙂

For our first day in REP, we went to Angkor National Museum. I’m glad we did. Because although, I’ve read about the history of the ancient complex, the artifacts and museum pieces, audio-visual presentations about the Angkor, has helped me appreciate it more when I came face to face with it the next day.

Angkor Museum
Angkor National Museum
With friends in the museum
Us at the museum entrance

After our late lunch in some Khmer restaurant, we were taken to some gem stores that sells expensive pieces of jewelry. We didn’t buy though.

We then bought our one-day Angkor pass to be used for the next day as there is a long queue if we get it in the morning, plus we can already use it that day to access one of the temples to see the sunset. Unfortunately however, we arrived late for the sunset. We still took some photos anyway.

Waiting for 5pm to buy our Angkor Pass from these counters
My 1-day pass.
My 1-day pass.
Cambodian tuktuk
Cambodian tuktuk
Cambodian sunset
Cambodian sunset
One of stone lion guards in Phnom Bakheng
Phnom Bakheng

Later on, we were dropped by our tuktuk drivers in the famous Pub Street and Night Market for our dinner and ‘bae-watching’, oppss I mean shopping. Hahaha

Pub Street
With my friends, while waiting for our dinner to be served.
Going to the Night Market from the Pub Street
Going to the Night Market

Since our very short trip in REP coincides with the 3-day Cambodian Water Festival, there was a street party by the river that night.

Some local band in the street party
Some local band in the street party

We got up early the next day to catch the sunrise in Angkor Wat, but not so early enough for me to get a good spot to take pictures of the sun rising above the temple. But after some tries, I finally had a picture that I wanted.

First try…I can’t get a good spot. As a 5 ft-tall woman, it is a challenge for me to take some pictures without the crowd in front of me getting into my frame.


Finally! After some attempts…

Then off we explore the temple, leaving most of the crowds by the moat who still want to capture the sunrise.

This is the crowd waiting for the sunrise

And what a sight! As a person who digs history and ancient architecture, I was in awe of this place. Surreal! I took photos, a lot of them until one of my camera batteries went flat. And just when I thought I had an extra, I realized I forgot to take it out from the socket in the hostel. Dang! Good thing, after the sunrise tour and some discussions, we all decided to go back to the hostel for breakfast. Of course our tuktuk drivers asked for additional charge (just a few dollars), which is fine, given the hassle of going back to the city and back to the temples again.

Steep stairs in Angkor
My friend, trying to capture the grandeur of Angkor Wat.
No tourists yet!!!
Another area of Angkor without a tourist (yet)
I was taking pictures of Angkor when suddenly this woman who was also exploring the temple got into my frame. I like that she looked to the left side partially revealing her face as she walked. It would have been a perfect shot if not for that guy taking photos of the Angkor as well. 🙂
Oh the details of the temples are amazing! These are some of the intricate wall carvings in Angkor Wat.
A monk tying a ribbon on the hand of the tourist after saying a prayer or some sort of chant.
Best friends? One of the monkeys and stone lion statue/guards in Angkor Wat
Last shot of Angkor as we head to another temple
Last shot of Angkor as we head to another temple

We then spent the whole day doing the ‘temple run’ in the ancient site. It was an awesome experience! Seeing these temples and literally coming ‘face to face’ with the huge stones faces of Bayon, and climbing up and down on the steep staircases of Baphuon, and admiring how nature took over Ta Prohm, I was blown away!

Long car queue and long walks for some tourist as their coaster buses wouldnt fit the entrance. No problem those in bikes or tuktuks likes us. 🙂
Up close!
Up close!
Bayon at noon time
The stone faces of Bayon. I was blown away!
The stone face in Bayon in front of a door opening
About to climb the steep stairs of Baphuon
Sometimes, I like how some random people get into my frame when I shoot, like this local Cambodian woman with a child. She smiled at me and sort of apologized when she saw I was taking pictures of Baphuon thinking maybe that she ruined my view, but she actually made it a little more interesting.
View from the top of Baphuon. I have fear of heights, but I’m glad I climbed up the steep staircase to see this view. 🙂
The back of Baphuon
The back of Baphuon
On our way to Leper King Terrace.
Some of the many monks in the area
Some of the many monks in the area
I love the greens around Ta Phrom
I love the greens around Ta Phrom
Headless Buddha
Headless Buddha
The famous area in Ta Phrom
Another tourist that got into my frame...
Another tourist that got into my frame…
A force of nature
I like taking pictures of places I visit especially if some random people fit into my frame perfectly. Like this guy who looks like he saw something really awesome above. After this shot, he took out his camera and started shooting. (Took this photo using my mobile phone.)
Here he is! Taking out his camera to take some pictures of whatever that is he saw. Hahaha  (This one, I took in using my DSLR.)

After doing the ‘small circuit’ tour in this massive temple complex, we headed back to the hostel for some needed shower and to hang out with our fellow guests.

We got up early again the next day for our 8am bus ride to Bangkok.

-to be continued-

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