BarclAysia Day 8: Cambodia bound

(posted by Emily)

26 December 2014
Bangkok, Thailand and Siem Reap, Cambodia
Step Count: 11,118

Friday was an early morning for us as we caught the sky train and eventually a mini bus to Bangkok's second airport, Don Mueang or DMK. The bus was only 20 baht or 70 cents per person, a bargain! 

At the airport, we grabbed a quick breakfast--not a whole lot of options, so brown rice bread it was! A sizable loaf for 70 baht (just over $2), which was plenty to share. 

For our flights between cities while in Asia, we are traveling on Air Asia. The airline is the Asian equivalent of RyanAir or Easy Jet--a low-cost, budget carrier that uses lots of ads to keep prices low. We boarded from the tarmac, bound for Siem Reap. 

I've become quite an expert at filling out customs paperwork--China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and now Cambodia. Interestingly, Cambodia had the most forms to fill out, partly because US citizens need a visa to enter the country. This is an easy process, as you can apply upon arrival. If you bring a passport photo, visas are $30 per person. Forget your photo and you have to pay a fine--of $2 :) 

We landed at Siem Reap, where it was muggy and hot. Interesting to see the difference in weather only a 45 minute plane ride away. We deplaned on the tarmac and headed in to immigration. 

Cambodia uses US dollars as their main currency, and supplements Cambodian baht instead of coins. 1000 Cambodian baht is equal to a quarter. Transport from the airport was simple--a car taxi was a flat rate of $7 to our hotel, another Le Meridien

At 2,000 points per night, the Le Meridien Angkor is one of the greatest values in the SPG family. The property is stunning, and our private check-in included cool towels, fruit juice, and a room upgrade. 

Because we arrived around noon, our room wasn't ready upon check-in. So, we explored the hotel and enjoyed some time down by the pool with a light lunch and drinks. 

When our room was ready, we had a personal escort upstairs, to ensure we had everything we needed. The room was simple, and a bit worn, but spacious. 

Our welcome snacks
For us, this is absolutely true!
After getting settled, we changed and rented a tuk tuk to head up to Angkor Wat. The temple and ancient city are the main tourist draw in the area, and drive tourism to Siem Reap. 

Mr. Kim, our driver
If you buy your ticket to Angkor Wat after 5pm, it is valid for the next day. The sunset there is supposed to be beautiful, so we queued up with the masses and bought our tickets. Buying the tickets ahead of time also saves time the next morning--sunrise over the temple is the big event. 

Mr. Kim drove us into the park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are tons of temples within Angkor, though Angkor Wat is most famous and most well preserved, due to the large moat surrounding it. The moat helped keep the jungle from encroaching on the ruins. 

the moat
First views of the temple

Once through the main gate, we wandered around the main temple buildings and watched the afternoon light fade. 

A couple taking wedding photos, dressed in purple

There are piles upon piles of rubble

Monkeys playing near the outer wall. They were probably 30 feet from us. So cute!

Thanks, iPhone self-timer!

Mr. Kim took us back to the hotel and agreed to be our driver the next day. The best way to see Angkor efficiently (our middle name) is to rent a tuk tuk for the day. So, we agreed to meet him in time to see the sunrise the next day. 

After changing into cooler clothes, we grabbed another tuk tuk into downtown Siem Reap to explore. The main tourist area is Pub Street, and reminded us a lot of Khao San Road in Bangkok. We wandered for a bit, did some shopping, and had dinner. 

So many Christmas lights on display in the town 

A shop selling hand woven Khmer scarves
We both got a kick out of the spicyness scale--I'm more Western spicy, Rick is medium spicy

veg platter with an assortment of dishes
We wandered the night markets, and decided to call it a night early--don't want to miss our 4:30am wake up call!

Night market lights
A destination without a Hard Rock Cafe is not really a destination! :) 
Massage Count: 5 

Up bright and early tomorrow! 


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