Cambodia and the Angkor Wat temples are incredible
– We arrived at around 6.30PM at the boarder. I asked our driver to take us directly to the immigration office and she took us to a fake office with poor signs and guys in pink vests with little emblems on them. These guys spoke brilliant English, were very confident and gave us alot of information about the boarder crossing and what to expect and the various things we had to do to get across the boarder.
A little unsure of the situation and extremely tired we filled in the immagration forms which they gave us and they then prooceeded to try and sell us a taxi to Seam Riep for 2400 baht! They soon reduced this to 1000 baht each and we both tiredly handed over a clean crisp 1000 baht note.
At this point I really thought we had just been scammed as we were still in Thailand and we had just paid for a taxi up front which never really happens. Our guide then took us to the Thai immagration office where our passports where stamped and then we had to go to a second clearing office and then a walk over the boarder.
At each stage I honestly thought that that the guide would not meet us on the other side of each terminal but he was always there and ready to help. We got across the boarder into Cambodian immagration and the whole process took us no longer than 15 minutes.
Once on the Cambodian side it was a pretty scary and manic place. Dark and under lit by street lights the place reminded me of barter town from Mad max. Our guide then ushered us onto a tuk tuk where we would then rendevous with the taxi car. This all happened switfly and we were in the taxi on the main road to Seam Riep.
This road was big and paved but had very few street lights and was very creepy. At one stage our driver nearly crashed into a man walking in the middle of the road who then proceeded to shout wildly at the car (i think he wanted a lift but our driver did not oblige).
He took us to a spot on the main road in Seam Riep where all the big hotels were popping up and we got in another Tuk Tuk who explained our transfer to our hostel was free and he was there to try and get us to enlist his services as a guide for the Angkor Wat temples. It was a smooth operation and he spoke good English so we obliged as he seemed friendly enough.
He took us to the Mad Monkey hostel which was full so gave us a recommendation for another place where we crashed for two days.
After the two days I went back to the Mad Monkey hostel and Sam got his bus to Ho Chi Min City. I met some other guys and the place has a rooftop bar which is really social with loads of solo travellers looking to meet up and have and play beer pong.
Whilst all of this was happening we managed to go for the day trip to Angkor Wat. We arranged a Tuk tuk with the guy who did the transport and this cost us 12 USD for a half day. We wet around the main temple complex and also Angkor Thom, Bayan and the tree temple.
Absolutely stunning place and if you are in Asia it is absolutely a must. We missed out on the sun set and we ate a bit too late but the sun in Cambodia is soo low everywhere, an eerie red glowing ball bigger and lower in the sky than any where else I have seen on the planet.
I would love to be at Angkor Wat for the Winter Equinox as it will be at its lowest and perhaps the Mayan prophecy will come true and people at Angkor wat will somehow be miraculously saved from the deluge.
A one day pass for the temples is $20 which I feel is a bit expensive but if you do the whole day and get a decent driver / guide who can speak english and actually has information about the history you should be in for a super time.
Our driver had taken too many drugs with the Russians the night previous and was feeling super ill and had to go to the doctors after taking us – so his mind really was not in the right place to make our day run smoothly. Sam was also a bit hungover so I made the best of the time by taking in as much architecture and atmospherics as possible.
The day after Sam left I went to the Angkor Wat International Museum which is nice if you like looking at stone work but again for $15 dollars with a headset – to fucking expensive for what it was.