I reached Siem Reap following a 10 hour bus journey from Ho Chi Minh. The poverty of the country became evident as soon as I crossed the border. Stopping at a roadside shop I could hardly get off the bus for the number of young children standing there with bags of pineapple, watermelon and mango for "One Dollar", "One Dollar Miss" (with hindsight I should have stayed on the bus). There were girls and boys everywhere I really was stuck but to make it worse they had an answer for everything. I told them that I had already eaten but they replied, "you will be hungry later" or "but you didn't have pineapple".
Having given in and agreed to purchase some pineapple there was consequently a scrap as to who had offered it to me first "you came to me first, I said first". I was very close to buying 20 pineapples!
Unfortunately I was short of time in Cambodia and this is definitely a country that I will be returning to. The locals are really friendly, the country is beautiful however time only allowed me to see Siem Reap. Angkor Wat is the highlight here and it was out of this world.
I teamed up with a couple from Argentina to see Angkor Wat from Sunrise to Sunset and it was definitely worth the 4:30am start.
Angkor Wat at Sunrise
We hired the tuk tuk driver for the day which was $5 each and the best way to see the place if you're short on time. If you have a few days then I think cycling would have been a great way to see the temples as they are spread out over such a large scale, the Angkor Wat is only part of it. The driver dropped us off at each set of ruins and he would then sleep, chat to his mates for an hour or so and then drive us to the next place.
The Sunrise at Angkor was stunning with chanting from the Monks in the background making you feel at ease. In fact just pottering around the temples all day made us feel like we were in a trance. I had heard such amazing things about this place and was a little unsure if it would stand up to the hype but I have to say that Siem Reap and Angkor Wat are the best ruins that I have seen and I can say that they will be hard to beat.
If you're in Bangkok you can get a trip which takes a few days and is worth it, even if you just have a day to see the ruins.
Just when you think that up within the temples, after climbing 200 steps, you are free of children selling photocopied books, more pineapple, T-shirts and jewerly out pops a little girl or boy from behind a statue!
Kids, kids everywhere - "1 Dollar!"
Some highlights within the temples are the "Tomb Raider" ruins Angkor Wat Ta Prohm Temple and then the Bayon faces. When you visit the Bayon faces, once you start to look for them you find the faces are everywhere.
Angkor at Sunset
Each temple has it's own history and is unique, Angkor Wat itself is not the only amazing temple in Siem Reap and if you get a chance to see the cambodian dancing then by all means take a look.