CAMBODIA: Angkor Wat Temples, Bayon Temple

CAMBODIA: Angkor Wat Temples, Bayon Temple

CAMBODIA – September 2011

Wed like to thank our Indonesian Tour Operator, Blue Ocean Tours for the wonderful itinerary that they put together for us, as well as the knowledgeable tour guides in each location we visited (Vietnam [Ho Chi Minh, Can Tho, Mekong Delta, Cai Be, Vinh Long] and Cambodia [Phnom Penh and Siem Reap].

Angkor Wat

Word about travelling during “rainy season” in Indonesia: prepare for that wonderful feeling of having swam (swum?) in your clothes all day. There is no getting around it, unless, of course, you don’t sweat!

A day’s visit to Angkor Wat Temples simply isn’t sufficint to see most of what is available to see but if you have only one day, you can visit a lot of areas.

We visited the awesome complex of structures known as Angkor Wat and also South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple (my fave), Bauphon Temple, the Elephant Terrace, Terrace of the Leper King (also a fave), Ta Proum Temple and finished the day at Angkor Wat’s main temple.

Demon & God statue heads at Angkor Thom, South Bridge
One drawback I suppose to visiting some of the most popular sites within Angkor Wat are the crowds.  The pictures depict the gods (left side) and demons (right side) of the Southern Gate entrance and bridge.

In peak season travellers can expect to stand around in the heat waiting for up to 30 minutes as numerous buses, cars, bikes and even elephants push forward to pass through the narrow gateway at Angkor Thom. 

Of all the temples, personally I liked Bayon Temple, for all the thousands of faces atop every single high feature in the temple.

Bayon Temple, Angor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat Temple is magnificent if for nothing more than its immense size. It has a moat that surrounds the temple on all sides, and 5 main gates: East/West/North/South and the Elephant Gate (or King’s gate) which is where the King would have come up to the entrance on his elephant This gate has no stairs to allow the elephant to walk up directly to the gate so the king and his throne could be lifted off and directly into the temple.

Elephant Gate Entrance at Angkor Wat

Our amazing guide, T. at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap

Angkor Wat reminded me in some ways of Chichen Itza in Mexico for the magnitude of the structures and the planning that went into creating these fortresses for security, for prayer, and for daily living.

The jungle like temperatures will definitely make you feel like you’ve been out swimming with your clothes on, and this simply adds to the full Angkor & Siem Reap cultural experience.

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CAMBODIA: Siem Reap’s Night Market & Dr. Fish

CAMBODIA: Siem Reap’s Night Market & Dr. Fish

Cambodia – September 2011

Siem Reap Night Market: For anyone that loves shopping, local markets with indigenous products, souks and the like, there is a fantastic place located in the center of Siem Reap town with hundreds of little markets selling all kinds of wares from silk scarves, to bamboo carvings, to luggage, to jewelry, to t-shirts, to the ever-available massage (you get accosted walking past the massage ‘clinics’) – Sir, Sir, One Dollah, Massage Sir!

Siem Reap Night Market
Angkor Night Market

The dining choices truly are endless as you get to choose from many local restaurants in the general area of the night market, and the waiters will bring your dinner to this central area with lounge chairs and masseage booths within a hundred metres.

What I loved about Angkor Night Market was that you can sit and have a drink, sample food for about 10 different restaurants in the area and do your shopping all in the one compact area, no strolling around for hours in the sultry night heart of September in Cambodia!

Last but not least in Siem Reap, the “DR. FISH stands everywhere.” On so many levels this concept grosses me COMPLETELY out, but I have to admit it actually works!! We stopped at Dr. Fish – I mean if the store says DOCTOR, it must be legit right!? Plus, they offer free beer or coke while your “feet get eat!” I mean C’mon, what a deal. :))

Dr. Fish, Cambodia. Sir, Sir, Just 2 dollah! ($)

There are tanks full of little minnow type fish (later research of course led me to determine that these fish of course originated in the Country I love most aside from Canada – Turkey, and teh fish are known as Garra Rufa.)

These tiny fish eat the dead skin off your feet or hands, (*urge*) but I swear to god they make your feet feel like new. I didn’t do it (in Cambodia), as I had to video the event taking place – god forbid. However, we all know, any man that has feet (that would be most of you) and is not gay (hey it’s a fact that my gay peep friends tend to spa & primp more than the regular dude) tends to have horrible feet. Let’s call a spade a spade here ok, most dudes have gnarly feet! Add to that, men in the military have horrible feet x10 (or more).

So I figure, if these fish (aka: miracle workers) can make a military dude’s feet almost like baby’s feet, this concept MUST WORK yes??!! $2 for 20 minutes, AND a free beer. Life is good my friends! I think you can convince even the most hardened man to  go for Dr. Fish (in a foreign land), and they will love you for opening the world of Spa-dom and Pedicure-dom to them as they walk around on their new ‘baby-like feet.’