20 May 2010

siem reap: angkor wat


KL took a chunk of energy out of us. It was quite full on with the wedding dinner and catching up with everyone. It has been literally 13 years since the family all got together in one place. That's what weddings do, don't they?? Bring families together and 3 days really wasn't enough. Almost every minute was spent with them and at the end of it, I wished we'd stayed longer.


We got into Siem Reap first thing Monday morning and I thanked God in heaven that our hotel had our room ready for us. We checked in and our planned itinerary went out the window - we just zonked out and slept till early evening.


Siem Reap shocked me a little. I guess I was expecting a small bustling city but what greeted me was more of a village/town. It really felt like it only existed for the tourists. Every few steps you see a hotel, restaurant or pub and a plethora of tuk tuk drivers offering their services. Haggling is the norm here too. I'm fine with haggling, in fact, I do love a good haggle but it bothers me sometimes how they have no problem with trying to blatantly rip you off. Because Siem Reap is a small town, it costs about USD$1 to get anywhere. Every guide book tells you that too so when you have a tuk tuk driver asking for USD$10 for the trip, how are you meant to bargain it down to a reasonable price?? Thanks but no thanks, I'd rather just walk.


But we weren't here for the town. We were here for the temples and my, they are breathtaking. The majesty of it all. How each temple is made up purely of stone slabs. The sheer amount of hard labour that must have gone into making every one of them temples all those years ago, I was definitely in awe! Scary too because over time, those stones have expanded and contracted and some have fallen out which sometimes resulted in a whole section crumbling down. There are some areas where I did wonder if you ever will know when it might give way and what if it decides to give way right now while I'm walking under it?


The people there were really friendly too. The number of times I wished I'd asked if I could take a photo but didn't at the start of our trip. Towards the end, I would sometimes just signal or have a chat with them and then ask if I could take a quick snap and every time, the response was always a resounding "yes"!! I should have just done it right from the start. It's pretty cool too because you get to talk to them about their lives and what they do and they woul ask questions about us too. With the photo above, I was making eye contact with the kid while watching his big sister turn a piece of cloth into a baby seat on that bike! I was initially afraid for the baby but he fitted so well into it and I think they must have done it a million times before so it must work for them.

You know, I didn't really like Siem Reap at first when I was there. I think it was the way the place was revolving around tourism. How it felt like we were being ripped off sometimes. But if that part is taken out of the equation, I think I do like Siem Reap. Looking at the photos now and thinking back to our time there, I miss the place!!

2 comments:

  1. Aw im so jealous, I so want to go there; its next on our list {well after this years hols anyway!}

    ReplyDelete
  2. Outside of the haggling, it really does seem like a beautiful place! Your photography was beautiful. And those temples are gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete

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