Siem Reap is different than expected. Highly developed, big shops and supermarkets everywhere and in comparison to the places we have been the last weeks not a place for the traveler on a shoestring. Okay, it’s the gateway to Cambodians most famous temples of Angkor and the main tourist place all over the country. Maybe that’s why it’s not a sleepy little town. But so many shopping malls and resorts we didn’t expect. A really unaccustomed atmosphere. After arriving in the late evening we don’t spend much time checking different places to sleep and stay the first night in one of the party hostels. We are tired enough to get some sleep although there a people on the terrace beside our room hanging around and music is playing all night long. The room itself is very nice so we really apologize the other inconveniences. Nevertheless, we move to another guesthouse the next day. Cheaper, more quiet and a fridge inside the room, which means there is a possibility for cold chocolate!!!!
As we try almost every time after arriving at a new place and now even a new country we use the first day to check out the surrounding, things to do, general rules and possibilities. It doesn’t take long to find out Cambodians are very friendly. Smiling, helpful, communicative. We really appreciate that after having different experiences in Lao.
The temperature seems to be even higher in Siem Reap and we enjoy the possibility to use the pool next to our guesthouse. Seven negotiated a quite good deal. Following a recommendation, we go for a walk around pub street in the evening. It’s a party place and mostly about drinking alcohol and spending a lot of money. According to that we just take a look but it’s interesting to see many young Cambodians celebrating Khmer New Year and being part of water and baby powder showers.
Next day starts chilly with breakfast at the guesthouse. After checking out the schedule of the nearby yoga center we rent two bicycles and visit the war museum. An Australian author is sitting at the entry promoting the book he has written about a Cambodian and his experiences during civil war and Khmer Rouge regime. This man is now working as a guide in the museum and we get the possibility to join his tour through the exhibition. Especially his personal experiences stay in our minds, a story of fighting for life, danger, several injuries and a lots of tragedies you cannot imagine. There is still a shrapnel in his knee and one of his lower legs needed to be amputated. While travelling it gets more and more important for us to look into the countries history and present situation. Visiting places like the war museum is just one possibility we try to use.
In the evening I am happy to have the first flying aerial yoga experience ever. No other people join Eddies course and it’s going to become a private session. Seven stays at the guesthouse doing some IT work. I return totally relaxed and we decide to go for partner yoga together the day after tomorrow.
But now about the famous temples of Angkor….Millions of photographs have already been made and millions of people have been visiting the place. Now we are one of those and of course, the temples are awesome. It’s not just Angkor Wat, the whole area is huge and our bicycle tour gets really exhausting. Especially the second temple complex, Angkor Thom, is magnificent and impressive. Because of Khmer New Year celebration there are even more people around and it’s obvious how important the place is, not just as Cambodia’s main tourist destination. After around 10 hours we are filled up with things to see.
Before starting the next volunteering project there is one day left in Siem Reap and we just enjoy the partner yoga session, relaxation time at the pool and a little bit of “working stuff”. Looking forward to the upcoming experiences at Olivier’s organic farm, we prepare to leave the city in direction of Cambodia’s village site.