Siem Reap is amazing so far. After staying up all night in the Kuala Lumpur aiport, it's been just what we needed. The flight was only an hour and the time is also different here. It's 11hrs ahead instead of 12. Anyway, we got off the plane and walked through the tiny Siem Reap aiport only to find Tuk Tuks, flower bracelets made of Jasmine pedals, and drinks waiting for us. The Tuk Tuks have been great- it's just a motorcycle with a little carriage attached and there is one for every two people in the group. They take us where we need to go, wait around for us to do what we need to do, and then take us to the next place we want to go (wherever that may be) Anyway, they grabbed our bags and took us to The Villa at Siem Reap (definitely my favorite place so far). Siem Reap itself is more rural than most of the places we've been. Lots of hotels and shops and people trying to sell you things. But the Villa itself is incredible. They greet us with cold towels and then take us to Angkor Wat which was amazing to see. It is massive and just plain incredible. After that we got lunch back at the Villa and headed out to see Angkor Thom. That night we went to a concert for Kantha Bopha(a hospital free of charge for children and pregnant women set up in Siem Reap and also in Phnom Penh) Today we woke up at 4:30 am to see the sunrise at the temples. We also visited the temple where Lara Croft Tomb Raider was filmed. After that we came back for breakfast, naps, showers, and then back out to see more temples, have lunch, and visit a landmine museum in the area. Overall I've enjoyed Siem Reap so far. Our hotel is incredible (they offer 90minute full body massages for only $16 American dollars and 60minutes massages for only $12..needless to say we will be getting one) It is beautifully decorated, the staff is very friendly, and the service is great.
I have noticed that the main modes of transportation here are definitely motorcycles, Toyota cars, and Tuk Tuks for visitors. It is sad to see little children on motorcycles though sitting on the front riding around wherever their parents take them. Even infants are taken on them and just carried in their parents' arms. Also I have to say that while at first it was entertaining to have children swarm you asking you to buy things from them for "only one dolla!", it can be quite the annoyance. When we are ready to leave somewhere we get in our Tuk Tuks and they surround it like a mob begging us to buy things from them. This morning, however, they were scared away by a police officer because they are supposed to be in school. One second they were there and the next they weren't.
I think we have decided on what to do about our trip now. We are staying at Siem Reap awhile longer than planned (until Thursday or so), then taking a bus to Phnom Penh for two or three days, then taking a train or bus to Ho Chi Minh City until the 7th, when we will fly to Bangkok and then fly home on the 8th. I am sad that we won't be staying in Bangkok or in Chiang Mai because that has also been impacted. We were supposed to ride elephants in Chiang Mai but I think we will be doing it here instead. We get one more day of the temples whenever we choose, visiting Tonle Sap, and helping to build toilets for a village during the rest of our stay in Siem Reap. I'm definitely excited for the rest of our stay in Siem Reap and hopefully will blog again either before we leave, or when we get to Phnom Penh.