After we already got a first impression of the the Angkor temples on the previous day, we set off to see a few more, including Angkor Wat. The first stop was going to be Banteay Srei, a temple with really intricate carvings.
It was about an hour’s drive to Banteay Srei and on the way we saw a lot of local villages with wooden houses of different sizes, market vendors, children playing, water buffalos bathing in little muddy streams. The houses were often built on stilts to prevent flooding of the ground floor and every family has a separate little hut for cooking. They don’t cook inside the house for fear of burning the house down. Fair enough!
And finally we went to see the Angkor temples. The reason why we came to Cambodia in the first place!
But first we had to get on a boat again. This time it was an almost 7 hour trip up the river from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. The boat was slightly bigger than our previous one and had a flat roof, so that we were able to sit on top when we were bored of sitting inside on the seats. Again it was more like a bus on the water than a speed boat as was originally promised.
Here’s Matt standing on the ledge of the boat while we’re still at the pier waiting for take off.
By the time we arrived in Siem Reap, checked into our hotel and were ready to go, it was already quite late in the afternoon and the Angkor temples were closing.
Our guide quickly drove us to Angkor Thom, which used to be the capital of the Khmer empire. There we saw the Bayon temple. The great thing was that most tourists had already left and we had most of the place to ourselves!
We had spent the night in Chau Doc, a Vietnamese city close to the border of Cambodia. The next morning we woke up early again (this trip really was a series of early mornings!) and caught a speed boat up the Mekong River that brought us across the border into Cambodia.
Here are some photos of early morning Chau Doc that I took while we were waiting for our boat to be ready.