After a week of solitary wandering in Yangon and Chiang Mai, I found myself in Siem Reap and finally yearning for company. My sister, her friend and a couple of my own friends were joining me on the last leg of my backpacking Indochina adventure and I just couldn’t wait. I couldn’t wait to have someone take my photo (my sister is a great and relentless photographer), order more than one kind of food during a meal (variety over quantity, always) and, at the very least, stop talking to myself all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love solo traveling but there are perks to traveling in a pack.
However, it would seem that some things, like a lot of the elements of this trip, were not meant to be. Sometimes, having zero expectations is still the best approach. These photos should better convey my sentiment. Enjoy!
Siem Reap: Everything that could go wrong…
1. Our very lovely hotel room did not have water. They did not have water at 4 am on our temple-hopping day to be exact. The day when we were supposed to witness the sun rise over the Angkor Wat, casting magic everywhere and bathing everything with breath-taking colors. It was also the one day when the hotel’s water machine (or something) was being fixed. Wow, right? But the hotel more than made up for it by letting us check-out as late as we wanted on our third day, making sure that we were able to freshen up before our flight back home, plus a free airport transfer on our flight back. Their welcome drink was fantastic (loved it!), their breakfast was good, their bedrooms spacious and their location was also ideal. I still recommend it.
2. It rained. Yes, it really didn’t matter that there was no water at the hotel or that we all basically woke up late on temple-hopping day. It rained. So instead of blues, sunlight and magic, our day was drenched in grays.
3. I looked ridiculous in all of my photos. Either I was wearing the wrong clothes or I was doing what I thought was a cool pose, my photos – for lack of a better term – sucked.
4. My best photos were of my back. Okay, so maybe not all my photos looked bad. Too bad it seemed like my face was the ugly-fying factor.
5. Everyone manages to get a great photo, but me.
6. Turns out I would not be a fan of their food. Sorry Siem Reap, but I just did not like your food. Whether it was the local fare or foreign, my taste buds always found something lacking. Not even a buffet dinner changed my mind.
Siem Reap: Everything that went right…
My disappointments on the hotel, the food, the weather and photo-bombing tourists aside, not everything was bad. Although they were few and far in between, with (a lot of) patience, proper timing and cooperation from Mother Nature, I think I still managed to snag some satisfactory shots. And these sorta made up for everything.
Wat Preah Prohm Roath
– One of the significant temples that make up the Angkor complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
– The second significant temple that makes up the Angkor complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Banteay Srei or “Lady Temple”
– also called the “Jewel of Khmer Art” or “Temple of the Women.”
– The temple in Siem Reap that was made famous by the movie Tomb Raider.
The (Not) Floating Village of Kompong Phluk
A trip is not complete without some challenges and this leg of my Backpacking Indochina adventure certainly proved that. But as the cliché goes, All’s well that ends well. I was able to see the fabled Angkor Wat and the famous Ta Phrom, be with a new set of friends during my travels and grow as a traveler. I solemnly vow to return there, when the weather is more conducive to witnessing the majestic sunrise at the Angkor Wat.
August 25-27, 2015
***photos were taken using iPhone 6 and GoPro Hero 4 Silver