Backpacking Indochina: Flipping in Siem Reap

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.

Chasing Jayce and everyone else in Siem Reap Cambodia

Hello, Cambodia. We’re here!

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.

No Sunrise at the Angkor Wat August in Siem Reap Cambodia

The crying heavens also brought me to tears.

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.

Chasing Jayce Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia

Me looking pregnant.

Chasing Jayce Angkor Thom Siem Reap Cambodia

Me taking all 5 minutes just to do a simple tree pose.

Chasing Jayce Bayon Temple Siem Reap Cambodia

Me thinking I looked cool in my bandana.

Chasing Jayce Banteay Srei Siem Reap Cambodia

Me trying to fit myself in this doorway while doing the standing pigeon.

Chasing Jayce Ta Phrom Siem Reap Cambodia

Me looking (and feeling) miserable in the rain and in my raincoat.

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.

Chasing Jayce Angkor Wat Temple Siem Reap Cambodia

Looking up Angkor Wat.

Chasing Jayce Backview Bayon Temple

Heading towards the Bayon Temple.

5. Everyone manages to get a great photo, but me.

Tomb Raider Ta Phrom Siem Reap Cambodia

Everyone gets a decent shot and I get a hurricane in my photo.

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 Food Chasing Jayce Backpacking Indochina Cambodia

Even the chocolate milkshake was bland. 🙁

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

Wat Preah Prohm Roath Siem Reap Cambodia

Wat Preah Prohm Roath and the legendary Buddhist with the freshly cooked rice.

Angkor Wat

– One of the significant temples that make up the Angkor complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Angkor Wat Library Siem Reap Cambodia

One of the libraries at the Angkor Wat where we had our breakfast.

Southern Side Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia

Bas relief sculptures Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia

Bas relief sculptures that depict different scenes from the Mahabharata.

Heaven Heall Bas relief sculptures Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia

A scene from heaven and hell.

Side corridors Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia Steep Stairs to the Top Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia

Angkor Thom

Asura on the South Gate of Angkor Thom  Siem Reap Cambodia

An asura on the South Gate of Angkor Thom

One of the heads representing Lokeshvara Angkor Thom Siem Reap Cambodia

One of the heads representing Lokeshvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion.

Bayon Temple

– The second significant temple that makes up the Angkor complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bayon Temple Emo Siem Reap Cambodia

Serene Faces of Bayon Temple Siem Reap Cambodia

The serene faces of Bayon Temple.

Backview Bayon Temple Siem Reap Cambodia

Bayon Temple from the back – no photo bombers here.

Banteay Srei or “Lady Temple”

– also called the “Jewel of Khmer Art” or “Temple of the Women.”

Banteay Srei Siem Reap Cambodiaa

Banteay Srei Siem Reap Cambodiaa Banteay Srei Siem Reap Cambodiaa

Ta Prohm

– The temple in Siem Reap that was made famous by the movie Tomb Raider.

Ta Prohm Siem Reap Cambodia

Remember Lara Croft?

Kompong Phluk

Kompong Phluk Tonle Sap Siem Reap Cambodia

Bright and sunny morning for our Tonle Sap day.

Motorboat ride Kompong Phluk Tonle Sap Siem Reap Cambodia

Con mis amigas at the narrow canals of Tonle Sap.

Houses on stilts Kompong Phluk Floating Village Tonle Sap Siem Reap Cambodia

The drought left the house stilts exposed and fishing difficult.

Floating Forest Kompong Phluk Tonle Sap Siem Reap Cambodia

At the floating forest, the women ferry tourists around, making extra money while their husbands go fishing.

Our Boat Girl Floating Forest Kompong Phluk Tonle Sap Siem Reap Cambodia

Our pretty boat girl. Too bad she was shy and did not like having her photo taken.

Boat Girl Floating Forest Kompong Phluk Tonle Sap Siem Reap Cambodia

The (Not) Floating Village of Kompong Phluk

Makeshift School Floating Village of Kompong Phluk

There’s no school at the Kompong Phluk floating village. It was up to volunteers to educate these kids.

Donation to the Makeshift School Floating Village of Kompong Phluk

My sister made a donation to the school.

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.

Read more: My (mis)adventures while backpacking around Indochina.

August 25-27, 2015

***photos were taken using iPhone 6 and GoPro Hero 4 Silver

Comments

Jayce Cairo

Jayce is a linguaphile who speaks four languages and currently works as a translator to finance her various interests. Scoring very high on “Openness to Experience” on the Big Five Personality Test, she is an avid globetrotter who aspires to retire at 35 and travel for the rest of her life.

4 Comments:

  1. How I wish we could go back there and enjoy the temples na hindi nababasa! 😀

  2. Maganda naman pics mo ah. Cute yung tree pose. Hehe. 🙂 gusto ko rin mag Siem Reap!

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