Suffice to say I’ve almost reached the end of my journey. And thankfully, my last stop was Siem Reap, Cambodia.
We traveled overland via train from Bangkok to Siem Reap, in a 48 baht train carriage with windows you can’t open. As we stamped our passports at the customs in Poipet, I was wondering why is everything so quiet.
While we waited for the tourist bus, a Cambodian fella’ walked by and said,”Welcome! Today is the Khmer New Year!”
And proceeded to pass us a beer in celebration.
I learnt on that day that Khmer New Year is on the 2nd day of Songkran. Which also means, not many public transport available. We had to wait at the Poipet bus terminal for a few hours for a connecting bus to Siem Reap.
At this juncture of our travels, we were both really tanned. So most tourists thought we were locals coming home for the holidays! It didn’t help that the temperature in Siem Reap grew increasingly hot at 40 degrees C. It hadn’t rained in a few weeks.
So our first stop is of course, Angkor Wat! Foolishly in an effort to save money I decided to rent bicycles and cycle the entire park. Although it made things more leisurely, the heat and the traffic in conjunction with the Khmer New Year celebrations in the park made it a crazy delirious experience.
On the way back I almost fainted from the heat. It’s about 30 minutes cycling from our hostel to Angkor. On the plus side, we didn’t get caught in the traffic snarls like everybody else.
The temples are stunning. The park is beautiful. The package hordes are annoying. I couldn’t get enough of the entire park.
And food? A bit on the expensive side since everything is in USD, but so delicious. You just need to explore a bit and find a few of the more hidden local cafes.
Would I come back? Definitely. Although I would pick a cooler season and poke around Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville instead.