A day to ourselves before our organised cycle tour around the area after a superb breakfast of fresh fruit platter, pastries and eggs. Big treat. Walked up to Angkor National Museum. After three hours of audio tour, we think we are a little wiser in understanding the history of the building of the Wats and their importance to the area. Strong influence from India and a worship of Shiva. The kings at the time attempted to replicate heaven on earth for the gods they worshipped. Some pretty stunning sandstone and brick construction in the 8th to 14th centuries.
Siem Reap is quite a party town with many, many places to eat, drink, have a massage or the dead skin eaten off your feet on a street corner. We opted for the soft option of happy hour cocktails to get in the flow on Pub Street.
Met our cycle guide 8:00 am Wednesday am for first day trip out to Tonle Sap. Flat and hot out to the lake. Boarded our boat which struggled to find a passage onto the lake. The water is so low at this time of year but will be at its lowest in April. Probably only a metre or so in depth. Pretty shocked at the colour of the water, the rubbish littering the sides and the lack of vegetation or wildlife. Ten years ago, we were told, this area was covered in mangrove trees. The people ate all the birds, fed the snakes to the crocodiles, electrocuted the fish and now they are all struggling to make a living. The fisherman used to be very wealthy, less so now. Our guide believes the village will be gone in the next ten years. Tourism is keeping it going, for the moment. What happens when there isn’t much to see..?
Visited our first Wat and took lots of photos. Very stunning. A lot of the carvings have symbolic meaning in Hinduism, a small part of which we sort of get. However, it is an amazing space, and we can almost feel the spiritual flavour, although coach loads of other tourists can detract at times.
Our plan is to see Angkor Wat a bit before sunrise, hopefully less people! Although they probably will be there. Hey ho. It’s understandably a popular place.