Leg 3 Of That Unplanned Backpacking Trip: Thailand-Cambodia

When you go home late, expect that on the next day you’ll wake up late or even later than what you have originally planned.

That was what happened to us exactly. After eating our (unexpectedly) scrumptious breakfast, we started our temple tour around Siem Reap, Cambodia. Our friend, Doi, was the one who booked our reservation at the guesthouse (in truth, the whole itinerary was created by her) so that goes to prove how worthless Ed and I were. All we had to worry about were our own share in the expenses.

Breakfast at Bousavy Guesthouse

The climate was a little too cool for my comfort since I was wearing my nifty shorts. The sun was already blazing when our tuktuk driver, Pon, picked us up to take us to the so-called universal ticketing booth, but I still felt cold.

On our way to the ticketing booth

In Siem Reap, if you want to go inside the temples, you will be required to purchase Temple Passes. All tourists have the option of getting a 1-day, 3-day, or 7-day  pass where they will have their photo taken and printed at the same time. As for us, we purchased the 3-day pass which cost us US$40. The 1-day pass will cost you US$20 while the 7-day pass will cost you US$60.

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Our first stop was the South Gate of Angkor Thom. Literally known as the ‘Great City’ of Cambodia and considered to be the last city of the Khmer Empire. The moment we stepped off our tuktuk, Iko (my beloved D50) just went on a shooting spree. Oh, it was a frenzied camera-whoring moment for me and I just couldn’t quite take in everything I saw in one instance. For moments like this, I was very thankful that we were not part of a tour group because it would have pissed me off if the guide pestered me to move along with his or her herd when I was not done enjoying what I saw.

south gate angkor thom

A word of advice to you dear travellers, if you are like me who just loves to take photos and savors every moment, every corner, every detail then a group tour is not for you. The problem with being in group tours is the itinerary. For profit, there’s just too many items in the itinerary at too short a time and because there’s a schedule to follow, your tour guides will end up rushing you to the finish line. I don’t think that will work out for the likes of me.

camera whoring

After almost 40 minutes, we left the South Gate and continued inside. As soon as we got in, we chanced upon some elephants grazing. However, my excitement in seeing the elephants disappeared as quickly as it came, at the moment I saw the cost of the ride – US$15 was unjust! However, the mahouts allowed us to take photos so that made up for it.

Elephants

After the shoot with the elephants, Pon directed us to the Bayon Temple or Prasat Bayon as how the locals called it. According to our sources, Prasat Bayon is known for its most distinctive feature  which is the multitude of massive stone faces.

Bayon Temple

I found this really interesting because from where I came from, our term for face is ‘bayhun ’ which is very similar to ‘bayon.’

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Don’t ask me how many pictures I took because I have lost count. I just couldn’t help it. If Iko was not in my life, I would have ran out of film half-way through Bayon Temple’s labyrinth and would have started kicking myself out of frustration.

You will also find Khmer locals wearing their traditional costume there. They will be happy to pose with you for a fee, so if you were a cheapskate like me, take photos of them when they are not looking.

After bumping into other tourists and squeezing into mazes for more than an hour, we left the temple at a dazed but happy state. Everything was just so magical and I couldn’t help be amazed by how intricate the designs were and how old the infrastructure was, taking into consideration that it was built in the 12th century. If someone was taking a video, you would hear that I only repeated one word all through out – WOW!

Leaving Bayon Temple

Next stop was the Elephant Terraces – also a part of the walled city of Angkor Thom. The terraces was said to have been used by the Angkor’s king as a platform from which to view his victorious returning army. (Hmmmm, I wonder if he used the same platform when his army returned but may have not been so victorious.)

Elephant Terraces

After roaming around the Elephant Terraces, we thought that we needed a little breather and a big lunch. So my friends and I decided to find Pon, our driver. Since we couldn’t find him, we decided to goof around under the scorching sun. It was hot as hell but Ed and I (as always) were happy to be the stars of Doi’s little animated project.

Ed and Den Goofing Around in the Elephant Terraces

By the time Doi was finished, the three of us were already famished. “Where the heck was Pon?!?” I was already a little irritated because I seriously needed to eat. Unlike other girls, I don’t like being hungry and tendency is, I would start snapping at people when I hear my stomach growling.

Come to think of it, I hear it right now so if you’ll excuse me, I’ll stop here and grab my dinner before I start cussing. Feel free to check out Leg 1 and 2 of this trip if you were one of those who just started following this set of entries.

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