March 10, 2014

Overland Cambodia - Vietnam : Siem Reap

I started 2014 with a bang! Travelled to 4 different countries in January! And went back to my second home country last month. I guess I should start writing now or else, you'll only get to read it next year. haha..
Initially the overall trip was planned to cover this route : Ho Chi Minh City - Phnom Penh - Siem Reap - Bangkok - Butterworth - Kuala Lumpur by land. But as usual, time is my biggest enemy.
So I broke the trip to two separate trips.
Here's the first trip : Siem Reap -> Phnom Penh -> Ho Chi Minh City

Landed in Siem Reap at 7.50 am. Huwarghhh... I was so sleepy. Had to wake up at 3 am to get ready and went to the airport. -_-

The airport is small. Once I cleared the immigration, the arrival hall leads to the exit where a lot of drivers were waiting while holding signs with various names on them.

But before that, I got myself a local sim card.

I got a 1.5GB data plan for USD 2, and paid another USD 1 for the sim card. Total was only USD 3. So cheap ok.
I booked my accommodation at The Siem Reap Hostel and as promised, the hostel provided free airport pickup. Journey from the airport to the hostel took about half an hour.

I couldn't check-in for the dorm yet so after having a light breakfast, I decided to go out and walk around to familiarize myself with the area. My friend would arrive tomorrow so I'd wait for her to visit Angkor. #notsoforeveralone

Just a few hundred metres from the hostel, there are several shops offering rental for bicycle.
Only USD 1 per day for this bicycle with basket. It looks funny but I didn't care. Hehe.. If you want to look more macho riding around, the mountain bike is available for USD 3 per day. 
Armed with the free map given, I started riding around town. It was awkward at first cos the vehicles were driving on the right. I kept forgetting about it and rode on the left side against the traffic. 
First pit stop was The Royal Garden. Don't be fooled by its name, it wasn't an extravagant garden, just an open public green space in front of the royal residence. It wasn't even properly taken care of, except for some part that is maintained by Raffles' Grand Hotel d'Angkor.
 the royal garden
I parked my bicycle next to the Shrine to Preah Ang Chek and Preah Ang Chom.
Along the walkway, few street vendors were selling decorated flowers and incense sticks for devotees to purchase for use within the temple. Then I spotted birds and tortoises. Weird..
 But I later learnt that animal release is a ritual by Chinese Buddhist. It is the practice of purchasing animals that are due to be slaughtered and letting them go. The rationale for this? It is the Buddha's teaching of kindness and compassion to all creatures. OK...
Shrine to Preah Ang Chek and Preah Ang Chom

a band playing traditional Khmer music

Located at the south of the royal garden, local people believes that Shrine to Preah Ang Chek and Preah Ang Chom provides protection for the entire town of Siem Reap, as well as bring good fortune to newly married couples.
Newlyweds visit the shrine on their wedding day.
The garden is also a popular place for outdoor wedding photoshoot. Saw a few couples did their outdoor wedding photoshoot that day. 
Look up at the trees and you would notice the giant fruit bats that lives there.
Under a huge tree in the middle of the road next to the shrine is another shrine. A tiny shrine.
Shrine to Ya Tep is said to help bring protection to the faithful.  
In front of the shrine is the Royal Residence, where the King would stay whenever he visits Siem Reap. It is not open to public so just take photo la.
At the other side of the garden alongside the Siem Reap River, The Angkor Handicraft Fair was taking place. Walking around was fun as the fair promotes Cambodian handicraft and art.

But I didn't buy anything. Totally refrained myself from shopping cos I was going to HCM later cos it was only my first day!

It was a scorching hot day so I decided to chill down by the river.

my trusted old bicycle

to be continued...


nana tron said...

style juga baju newlyweds tu

rara said...

@nana tron: style kan? dunno whether it's their baju traditional ke apa..