Angkor Wat First Day: Small Circuit Temples

Stephen and I arrived in Cambodia late last night. Our plan for the three days we are here is a very similar schedule to the one that Mark and I had three years ago. The first day (today) we hired a tuk-tuk to take us on the "Small Circuit" of temples at Angkor. We visited the Banyon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, the Leper King Terrace, the Elephant Terrace, Ta Keo, Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, and finally to the grand-daddy of them all, Angkor Wat.

Luckily, the crowds weren't TOO terrible, and the weather was not TOO hot. And we found the tuk-tuk a great way to get around. It was slow enough to be able to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the area, comfortable enough with a nice padded seat and a roof to block the sun, and certainly cheap enough at only $12 per day for an all-day tour.

We are staying at the Auberge Mont Royal hotel in Siem Reap, where my friend Martin is the General Manager. It was a decent hotel with a great little pool area. After touring the ruins today, we rested our weary bodies next to the pool and snacked on beer, fried spring rolls and fruit.

We are noticing that prices are a bit high here in Siem Reap -- even more expensive than Bangkok. Most meals are $3-4 and our mid-range hotel is $30 per night. And also thanks to all of the tourists, we are getting a lot of offers from tuk-tuk drivers, book sellers, massaeures, and restuarant employees. We are also getting a lot of attention from dirty little children and amputees who are begging for money. I have mixed feelings about this kind of begging, since I know that most Cambodians have had horrible experiences over the last few decades.

But on the good side of being in a tourist bubble is that most everyone speaks fairly good English. I've also seen a lot of Cambodians leading tours in French, Japanese and Korean.
I don't know how the rest of the education system is, but the language skills are
quite impressive!

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This page contains a single entry by Stuart published on February 7, 2006 6:22 PM.

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