Friday, October 31st, 2003 – Day 255

Friday, October 31st, 2003 – Day 255

I was up at 7.00am even thought I go little sleep. This room has got worse every day. Nice TV, bed etc, but thre is no ventilation. Theres a window that opens onto the hall. I suppose, for 8 USD per night I cant complain. I walked to the Capitol Guesthouse where big crowds of locals and tourists were waiting for various buses to destinations all over Cambodia. My bus was a big one (46 seater) that was full to thee brim. There were only 4 or 5 tourists. It was supposed to be an eight hour trip.

Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Phnom Penh Petrol Station. These are on every corner. Petrol in Fanta and Johnny Walker Bottles to serve the millions of motor bikes. (31-10-2003)

We made two stops on the trip for toilet and food. I had expected the road to be far worse and maybe it would in wet conditions. About 50% of the road was paved. Some hard bumps and big pot holes. There is a boat to Siem Reap but to save three hours (the boat is 22 USD) is hardly worth it. You may be able to get a ticket for 18-20 USD if you look about.

At the first stop at Skuon, I had an opportunity to witness and eat the “spiders” of Skoun which are edible tarantula, also known as “ka ping” in Khmer. There are 4/5 girls selling these fried 8 legged spiders (fried). They are quite tasty (especially when they are just freshly cooked).

For those who never tried them, they taste creamy and crunchy and very addictive. They are eaten like appetizer or snack only. These edible insects are meant for the adventurous, and they could be quite an anthropological and cultural experience.

Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Skuon Spider (31-10-2003)

Te journey was fine compared to some of the 15-20 hour mountain journeys I have taken in South America. Indeed we arrived in Siem Reap about 3.00pm which made it only a seven hour journey.

I took a Moto (1,000 Riels) to my chosen Hostel called Smileys. Its a big fan room with a shower, balcony for 5 USD per night. A real nice clean professional hostel. You leave your shoes at reception.

The ruins of the ancient city of Angkor, capital of the Khmer kingdom from 802 until 1295, are one of the world’s marvels. The largest religious monument ever constructed, it’s a vast and mysterious complex of hulking laterite and sandstone blocks. Unknown to the world until French naturalist Henri Mouhot literally stumbled onto it in 1861, the area of Angkor existed for centuries only as a myth — a wondrous city (or cities, to be exact), its exact location in the Cambodian jungle unknown.

The temple complex covers some 96.6 sq. km (60 sq. miles) and carries the remains of passageways, moats, temples, and palaces that represent centuries of building in the capital. The temples are served by the nearby town of Siem Reap, some 6km (3 1/2 miles) to the south.

A three- or four-day visit there will suffice (though many do it in fewer), and many come away with a newfound love for ancient cultures, Asian religions, and sunsets.

Anyway if you buy your ticket in the evening (after 5.00pm) for the next day you can ente and get a free sunset at 5.30-6.00pm. Entrance fees for Angkor Wat are as follows: A 1-day ticket is US$20, a 3-day ticket is US$40, and a 1-week ticket is US$60. All tickets include all the sites within the temple compound, as well as Banteay Srei, to the north, and the outlying temples of the Roluos Group. I forgot my photo for 3 thre day pass Identity Card but they will give you a free instant photo camera. There were two ques of new arrivals and the one day pass quene was about 3 times ours. It would be toug going to see everything in 1 day but that is all many people have.

I paid 2 USD for a driver to take me to the ticket booth , wait and drive me to Phnom Bakeng to see the sunset. Its about 8km from town. Its was very crowded, but the views from Phnom Bakeng (Bakeng Hill) are excellent. It’s a good little climb up the hill, and those so inclined can go by elephant (mainly Japs) for 11 USD. It was a good sunset and I enjoyed it. I stayed until it got dark.

Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Phnom Bakeng. People are like Zombies watching Sun set. (31-10-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Phnom Bakeng. (31-10-2003)

I ha an early night as I made the moto driver promise he would be at my gusthouse at 5.15am in order to drive me to see the sunset at Ankor at 5.30am.