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Jan 6-8: Bangkok to Siem Reap

Greetings from Siem Reap Cambodia! Please bear with me as I post without pictures, as I have not yet figured out how to get the photos off my memory card without a cord (I forgot it at home 😐 )

We’ve been very busy over the last two days, it seems like we’ve been gone for weeks! I can hardly believe we only left Bangkok the day before yesterday. Right now we are in Siem Reap Cambodia, where we have spent the last two nights, and will spend tonight before moving on to our next destination.  But more about that later, first, what we have been up to since Wednesday…

Wednesday morning we left our hotel at 7.30AM with our tour leader Sareth, and travelled east toward the Thai-Cambodian Border at Poipet. Our transportation was a “cozy” (which really means cramped 🙂 bus, but the seats were comfy and there was air conditioning so I can’t complain. It took us about 4 hours to reach the border, and then the mayhem began.

First, we loaded our packs onto a cart which would be taken by a porter across the border. As someone who has only crossed borders in Europe and between Canada and the US, I thought this would be a fairly simple affair of showing a passport and getting it stamped. BOY WAS I WRONG! Getting through the Thai border was no problem, however, then we had to walk to the Cambodian Border to apply for visas. First we waited in line to go through a medical check where we filled out forms for H1N1, then we waited again for the Visas. In total, we spent a little over 2 hours waiting to cross the border! Once we had our visas in hand, we picked up our packs and had to board a bus which took us to the crossing, where our visas were checked, passports were stamped, and departure cards were filled out for when we leave Cambodia for Vietnam.

Once across the border we drove an hour to our lunch spot. The difference between the Thai landscape and Cambodian is immediately obvious, as Cambodians are the poorest of all the southeast asian people. It is estimated that 90% of the population lives on less than $1 US per day, and 50% of the population is under the age of 18. We passed many roadside shacks, rice fields, and Cambodian children peddling goods or farming.

After lunch we drove another 3.5 hours to arrive in Siem Reap. Our room was filled with mosquitos and had no running water, so we were quickly given a new room, where Courtney has been enjoying a queen sized bed for the last two nights! My bed is a comfy double, which I am used to, so its only fair she should have the big bed for once 🙂 Aw sisterly love!

Wednesday evening we saw a traditional Khmer dance during dinner, where I tried my first Cambodian dish, Amok, which is a yellow coconut curry dish usually made with fish (I’m waiting until I get closer to the coast to try the seafood).

Yesterday was an early rise, we met Sareth at 5AM for a bus ride to the Angkor temple complex. We saw the sun rise over Angkor Wat, the largest and most famous of all the temples. It is over 700 years old, and is a UNESCO Wonder of the World. We then spent the day exploring Angkor Wat along with four other temples, and finished at sunset which was around 6PM. The temples were beautiful, all different in their own way, and although I hope to post (some of Courtney’s) photos soon, I’m sure none will do them justice.

All in all it was an extremely long day, the heat was well into the 30’s with humidity, and all of us were drained after over 12 hours of walking and bussing around the complex. After a quick shower and nap, the group met again for dinner and headed out for some drinks and shopping at the night market. I had a luxurious foot massage with a few girls from our tour – only $3 for 1/2 hour!

Today we have a free morning, and will head to Tonle Sap and the floating markets in the afternoon. Tomorrow we will be rising early for the bus trip to Kompong Cham, where we will spend one night. Only three more nights until Sihanoukville! I’m most excited about this part, as it will be the first beach I have been on since Cuba in 2007!

Well Court and I are going to get a body massage now, so I will post again next time I have a decent internet connection. Bye for now and thanks for reading. Miss you all!

Lex and Court

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