Saturday, December 27, 2014

Southeast Asia 2013: Day 3 - Siem Reap, Cambodia

Our first full day of our trip, (Sept. 8, 2013) and we were on another flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia!

Nick and me at Angkor Thom - Siem Reap, Cambodia


When we first planned this trip, Thailand was the main place we wanted to go, and then when we realized we could get over to the see ancient temples in Cambodia fairly easily, we decided 'why not?!'  So glad we did!

I read that getting into Cambodia was best done by flights and the bus/train from Bangkok to Siem Reap is long and the road is pretty sketchy. So we decided it best to pay the premium and fly into Siem Reap rather than risk it.

After an amazing sleep we woke up pretty rested, had breakfast at our hotel and then at about 8 a.m. we were heading back to the airport for yet more planes!  Our plane was a small one - I'm not a nervous flyer, but flying in on a two-prop plane into Cambodia did make me just a tiny bit nervous.

We safely laded, went through customs (after digging through our checked luggage on the runway to find our viasa - I accidentally packed them, oops!)

After clearing immigration and customs, we headed out the door to find my name on a sign. Our airport pickup was a tuk-tuk!

We had read that the time of year we were travelling we would probably experience periods of monsoon rains, and during our tuk-tuk ride - we did!  The skies opened up and it poured like no rain I have ever seen in my life.  Their rain is heavy, but only lasts about a small amount of time - about 10 minutes or so.  Luckily we stayed dry in our tuk-tuk!

We checked into our hotel - everyone was SO friendly, went upstairs and dropped off our bags, changed and got a call that our guide was here!

When doing research on Siem Reap and the temples - I decided to book a private guide with an air-conditioned car, rather than try to manage the temples on our own.  I am so glad we did it this way.  Our guide was Mr. Sroeb Mao (goes by Mao) and he was fantastic.  His knowlege of the temples was amazing, and he was a great picture taker too - I highly recommend him!

Mr. Sroeb Mao - our wonderful Angkor temples tour guide

Mr. Sroeb Mao - our wonderful Angkor temples tour guide

Mr. Sroeb Mao - our wonderful Angkor temples tour guide

Here are some maps to show just how large the temples are.  We were pretty blown away. 

We hopped in the car (the downpour had stopped) and were off to buy our tickets!  We got a three-day pass because it was thh same price as buying two single days.  Getting into the park is very strict and Mao said they have controllers and checkpoints around the parks to make sure that no one sneaks in.

Our first stop was Angkor Thom and headed straight for the main temple in the center, the Bayon. This one is full of smiling Buddha faces carved into the walls. Mao showed us the area where you can "kiss" Buddha. 

Bayon Temple

Bayon Teple

Much of the rest of the day was a whirlwind tour through the rest of Angkor Thom. It's 3km on each side, so there's a lot to see inside. We went through the Baphuon, then the Phimeanakas - the royal palace, most of which has actually burned down, though the walls and some major architectural structures like pools remain. Heading north to Preah Palilay (the "kneeling elephant" temple, then east to Tep Pranam, then south past the Terrace of the Leper King and Terrace of the Elephants (with an explanation of the "stadium" it faced out onto, we arrived back at the car.

Some pictures of our time walking around Angkor Thom

carvings at Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom
Where stairs were available we climbed up to get a better view


Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom
writings carved at Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Buddha temple at Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom


From there, we drove to Phnom Bakheng to see the sunset. There was a great view here of Angkor Wat in the distance. Lots of people race up here to see the sunset, as they close at 5:30 to avoid letting too many people in but the sun doesn't set for another 30 minutes or so after that. It's a bit of a hike up the hill with some steep stairs at the end - the photo op is at the top of a temple - but it's well worth it.

Tourists waiting in the shade for the sunset at Phnom Bakheng

sunset at Phnom Bakheng

Angkor Wat in the distance - seen from Phnom Bakheng

We were dropped off at the hotel at about 7 p.m. and even after a busy day were doing okay with jetlag, so ventured out to find food.  Our hotel told us that Siem Reap is very safe and we can walk outside alone.

We walked to the night market area, about 15 minutes from the hotel. We ate dinner at a little restaurant just outside the market and it was yummy - Cambodia food is good! It was just a little street restaurant, but yummy.  And only bottled water of course!

We got back to the hotel and went to sleep just after 9 p.m. and passed out!  We had an early morning the next day - more Angkor temple touring in and a sunrise wakeup call!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Summer Recap

My little space on the internet that I have forgotten about!  With summer fun and the amazing weather, I didn't spend much time inside besides my work time.  (A legit reason I think - enjoying the beautiful outdoors!)  So time to recap summer!

The biggest thing to happen this summer was I started a new job!  Same company, new role - and I couldn't be more thrilled and proud of myself.  I feel that I've landed in a great spot for my future and career.  I went to Atlanta for a week for work, and although I didn't get time to enjoy the city much I did get to check out the aquarium and this beautiful Ferris wheel was outside of my hotel.

Another big part of summer was that I trued 30!  This will be a separate blog post as I celebrated a new decade at the happiest place on earth - Disneyland!  After I got back my sweet friends Meghan and Brynn took me to a delicious birthday dinner at Brimmer & Heeltap.  Amazing!

We also celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary!  And what a great 4 years its been!!! 

Another big highlight of summer was meeting the lovely Tracy of Then I Got To Thinking... during her trip to Seattle!  We have been blog friends for over 5 years and it was such a treat to meet her and her beautiful family in person.  To many more years of blogger friendship!

Enjoying the amazing Pacific Northwest weather on hikes with my family

Besides hiking we stayed active with tennis and golf

And enjoying Seattle nights with dinner outdoors and rosĂ© wine of course


We took a day trip up to Vancouver, Canada so that we could sit on the Iron Throne from one of our favorite shows - Game Of Thrones.  I don't look very intimidating, but it was fun!

Relaxing pool days with friends
Jay-Z and Beyoncé concert, one word: amazing!
I took up a new hobby that I am loving - calligraphy! 


Nick was in the wedding of our dear friends who got married in Chelan in August. A beautiful wedding and fantastic weekend!


And it's already that time of year - football season!

Phew!  A great summer in the books! :)


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