Having spent three days in Bangkok, eating cakes, drinking bad cocktails and getting excellent massages, it was clear the time had come to venture elsewhere – lest this year’s foray into South East Asia turn into nothing more than an implosion of hedonism.
It was, therefore, with the perverted excitement unique to long-haul bus journeys that we booked a 12-hour bus to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Having never been to Cambodia before, this was the obvious place for me to visit first; despite becoming a tourist haven in recent years, it is just a few kilometres away from the incomparable Angkor Wat – the largest religious monument in the world!
Although I’m not really into religious monuments on the whole, I do love ancient things – especially epic architecture. I also never turn down the opportunity to take some bleak and honourable photographs, in honour of the Guild!
This time, however, I am traveling with a different adventurer, Vikki Moyse, who I temporarily dubbed the Tomb Braider in a honour of her adventuring hairstyle of the day.
Unfortunately, we underestimated the impact that our sedentary lifestyle was having on our ability to rouse ourselves to action. Impressively, we slept through half a dozen alarms and – as the bus left for Cambodia – we succeeded into nothing more than a murmuring of “Oh well”, before drifting back to sleep until midday.
Naturally, the stress of the situation demanded another day of massage and drinking. Somehow, however, we managed to summon up the guts to book a second bus for the next morning – which we successfully caught! 12 hours later, we were in Siem Reap…drinking cocktails…and getting massaged.
The next day, however, we made a conscious decision to be active. We got up at a reasonable time, rented two bikes and cycled our way to Angkor, then around the temples. Built in the 12th Century as a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu (strange, because most were dedicated Shiva), Angkor Wat itself was later turned into a Buddhist temple. As interesting as this is, what is more striking is the fact that it is FUCKING ENORMOUS!
By the time we returned the bikes in the evening, we were ravenous. We struck out into town, found a restaurant and ordered basically everything on the menu. My order alone made the waitress panic, after she realised that I hadn’t ordered for both Vikki and me. Off the top of my head, I remember:
- Spring rolls
- Spiced pumpkin soup
- Honey duck
- Lemongrass chicken
- Kmer Chicken Curry
- Ginger Pork with Noodles
- Watermelon shakes
Then we drank beer and slept.
Photo credit for much of this to Vikki!