Siem Reap- Sunrise over Angkor Wat, 50 cent beer and more 50 cent beer

Hello and once again, sorry for the delay in-between posts. I need to start a blog that doesn’t open with this line. I did try to upload this in the last two places we stayed. I could gain access  to any site apart from WordPress for some strange reason.

We were now in Cambodia, our second country of the trip. One thing I loved about Thailand was the admiration they showed for their late King. Thailand is in yearlong mourning for the king. It’s so lovely to see how much love and admiration they had for him. He was in reign for 70 years. So in power for many generations. Everywhere we went there were shines for the king and black ribbons.

As much as we loved our time in Thailand, a month of pretty much island hopping, eating incredible food and visiting 7-Elevens; we were ready to see what Cambodia had to offer.

Siem Reap

Once we had checked in our guesthouse, we crashed straight away. It felt like days ago since we left Koh Tao.  The next morning we had to find a new place to stay as our current accommodation didn’t have the availability. The main issue was that we needed to find some place close, as we had already arranged for the Tuk Tuk driver to pick us up from there to take us to Angkor Wat the next day. Luckily we found somewhere just down the road within budget, and with air con! The only time we had air con in Thailand, was when we were in our Christmas accommodation.

Once we had checked in the new place, we went for a bit of a wonder. The buildings here are so beautiful.  Very French colonial.  As we were walking about we started to see signs, obscured signs. Maybe we were still weary from the journey from the day before. These signs were saying beer was 50 cents! We walked past a few more places, and these signs just kept popping up. Beer 50 cents.  Beer  50 cents.  Once we realised this wasn’t some perverse joke, we headed to the next bar we saw.

We couldn’t indulge in too much beer as we had to be up early the next day for our trip to Angkor Wat.

At 4am our alarm went off, giving us enough time to get ready and meet our Tuk Tuk driver. I was still convinced he wasn’t going to show up. When we head down to the road there were a few other people out on the road meeting their Tuk Tuk drivers.

“Hello Mr Paul?” –No sorry were not your westerner’s.

I did think maybe if our driver was a no show we could go back and pretend to be Mr Paul for the day.

Luckily our driver Mr Kim was there, we hadn’t been scammed. Well actually Kim wasn’t there, he had sent a replacement as we were informed Kim was ill. He had the diarrhea. Our new driver told us this while rubbing his tummy. Poor Mr Kim… I wonder how many times he arranges a trip then suddenly gets the squirts so has to send a replacement?!

Sadly we can’t remember our new drivers’ name, as it was 4.30am and I was trying not to smirk at the fact he said Mr Kim had Diarrhea while rubbing his tummy. So for the Blog we shall call him Mr Fred. So Mr Fred drove us off in the early hours to begin our day exploring the temples of Angkor Wat. We headed to the ticket office first. The queue was already huge. Think Alton Towers and when you arrive and everyone heads to Oblivion or Air first. I wish we had a fast pass. When we reached the front of the queue we had our photos taken for our day pass/ticket. This is what a face at 5am looks like.

20170228_210836

We headed back to Mr Fred and he drove us off to the first Temple. Which is the most Iconic and well known of the temples.  I didn’t realise the site was so huge. I just thought it was the temple that’s always photographed. When in fact you can get a week pass so you can see all the sites, which are spread across over great distances.

We were dropped off and Mr Fred said to come back around 8am and he would take us to the next site. It was still pitch black. There were other people with torches. If we hadn’t of followed them we wouldn’t have been able to see anything. We walked through a small temple and then down a very long pathway. We noticed hundreds of people sitting by the lake. So you can see the breath taking sunrise come above the temple. We chose to sit on the wall along the pathway, as well, we hate other people. We had a nice quiet spot. Then a group came and sat by us. Another one of those groups who don’t know how to communicate by talking; only shouting. Even if I did a parody of someone talking loudly, it wouldn’t be as loud as them. Luckily they decided to head down to the lake.

Not long after the loud talkers moved, a woman who worked for the Angkor Wat site came a long and moved a large no entry sign that had been up. We were so lucky that we were close by when the sign was moved. It meant we were one of the first 30/40 people inside the temple. We got to explore and take in the incredible beauty without 1000’s of other tourists about.  It was so special getting to experience it in such an intimate setting. We have heard so many people talking about how they wish they could have gone to Angkor Wat, but when it is empty, and we actually got to do just that.

It was slightly cloudy so the sunrise wasn’t 100% visible, but it was still pretty spectacular. It will take a lot to top a morning like this one. We had wonder around the temple and then headed back to the Tuk Tuk. On the way back we saw a guy get his breakfast stolen by a monkey.

There were so many other Tuk tuks about. We were struggling to find our driver among them all. We knew Mr Fred had a red hoodie on, so that’s what we were looking for in the area he told us to meet him. At first I thought Fred had, had enough of us and driven off. It was like playing where’s Wally, we were looking for almost impossible.  When we did find him, he was having a little nap in the back of the Tuk Tuk.  We felt pretty bad for walking him up.  He must have been up at least 3.30 am, and he probably has to do this most mornings.  Once we had woken him up we realised he wasn’t even our Tuk Tuk driver! Oops!

We eventually managed to find our similarly dressed driver and he took us on our way to our next temple, which is called Bayon. This temple involved a lot of climbing. We are so unfit; it was like we were doing a full body conditioning class at the gym.

One of the temples we visited is where the filmed part of the tomb raider film. By the time we had reached the Tomb raider temple there were so many tour groups about. It felt like they just wanted a photo posing by the temples than actually enjoying them. I mean look at this guy, he climbed over a rope to get a selfie.

20170105_011326

By the time we had explored the last temple we were exhausted. We struggled climbing and wondering around after only one day, I’m not sure we could hack up to a week of this. Mr Fred drove us back home and we went back to bed to have a much needed nap. After a good rest, we were in need of a good drink.  We wanted to make sure that the 50cent beer from the day before wasn’t just a wild dream we had. This time decided to upgrade to a large pitcher of beer for just $2. After a few pitchers of beer we were pretty drunk and thought it would be a fun idea to get a foot massage. It was supposed to be good after a day at the temples and supposed to be very relaxing. If you’ve ever had a massage in South East Asia, you will know they are far from it.  It was almost comical. I swear at one point they tried to pull my toes off.  It was only $2 and worth it for the laughter fit it gave us alone.

Cambodia and left over thailand 460.JPG

Thanks for reading. I know it’s not a thrilling read, I promise there will be a bit more to the next post. It’s really nice to know you’ve given up part of your day to read back on our adventure with us. XXXX

Advertisements

Koh Tao-Lazy Days. A New Year. 29 Hour Transfers- Featuring The Boat That Rocked.

Koh Tao

Woops another long gap in between posts. We are a month ahead of the blog, so not sure when I’ll get up to date. Again I hope this blog doesn’t bore you too much. Thank you to everyone who is actually bothering to read this. It’s great we can share our adventure.

 

Koh Tao was the last of our Thai islands.  This was the only island we visited where we didn’t really explore. We did however fall madly in love with this island. Even from the moment we got off the boat we knew we loved.

 

We checked out our hotel in Koh Samui and got our transfer over to one of the many piers leaving the island. The pier was really busy, the busiest one we have been to so far. The journey over wasn’t too bad. I shall forever compare any boat to that horrific one to Koh Phangan.

When we arrived even though the port was full of people it already had a different vibe.  We didn’t have any accommodation booked, so we got a taxi transfer over to Sairee. This is the main area that people stay on the island, and one that was within out budget. There are always places we would love to stay but just beyond our means. Especially seeing as our budget has to last us almost a year, if we include our trip back to Australia or New Zealand (once we get our working visas in September). It just gives us more of a reason to come back to these places one day in the future. Once we arrived in Sairee we headed off to look for some accommodation.  We walked along the path by the beach and found a bungalow to call home for the next few nights. It was slightly pricier than we have paid before, but we already expected that.  It really wasn’t that expensive under £18 a night. We were in a central location, by the beach and had two pools, one of which had a slide.

We went for a bit of wonder along the beach front. Even though the beach was lined with bars and restaurants, they all seemed to be more laid back than the ones compared to Koh Samui and Phi Phi.  We found a place to stop by for some food and a cold Leo. It was great timing. As our food arrived we were just in time to catch the most stunning sun set we had seen so far.

The rest of the time on the island was spent mainly, relaxing, reading and eating. We did a lot of eating. We found a great place that did delicious food and with huge portions. So we ended up having lunch there most days. Banana pancakes are a well-known delicacy for backpackers in Thailand. We visited the same guy almost every day. One time we said “see you tomorrow” and the other people waiting laughed at us.

img-20170202-wa00061

During our time on the island we decided to book one of the many boat trips. They all offer the same thing, for roughly the same price. We were supposed to visit 5 different bays around the island. Ending at Koh Nag Yuan, this is made up of 3 small islands which are connected by a beach. So all waves meet each other in the middle. The trip included pick up/drop off at the bungalows, lunch and snorkelling equipment.

Once we were dropped off at the ticket office, we were given our snorkel equipment and headed to the boat. However in order for us to get to our boat, like any other boat trip in South East Asia, we had to climb across 2 other boats to get to ours. It seems to get a bit more ridiculous every time we get on a boat.

It was lovely seeing the coast of the island. The first stop was called Sharks Bay. We stopped here to go snorkelling. As we have an underwater camera we were able to get some good shots of the fish.

P1020898.JPG

 

P1020887.JPG

As the sea was quite rough that day, it meant we were unable to get to 2 of the other bays we were supposed to visit. As the sea was so choppy it wasn’t the most pleasant journey traveling between the bays. The last stop of the trip was to Nang Yaun. This was the part that everyone else on the boat, as well as myself was looking forward to the most. When we arrived you could only see one part of the island, a boring cliff face.

Getting off was even more of a joke than getting on. It pulls up to pier, but there is a huge gap between the jetty and the boat. So if you are unsteady on your feet then it’s not an easy task. Once we got off the boat we walked around the manmade path around the cliff of the island. We then saw a sign for the view point. We have such a love/hate relationship with viewpoints. We love the view, but hate the climb. Well apart from the view point in Samui, which was a view of the roof of a Tesco Mega store.

The first part was okay, it was just a long, narrow and painful flight of stairs, with loads of other people trying to pass by on the other side. Then when you reach the top it’s just boulders that you have to climb. Then you have to wait until someone moves a bit or goes down, so you can get a bit closer to the top.  The view (when you manage to pass all the selfie sticks and people posing) is incredible though. No wonder there were so many people up there. It’s a sight you will want to remember.  I just wish people didn’t feel the need to conduct full photo shoots up there.I was very keen to get a photo to remember the day by, maybe even one of us with it in the background. I didn’t feel the need to pose in about 20 different positions (cough Grivas Kopti . Cough cough).  We did ask someone to take a photo for us, but when we looked back at it later on it was like they had taken it to take the piss. It didn’t even have the incredible view in the back ground. The annoying thing is Sam managed to get a great one of the people that took our pic. Truly an instagram worthy snap. #blessed #nofilter #beachdays for them. Ours is more like #closeup #palecouple #noview. #amibeingabrat.P1020912.JPG

 

P1020909.JPG

On the way down the queue up had become huge. They would be waiting a good half an hour before they got to take in all that beauty. Probably longer with all the photo shoots taking place up there. We then wondered down the beach where the currents meet in the middle.  We had a cold drink in the shade before heading back to the boat. The pier was full of other tourists waiting to get various boats back to the mainland. We spotted ours which was behind 2 other boats. So we had climb back over to get to ours. There is absolutely no health and safety out here.  I could barely make the climb, due to being so short and my legs not really reaching the other side. Once we were back on dry land we head to the beach to grab a drink and enjoy another incredible sunset.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

We were really excited to be spending New Year’s Eve on Koh Tao. We definitely didn’t think this time last year we would be spending it on a beach in Thailand. Our day was pretty lazy, reading by the pool. Just after the sun set we head down to the beach to one of the restaurants that do BBQS. As we are greedy bastards, we ordered 3 meals to share between us. BBQ fresh squid, prawns and mixed meats. All washed down with a few cocktails and beers. After the meal we had a few buckets on the balcony of the bungalow, then headed down to the beach to see the New Year in. it was incredible. There were fire dancers, music and lights outside most of the bars. In the water they had signs that said happy New Year 2017 on. This would later be set on fire.  Due to the death of the Thai king and the country being in mourning, they were unable to set off any fireworks, but all the signs in the water were set alight. I really could never have imagined bringing the New Year in like this. I’m not normally a huge fan of New Year’s Eve, but this was just amazing. Everyone seemed really happy rather than blackout drunk.

We then headed away from the beach to find a bar to watch the city game in.  By this point all the buckets had hit me. I wanted to go back to back to the beach and wait for the sun rise, which wasn’t for about 4 hours. So Sam said we could either head to the beach and wait or get some food and head back to the bungalow. Well clearly I would have chosen the second option over many things. So we bought 3 ham and cheese toasties and 2 pancakes and had a feast back on the balcony.  This will be a hard NYE to top. We had an amazing meal, saw the New Year in on the beach and had our favourite snacks.

IMG_20170101_105514_392[1].jpg

Thailand to Cambodia.   Boat-10 hour bus-5 hour wait- 10 hour bus

Today was our last day on Koh Tao and saw the end of our time the beautiful Thailand. I wasn’t feeling great, so not the best feeling ahead of a 29 transfer we headed to our usual place for lunch but I couldn’t stomach any food so just opted for a smoothie.

We then began the 29 hour journey, which was made up of a taxi to the port, a boat, a bus to Bangkok, a bus to Siam Reap then a transfer to the guesthouse. So the first part was fine, just a short trip down to the pier. We had to wait a while at the port as the boat heading in land was running late due to choppy waters. There were hundreds of other travellers waiting so it took a while to get everyone off then load it back up again. A lot of seating had already gone by the time we managed to get on, and we had to put our bags on the top deck as all other places were full. We managed to find a seat, but it was right at the bottom of the boat.

Remember in the other Blog when I said the boat over to Koh Phangan was the most horrific journey and I would forever compare boat journeys to that one?!? Yeah that boat was like visiting Disneyland. As the water was so rough the boat was extremely rocky and the waved were going right up across the boat. As we were on the bottom it probably felt worse, as the waves hit the side of the boat pretty hard. I tried really hard to remain calm, but had a panic attack. I found it very hard to breathe and was contently crying, but trying to stop so I could breathe properly. Sam helped calm me down and get my breathing back to a normal rate.  I have never been so scared; I honestly thought the boat was going to capsize. Once I had stopped crying I started to feel really sick. Sam tried to help me get to the toilet, but I was almost too scared to move. We did attempt to go, but I knew I couldn’t make it. I had to quickly sit back down on the first empty seat I could find. A very kind girl passed Sam a bag and some tissues. I was pretty embarrassed. I was just crying and bring sick into a bag with loads of people around me. The boat was encounting some really rough bits at sea, so the journey wasn’t getting any easier. Someone else passed Sam some sickness pills to give to me. Not only did they stop the sickness, they helped calm me down. I don’t have a clue what they were but I would pay good money to have them again. They even helped me get some sleep. By the time I woke up we were just about to reach dry land. We were lucky that our bags were on the top, as there were huge piles of bags everywhere else. The people that had pushed past us to get on fist had to wait ages until their bags would become free.

Once we got off the boat, we had to wait for our connecting boat to Bangkok. We were given a sticker with a number on. Ours read 6. There were others starting from 1 and going to 8.  Number 1 and 2 were called then a while later 4 and 5. Not sure why they missed 3 out, but people with a 3 sticker were not happy. About an hour after getting off the boat numbers 6 and 7 were called. We already had a tactical plan. Sam would get our bags on and I would run on the bus and grab the seats we wanted.  We wanted the seats behind the stairs. As it means on one is in front of you, and means no one can push their chair all the way back so they are basically giving you a lap dance.  I managed to get a few hours’ sleep in, probably due to whatever magic pill I had taken before, but Sam didn’t get much as he was feeling really ill/needed the toilet.

When we arrived in Bangkok we were just dropped at the side of the road.  We had a print out of where we were supposed to get our connecting bus on Koh San Road from so headed there. At the transfer office said it would be at 7am, and then the woman at the port said it would be 8am. So we had 4 hours to kill until our next bus. It was nice to have a bit of a break but we were unsure how to kill 4 hours.  Koh San Road was in my opinion the vilest place we have seen so far. To some backpackers it’s a must.  I just don’t see the appeal. There were so many people still our from the night before. People were just sat in the street, which was totally filthy. We spotted several rats. We headed to maccys to try find a toilet and use the Wi-Fi. Sadly the toilet the toilets didn’t open until 8am. There was only so much time we could kill in McDonalds. We enjoyed the best chicken nugget meal. It was just what we needed.

There was only so much time we could kill in McDonalds. So we headed out to find somewhere else, a place with a toilet. I’m not sure how but Sam managed to hold it in all the way from getting off the boat. That boy must have buns of steel! There were loads of places still open, some still had people in drinking from the night before. It was a mix of other sleepy backpackers killing time and people still out from the night before. We keep encountering people that don’t actually know how to communicating by talking, just screaming at each other. Even though they are sat next to each other.  For those who live in Manchester it was like being in a Thai sports bar version of 7 oaks.

I managed to stomach some breakfast, while Sam spent some time in the bathroom.  We then headed to get our bus to Cambodia. Only to be told our bus wasn’t for another hour.  We were too far gone to even care by this point.  One hour later our bus was ready to take us over to Siem Reap, Cambodia. If you Google map the directions it says it takes just over 5 hours by car. This leg of the journey was to take us 10, with the stop at the border.  The crossing wasn’t too bad, a bit slow but an easy process. 29 hours after leaving Koh Tao we were finally in Siam Reap.

We were offered a free Tuk Tuk from the bus station to our accommodation. This is so they can push the Angkor Wat tour on you. We had done some research about roughly what you should pay for the trip. So with having the fear of over paying for a tuk tuk, we over paid for a tuk tuk. For the sake of $5 it didn’t really matter. We were just too tired from the journey to work out the price. It also meant we didn’t have to arrange with anyone the next day.

As soon as we got in our room, we got into bed and crashed. It felt like a long time since we set off from Koh Tao.

Honestly thank you so much for reading this to the end. We really do love you for giving your time to follow us along on our journey. x x x