From dawn to dusk – that was how we spent our 1st day in Indochina trip. Kicked-off our multi-country escape in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Despite being groggy from the delayed arrival in Siem Reap at 11 PM on the 1st night, we pursued our plan to sunrise at Angkor Wat. We slept a little pass midnight after a brief introduction to our roommates who were all non-Filipinos, 2 Japanese and 1 Chinese which were all solo travelers.
By noon on our 1st day, we were almost spent doing temple runs. Woke up at 4 AM to catch the sunrise. As we were quite smittened, we explored Angkor Wat until 9 AM, inspecting every nook and crany while admiring every bit of its beauty.
We had our fill just when our stomach grumbled. Before our tour, one vendor told us about his dining place. We decided to have breakfast there and had a chance to talk to some Cambodian kids who knew a little Tagalog and kept bugging us to buy souvenirs.
If you buy from me, I’ll give you peace of mind.
Chana said and so we did but that was after our little chat where she told us about the temples and urged us to buy post cards too. She knew a little Tagalog because her teacher is a Filipino.
After breakfast, we went back to where our driver dropped us and quickly found him waiting. We told him we’d want to go to Angkor Thom especially Bayon Temple.
Angkor Thom complex was huge. We explored Angkor Wat on our own but in Bayon, we had a guide. It was a little uneasy at first but I was thankful we obliged to the suggestion since Bayon is pretty jampacked. Our guide helped us to navigate quicker and was done touring in under 1 hour unlike Angkor Wat. After Bayon, we went to Baphoun Temple, then to Royal Enclosure. Last stop was Terraces of Elephants were our driver was waiting.
We saw Banteay Kdei on our way to Ta Phrom after checkout. We wanted to stop but our driver Leypouth thought we’d like to eat. He took us at a restaurant near Sras Srang. We were also famished so we took the offer to eat. After eating, he brought us to Kdei and waited at the other end of gate for pick-up. Unlike Wat or Bayon, Kdei was not populated. There was no crowd. There were only 3 – 4 other groups who checked the place. Next was Ta Phrom – the hyped temple due to a scene in Tomb Raider. Aside from that, Ta Phrom’s uniqueness is seen on the huge trees eating the walls. It was errie and mind boggling how it happened.
The last stop of the day was sunset at Phnom Bakeng. When we arrived at 5 PM, the crowd was big. Chana, the child from Wat told us about the 300 limit. She advised us to go at 3 PM but unfornately, it just wasn’t possible. There was a long line when we reached the temple after walking around 15 minutes up. Seeing the long line, I wanted to back out but the husband reminded me that it’s still early. After an hour of waiting, we were given the pass to go up. And like the husband’s words, we reached the top just in time for the sunset. Yay!!!
On the way home, we were famished.Leyphout brought us to a cool restaurant again but this time we asked if he could bring us to a cheaper option. He brought us to a restaurant near Pubstreet. The husband was amazed because the diner was simple but they have an amazing wifi connection. Lol
After dinner, Leyphout take us back to Khmere’s place. Lesung gave us our bus ticket. Because we were quite messy for braving the heat all day, I asked Lesung if we could use the comfort room to bath and change. I offered to pay since technically we were no longer a guest but they were too kind not to impose a fee. We waited in Khmere until a tuktuk picked us up for the night bus bound to Phnom Penh.
Here’s a snaps of what we did and the expenses in USD, note that USD is widely accepted in Cambodia. You don’t need to convert in Riel:
Tuktuk Airport Pickup 7
Small Tour 15
Tuktuk Sunrise 7
Tuktuk Afternoon 5
Tuktuk Tip 2
Bayon Guide 12
Guide Tip 2
Temple Entrance 40 (20/Pax)
Magnets & Post Card 2
Overnight Bus to Phnom Penh 36 (18/pax)
Expense Total: 162
in PHP: 7,509.64
5:00 AM Sunrise at Angkor Wat
9:00 AM Angkor Thom (Bayon, Baphoun, Royal Enclosure, Terraces of the Elephants)
1:00 Off to Ta Phrom
3:30 Kdei, Ta Phrom
4:30 Ta Phrom
5:00 Sunset at Phnom Bakeng
6:30 Left Phnom Bakeng
8:00 Dinner @ Pubstreet
10:30 Night Bus Pickup
11:00 Settled at Night bus to Phnom Penh
Accommodation: Khmere’s Place
Tuktuk Service: Leyphout number 0973881756
And…that’s it for day 1. Stay tuned for day 2. If you have any questions about the expenses and itinerary, please leave a comment. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. 🙂