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  1. #1
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    Phnom Penh and Siem Reap/Angkor Wat in Photos

    Okay, so this might turn out to be a mammoth of a thread since I've uploaded a good 100 photos to the gallery. That was cut down from about 500 mind you, but I might not get to all of them; we'll just see how lazy I am. Anyway, I spent about 2 weeks in Cambodia this month. I took a friend of mine along this time - we spent nearly a week in Phnom Penh getting drunk and stoned off our asses before trudging it over to Siem Reap for a few days, then came back to PP for some more debauchery before heading back to Bangkok.
    If you haven't been over to Cambodia I highly suggest you check it out. It's cheaper in nearly every aspect compared to Thailand, however there are some parts that have the worst poverty I've seen in Asia.
    Anyway, on to the pics:

    Here is the riverfront in Phnom Penh, right before a storm hits. This was taken from my hotel room ($20 a night). The only problem with the riverfront area is that there are loads of touts and street rats (beggars) who try and follow you around. They are also doing some heavy construction in this area.



    Another shot of the construction, taken from a tuk-tuk:



    Here's a shot of a Cambodian monk walking down in front of the palace.


    A wider shot of the palace. It's interesting to note that behind the palace are streets full of shit and garbage piled on the streets. I was walking down there one afternoon and a Khmer dude actually spat at my head when he saw that I was a foreigner (luckily he missed).
    "Fuck off. And take your stupid cult with you."

    -Scarlett Johansson to Tom Cruise

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    Okay, now on to Siem Reap. When going to SR from PP, you have 2 options: bus or boat. We were going to take the boat but found out that it was going to take 6 hours and $35, so we opted for the bus. There are 3 prices: $6 gets you on a shit bus with no A/C. $9 gets you on a bus with A/C and a toilet, and $11....well I don't really know what the $11 ride gets you because we took the $9. I think we left around 9:30 in the morning, however, there are also buses that go later (I think 12:30 is the last one). Anyway, here's a shot of the bus that we took. It had very comfortable seats, but it was blaring Cambodian music the whole way down, even though there weren't any Khmers onboard. Luckily I had my ipod. It's about a 5 hour bus ride to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh.



    On the way they will stop once at a rest stop. If you've ever been on a bus in Cambodia, then you know about these rest stops. There isn't 1 edible thing at them, and there are beggars everywhere. Luckily this one wasn't so bad. There was fruit, at least, and some baguettes. The rest of the stuff was mostly some unidentifiable mystery meat that had flies hovering everywhere.


    Baguettes. The meat inside turned out to be fish-flavored, so I could only eat about half of it.


    The hotel we stayed in was $20 a night. We booked it in advance courtesy of the hotel in PP. The guy picked us up from the bus station and off we went. Forgot to take a pic of the room, but here's the nice hallway:

  3. #3
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    Okay, so on to Angkor Wat. You have a few options here, depending on the length of your stay. A 1 day pass is $20. A 3 day pass is $40, and you need a photo of yourself for the pass. They also sell 7 day passes but I forget how much they are. We opted for the 3 day pass, but after 2 days I was pretty much templed out.

    Most people think that Angkor Wat is just one huge temple. Well, it's not. Angkor Wat is the main temple (the biggest one), and there are about 25 other temples that surround it. Some are very big, some are just ruins that aren't really worth seeing, and some are quite small. They are all in one concentrated area, and a few are on the outskirts. The best thing to do is to hire a tuk-tuk driver to take you around to all the temples. We hired one for $10 a day (each). You can tell him where to go, or (like us) you can just tell him you want to see the best temples.

    I highly suggest bringing sunscreen. Even with it, I still got burned a bit. A scarf is also good to bring to put around your neck. Kids will sell these to you at the main temple for $1. Wear light clothing as well because it can get very hot during the day. Here's a map of Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples:




    The first place we went to was Angkor Thom. This is a pic walking up to the South Gate of Angkor Thom, one of 5 entrances.



    A closer look at the South Gate. Each gate is crowned with 4 giant faces.



    Some monkeys who were more than happy to sit on the tuk-tuk and eat bananas while we walked around taking pics.

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    From Angkor Thom we went over to Bayon, which is probably the most impressive temple in Angkor Wat. It's famous for the giant stone faces. The temple has 37 standing towers, and most of them adorn 4 faces oriented toward the cardinal points. Who the faces represent is a matter of debate. Some people believe they are a combination of Buddha and Jayavarman VII.









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    Bayon also has some pretty cool carvings on the outside:






    Now outside most of these temples (especially the bigger ones) there are loads of touts, mostly kids, who will try to get you to buy anything from water to books to useless souvenirs. Whenever you exit a temple they will rush you. Saying "No" doesn't do the job. We even tried singing "No no no no no no no no no" and that didn't work. The best way to counter them is to just get in the tuk tuk and go, because phrases like "Misterrrr......2 for one dollaaaaaarrrrrr.....pleeeeaaasse...." get old real quick.








    Alright - I've got to go pick up my dry cleaning, so I will continue this a bit later...

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    Okay, going on, this is Spean Thma, or "Stone Bridge", a little bridge that goes over the Siem Reap river.




    This next temple is called Thommanon, which is quite small, but it's in very good condition. When we walked in here, a couple of Cambodians were inside acting as tour guides. The "information" they offered was pretty much them pointing at some old carvings and saying "very old" and "very beautiful". They then asked for a tip. I handed him $1 and apparently that wasn't enough, but tough shit I ain't paying these losers to point at stuff and give me useless info. Needless to say, any subsequent "tour guides" I saw at other temples were told to piss off.





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    Terrace of the Leper King. This isn't even really a temple, just really cool ruins. This double terrace adorns deeply carved demons and other mythological beings. You can go on top where there's a statue of the leper king, but we just walked around for a few minutes before going on.



    A closer look:



    Here you can see the sandstone underneath:

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    Next up is Ta Prohm. Some of the locals call this the "Tombraider" temple. I guess they filmed the movie here or the video game was based on this location. In any case, it's a pretty cool temple. There's a lot of jungle overgrowth here, so you see trees and plants covering the ruins. It's also really big.

    Here's the entrance:


    They've put down a few wooden planks that denote a path so you know where to go, unfortunately they didn't do a very good job so it's easy to get lost in here.






    Now while we were walking around, we saw a bunch of ignorant Korean ajummas taking pictures in front of a cool looking door with roots. They were taking them one at a time, and then they were doing group shots as well, completely oblivious to people around them who wanted to take pictures as well. They were barking orders to each other, and, true to form, these idiots had no clue that there might be other people in the world, which further proves the theory that Koreans are the worst tourists in the world. Morons.

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    More of Ta Prohm. It started to lightly rain when we were there.







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    Now after one day we were pretty knackered but decided to go out and see what the town of Siem Reap had to offer. The downtown area is quite small; it reminded me of the towns you see all over France. It's quiet, with little cafes and a few bars where you can sit outside and have a drink or a meal. The only problem is that it usually rained a lot at night this time of year.
    Anyway, one bar that we frequented was the Laundry Bar, which had a pool table and cheap beers, along with couches in the back. We even saw some old dude smoking weed in the back out in the open.


    The girls playing pool here were Japanese. This town caters a lot to Japanese and Korean tourists, there are loads of Japanese and Korean restaurants lining the town.


    Even the shitter in this place looked cool:



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    On to the second day...
    We started at the main temple, Angkor Wat. This place is huge - there are 2 paths that you walk that lead up to the main entrance to the temple.





    This is the first room at the entrance:


    And the hallway:



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    Some detailed carvings:





    This place is just massive.


    Some lovely Japanese girls



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    Preah Khan. This is another big temple with tons of little rooms to explore. It's full of carvings, and it was originally a Buddhist monastery and school for over 1000 monks.







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    On the way to the next temple, we passed some rice fields:








    Another temple.

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    Ta Keo. Temple-mountain dedicated to Shiva. Again, the only reason I know who Shiva is is because of video games.


    If you notice in some of these pics you can see 2 huge holes in each of the stone blocks. The people who built Angkor Wat used to carry the stones by sticking bamboo in them and carry them that way.





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    Ta Som. This is a small Bayon-style temple with a few carvings, but the best thing about this temple is the tree that's growing around the door at the end.





    A lovely pineapple seller outside:

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    The final temple on our tour was Pre Rup. This is a very nice temple-mountain with beautifully carved false doors. The detail here is pretty good.









  18. #18
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    Some great pictures there Durianfan. Excellant thread.

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    Okay, so now we're on our way back to Phnom Penh. Believe it or not, Bangkok Airways has a monopoly on the Siem Reap to Bangkok Route, and they want around 6,000 baht for a one-way ticket. So we decide to go back to PP for a few days before flying from there to Bangkok for half that price.
    Now the bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh is the same price, $9. Unfortunately it wasn't nearly as nice, and not only do they have that awful Cambodian music playing, but they've placed speakers all along the bus just like they do in Thailand.


    About 3 hours outside of Siem Reap the bus breaks down. The tire is off the rim. So we pull over, and it takes the geniuses an hour to change the tire and put on the spare. We drive another few kms to the service station, and it takes another hour to put on a proper tire. Anyway, we broke down right in front of this rice farm, where the kids came running out, wondering why a bus full of foreigners had stopped in their front yard.


    Back in Phnom Penh, there's a surplus of bananas on the street.



    Another shot of the palace:


    What a shithole.



    One last shot. These two beauties were working at the restaurant next to my hotel.



    And that's it. I hope you enjoyed this little photo journal. I can honestly say that Angkor Wat is the most impressive thing I've seen in Asia. I'll probably go back in a few years and see the rest of it; it truly is a massive temple.

  20. #20
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    I'll have to go there one day, another destination on my list, some nice photos.

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    excellent photos

    Been there myself a few times, always love seeing other peoples perspectives of the place.
    Interesting story behind Ta Keo, they were in the middle of building it, around 60-70 years I was told, when during a storm, it was hit by lightning.
    The powers that be viewed it as a sign from the Gods that something was not right, so they just abandoned it!
    If you look closely, the blocks are mostly just square with no carving, their way of doing the temples was to build them then do all the intricate stonework after.
    It was one of my favourite temples, along with Ta Phrom and Angkor Wat.
    I'll be back to Cambodia in January for my 6th trip there

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    Excellent photos Durianfan, I've saved several to my 'puter.
    I'm going there in January so thanks for the info and the thread, I'm looking forward to it even more now.

    A few questions.. Siam Riep, what's the nightlife like? You said it's quite small, but loads of tourists, was the nightlife just based around a few pubs?

    PP.. is it really a shithole? Is it worth a few days there, or is it just a case of getting on a bus out a.s.a.p.? Again what's the nightlife like?

    Where did you get the bus to SR, is there just one central terminal?

    Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsRobsLife View Post
    A few questions.. Siam Riep, what's the nightlife like? You said it's quite small, but loads of tourists, was the nightlife just based around a few pubs?
    It's okay from what I saw. A few pubs and restaurants. 1 or 2 clubs. The downtown area is small so you can walk around. There's a night market as well. I'm sure there's more to it but we were just too tired to really explore. We went in low season so there weren't too many tourists. The real problem was the rain. It would start around 6 in the evening and wouldn't let up until around 9:30 or 10. This went on for the 4 days we were there. Didn't care though - we weren't going to sit in our hotel rooms all night. We mostly just hit a few bars and restaurants and tried to walk around when the rain would let up for a few minutes. Nice town; I'd definitely like to go back.

    PP.. is it really a shithole? Is it worth a few days there, or is it just a case of getting on a bus out a.s.a.p.? Again what's the nightlife like?
    Yes, it really is a shithole. The river area is okay, but you still have to deal with the touts and street kids. Past the river area it's really dodgy. There is still and absence of street lights in many areas so it can get quite dangerous at night if you're not with a trustworthy driver. There is trash piled up on the streets everywhere and it's obviously quite a lawless town. There is also a lack of modern conveniences that you'd see in Thailand. There's no mall, no 7-11s or Family Marts. Just little shops. There's only 1 internet cafe on the river that's even remotely fast (in the others I couldn't even check email it was so slow). It's got a long way to go.

    The nightlife is pretty good, depending on what you're into. Whoring is cheap (usually), and drinking is pretty good. Most of the bars have Angkor draft and a shoddy pool table. It's a good city for pub crawls. We stayed there for 5 days, then came back for a few more days after visiting Angkor Wat. At first glance I couldn't wait to get out of PP, but this was my fourth visit, and it was tough to leave.

    Where did you get the bus to SR, is there just one central terminal?

    Cheers.
    The hotel I stayed at arranged it. Most hotels in the area can do the same. There is a central bus terminal (it's REALLY shitty), but these buses are privately owned by companies so they depart elsewhere. There was a van that picked us up at about 9:00 in the morning and drove us about a mile to where the bus picked us up. It was really easy. There was a dude from the hotel that picked us up at the bus station in SR.

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    Excellent great info, need some ammo but a green on it's way.
    Sure I'll be after more info soon enough. Cheers.

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    Angkor Wat revisited

    Many thanks for the pics and information. I went to Angkor about 10 years ago and it seems little has changed on the streets of Phnom Penh. I hope to be there at Christmas so it's good to get an update on prices etc. Cheers
    Kwan

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