Our Asia Trip Diary – Part Seventeen

Check out Part Sixteen here!

Monday we rented a scooter in Kampot and drove to La Plantation. Here we’ve visited one of the famous pepper plantations in Cambodia. The Kampot Pepper is world famous for its quality. Here we take a tour through the plantation and afterwards there is a pepper tasting! It is all for free and the tour guides talk in clear English.

After the plantation, we take our scooter to The Green Loop. No not a motorcycle loop this time, but a small kayaking loop in a mangrove! We arrive at a random restaurant and we rent a kayak for $5 for the two of us. (After she tried ripping us off and saying it is $5 per person for 1 kayak which is ridiculous. Luckily I read online that all kayaks in the area cost around $5 so we were able to “negotiate”). The mangrove was really pretty and we had a refreshing swim. The loop took about an hour and we only met two other kayakers on the way.

On Tuesday we had a travel day. We went from Kampot to Siem Reap by bus. The trip wasn’t very eventful and we were glad to be in Siem Reap in the evening. The bus arrived a bit outside the city centre so we took a cheap tuk-tuk to our hotel. The driver also immediately passes his contact details to us in case we want to do anything in the neighbourhood.

Siem Reap is mostly known for being the city right next to Angkor, a huge temple grounds famous for Angkor Wat; the biggest religious monument in the world. 

On Wednesday we needed some time to make our planning for this city and especially how we will handle the Angkor Temples. The religious site is almost 163 hectares with multiple temple complexes. We also took some time to explore the area and have a bit of relaxation in our hotel (with a swimming pool!!).

Thursday we went to the Angkor complex with our tuk-tuk driver we met the day before at the bus station. For $15 he drove us all day in the Angkor area. We first went to the ticket office where we bought a three-day ticket each because there is just so much to see! In general, there are two tours that hotels and tuk-tuk drivers offer, which include the biggest and most famous temples. A small tour, which includes Angkor Wat, the world-famous temple, and a big tour. This has nothing to do with the temples but with the distance, the tuk-tuk has to drive. 

For this day, we chose to start with the big tour as it included mostly smaller temples. We wanted to start slowly and work our way up to the more impressive temples. The temples we did were: Pre Rup, East Baray, Ta Som, Neak Poan and Preah Khan. Ta Som stood out as there was a huge tree growing through its gate! Pre Rup reminded us of Prambanan (the second largest Hindu temple in the world) in Java, Indonesia. Later this week we learnt that a lot of Hindu temples have five central towers to symbolise the peaks of Mount Meru, so that makes sense.

After a long morning of temple exploring, tuk-tuking around the huge complex and taking many pictures we went back to our hotel and took the rest of the late afternoon off to relax and find some proper food. 

On Friday we take a day off to give our feet some rest. The great thing about the three-day ticket is that you can use the three days over a ten-day period. We buy some fresh fruit shakes and relax at the pool to catch some “holiday vibes”. Definitely deserved after four months of travelling!

Saturday, we wake up at 4:30 to watch the sunrise above Angkor Wat. This is a very popular tourist attraction so we are met with lots of people standing in front of the small pools that lay before Angkor Wat. Together with all the tourists we take a famous reflection photo of Angkor Wat at sunrise and move on to the next temple (Ta Phromh). After the sunset above Angkor Wat, the most common thing to do is to visit the inside of Angkor Wat; meaning it will be busy. 

So we went to the next most popular temple and we were all alone there! Officially the other temples do not open before 7:30am but we read you can just walk inside since there won’t be any security. Sadly we were a bit unlucky here, there was no security at the entrance of the temple but there was inside and they told us we had to wait until 7:30. So we did, and then we explored this beautiful temple! This one is mostly left unrestored and nature takes over, with trees growing through the cracks of the stone. In my opinion, this was the prettiest temple of all and we were here all alone! AWESOME! 

Fun fact. Tomb Raider has scenes shot in Ta Phromh, we can definitly see why! 

Afterwards, we continued to Banteay Kdei, Ta Keo (a mountain temple, so we had to climb!), Bayon (the temple with over 200 faces!) and finally Angkor Wat itself. We entered here during lunchtime and it was actually really quiet. The detail in the building is amazing! We can write books about all temples, but maybe it’s better to check them out yourself. 

We took our tuk-tuk back to our hotel and took today (Sunday) as a relaxing day and have some proper sleep. Tomorrow will be our last full day in Cambodia as we are taking the bus on Tuesday to our next country!! Want to guess where?