Sunday, July 14, 2013

Short weekend in Cambodia

Nicholas and I headed to Cambodia for a Samsung-sponsored long weekend. Nicholas got the Monday off for some anniversary of Samsung something or other. Regardless, we knew we had to take advantage and get out of Korea to see some of SE Asia. We had Angkor Wat on our list of things to see and after seeing the flights worked perfectly for a weekend getaway, we booked and planned to be wow'ed. 
Our first flight schedule, on day 1
Since Nicholas was going to be heading directly from the office that Friday night, he decided to carry his own passport and meet me at the airport... The best laid plans of mice and men oft' go astray. In his hurry to leave the office, he left his passport at his desk. As anyone here in Seoul knows, rush hour traffic is horrible in general and even worse on a Friday evening. Although several of our friends were also leaving town that night and were still at the office, the chances of one of them making it to the airport in time for us to make our flight were slim. We gave it a go and waited for Rafel to arrive... instead of taking the typical hour or so, it took him almost 2 full hours to arrive, well past our flight departure. We arranged to take the only flight out the next day and headed home.

Finally at the gate, day 2. 
Our driver for the weekend
We arrived late into Siem Reap the following day and checked into our hotel. After chatting with the French owners, we headed to bed to get a bit of rest before our 4:30am wake up call to make it to the temples for the sunrise. It was extremely hot, humid and buggy in Cambodia. At 5am, it was fresh and cool, but by 630am the heat was on full blast. We saw all the main temples and some of the second-tier temples in Angkor wat our first day. We then headed back to Siem Reap for lunch, a ridiculously cheap massage, a stroll around town, dinner and an early night.

One of the temples of Angkor Wat, love the trees!!
Angkor Wat details
The next day we planned to head to Beng Melea to see one of the temples that hasn't been restored and is crumbling. Not too long ago, the roads were not in good enough condition to make the journey feasible except for the most adventurous. I have a feeling we probably would have gone previously, but now with good roads it was a no-brainer. This temple was really breathtaking and worth the 1-2 hour journey to get there. After a couple hours exploring, we grabbed lunch (more curry and fish amok and lots and lots of coconuts) before we headed back to the hotel for a swim. We rested, packed our bags then went back to town for another massage and dinner. We were definitely Cambodia'ed out by the end of our second day, so really, it was a blessing that Nicholas did not have his passport Friday night. We were both so happy to head back home.

Curry and Fish Amok served in Coconuts with Coconut water! 
Beng Mealea, love the roots!
Fallen stones with bas relief
I cannot imagine not seeing the temples in Cambodia, but we both felt a bit frustrated with the advantage they take of the tourists. I know you will get that in many places like Cambodia and we are truly blessed to have been able to have this experience. I cannot heartily recommend a trip here, but if you have always wanted to see the temples wrapped in the roots of ancient trees and the lush and beauty of the nature, then this is a place you cannot miss.

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