Siem Reap

We took what has to be up there with one of the shortest charter flights in the world. The Lonely Planet guide book let us down with our hotel choice and Marcus in particular is not impressed with our dated abode.
Our success continued with a mediocre dinner, however we soon rectified this by crossing the river and walking around the lively streets and markets whilst stopping in pub street to partake in some happy hour beverages.

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Siem Reap is the home of Angkor Wat and before going to the real temples we took a morning jaunt to see the miniature models made by a very talented man and housed in his garden. Molly loved roaming around pretending she was Godzilla. All of her monster antics wore her out so Marcus and I stopped for a smoothie and attacked booking.com with gusto trying to finish booking some flights and hotels for our constantly changing itinerary.

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For lunch we dined at Red Piano – a ‘fave’ of Angelina Jolie’s when she was filming Tomb Raider. Molly was as good as gold so we treated her to a new t-shirt from the market – such a lucky girl.

We took a gamble and booked a random Tuk Tuk driver off the street for our adventure to Angkor Wat. It paid off! Mr Mony was perfect, a true gent with fab English and super knowledge of the temples. We ended up using him several times during our Siem Reap stay and fully recommend him to anyone coming here.

We purchased a 1 day ticket in the end as they’ve handily increased the prices to just under 100% as of 1st Feb!!! The ticket does allow you entrance from 5pm the day before – so we made it to the main Angkor Wat temple for sunset! It was very busy but great to do a recce before our full day.

We left the hotel at 4:30am, Molly was so excited to be allowed to get up rather than shushed back to sleep like usual! It was pitch black, eerie, yet strangely romantic being amongst crowds of people all waiting for the same natural spectacle. It didn’t disappoint. The purple hue of the sky mirrored over the water lily pond and we were soon entering the main temple as the first visitors of the day.

Molly loved walking around Bayon, scrambling after the cheeky monkeys and pointing to all the gigantic faces on the walls.

Molly and I were not allowed into Baphoun, she was under 12years old and I dared to have my shoulders out – sacrilegious!! Marcus said it was incredibly steep with amazing views of the grand entrance.

We walked through a wooded area to see the Grand Palace and around the Elephant Terrace (mum – you’ll be pleased to know Molly’s elephant impression is coming on leaps and bounds!) before hopping back onto our shady Tuk Tuk and heading over to Ta Phrom.

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Ta Phrom is the temple set in the jungle where the architecture battles to hold its ground over the huge tree roots. We saw the most amount of excavation here. It’s also the home of the set for the original Tomb Raider. Neither Marcus or I have seen the film but agreed it would have been a great location (and I tried my hardest to do my best Lara Croft impression).

For such an early start we were dead on our feet, Molly had teared around the temples at amazing pace for such little legs and only managed a short 10 minute snooze as she was too excited to miss out. She still didn’t want to sleep once we were back at the hotel so we took her back to the Red Piano where she could devour a kids meal and be cuddled by all of her adoring fans, the lovely staff.

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A good night sleep was needed by us all and we all woke up feeling refreshed. Well, Molly woke us at 5am and then preceded to bed hog my mattress and sleep until gone 8am!!
We headed out of town for a ridiculously hard course of crazy golf. It was so much fun! Molly snoozed in the shade and Marcus thrashed me – although I blame my phobias, the noisy cockerel and butterfly’s putting me off my stroke!

We headed back to hotel for a bit of well deserved R&R. We took a dip in the roof top jacuzzi and I headed over the road to the ‘spa’ for a massage – I swear the place was a brothel – I have never felt so unrelaxed in my life! A final dinner and a farewell drink in The Red Piano and we waved Cambodia goodbye. I’m so pleased we ended the country on a high – although the airport shenanigans on our departure put a stop to that but I’ll save that for another time! X

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7-11th February

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