Visited December 2011
Day 5: Angkor Wat & Tonle Sap
Before we knew it, it was our last day in Siem Reap, as we woke up early to head out to Ang Wat to catch the sunrise. Having been declared a UNESCO site, it is no surprise that there will be many tourists and shuttlebugs hovering around the area, trying to get the perfect shot with their cameras. We were no different, as we tried to squeeze our way along with the rest, hoping to snag that ‘perfect spot’. But I guess fate was not on my side for we arrived a tad too late, and Angkor Wat was due for reconstruction works.
Disappointed? Well, yes for me, as I felt like I have travelled many miles just to see scaffoldings surrounding the beloved temple. Not to mention that I bought a Nikon D7000 just for the trip, and it was its virgin shoot. Nonetheless, I do understand that the restoration works were for the betterment of the place, and I do hope that the picture I took does some justice to how lovely the historical place was, with or without the reconstruction works.
We went on to the inner complex of the temple after catching our sunrise shot, and there, I found out that the carvings on one of the walls told the story about the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. I find it surreal how I finally saw it in real life after studying about them in history when I was just in secondary two.
After lunch, we headed to our last pit stop of Siem Reap, the Tonle Sap River, where we visited Kompong Phluk, a floating village in northern-central Cambodia.
Tonle Sap is interesting, as its water volume can shrink and swell vastly due to the seasonal changes. The area is home to many Vietnamese and Cham communities, and unfortunately, due to the poor water conditions, their average lifespan is about 20-30 years of age.
While it has become somewhat of a tourist attraction, the place does give some insight into the living conditions of the people there. It also does help make us feel appreciated with what we have back home. Though life can be more stressful where we are from, but I guess there are merits and demerits for each country.
For those looking to buy something home, as we are not the type to buy trinkets, Madam Sachiko’s Angkor Cookies are something worth considering. Made by Cambodians using Cambodian products, the company hopes to increase work opportunities for Cambodian people, so that they will be able to live independently. With such noble causes, plus the fact that their cookies are really delicious, it’s hard not to support them. There is also a café next door, called Café Puka Puka, selling an array of desserts and drinks.
Return flight: MI 633
Depart: 16:35 Arrive Danang: 17:50
Depart: 18:30 Arrive: 22:15 (4 hours 40 min)