Ashley Zoch

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Angkor What?

I flew into Siem Reap, Cambodia early on Wednesday morning and was met by a Tuk-Tuk that took me to the Shadow of Angkor Guesthouse. I reserved a $10 a night room with a fan and a bathroom that was up the steepest set of stairs I've seen yet. The guesthouse had a great French colonial style bar next door where I spent a few lazy evenings listening to the Australian Ex-Pat radio DJ and enjoying an Angkor beer or two.

Entering Bayon in Angkor Thom.

Cambodians drive on the right side. It took about 30 minutes on the road for this to become apparent.

An unofficial guide inside Bayon.

I Tuk-tuk'ed straight out of the guesthouse to the Angkor temples - home of the largest religious building in the world Angkor Wat. The temple gates are populated by stall after stall of local wares and cold drinks ("Mister, You want Cold Drink?"). Kids swarm every visitor with postcards and wooden flutes. Somewhere around 70% of the Khmer people are under 14 years old due to the violence Cambodia has been subjected to over the past 30 years or so. One of the Lonely Planet guides says to keep in mind that they're "pretty young" and I found it good advice. They're a lot of fun to joke around with and they smile constantly.

An Aspara dancer at Bayon.

I took a pretty random trek through some of the temples. Ta Prohm was the most impressive as it has been left to fend for itself against the savage jungle and is being ripped apart by enormous tree roots. The temples all have scally-wags who sidle up to you and start an impromptu tour with the expectation of a few dollars at the end. One fellow who attached himself to me at Ta Prohm was really quite helpful and showed me a few good photo locations. He also introduced me to the temple guardian Mr. Nim who appears on the cover of the Lonely Planet Cambodia guide (it's hard to get away from those darn Lonely Planet books - especially when kids are selling knock-offs for $3 outside every temple). Ta Prohm is also the temple where Tomb Raider was filmed in 2001.

Chewing the fat with Mr. Nim at Ta Prohm.

I finished off a hot day of walking around at the guesthouse bar and exchanged some English and Khmer lessons with one of the waiters. I only got as far as Hello and Thank-You in Khmer, but he did a better job than me trying to explain the difference between the words No and Not in English.
Tree roots ripping Ta Prohm apart (slowly).

Our friend Lau's business ventures seem to have made it as far as Cambodia already, albeit with a slight variation on the name (presumably from conversion to Khmer).

Beer Lao.


  • hi,

    just wondering how you found the shadows of angkor guesthouse... am looking for a good, recommended and safe budget hotel to stay in siem reap!

    By Anonymous rachel, at 6:42 PM  

  • Yes it was great. I can recommend it. I think it was $10 US a night.

    By Blogger Ashley, at 6:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home