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Bangkok, Siem Reap, The PLF, Battambang and PP.

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Feb 1st, 2012, 02:21 PM
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Bangkok, Siem Reap, The PLF, Battambang and PP.

I have been wanting to make this trip for many years. Our first trip to Asia was Singapore and Malaysia, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Bangkok and Cambodia seemed like a logical second trip. Especially after reading up on Siem Reap and the Ponheary Ly Foundation, I was more and more interested in getting a closer look at Life in this part of the World. The more I read about the Foundation, the more I was already captivated and wanting to lend a hand from afar. I started a fundraiser through the recommended razoo.com page called “Blessed with Bikes and more”.

The fundraiser has been coming along, so I got even more excited about getting to Siem Reap, meeting the founders and visiting one of the schools. Of course we would also visit the temples, etc. but this trip was taking on different emotions in the planning for me.

I spent hours reading up on the Foundation realizing that my mind was slowly focusing towards spreading the word about our intentions there and our trip. So many friends and family across the globe came on board, each in his own way, that the pre-trip excitement was two fold. Touristically visting another part of the world unknown to us… and finally meeting the end destination for our fundraising efforts and the staff on the ground.

This was a journey that I am very happy we took, in every way, at every stop. It was not easy to accept the poverty we saw, but we feel fortunate having made contacts and the new relationships that have been forged.

I will defintely be back . Not sure when, but hopefully sooner than later.

The trip

We got a very good rate on Thai from Madrid non stop to BKK. Having four seats for the two of us was a nice perk, although the legroom on Thai is the best I have had on any of my recent trips from Europe to the USA.

Day 1

We took a metered taxi from the ground floor at arrivals to our hotel alter getting local money at an ATM.

Those of you who followed my hotel research will know that at the very last minute I found a fabulous rate at the Peninsula hotel. We had been deciding between the Adelphi Suites and either of the Marriott serviced apartments as they were all very well recommended. But we were very glad in the end we stayed where we did.

We also accepted to upgrade with breakfast to a one bedroom suite with an extra half bath as our son would be joining us alter the first night. So, even though this changed the price quite a bit from the original budget ( which was my primary concern for months) my husband insisted we upgrade, so we did.

It was well worth every penny.

What I love about this location is being able to watch the river traffic from the room and breakfast terrace, swimming in the pool in the afternoons and lounging in the cabanas.

The hotel boat shuttles across to several drop off piers are very frequent, contrary to many of the other hotels in the area. The Pen shuttles are constantly skirting back and forth, so you never wait more than a few pleasant minutes.

After checking into the room and getting settled we bought the Nancy Chandler map in the hotel gift shop. I was so happy to find it there as a friend was GOING to bring it to me from England, but she ended up not coming over, so this was a blessing to have it from the first day.

YOU NEED THIS MAP! it was about 6E at the hotel.

We took the boat shuttle across the river to the public pier to catch a public boat up to Wat Pho. Just know where you want to get off these convenient quick commuter boats so when the woman comes to sell you a ticket she knows how much to charge you.

We investigated the area, took plenty of photos, had the massage at the school there as there was no line, and then took a crossover boat to Wat Arun on the other side of the river.

It was getting fairly warm, and knowing the tempting pool that was waiting for us back at the Pen overtook our desire to keep "templing". So we crossed back and then took the commuter back to the pier and got home in time for a quick bite to eat and relaxing swim.

Later that evening we walked up Silom street checking out the area and facilities there, ending up at Lebua Towers for an overpriced drink at their Skybar. It certainly has the view of Bangkok, but if you have ever been to Kuala Lumpur skybars, you will not be blown away.

Day 2

We had the better part of the day to ourselves before our son would arrive near dinnertime so we went off on the train to the lovely Jim Thompson complex, enjoying the tour and gift shop immensely.

We later took a klong commuter boat which is found behind the museum and down a ways to the Chidlom mall area. These Klong water boats are a great fast way to zip across the city instead of getting envolved in the heavy traffic . I suggest you try it as it is a real experience.

Now, these boats are much lower than the pier.. so I was a bit reluctant and slow moving trying to step down onto the narrow edge of the boat to get in. I am sure the locals were not very happy as this fat cow probably made them late getting somewhere as I tried to find the safest way to step down with my husband’s help into the boat.

Getting out was easier but if you have very bad knees this may not be for you. Everyone else seemed so nimble. I will have to work on that for next time as I plan to use them more. Also know the name of your stop so you can be charged accordingly.

You see. I am already planning to return!

We took a walk around the interesting food court, then we ordered a drink. Unfortunately my husband was 5 minutes too late to order beer, they said. No more beer after 2pm. ( or maybe it was alter 1 pm.. I don´t remember).

He was a bit disappointed as he had been salivating thinking about one of the numerous ice cold beers displayed. Just 15 minutes later we saw them take a TRAY of ice cold beers to a nearby table.

Of course we then asked again for one for DH. They still said no.. it was too late. They explained those OTHER beers had been ordered and PAID for before the deadline.
An unusual system, reminding us of a trip to London 40 years ago where we couldn’t figure out when we could have a beer, a milkshake or something from the grill! Now we are aware.

Good to know. Maybe a local can chime in to tell us what time is the cut off time and when do they start up again at food malls? Is this system city- wide?

As suggested by many here, the food courts at the malls are a wonderful place to be able to see and try many different foods of many different styles when you need a quick snack. It is well priced also and has a very pleasant atmosphere and air conditioning!

But our evening meal with our son at Tongue Thai was very, very good. After a delicious dinner of recommended dishes by the chef and ideas from posts here, morning glories, pad thai with soft shelled crab,egg rolls,eggplant salad, shrimp with garlic, for dessert mango sticky rice and banana with honey, 4 beers and a large water, the bill came to 2,500THB.

We then retired to our comfy beds to enjoy a real night’s sleep.
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 12:10 AM
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Great start - keep it coming!
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 01:59 AM
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The next morning we found a laundry place on one of the backstreets behind the Shangri-La. We later continued on to the grand Palace by boat.

Now, the day before we had successfully ignored all mentions by a fellow in the street that the Jim Thompson house we were approaching was closed. I had read here that this is a typical scam to try to get you into their tuk tuk to go off shopping for hours. The JT complex was NOT closed. My husband chuckled that I should KNOW about this scam. Thanks to Fodors, of course!

Well, near the Grand Palace we approached a side entrance but the “hatted guard” standing under the small archway told us that it was closed until 1 pm.

We then walked furthur on to what we thought was the main entrance and found several tourists attentively listening to a “very nice English speaking “ guide looking type person with a plastic ID hanging around his neck, informing us of the same…that the Palace was closed today ( Monk’s day) until 1 pm, but there were a lot of Wats nearby ..(showed everyone the maps) that could be seen in the meantime.

So, believing all this.. we, and many others, made a Plan B with a tuk tuk driver for what seemed a pittance to go see a couple Wats and then come back.

You can read the whole episode here. We knew it was a scam with in a few minutes but just went along for the ride, but actually did feel sequestered alter the third or fourth shop.

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...where-else.cfm

We DID get to see some additional Wats, and actually bought nothing, but still, it was an experience I don´t need to repeat. However, a journalist in a local magazine says his friends take great advantage of this scam and have seen all parts of the city for almost nothing , so it CAN be put to good use if you so desire.

After a long day of tuk tukking, and more Photo ops at the Palace and other Wats than can be imagined, we headed back to our oasis, stopping for a foot massage along a small street near the laundry drop off.

Later that evening our dinner at Harmonique did not disappoint but I am sorry to say for some reason I didn´t take notes here of what we had. I just remember it was a lovely atmosphere and deserves a visit.

Day 3

We ventured up to the Golden Buda, (Wat Traimit) by taxi, saw monk’s houses at Wat Sampha and enjoyed meandering long narrow alleys to the Leng Noi Yee temple. There was a lot of decorating going on in preparation for the Chinese new Year. Sweeping, cleaning, painting. The streets were jammed with last minute shoppers. The shops in the area would be closed for five days, we were told, so the lines of people, cars and taxis were massive.

We were all very hot. DH was getting grumpy, tired, fed up with the traffic , honking and general difficulty walking along the sidewalk. The sidewalks sometimes are so occupied with food stalls and people milling around them that you move faster in the street next to the cars.

I got out the N. Chandler map and saw that there was a revolving restaurant not too far away: The Grand China Princess. So off we went. Unfortunately, it had already closed for lunch and dinnertime was far away so we opted for a cool drink in the lobby area.

We were ready to get back to the hotel and pool but couldn´t find a metered taxi that would take us so we headed to the nearby Old Siam local mall to check out their ground floor food court, later going up to the 3rd floor where our son had a very good Pad Thai dish for $1.
We endured some down time here with a cold drink and were serenaded by what could have been the equivalent of Thai flamenco singers. There was a small group listening attentively to these artists, but the music was not pleasant to our Western ears. Some parts were very shrill and reminded me of flamenco lamentations . I imagine it takes some getting used to to fully appreciate it.

Partially rested we decided to walk to Wat Rajaburana and then through the delightful flower market. What a feast for the eyes. The abundance of orchids and other flowers put a smile on our tired faces. Our photos do not do justice to the burst of color we saw at every stand. I love the hanging decorations and wreath type articles they make from all sizes of small flowers for donations at the temples.

We found The Deck restaurant fairly easily. It is across from Wat Arun and has a spectacular view at night when the Wat is majestically lit up. We had a few dishes including Sea bass with garlic, pork with ginger, spring rolls, mushrooms and sauce, beer and water for 900THB. Do make reservations to get a table with a view. We had no reservations and did not have "the view" but were able to take photos of course.

We were lucky to find a metered taxi alter a couple attempts back to the hotel pier. Our son opted for a massage while we went down to the pool for awhile.

At the end of every day we couldn’t help but give thanks for being able to enjoy such a wonderful trip.

Day 4

Our bike tour day! Now this was exceptionally relaxing alter being in the city . I highly recommend this organization. It is locally owned and the guide was a sweetheart. The train ride alone was fun and we met some fun village people who were so anxious to see "the foreigners" this guide brings to their towns.

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...ar-bangkok.cfm
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 05:01 AM
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This trip planning was made so much easier with all the help from everyone's posts. I should have thanked you all at the beginning of this second attempt to post my report. The amount of information available to us here is never-ending. You can invest as many hours as you want and just keep getting more recommendations!
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 05:25 AM
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Day 5 The Jewel of Bangkok

I forgot to mention at the beginning that make sure you wear comfortable and easily removable shoes as you will need to take them off before entering temples. Also, no bare shoulders, men or women, and no shorts for either . The length of the shorts that were allowed seemed to change from place to place across Cambodia also. It is a good idea for men and women to have a large wrap they can use if necessary, and if you want to buy one, there were some simple, attractive well priced ones here at this museum complex.

The Vinamenk Museum and the Royal Throne Hall are two compulsory stops in Bangkok. They are both included in your Grand Palace ticket and must be both visited on the same day. However, they need not be visited on the same day as the Grand Palace, nor wpuld I suggest even attempting that.

Do not miss BOTH these buildings and give yourself plenty of time to enjoy each and every piece of artisan work.

We took a taxi up to this area starting first at the Vinamenk museum, the largest teak wood building, also visiting the small exhibition houses on the property. They are filled with photographic testimony of the King and his family, their outings, and his love for music and entertainment. two of the houses also have some information about the Royal Elephants which was worth reading about.

It was like flicking thorough personal family photo albums and very interesting. The King has played in a band with several well known musicians and has the photos to prove it. He is quite a talented individual and very much respected.

On the grounds between the Museum and then the Royal throe hall there is a cute greenhouse type structure of a coffee snack shop that proved to be just what we needed after al the walking and reading. We enjoyed some smoothie, macadamia ice cream and another beverage. It was air conditioned and only one other person was there when we arrived.

The most outstanding detail of the RTH is that the majority of the intricate sculpted panels and wall coverings had been made just in the last 10 years by artisans from the Royal Training Center. To have hundreds of people spend a couple years carving these panels was just mind-boggling. It is wonderful they are keeping the tradition alive . You will not leave here unimpressed!

This Hall has a nice gift shop, but no small book about the building and its contents. We also visited a temporary exhibit of amazing embroidered picture scenes that were from a contest in many provinces of the country. The work is absolutely unbelievable. At times you think you are looking at a water-color and not threads.

Off to find the monk bowl making community! We did find it, but are not sure we saw it "all" as once we tried to go further down and alley, a young woman with broken English told us "there was a biting dog down there".. and not to go. We watched some of the pounding and decided against a purchase . It was fun to feel we stumbled upon it all.

Chinatown is full of streets of one particular item. Doors, guns, etc. Wandering is just entertaining sometimes. The N. Chandler map has all of this marked everywhere which really helps when you find yourself somewhere and wondering what is nearby.
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 10:03 AM
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great reporting. glad you love Penn.. its the best!!
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 02:07 PM
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Off to a great start, LC. I've been looking forward to your report!

This was a journey that I am very happy we took, in every way, at every stop.

Sounds like your trip was very much like ours.
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 02:18 PM
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Our last afternoon was spent on a longtail boat along some canals not far from the Penn. This trip was definitely not worth the money. I am sure these are not the nice canals to visit so don't bother with it in this area. The most interesting thing we saw was a large monitor lizard basking on a dock under a tree.

We had also made reservations for three massages up at the Ruen -Nuad massage house that is recommended as a favorite on the N. Chandler map. Perhaps the three women were tired as it was the last hour of the day for them. Perhaps it is the quaint surroundings that are so attractive, but we were disappointed in this massage. The house it is in is very nice and authentic but the massages were very mediocre. Funny how easy it is to compare after having a few consecutive ones.

We went around the corner for dinner at "Eat Me",a trendy pricey place that can get loud, but the food was tasty.

A large, rowdy, wild group up on the third floor was playing some game SCREAMING between lulls of silence, annoying several tables near us. We all asked to be moved outside once tables were free, as we couldn't even talk to each other. The staff was also surprised at this group whom we later found out were local bankers. We decided they were all howling over their bonuses.

There was live music but you couldn´t hear it with the noise created by these happy bankers.

We were unable to get any taxi this evening to put the meter on after dinner ( something we got fairy tired of) and the tuk tuks go wild with prices when they see foreigners, charging close to what it costs to go to the airport.. so we finally opted for the train back to the pier. Fortunately it was not far away.

Our luxury portion of the trip was coming to an end. We were packing and I couldn't help think about what the next week would bring as far as impressions and experiences go. The rest of the trip would be much more intimate and personal, and at times very emotional.

But it seems we couldn´t leave Bangkok and the Penn without an incident!

After a lovely relaxed breakfast feast we asked the concierge to hail us a metered taxi to the airport and preferably a van , as we were three adults and three large cases. They said sometimes it can take awhile, and I said. "no problem. We were not in a hurry".

A taxi van pulls up a few minutes later.They reconfirm to me it is a metered taxi, and once inside I repeat about the meter to the driver since it still was not on as we were closing the doors.

He gives me a look and puts it on.

He never asked us for the tolls, so when we arrived at the airport we asked him how much it was, and he said 1,000THB. ( The meter was 300+ or so).

We gave him 400+ and he thrust the money back at us saying "The people of Thailand invite you to this taxi.We can pay for you if you cannot pay the 1,000. Why you tell the hotel METER? This to airport is no meter. It is 1,000 to airport in this taxi. You can call my company. The money is not for me. You take your money".

He left us there with a company card and drove off leaving us with our mouths open.

When we arrived in Cambodia, i wrote the hotel and asked them exactly what they thought happened and insisted that we wanted to pay for this taxi. If it was 1,000THB then that is what we will pay, but I did not understand what had gone on.

Needless to say, the hotel told us they would let us know how this problem was resolved. We would find out on our return one nighter the following week that the Penn almost broke their contract with this new company over this "funny business" he pulled on us, as they called it, and have banned that particular driver from serving their clients.

Anyway. All's well that ends well.

I was feeling very excited about getting to Siem Reap. The rest of the trip was going to be more of an adventure I thought, and was not wrong.

We had a pleasant flight with Bangkok Airways. We had signed up on their program so we had 10 extra kilos in case we needed it, but were unaware of their free lounge on the outgoing trip. We did use it on the return only because the agent mentioned it to us and told us where it was.

Communication is everything, isn't it?

Cambodia coming up
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 02:19 PM
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mr_go. Looking at your beautiful pics I feel we were following each other !
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 11:08 PM
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Reflections on Bangkok.

It is a city that grows on you. The river is its soul. The city has everything you could ever want. Good food. Sites to see. Excellent artisan work. Inexpensive taxis. But I still do not like to deal with tuks tuks there. We were never given a logical price for any run, thus never used them except for the Palace scam where they told us a low price for zipping us up to a couple Wats.

The countryside is just outside the city limits and will certainly give you a good feeling of the agricultural society that lies beyond.

Next time I am lucky to go , I will definitely search out some dance entertainment. By the end of the warm, humid days, most evenings we were ready to call it quits after dinner, early or late, it didn´t matter! A day or two with Tong is also on the list.
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 12:54 AM
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Lin I too didn't know about the free BA lounge until the 3 rd flight we took with them..... Your trip report is great. It's making me wish I was in BKK.
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 02:13 AM
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When we actually went into the airport we were quite glad we had given ourselves plenty of time. Wow! What a busy place for check-in. Since they funnel everyone into one long line in each section, it is quite impressive at the beginning. I am sure many congratulating themsleves for being cautious about the time needed to check - in.

There were kiosks to do self check-in, but this was our first time on Bangkok A. so I was a little overweight ( with the luggage, too, (ha ha) by now) so I felt the counter was a safer bet for us.

The line moved very well, so the wait was not nearly as excruciating as it had appeared to us at the beginning.

We enjoyed strolling through the "mall" and settled into our seats for the short one hour flight to Siem Reap.

We flew over non-impressive fields but felt we were in a different world when we disembarked and saw the architecture of the small airport. It has a typical ornate roof .

We walked into the airport and had wished we had done VOA since the line took almost 45 minutes or longer to get your visa on site. Of course, maybe our luggage took awhile, but this wait was much longer than I had hoped for. It seems only a handful of people did VOA as all of us were in the visa line. it was a full flight, so that, too, has an effect.

Our driver was waiting for us with the 7 Candles Guesthouse van. It was comforting to have someone meet us, as we usually just take a taxi . So this was a real treat for us.

As those of you who have been to SR know, the ride from the airport is nothing to write home about. An article written by a young man from SR said that" the people thank their ancestors everyday for building the temples, because otherwise.. why would people come here?".

We got settled into our two rooms, met some of the staff and founders, and then our son took one of the bikes to check out the area. 7 Candles is a very clean, basic guesthouse that is managed by the family of Ponheary Ly,( the founder of www.theplf.org) and Lori Carlson. The staff is charming. Their laundry service is wonderful. I think they have the best breakfasts in town. The Vietnamese coffee they serve is fabulous, as well as their crepes and pancakes and fruit and muesli. Our son liked their noodles also.

The rooms have AC, the toilet and shower share the same floor in the bathroom, you are advised to use mineral water to brush your teeth, asked to not clog toilets with paper and there is WIFI plus a guest computer on the mezzanine which has a lovely terrace to sit on watching the traffic buzz by. The beds were comfortable. The AC worked. We watched some news on the small TV. We had a fridge in the room and clean towels everyday.They also have a nice gift shop that helps support fair trade of some hill tribes and local artists.

But .. there is no pool. But do not worry! The Frangipani Hotel a few doors down will let you use theirs if you consume at LEAST $5 of food and drink. There is a dressing area with shower and pool towels. it is very nice and much welcomed after temple trekking.

Be patient during your meal, as even when the place is empty it seems to take forever to get anything brought to the table. Not a place if you are in a hurry. You must swim immediately after the meal.. not several hours later, if you planned to come back later in the evening.

SR is a place where you feel free. You can ride down to the river. Pass a market. Check out a Wat or two. Stop at a trendy coffee shop with free wifi. It is a lovely sleepy place that has a vibe of its own. SR and then Battambang were our favorite stops.

After delivering the suitcase of goods brought from Spain for the Foundation and handing in the wonderful amount of cash friends had given me for the PLF and doing some paper work we ventured off in a tuk tuk to the other side of the river to stroll and meet up later with our son at the FCC for a drink to compare notes.
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 02:31 AM
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I should have said "they MUST have the best breakfasts in town" because I certainly had not much to compare with except my own palate and two days we ate elsewhere, which was good, but the 7 Candles´ offerings seemed the tastiest!
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 03:48 AM
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Marking this for later..I can't wait to read about my Valencian friend's adventures in SEAsia!!
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 04:33 AM
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Madam Eks knows everybody!

Great report Linda.
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 05:39 AM
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Aren't we lucky!! I just want to eat everyplace eks eats.. forever.
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 06:48 AM
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oops! backtrack. First we met up with our son a short ways down the street at Selantra,a small, clean restaurant that quickly put us at a table with menus although I am sure it was not mealtime for anyone. We just ordered some spring rolls and drinks and waited for our son to stop by to plan the rest of our free afternoon.

We then walked down to the river ( or maybe we took a tuk tuk.. not sure) and wandered around the Wat, ending up at the FCC where we had arranged to meet our son later for a light dinner by the pool. I later read they have an upstairs rooftop, but was unaware of that. It is probably very nice indeed.

We also visited the McDermott (?) Gallery nearby, bought a few photo cards and enjoyed the many small boutiques on or near the FCC property. We took a tuk tuk back "home" and set the alarm for our 4:45am wake-up to go to Angkor Wat for sunrise with the driver, whom we had yet to meet. I had read about him on a post at Thorn Tree.

You should have seen the look on my husband's face when I told him the wake up plan! Anyway. He's a good sport and thought this was one of those "off the beaten path" type things I had cooked up, intimate, something to inspire you and write home about. None of us realized the HOARDS of people that would be pouring into that area at that ungodly hour!

And it was at this moment that I realized I had not brought the two flashlights I had meant to get batteries for and were still on a bed or night stand in the room I had begun to pack my bag.

Oh well.

When people suggest you bring a flashlight, they aren't kidding. It was dark, trying to walk on uneven slabs of stone. You can imagine. Since there were so many clever tourists there, we just followed closely behind a group that ALL had flashlights ( must have been Japanese or Germans or just plain organized travelers) and were doing a great job of marking the trail!

A flashlight is also nice for inside the temples to better see some engravings on the walls higher up.

OK. So now . Where do we go? Where's the best place? You pass thorugh a door frame onto a small space full of steps and ledges and people are still pouring in behind you..Some rude people started actually sitting on the ONLY steps for us to get down into the lower area., making it all the more difficult to maneuver.

It was like getting a good seat for the 4 th of July Bruce Springsteen concert park picnic but not knowing where the band was going to be set up. People were congregating everywhere.

We finally decided to split up. Our son wanted to go "there" my husband thought it was better over "here". I needed some water by this time and had not taken the bottle the driver offered me. So off I went to the food stall section with all the souvenirs and got my first heavy of attack of

"buy from me.. please.. how much you pay?.. I give you discount.. Maybe not now but you come back and remember me, mam.. business no good today".

We wandered around, waiting for the sun to completely rise and cast its magic glow on this mysterious people's palace.

I am sure SOMEONE got good shots. You see them in the books all the time But as far as I was concerned.. it was a bit overcast and not worth all the hoopdala of messing with it. Maybe there is a magic place to go.. to see. But with all these crowds and busloads of people, tripod after tripod, it was a joy to get away from them on the "other" side of the temple and not really worry too much about the sunrise. We just enjoyed the place before it got mobbed.

Once back with the driver, he wisely suggested we not go back to the hotel and continue on to other temples as most busloads go back, have breakfast, clean up and then don't get back on the road for awhile. This is a great window of opportunity to see some more temples with as few people as possible. So that is what we did.

By then end of the morning and Ta Bayan and Wat Thom we took a much needed lunch break need before heading to Angelina Jolie famous Ta Prohm. We saw even more temples during this huge loop, and enjoyed reading about them afterwards in detail. Maybe that was reverse procedure but I didn´t want to get more overdosed on info than necessary. This temple trekking is heavy duty if you don´t watch out and know how much of it "you can take" or want to know.

We decided our last day to go back to two of them. Of course we gave Angkor Wat its deserved extra few hours and then went to look up some amazing, actually perhaps the most impressive, carvings we had MISSED in a trench at the Leper's terrace.

Tuk vs. AC car for nearby temples.

There is something romantic and easy going taking a tuk tuk to the nearby temples. The breeze helps dry the perspiration off your face and blows in your hair. It is quite calming and since they go fairly slowly, a very relaxed way to do this. The compacted dirt road helps muffle the sound of the passing vehicles.

However, an AC car is the way I like to go to the further out temples. 2 hours+ in a dusty tuk tuk versus an hour+ in a closed car makes for a more comfortable trip. I only say this so when arranging transportation you decide which mode and where you are going .

On the way back to town i had mentioned we wanted to go see some authentic Apsara/Khmer dancing so we were taken to the Kuelen restaurant/show place and made a reservation only for the show as I was a bit leery of a buffet on my first night in SR. For $6 each we had good seats and enjoyed a wonderful show with beautiful graceful dancers and authentic background music. The buffet was only $6 more, drinks separate,( from $1.50-$3.50) and people did seem to be enjoying it. I later read back at 7 candles that this is the show they most recommend to their guests. So, the driver did good!

My family crashed back at the hotel but I had the driver take me to the Blue Pumpkin I had read about. I got my Blackberry to work on Wifi there, ordered a mango yogurt shake and sent my family a picture to invite them to join me!

No takes on that so I went back to the hotel, showered,( oh that felt sooo good) took a short rest, checked emails on house computer and waited for our driver to get us and take us to the show.

He later took us to Khmer Kitchen where we had a decent, reasonably priced meal and let him go home and took a tuk tuk home later.

The next day was Beng Melea which we really liked. After a hearty breakfast at the house Vuthy picked us up at 9 a.m. to start our day. By this time he was also chatting with the founders of the Foundation and enjoying meeting the other people at our guesthouse. It is a real family feeling there. Our sweet driver had a very good impression of the local people he met.
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 01:08 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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We have some awesome pictures from Baeng melea. I LOVEd the pics at the McDermott gallery and am still regretting not buying a print from there.
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 02:24 PM
  #19
 
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I'm really enjoying your report. I love it when someone we advise goes and has a marvelous time!
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 02:48 PM
  #20
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I just love following everyone's footsteps!
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