Temple Run

7 September 2015
Siem Reap


In the short 10 minutes I’m awake, I’ve deduced my 2 fatal mistakes. 
#1, I shouldn’t have chosen the top bunk. 
#2, I shouldn’t have drank so much last night. 
On the bright side, at least I didn’t get a hangover. I stumbled out of bed, nearly fell to my death or at least bodily injury and took a shower. Then I scaled up the ladder again like a three-legged cat and frantically grabbed my gears: my camera, notebook, drawstring bag, extra scarf, moneybag, my passport and nearly stumbled to my death again. I should have the foresight to pack the night before. On that note, I left the hostel.

Sok San Road is frightfully quiet at 4.30am. To be honest, I wasn’t really paying attention to what’s going on. All I have in mind was Farkkkkk! I couldn’t get to Public Bank!, since that’s the rendezvous. The driver (Rafin) didn’t know where Kochi-Ke is and I thought Public Bank is just nearby. Turns out I couldn’t trust my sense of direction. Thankfully another tuk-tuk driver (Tuktuk B) appeared and took me there for free, if that Rafin didn’t turn up, he’ll be my guide instead. He was insistent and I was tired of walking around in circles, so I took up his offer. True to our arrangement, I saw Rafin waiting for me right in front of the bank. I felt like I took advantage of Tuktuk B and I felt really bad about it. So, I wished him luck and shook his hand. On hindsight, I should have paid him something for his effort. Sorry.

It’s interesting to see people on the streets at an ungodly 5am. Tuktuks and motorcycles are loaded with tourists; some looked excited, some looked really sleepy. I wonder what I look like to other people? Rafin isn’t keen to start a conversation so early in the morning and I can’t blame him either. Soon we reached the ticketing counter and I bought my ticket to Angkor Wat!

Angkor Wat in the morning is gorgeous. Skies were clear and streaked with orange and pink. The grand monument reflected off the pond. Photographers lining the edge of the grass with their gears all set up, waiting for the perfect moment of sunrise. Casual tourists like myself walked around, some talking, some taking selfies, some dreary-eyed and some trying to fend off the persistent Cambodian merchants. Might be the inexperience talking, but I have never seen a more insistent bunch or merchants. Seriously, A+ for the effort.

Angkor Wat in the morning

I left the pond and headed towards the main temple. I wandered around the complex and leeched off a couple with a guide, trying my hardest to decipher the thick Cambodian accent. Eventually I gave up and went into the temple. The air is still in the temple, like nothing’s been changed since thousands of years ago. I remember the sudden breathlessness I felt when I entered. It was eerily quiet at that time, with the majority of tourists still basking in the magnificent sunrise outside. I strolled around, trying to make sense of carvings on the wall. There’s a line of headless statues standing by the wall in a corridor somewhere near the exit of Angkor Wat. It’s strange, I’ve never seen these statues before, but I felt the air of sadness that these statues radiated. I didn’t know what happened to them because I did no research about it (bad mistake,  guys). Only later did I know that the sculptures were beheaded by the Khmer Rouge to fund the war. Angkor Wat is not my favourite, but I left feeling respect for it.

A random outdoor corridor of Angkor Wat. I think you
can actually fall off and break a leg if you’re not careful

Headless statues at Angkor Thom

Bayon is my favourite. I was looking at the carvings at a wall and a Cambodian man sneaked up to me, really subtly. He started talking about the history of the temple and what the carvings meant. I was so fascinated by what he’s telling me that I didn’t realize his knowledge came with a price. He told me he worked for an orphanage and the money I gave him would be donations for that orphanage. Yeah, I’ll believe you when hell freezes over. He did a good job explaining the things to me, so I gave him $5. It’s not enough for him as he kept asking for other currency. Yeah, not gonna happen man. So, look out for yourself.

Standing among giants
A shot to indulge my ‘tour guide’ who
reeeaallllyyy wants to take my picture

Temple fatigue is a bitch. I paced myself throughout the whole temple run, but still got hit pretty badly. There are 7 temples in the itinerary that Rafin wanted to bring me. By the end of Baphuon (3rd or 4th?), I was ready to throw in the towel and go home. The temples seem to merge together and lose their uniqueness. I cared less and less for the structures and the stories behind all of it. I couldn’t remember shit about the temples I’ve visited between Baphuon and Ta Prohm, which was the last temple of the day.

By 12pm, I was ready to go back to the hostel. Rafin was very reluctant to take me. I think he was afraid that I wouldn’t pay him the whole sum. I didn’t pushed him to either as I wanted to get my money’s worth. Wrong decision. Temples should be enjoyed, not skimmed through. Going through the motions but not enjoying the discovery of stories isn’t getting your money’s worth. I could just form a group at my hostel and go when I’m less burnt out. Somebody goes to Angkor Wat everyday anyway.

The famous tomb raider temple

Ta Prohm- the Tomb Raider temple- is a pretty sight for sore eyes, brains and body. Willow tress lined the way to the temple. Landmine victims sold their CDs in a hut by the side of the road, playing traditional Khmer music with what I assume to be traditional music instruments. They smiled and called me in hopesthat I would buy their CD. It’s a little inspiring to see, actually. Some of them are a limb or two short, but they got creative with their bodies and found a place in the band. I especially liked their sign. “We are not useless. We are trying to make our living. Please help.”

I like to call them guardians of the temples,
I’m not really sure who they are though 

I took the scenic route in Ta Phrom, which is going around the temple. Gigantic stones covered by moss laid by the side of the temple wall, stacked on top of each other. The current restoration efforts means that there are cranes in the temples. It takes the magic out of the forests, sure, but it’s nice to see efforts being made to restore Ta Prohm to it’s former glory. You know what’s really nice? To not hear people yelling at each other and to be in the way of other people’s photos. The only thing I could hear are birds chirping in a distance and an occasional click of a camera. For the first time in my life, I felt the healing powers of the colour green. While I was leisurely strolling around, I felt calm and rested, even though half an hour ago, I was hot and bothered. The famous temple entangled in the giant tree root is somewhere towards the end of the walk. That’s a different world altogether. Tourists lined up to get photos with the tree. There goes my expectation of serenity.

We passed by the countryside on the way back to Kochi-Ke. As I looked at the white fluffy clouds, blue skies and green paddy fields, I couldn’t help but wonder, what else will Cambodia show me?

Picturesque way back home

January 2, 2016
February 13, 2016
  1. Pen My Blog

    Oh the pictures are beautiful dear. Siem Reap really has some stunning sights and this is definitely one of them. Definitely penning this down to my bucket list.


  2. wfc

    i like the cultured scene at Siem Reap. and the way u express the feeling on Combodia.


  3. Celine lee

    siam reap is always a place tat i wish to go, but im always too afraid to start a solo trip there. ur post give me more courage


  4. Low Sze Shin

    Angkor Wat is really gorgeous!
    I wish to visit it again one day.


  5. Cherrie C

    My brother went there before .. he said angkor wat scene is awesome .
    Will visit it one day .


  6. yoke ching

    You have great pictures! I definitely will visit here in someday.


  7. Adeline Lee

    I went there on last year! It is really an amazing place to visit! I guess i will be going back soon!


  8. Sherry

    haven't been to Thai for a long time. This temple I no go before.


  9. ไป™ๅฆฎ

    i have visited siem reap many years ago…from the photos of your blog post, I recalled all nice memories from my trip ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks ya ๐Ÿ™‚ cheers, siennylovesdrawing


  10. GengQian

    stunning photos! I visited the place too but didn't get as pretty photos as you did. nice one!!


  11. FiSh. ohFISHiee

    i just went there last December, totally missed my trip already now!


  12. Miera Nadhirah Tan

    I had a lot of fun there.. so how much did you pay the photographer cum self elected tour guide?? I gave them USD5 and they complained but well I did not ask for their service and I can't go to each and every temple having to pay so much… LOL


  13. Cindyrina Rina

    I like Ta Prohm among all . you make me miss siem reap.


  14. Michael Yip

    Ah! One of those places that I've been wanting to visit but never had the chance yet. Nice to see they are refurbishing the temples (base on the structures shown in your image)


  15. Shini Lola

    When I saw "Temple Run" I thought about the game. LOL


  16. Rawlins GLAM

    I love the pictures you took at the temple and I also share the same thought 'you seen one, you have seen all'. Not so eager for a long walk to enjoy the view of a temple hehehe.
    And your near death experience on the bed is hilarious.


  17. Angelynn Tan

    Yeap,my adventures in Siem Reap are not all about the temples though. Stay tuned for more! ๐Ÿ˜€


  18. Angelynn Tan

    Thanks a lot! It's an amazing place to be. I just wish I could express it better. You've ever been to Siem Reap?


  19. Angelynn Tan

    Hey, it's ok to be afraid to do a solo trip. Maybe you could start slow and go with a friend first? I'll be glad to oblige if you invited me hahaha


  20. Angelynn Tan

    Yeah it is, isn't it. It still brings back loads of memories. I want to go back someday too! ๐Ÿ˜€


  21. Angelynn Tan

    Yeah it is. It's gorgeous ๐Ÿ˜€


  22. Angelynn Tan

    Thanks! Still trying to learn more photography skills beyond the 'tourist shots'. Do go! It's definitely a new experience.


  23. Angelynn Tan

    When you go back, don't forget to tell me about it! ๐Ÿ˜€


  24. Angelynn Tan

    This is in Cambodia dear ๐Ÿ™‚


  25. Angelynn Tan

    Yeah, photos do a great job making people remember.


  26. Em

    Thank you very much for sharing this post. I have not been to Siem Reap yet and definitely finds this useful.


  27. Angelynn Tan

    Thanks! But I've found that cameras don't really do justice to the photos unless you (a) have a superbly awesome camera or (b) do a lot og post editing >_<


  28. Angelynn Tan

    I felt that way when I came back too. Post travel depression to the max!


  29. Angelynn Tan

    I paid 5 too. They are so pushy that it's super hard to ignore them. Guess that's a lifeskill I've gotta learn huh haha


  30. Angelynn Tan

    Yes! That means I've achieve my goals hahaha


  31. Angelynn Tan

    Yeah, they're trying to restore to what it looks like but judging on the progress, it's gonna take them at least 3-5 years. I know it sounds really irresponsible, but buy a plane ticket and go on an adventure! ๐Ÿ˜‰


  32. Angelynn Tan

    When I was walking on the route, I thought of the game too hahaha


  33. Angelynn Tan

    It gets boring after a while for sure. My friend who's been to a lot of these said she would rather drink poison than to see another temple hahah


  34. Angelynn Tan

    No problem. Everyone's experience is unique though, so you might or might not enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚


  35. Wai Yee aka Rane

    lovely post, great job. I would love to go Siem Reap one day too.



  36. Sharon Lee

    The nature view in Siem Reap Temple was really breath taking. Missing travel to see different people and view in life.


  37. Jane Chua

    So horrible to see Headless statues at Angkor Thom. Seems like a good experience to me.


  38. Mums Babies

    I love that historical touch attached to Siem reap and would love to explore.


  39. Ivy Kam

    Haven't been to Siem Reap before, your photos really nice, will bookmark this post for my travel reference ๐Ÿ™‚


  40. Leona Lim

    have been there but never been to the temple, looks cool. your writing it really funny too


  41. Ika Sani

    A really nice place to discover!. The picture that u take look pretty. Share with us more picture


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