Monday, May 11, 2015

Turn Down for (Angkor) Wat?

I wish I could tell  you that leaving Vietnam was a piece of cake, but it wasn't.
I woke up at dawn to await the bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, Cambodia. The estimated time of arrival was around 12 hours, but there must have been a x2 somewhere in the paperwork because it took forever. Our first stop was at the border where our bus conductor haggled with immigration to stamp our passports. I am not kidding! He haggled! There were bills placed in between every passport to "encourage" the immigration officer. The only problems was that there were hundreds of monetarily stuffed passports. It looked like a flee market or Forever 21 during a good sale - a nightmare! I found a pillar in the middle of the room where I sat and leaned against it FOR THREE HOURS.

Once my passport was stamped, I queued at Cambodia's orderly and efficient immigration office and strolled into Cambodia. Go Cambodia!

The bus ride up to Siem Reap was cold, bumpy and long, but the bus driver, who had an affinity for Rowan Atkinson, played the movies Rat Race, Mr. Bean's Holiday, Johnny English and Keeping Mum.
We arrived in Siem Reap at the unGodly hours of the night, where I checked into my hotel and woke up the next morning to tour Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is a  large, beautiful yet crowded temple complex with absolutely breathtaking sites. I feel in love with the wall carvings and Buddha-faced stone gates. Take a look!

Angkor Wat Advice:
  1. Tour the complex for at least three days. 
  2. Ladies, dress modestly. Some places will not allow women to enter if they are wearing shorts or tank tops. Sorry!
  3. Rent a bike. You can also rent a tuk tuk driver for a day, but I saw many tourist stranded after 5pm. Don't let that be you!
  4. Eat all the food! The food is great and cheap! Plus, their menus are in English!
  5. Take plenty of pictures. Now is not the time to be modest with your selfie stick. It's an amazing site!

Despite my short time in Cambodia, I found its people very welcoming and hospitable. As a poorer nation, Cambodian food is cheap (and good!), but their preference towards the U.S. Dollar bothered me a bit because they become visibly upset when you pay in their currency, the Cambodian Riel. I almost had it out with an inexperienced receptionist at the hotel's spa who rudely requested that I pay in U.S. Dollar. Yes, I am foreign and sure, I'm an American but [Linda] honey, I get paid in a fictional currency known as the Japanese Yen.** It's either Riel or Monopoly money.

*Thanks you Xavier for the title of this post  ;)
** The exchange rate is killing me! 

No comments:

Post a Comment