Day 65: Siem Reap
Claire: It's actually too hot to even sit in the sun! It must be 35 degrees? We spent the afternoon in the hotel planning the next few days and catching up on work emails (in the shade).
We've been debating whether or not to get a guide ($50/day) for the Angkor Archaeological Park or whether to do it alone via tuktuk ($15/day) and whether we'd get a 1 day pass ($37pp) or 3 day pass ($62pp) for the sites. It's all so expensive! But stretching over 400sq km's it's a lot to cover in 1 day especially in this heat and we quite liked the idea of meandering by ourselves too so we've decided upon a 3 day pass, with no guide, but a tuk tuk for 1 day and maybe bicycles for the other.
The only problem with no guide means we won't really know anything about the sites. So today we visited the Angkor National Museum for a mini history lesson prior to our trip tomorrow.
We've been really impressed with the audio guides in Cambodia at both S21 & Killing Fields so we got one today too but I definitely don't think it was as interesting. Admittedly we skipped a few but by the time we got to the 27th statue explanation we didn't really have too much attention span left to analyse the hand positions.
Learning lots about the Angkorian period (9-15th Century) — from Khmer Kings, religion, sculptures and architectural techniques — it's certainly enough insight to visit the temples tomorrow. It was interesting to understand the Hindu / Buddhist influences and the gallery of 1000 buddha's was pretty ace too (although I don't have any photos to share!).
Gav's day 65 takeaway
- We westerners are in relative terms quite 'wealthy' out here. By which I mean we can afford to pay for all these planes and hotels and tuk tuks and meals and entrance fees without having to declare ourselves bankrupt... we'll be ok.
And whilst we've come out here with a budget (that we're rigorously sticking to... sort of), we're also acutely aware that the waiters and drivers and maids that we chat to probably only really make enough money to eat and live really quite modestly without the luxuries of long distance travel.
On the flip side however, there are also plenty of folk out here who take advantage of our relative 'wealth' by inflating, scamming and conning whoever, wherever. Do I blame them? I guess not. But it's lovely, honest, friendly and amazing people that make this part of the world so incredible to visit and I just wish they were the ones that got rewarded. Because if everyone was a crook, it wouldn't be the place it is.