Everything fell into place for the transfer to Siem Reap: the van got us back to Bangkok in time for me to catch an earlier than anticipated flight; I was met at the airport by "Mr. Tol" who would be my guide, and conveyed to the comfortable Two Dragons guest house off Wat Bo road.
The next morning Tol took me to the Bayon, and Ta Prohm, and after a rest, to Angkor Wat. And unfortunately I discovered that Chinese New Year is basically in full swing for the entire month of February and that the number of Asian tourists has grown exponentially here every year at that time. All of the monuments, their parking lots, their walks - everything! in the major sites is completely overrun by tourists and their tourist busses. As Tol and his tuk-tuk moved steadily along the road, the big busses would blare at us to move over. In the monuments, my ability to take pictures without Asian tourists in the middle of the frame, posing for their own pictures, was limited. Sometimes I just shot quickly and hoped that examination of the pictures later at leisure would reveal to me what I couldn't stand and see in situ.
The "lesser" temples were less congested, and in their quiet ways, delightful. Leaving early we saw troops of monkeys a couple of time with few others - the busses can't be bothered to stop for them. A stop at a little gathering gave me a chance to buy a few souvenirs, and I enjoyed the kids along the way to the temples. I never tired of looking at the relaxed village homes along the road, "primitive" but somehow quite appealing. Maybe it's all those hammocks!
And after three days, Tol's brother Marom took me down to a fishing village, Kampong Kleang, an adventure in itself. Be sure to look at these pictures!
Only a couple of weeks in Asia this time around, but enough memories for a lifetime. And for others who visit, a few links and tips...
© Briegull Enterprises 2007 All rights reserved.