Day 11 of our winter vacation started off rather dramatically. First off, we had to wait forever for our hotel’s taxi to take us to the airport. Rather than calling us another taxi they had us wait for their taxi, we were stupid for agreeing to this. So, we left off with less than an hour to get on the plane and the airport was about 15 minutes away. As you might imagine it was a pretty tense ride to the airport…we thought there was a bright spot at the end of the tunnel when we reached the drop off area in front of the airport, but we were soon side-swiped by another vehicle. Fortunately it was a really minor collision and no one was injured, the worst thing about the whole thing was that the taxi van was brand new. I remember thinking in the moments immediately following the accident, “well…it’s a good thing the cops are close,” since I saw a police officer approaching our van immediately. Soon after we left the taxi I came to the realization that the police van was what had side-swiped us! We didn’t have time to stick around and leave a statement or see how things panned out, so we paid the driver and ran to the security line.
After an uneventful plane ride into Cambodia we waited in line to get our Cambodian visas. This was something I was kind of worried about, since we did not bring any passport photos with us. However, this was not an issue at all, they simply charged us an additional $2/visa for not having a picture. The cost of a Cambodian tourist visa is $30 and an addition $7 if you get an e-visa ahead of time. All in all I would have to say to do the visa on arrival for Cambodia instead of the e-visa. It ends up being cheaper, the line was less than 20 minutes and it was such an easy process (I’m only speaking for the Siem Reap Airport).
It was pretty crazy how an hour plane ride brought us to a completely different climate. In Cambodia the weather was much warmer and the surroundings were much less developed. To be honest, I enjoyed the environment in Cambodia much more than Thailand. It just seemed so unique, unlike any other place I had been too. The cities were more rural and filled with tuk tuks, the people are super funny and sarcastic and everything was so inexpensive.
Our hotel sent their tuk tuk driver Mr. Ke to pick us up and it was about a 30 minute ride to the amazing Angkor Spirit Palace Hotel. Josh and I picked this hotel because it looked like a temple, straight up like something out of Indiana Jones. In person, it did not disappoint, it was really fun to stay here with the amazing decorations and really helpful staff. There was always someone on hand to help us out (even at 1 in the morning when we arranged a tour for the next day!) and we soon became good friends with Mr. Ke who took us into town whenever we needed.
Since the main reason we came to Siem Reap was to visit the Angkor Temple Complex I figured we may as well get a head start and we headed over to the Angkor Complex in the evening. When you buy passes to the Angkor Complex the tickets give you access the day before starting at 5 pm, so take advantage of this extra time! We walked around Angkor Wat for the hour before the complex closed and soon came to realization that we would need a tour guide. There was simply no way we would be able to tour the complex on our limited time and see as much as possible. So we called it a night after wandering around for an hour and headed off for dinner and what else, another night market!
Cambodian food is quite interesting. Having just come from Thailand we couldn’t help but compare the two. I would say that Thai food is spicier and has a little more flavor but is quite similar to Cambodian food. On this vacation we gained a bit of weight…too much delicious food for low prices, it leads to overeating.