Welcome back to the Friends That Carry On Podcast! We're a group of friends that like to travel the world together. We want to share our passion for travel through travel tips and tricks we've picked up along the way and stories of our adventures!
Today, we’re going to talk about Jim Read and Terry Hall’s visit on Angkor Wat, and other places to see in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Eric Fargo is the host and tchotchke holder and is joined by Jim Scott, Brian Romine, Jim Read, and Terry Hall.
You can listen along here:
Terry Hall and Jim Read are the first ones in our traveling group to make it to Angkor Wat. It was between Thailand and Vietnam to which we had our fly-in and fly-out tickets, respectively, so we decided to go see Cambodia. Immediately, our breath was taken away. None of the architecture has the same impact even compared to the Coliseum, the Acropolis, among others. What's interesting is that it is being built the same time as when Notre-Dame was built in the 12th century, but without the same construction technique and tools. It was made of big sandstone blocks in the middle of the jungle. That was simply amazing.
We were in a very strange country. It was hot and sweaty, but there were so many emotions coming in, especially seeing the Angkor Wat. You have to see it to realize its impact.
Seeing the Angkor Wat for Free at Night
You can go see the temple for free after 6 PM, so you don't have to buy the tickets. As we came, a man came to offer us "a very special trip" for $5 each. But Angkor Wat was very isolated in the middle jungle with no lights, we were hesitant but agreed. A non-English speaking police officer with a gun and a lone flashlight led the way. We went up and down the temple stairs and found ourselves on a temple wall, where we saw the sunset that not many people get to see.
Angkor Wat isn't as overgrown as other temples. There is a lot of erosion on the roof, but the statues withstood the elements. One thing I also loved about Angkor Wat is the monkeys. These monkeys would snatch bags, and the people would never get them back.
Wandering Around Siem Reap
We also loved the experience in the minibars, which was four blocks away from the road. Before we knew it, the bar owner was sitting with us and pouring us his personal whiskey. It was better than sitting with a bunch of backpackers. We also get to see the Land Mine Museum who was founded by Aki Ra, an ex-child soldier, as a way to tell the world about the horrors landmines had inflicted on his native Cambodia. Cambodia also houses one of our personal top five cuisines - Wat Danmak offers a six-course meal that is a must try. We recommend a 3-day pass in Siem Reap but there is a lot to see there if you have time.
Tips When Visiting Cambodia
Stop by a bank and cash a hundred dollars from an ATM- we bet you won't be able to get through it within a week! Drinks are only 50 cents during happy hour. You can get a 1-hour full body massage for $8 and 30-minute foot massages for a dollar, which is great after temple tours.
Be careful with money changers, you can change your dollars for any denomination, but most of them are counterfeit.
Tuk-tuk drivers can be the best tour guide as they have been doing this for years. They can bring you to places you would want to go to, but keep in mind, it can be hot and less faster than taxis or vans.
If you wish to use a van or taxis, read Trip Advisor for recommendations to avoid getting ripped off.
Use a neck wallet to hold your IDs and passes and keep them from getting worn-out throughout the day.
Don’t try smuggling the cobra liquor bottles or you may never have your passport again.
If you’re interested in following along and hearing more about our adventures, make sure you follow us wherever you listen to Podcasts or find more here. If you’re interested in more Guest Interviews, look for them here.