Lessons from Siem Reap (Part 1)

Thursday, July 05, 2012

I think this is the longest period I’ve taken to write about a trip, almost 3 months after! Pardon the delay; writing about Siem Reap was difficult for me. During the trip, I lost my documenting mojo (which will be explained below). Work has been extra busy for the first half of the year and has taken up a lot of my time as well. I haven't posted about my photo walks because the Siem Reap trip constituted for March. Finally, it is here! Haha

My post about my lessons will be divided into two: “Things I Stubbornly Didn’t Listen to” and “Things I Did Listen To Plus Some Tips”. I just had to include the first category, so come on, read and laugh with me as you begin my Siem Reap series.

Things I Stubbornly Didn’t Listen to (but should have)
1. It is Hooooooot
Coming from a tropical country, I’m used to experiencing scorching hot temperatures. But noooooooooo Siem Reap whooped my booty. Seriously! I underestimated the heat and I baked under the sun.

Inside Angkor Wat, we had a quick stopover in this area selling paintings and drinks. It was also where the free public bathroom was located. For a public bathroom at a populated tourist site, the bathroom here was pretty okay. We had some fresh buko (or dong in Khmer) and water before heading out in the blistering sun.

I’ve never sweated that much while on vacation. On my first day, I already got burnt. My friends were as surprised as me that I reacted that way because I’ve been with them on trips that were ridiculously hot as well. It came to a point where I had to sit temples out because the sun was unbearable. I stayed in the tuktuk to recuperate. Don’t get me wrong, I was prepared; I had my water bottle, Headware, sun block, shades, sarong and umbrella yet I succumbed to the power of the sun. The weather affected my mood and I wasn’t taking as much photos or notes as I usually do. My bad.

2. Wear Rubber Shoes  
I read a lot of blogs and articles with this reminder but did I listen? Sort of. Haha On our first day of touring, I wore my Toms. If you have a pair, I highly suggest bringing the dark ones with you when you visit the temples. My Toms kept my feet comfy despite all the walking. 

On the second day, I used my trusty Havs. As they say, “You reap what you sow”. My black Havs and white feet turned brown at the end of the day. Not only that, the constant walking murdered my feet – I’m sorry nails. Since I brought just one pair of slippers for this trip and they were now mucky, I bought another pair at the Old Market. 

Hold up, before you bestow judgment on me (How prissy can you get? Can’t you just wash them??). Imagine yourself walking all day under the sun seeing the beauty of Siem Reap. You come back to your hotel/hostel and enjoy a bath. Clean and fresh, you use your filthy slippers again? Ay…The new pair served as my “room slippers” so that I’d still feel squeaky clean after a bath. My trusty Havs were used exploring the city. Eyebrows down. Haha =p

3. Be careful biking
Bike rentals are very affordable for $1 a day with free water and map. I listened to suggestions NOT to bike to the temples. I am not an experienced biker and I can’t imagine biking to and from them. My friends and I tried our very best to be careful while biking. Our mistake? We started too late! We wanted a leisure bike ride around Siem Reap but because of the weather, we ended up biking around 4 PM. Biking here is not as intense as biking in Bangkok, Ho Cho Minh or even the Philippines but intense nonetheless. I just didn’t have much practice so I was a bit wobbly. It was also a challenge crossing an intersection since some of them didn’t have traffic lights at all. Add the fact that it got dark while we were out only to realize we didn’t have any bike reflectors. If we went biking in the other South East Asian cities mentioned, I would probably (1) have heard a lot of curses thrown my way or (2) got injured or worse (3) died. Haha 

The gang with our guide Yan.
All these mishaps made me laugh so I hope you learned from me and LISTEN to these suggestions. Up next, some pleasant and heartwarming realizations from my Siem Reap trip.

* Additional photos from Nix Sionosa, Berenice Ong and Danix Labudahon.

The rest of my Siem Reap posts are here: 
Part 2: Things I Did Listen To Plus Some Tips 
Part 3: Artisans d'Angkor
Part 4: The Siem Reap Hostel
Part 5: Design Overload at Reflections Siem Reap
Part 6: The People of Siem Reap
Part 7: Siem Reap Post Script

Discover other Siem Reap hotels.  

Past Photo Walks:

January - Manila Ocean Park
February - Sablayan and San Jose, Mindoro 

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  1. I went to Siem Reap for the holidays and enjoyed my stay and though, like you, I walk around in crocs and havs, I have been spared of the intense heat and humidity. Since I was on my solo backpacking to Vietnam and Cambodia, I decided to get myself a tuktuk driver/guide/alalay sa shopping/brother na rin haha.

    I love this post of yours. Cheers!

    1. Hi Doc! Thank you for passing by. You're lucky you didnt backe under the sun. Vietnam and Cambodia are really amazing! Are the Khmer people so nice as well? =)

    2. Hahahahaha !
      Hi all friends !
      How are you ?
      I am sophara , so can call me JunJun ,
      I am tuk tuk driver in Siem Reap , if you want to visit Siem reap Angkor wat you can booking to me ,
      I hope see you some day .
      have good luck and take care all friends !


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