Monday, 10 March 2014

Siem Reap Diaries 1: Welcome To Siem Reap!

One day, Erika and I decided to go to Cambodia. Our last trip together was back in 2006 or 2007 in Cebu. We didn't even take a single picture of that trip because we thought we were too cool for pictures. Yes, we regret that decision. We had no proof of the epicness of our experience. This time around though, we made sure we had pictures. Well, we didn't have much but we took just enough to document our experience.

Just to let you know, we had no solid agenda or schedule up to the minute we boarded our plane for Siem Reap. We only knew we wanted to visit Angkor Wat and to watch the live airing of the Oscars while we were in Cambodia (because we believe the Oscars is an important life event). Sure, we got some ideas from the net but we wanted the spontaneity of the moment to take over our trip.

Our home in Siem Reap was Viroth's Hotel. It's a boutique hotel with only 7 rooms! Very quaint indeed. It's quite near the Old French Quarter, so we only walked if we wanted to go to the Old Market or Pub Street.
This is where we had our breakfast. This is the roof deck of the hotel and it also serves as its lounge area. Lounge-y indeed! 
Our breakfasts in Siem Reap always had baguettes and croissants. Yum! Their baguettes were so yummy that Erika brought 12 pieces with her on the plane ride back to Manila (yes, it's possible). It's quite obvious that the French had a big influence in this country. 
We asked the hotel manager what else we can visit in Siem Reap apart from Angkor Wat. He told us we can visit the Chong Kneas floating village in Tonle Sap lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. It sounded interesting so we got into a tuktuk and a boat and headed over there. This is me and Erika at the beginning of the boat ride. We really had no idea what we're going to see, but we noticed there were several boats with tourists so we assumed it was a "tourist destination."
I didn't want to miss this opportunity to try to crochet on a boat! I just wanted to show how convenient crochet is. I had my yarn and hook inside my travel bag the entire time!
Erika and I had mixed feelings about our experience at the floating village. We felt a bit guilty being "tourists" in the area and we chose not to take so much touristy pictures. To give you a better idea of this village from an account of a fellow tourist, check out this blog entry by Jollice Tan.
We returned to the city in the afternoon and explored the shops and the area of the Old French Quarter.
Check out the crocheted clothes being sold in the market! I wasn't sure if they were made of cotton or acrylic yarn (or maybe a hybrid of both). Below is a view of the Siem Reap River adjacent to the commercial areas where most tourists are. The river's pretty shallow because of the dry season.
Watch out for another blog entry on our visit to one of the workshop areas of Artisans Angkor! 

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