After a lovely trip to Bali, we hopped on another plane and made our way north to Siem Reap, Cambodia! To be honest, the thought of visiting Cambodia never really crossed my mind. But after some research and discovering the Angkor Wat…Dan and I were sold and knew we had to go!
We arrived mid-afternoon and got settled into our hotel. Once again, our hotel accommodations were incredible. We were treated like royalty at this place! It was the cutest little boutique hotel in the heart of the city, and just a quick tuk tuk ride to the Angkor Wat! Check it out: Privilege Boutique Hotel
That afternoon we relaxed by the pool then had an incredible dinner at the Chanrey Tree Restaurant. Cambodia food is very close to Thai food, so we both loved it! And the Cambodian people are so much like the Thai – friendly, happy, super smiley, and helpful! We loved the service we received at all the restaurants!
The next morning was our big exploring day. We hired a tuk tuk driver for the day and set out to the Angkor Archaeological Park, which is the 150+ square mile area that houses many famous temples. [Side note: you may notice that Dan and I are in all sorts of funny outfits throughout this post. Due to different religious traditions, we had to cover up differently. Lots of random scarves, dresses, etc!]
First stop: ANGKOR WAT! The Angkor Wat is the WORLD’S LARGEST religious monument!!! It was originally built in the 12th century as a Hindu temple, but has switched back and forth from Hindu and Buddhism based on who was in power at the time. There really are no great words to describe Angkor Wat. It’s absolutely breathtaking. Just take a look for yourself [although these photos do not even do it justice!]:
After spending a good amount of time wandering around Angkor Wat in awe, we decided it was time to move on to the next site. Which ended up being my favourite of the day! This one was called Angkor Thom, which translated means “Great City”. It is essentially an old walled city, filled with the most impressive sculptures and monuments. Again, I can’t even begin to explain the feeling we felt as we walked around. I’ve never seen anything so impressive before. The detail, the enormity, the grandeur…it all just took my breath away. And it all just made me feel so happy! In all of the sculptures, all of the faces were smiling, the monkey’s were dancing and everything just seemed so cheerful! I couldn’t stop thinking about how talented and skilled the men were that constructed this in the late 12th century. Can you imagine something of this detail being constructed today?
After ticking off a few smaller temples, our tuk tuk driver took us to a “locals restaurant” for lunch. We had a fantastic meal – Dan had a delicious curry and I had a green mango chicken salad. [However…I’m pretty certain this is the meal that gave me a horrible parasite and salmonella…that when I got back to London made me horribly ill for almost 3 weeks!]
After lunch, we were already really tired and hot. It was 90 degrees out and really humid, so it was hard to spend the whole day out in the sun. We decided to do a drive by tour of some of the smaller temples/sites in the area before finishing by exploring Ta Prohm – the tree temple. You may recognise this one from the Tomb Raider movie! This temple was also incredible. Ta Prohm is full of giant banyan and silk-cotton trees growing up out of the ruins; most of the trees are over 400 years old!
That evening went went for pre-dinner drinks at the Siem Reap Brewpub where we were able to sample some local brews. We had dinner at another incredible restaurant, Malis. They even thought it was our hunnymoon so we received a free dessert!
As you can tell from most of our posts, the majority of the places we go and the trips we plan are jammed pack with things to see and do. We planned our Cambodia trip a little differently! As Siem Reap is relatively small, and the main attraction is the Angkor Archaeological Park, we knocked out all of the temples in one day and decided to spend the rest of our time slowly meandering the streets/markets, getting massages and relaxing by the pool!
On our last evening, we went to a place called Georges Rhumerie for dinner and a rum tasting! The place distills their own rum and then creates ten different infusions. Our favourites were the coconut and the cinnamon! We brought back a bottle of the cinnamon to London! The food was also incredible. It was Cambodian/French fusion which was fun! After dinner, we went to the Night Market for one last taste of Cambodian culture.
Siem Reap was fascinating. You really only need 2 days/1 night here. It’s 100% worth checking out as it’s unlike anything else. After our lovely time here, it was time to make our way back home to London…but not before we had a one day layover in Hong Kong!
Hello Hong Kong! We decided to try and squeeze in one more place before heading back home. It worked out well that we could put in a 12 hour layover in Hong Kong.
First stop – food! We took the express train from the airport into the city and the restaurant we wanted to eat at had a branch in the train station which was super convenient for us! Tim Ho Wan is noted as the World’s Most Inexpensive Awarded Dim Sum Restaurant. We were warned there would be a long queue – and surprisingly it ended up only being about 30 minutes. We ordered a variety of dim sum, buns and other interesting items [the menu was half in Chinese half English, so we couldn’t really figure out what we were ordering!]. Dan even tried the chicken foot! The food was good, but not incredible. Neither of us really understood the hype and the reason why it has been awarded Michelin stars. Fun to try though!
We then wandered around the city for a bit before heading up to Victoria Peak to try and catch the famous views of the skyline. Unfortunately, it was incredibly hazy that day, so although we did get some views, there weren’t the best. It was still beautiful and were glad we did it! While up there we even had some bubble tea – which is a must since Hong Kong is where it originated! It was by far the best bubble tea we’ve ever had!
A quick taxi ride down the hill took us to the ferry docks where we hopped on a boat and scooted across the harbour to the other island, Kowloon. There we took in the views from the other side of the harbour then did some shopping down all the streets and at the Temple Street Night Market.
Before heading back to the airport, we had just enough time to catch the Symphony of Lights. It is a huge lights and sound show put on every night. Apparently, it is the world’s largest sound and light show! It was fascinating to watch! We wish it was a bit less hazy, but oh well! It was beautiful and we’re really glad we were able to catch it!
One [not even full] day in Hong Kong was just right for us. You’d be surprised to know, we’re not big “big city” people and Hong Kong is a BIG city! It doesn’t have an incredible amount of rich Asian culture, it feels very Western. Definitely recommend it for a layover!
And now we’re back in London after an easy flight back. Unfortunately, the parasite I caught in Cambodia hit me full force a day after being back. These last 3 weeks have been quite miserable, but I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! What an experience…! We love SE Asia, and I wouldn’t trade being sick for any of the experiences!