Cycling round Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is the closest of the Siem Reap temples. It is about 6km from our hotel, so we decided to rent some bicycles with child seats. Yesterday wasn't too hot and today looked to be the same. Also, we are beginning to understand how traffic works. There is order in all that chaos.

By some miracle we found the ticket office on the first attempt, only to discover they don't take credit cards. So I did an extra couple of kilometres back into town to the closest ATM. Got a 3 day pass, as we have 3 more days in Siem Reap and will be visiting temples every day.

So was Angkor amazing? Well, being well travelled and having seen some of the best the world has to offer we didn't expect to be blown away, so we were only mildly disappointed. Not being an artist, an archaeologist or a historian you never know how these things will affect you. For me it's a combination of how I'm feeling mentally and physically on the day, the location, the weather, the other tourists, how much I know about the significance of what I'm seeing, as well as the site itself. Personally in the head to head with Machu Picchu the Incas win hands down.

Whatever our issues with Anchor Wat it is pretty impressive. Also it isn't alone; if it fails to impress you the sheer number of sites nearby will surely grab you eventually. Most of the temples and buildings date from the 12th-13th centuries, when the Angkor empire was at it's height.

We were planning on visiting Ta Prohm, the "Tomb Raider" temple. It looked fairly close on the map but turns out to be another 6km cycle ride away. It was hot, but bearable, so we went for it. However, on the way Aisha fell asleep and was bouncing around in her chair (not quite an ergonomic back-supporting model) a bit too much for comfort so we stopped for a bit and then woke her up. By then it was getting too late and, cycling round Cambodia in the dark not being the most fun activity on our list, we headed for home. Esther had had problems with her bike and not felt safe so we decided to do the next 2 days by tuk-tuk. We'll probably get more done that way as well.

Lessons learnt today: don't assume you can pay anything in Cambodia by card; don't let UNESCO set your expectations too high.

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