One Day Stopover in Bangkok

A couch to sleep on
Here it comes the very last part of our long journey. A one-day tour in Bangkok became our 'dessert' before going back home. But first, I'm going to share how we moved out of Siem Reap, Cambodia. Around noon we rode a minivan to Poipet border. The minivan picked us up at our guesthouse. It took about three hours, yet I did not feel bored as I was having a good conversation with a friendly local on board. At the border, it was not too late actually to cross to Thailand but we chose to spend a night in a western couple's house. We missed doing this couchsurfing stuff after staying only at guesthouses and hotels all the time during this long trip.
With Andre and Whitney, our host in Poipet

The next morning at 7, we crossed the border. It was so crowded mostly by workers from Cambodia who were going to Thailand. An officer recognized us as tourists soon offered us an 'express service', so frankly! Despite our rejection to the service, we were moved into the tourist line which was much shorter. The immigration line into Thailand was very long as well. So at the border two hours of our time was wasted. If we had made it through the border earlier, we might take the cheap & comfortable casino bus to Bangkok. But now we had to take another option. Walking away the border till 7-11 store, we turned right and many minivans were waiting for passengers there. As these transports were meant for the locals, there was no English writings at all. This was just as I expected.

Angkor by Bike

Welcome to Angkor
Angkor was the ancient capital of Cambodia and now is an archaeological park. It hosts so many historical ruins, some of which are much more popular than the others. The most visited ancient remains is absolutely the Angkor Wat whose name often ambiguously referred to the whole area of the park. No wonder Angkor Wat has become the national symbol of Cambodia and appears on its flag.

It would have been too much time and energy demanded to visit all sites scattered around the 400 square kilometers area, especially because we biked. Consequently, we gotta set up our priorities of which to visit and which to skip. Other than Angkor Wat, we had got two sites listed on our itinerary; Angkor Thom and Ta Phrohm. I'll show you the places one by one later. But before that, some readers might wonder if we could sneak into the archeological park area without without paying fees. Once I was also thinking to avoid paying the $20 pass (yeah, i was one of those jerks), but the answer was NO. Every time we were about to enter a site, there was a ticket checkpoint. So, forget about cheating!

Siem Reap Without Angkor

Angkor Wat, the #1 destination of Cambodia.
A big Siamese army of more than 10,000 men once marched into the Khmer's territory but then Khmer people -under King Ang Chan- successfully killed the enemy's leader and captured the remnants. The town's name 'Siem Reap' meaning 'Siam defeated' got its name from this story because it was the place where the the Siamese army got a total defeat. Most historians doubt the historical accuracy of the story though.

The sure thing about Siem Reap is that the town has become very popular among foreign visitors. In fact, there are more international tourists here than in Phnom Penh the capital city. It's simply because the little town has the magnificent Angkor Wat just few kilometers away from it. So if visiting Angkor Wat is the main reason people come to Siem Reap, isn't it ridiculous for first-time tourists to come to Siem Reap without going to Angkor? Well, we still kept that possibility in mind when we were on our way there.

Tuk-tuk Tour Around Phnom Penh

Me and two guard statues of the main pagoda in Wat Phnom.
The absence of public transport in Phnom Penh resulted in the way budget travelers like us explore the capital city. While driving own vehicle seemed to be most preferred option, we were thinking of renting a bicycle. It was not an easy task to get one, however. After taking a stroll for few minutes, we finally found a place renting bicycles. They asked for too high price so we called off the plan. As we were walking away, a better idea came up in my mind. So, what we were going to do later was to hire a tuk-tuk with driver. But for now, we would just walk to Wat Phnom.

An excellent place to start with, Wat Phnom was historically considered as the central point of Phnom Penh. Established in 1373, this old wat (temple) was built up after a lady found four Buddha statues inside a big tree log floating on a river. The founder's name was Penh, from which the very name of Phnom Penh was taken. Locals could go in and out there for free, but foreigners were charged $1 entrance fee per pax. We faithfully paid the fee though we might have been thought as Cambodians if we just passed through the ticket counter.

OUR TRIPS (Based on Places)