Our final stop in Cambodia saw us take one last TERRIFYING night bus up to Siem Reap. By far the ricketiest bus on the bumpiest road by the craziest driver… I’m surprised we made it alive.
With shaky legs we hopped in a tuk tuk and drove to the infamous Mad Monkey Hostel. It’s a sort of rite-of passage to stay in a Mad Monkey whilst in Cambodia, and the Siem Reap branch complete with beer kegs leading from the balcony to the pool and rooftop beach bar is probably the best.
Another ‘coming of age’ experience for the standard backpacker is going to see sunrise over Angkor Wat; the largest temple in the world, and part of the Angkor temple complex which is the most important and famous in South East Asia. Alarms set for 4am, we trudged bleary eyed through the dark (and before dawn, creepy) temple grounds to get to the imposing temple.
Unfortunately, the sunrise excursion is an immensely popular one, and in order to get that ‘perfect Instagram photo’ you have to elbow and shove through rows of fellow social media fiends in order to get a glimpse, let alone a shot.
Still, getting up early meant you could breeze around the temples whilst it was still relatively cool… even if you were so tired you left your passport in the toilets and had to bribe a guard to rush you back on his motorbike to get it back… like I did.
The floating villages were also a great way to spend an afternoon. An hour’s drive out of the city, several huge villages stand on stilts over what looks at high tide in the middle of the ocean. Schools, police stations and town halls rise out of the water on logs which look like they would break any second… and of course provide another alternative way to view yet another sunset.
Cambodian nightlife gets no better than Siem Reap. ‘Pub street’ resembles any small strip in a tacky European ‘Brits-abroad’ location, and is as cheesy and wonderful as you could wish for. The ‘Angkor WHAT?’ bar faces the rival big club across the street, and revellers who cannot decide seem to form their own dance routines smack bam in the middle of them on the road.
Overall, Siem Reap was a perfect end to what was an amazing 10 days in Cambodia. Definitely one of our favourite countries out of the whole trip, it has the nicest locals, great nightlife, rich history and we couldn’t recommend it enough!