I am at an age where I appreciate access to free and clean toilets. So here is a shout out to all the toilet teams of Angkor Wat Archeological Park: Thank you! First class service and high hygienic standard.
On my cycling trips around Angkor I stopped at every toilet on the way but at this one I stopped at least 7 times. As I am probably one of the few tall, blue eyed tourist with short blonde hair on a bicycle I was easily recognisable. I was already greeted with waves on my second visit. They sell cold drinks. I must have looked like in need of caffeine and they offered me Nescafe Espresso. I got hooked. I would tell them what day I would come around again and they had 2 cold cans hidden at the bottom of the cooling box, ready for me. Sure, they make profit, but still a fab service.
A dream has come true: I am exploring the Angkor Wat archeological park on a bicycle!
Cycling was easy. Even though there is busy traffic at times everyone was overtaking me slowly and carefully. Often there was a cycling lane which was also used by mopeds. Such fun, and environmentally friendly.
Given the detrimental effect of emissions on any type of structures, but especially those made of sandstone, I am astonished about the amount of tuktuks, mopeds, cars and mini-buses driving through the historic sites daily.
I wanted to see Angkor Wat first but when I arrived several big coaches were spilling out people… couldn’t cope with that so I just cycled past towards Angkor Thom, the other big temple complex.
Rong Lmung Temple – not much to see but as it was my first temple to visit, this small tower has a special place in my heart.
Visiting Cambodia has been on my wish list for a long, long time. And now I am actually here! I still can’t believe it.
Then the clouds opened and revealed lots of flooded areas. I learned later that some areas are always flooded during monsoon season but dry out afterwards.
I landed at the recently opened new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport. The terminal building has temple-style roofs.
I had to get a visa upon arrival. You can get an eVisa online in advance but it is not necessarily recognised when crossing rural borders later by bus or boat. There were 6 officers sitting next to each other. I was expecting them all to serve directly but no, they were more like a production line. Officer number 1 took your passport, checked it and handed it to the next. Not sure what number 2 did. Number 3 took the payment. Number 4 printed visa label. Number 5 pulled off the back and stuck the label into passport. Number 6 put two stamps on the visa and handed them back. A well organised process. Guess which number was a women.
Anyway, my hotel had organised a pick-up and off I went on my first trip through Cambodian countryside. As the airport is new, so are the roads and therefore there is not much green yet but still mainly red soil. Not much traffic either until we got to Siem Real. Takes 45 minutes from airport.
After checking in at the hotel and getting refreshed (the humidity hits you every time you leave air conditioned areas) I was off to get the 7-day-ticket for the Angkor Wat archeological park, the very reason for me being here. A short tuk-tuk ride away with a quick tour through Siem Reap.