25.11.2011 31 °C
Early mornings aren't usually our thing, especially after years of both of us working in the bar business, so this week has been a workout and Friday was no exception. We were done breakfast and on the road by 8am as our guide had more big plans for our day. It started with a an hour and a half tuk-tuk ride to Phnom Kbal Spen, a thousand year old site that is built into a river bed as a temple to purify the water that flows in to the Siem Reap area. We hiked a couple kilometres into the hills and found the magical ruins, it doesn't look like much of a filtration system, but it is still pretty amazing what people can accomplish.
We opted for a late lunch and got back on the road, we were sharing good roads with pedal bikes, mopeds, cars and farm equipment as we drove through these very rural areas. It is pretty interesting to get on the back roads and see how the people live. The next stop on the temple tour was Banteay Srei, also known "The Lady Temple" because of its petite size and pink colour from the red sandstone it is made of. Probably the most beautiful site we have seen so far, this one was amazing.
With the many miles of driving, hiking and exploring it was mid afternoon by the time we got out of the Lady Temple. We found some lunch and were pretty wiped out, so opted for a nap instead of taking our guide up on the rest of our days plans...I really think he could keep us going around the clock if we let him. As it was he already had plans to start at 5am Saturday morning to see the sun come up over Ankor Wat.
The nap was a good plan as Siem Reap comes alive at night and we wanted to check out the night markets, restaurants and bars as we are only here for a short time. We had found a place that offered a 12 course tasting menu and my taste buds weren't taking "no" for an answer. All small dishes made of banana leaf, the meal was an excellent sampling of chicken, fish, eel and vegetables mixed with spices in the traditional Khmer way, it was delicious. Don't forget the four desserts they brought to finish off the flavour adventure! Back on the street we were headed to the heart of the action which is around the corner from our hotel and aptly named, "Pub Street." Everything from food carts and bbq's to three story food, booze and live music venues, this street is a feast for the senses. We wandered for a while, but had to head to the "Red Piano" to see if it could live up to the name. The Belgian owner has put together a nice place, but there is no red piano, the staff doesn't measure up to the crew in St.Maarten and there is no Frankie G and no Gomez Bros (this list could go on!), so we have to say, it just wasn't the same.
Another great day, it doesn't take long to decide that this is a place that we think everyone should see once in their life if they have the chance. We are only here for 3 full days, but you could definitely fill a week if you wanted to!