Today is the last real day of our holiday, tomorrow we will be travelling back to Bangkok for one night before our long journey home.
So we decided to fill today with as many minutes of sunshine and as many memories of Siem Reap as possible.
We woke up at 4am for our sunrise trip to Angkor Wat. Our Tuk Tuk driver was outside the hotel waiting for us in the dark, we were both a bit bleary eyed as this was the first time in a while we had woken up to an alarm. We rode through Siem Reap along the river towards the entrance of Angkor Wat. We knew that the sunrise was going to be a bit ‘touristy’ as we had seen the images of hundreds of people gathered outside Angkor Wat so we expected it to be busy but still wanted to experience this special place at dawn.
We arrived and walked across the bridge over the wat, we were so tired this morning that we forgot to bring a torch so had to stay close to other tourists to navigate our path. The stars will still in the sky at this point. We found a spot just infront of the lily pond and waited as the sky slowly changed colour and the sun rose. It was really lovely to see the stunning temple come out of the darkness. At around 5.30am it was almost fully light so we walked up to the temple, most people were still watching the sunrise but we went for a walk around the temple which was practically empty, a real contrast to the business just a few days before.
After a peaceful walk around, we headed back to our tuk tuk and rode back to our hotel, we were back at around 7am.
Determined to fill our day we walked to a local hotel to rent bikes. This cost just $2 each for a full day of bicycle hire, from a company called The White Bicycles Granted they weren’t the newest of bikes and mine made a funny sound, but they were surprisingly comfy and amazing value.
We took the road out of town which ran alongside the river towards Tonle Sap Lake. The ride was beautiful and it took just under an hour to reach the lake. On the way we road through rice fields and villages where local children would shout Hello and wave, we got a glimpse of real life in Siem Reap, seeing families in their homes and going about their daily lives.
Tonle Sap is the largest fresh water lake in Cambodia, it’s so huge it looks like the sea! It’s famous for it’s “Floating Villages” which are houses on large stilts that keep the buildings out of the water, most people make their living here from fishing and living by the land.
It was a super hot day today, so we stopped at the lake port for an ice cream and drink and then headed back through the villages towards Siem Reap. En Route we stopped off at the foot of a hill which lead to Phnom Kraom Temple. It the mid day sun we climbed the hill to discover a Buddhist monastery at the top and a ruin of another Angkor temple. This time we were on our own, no other people apart from a couple of monks who were doing repairs on their monastery and some goats. The views from the top of the hill down to the lake were stunning.
On the way down we saw a large snake slink across the path in front of us…our second snake spotting of the holiday.
Cycling back we took a smaller path that ran alongside the river and passed through tiny gatherings of houses, arriving back in Siem Reap in time for lunch.
We spent the rest of the afternoon cooling off from an energetic day by swimming in the hotel pool. On the evening we headed out for our last night in Siem Reap. With a table at Haven a training restaurant, which was a great way to end our day. After dinner we went for one last walk around town, and watched the wonderful world go by.
A perfect ending to our holiday.