After yesterdays amazing temple experience at Angkor Wat and Bayon, we had another early start (this time at a leisurely 7am!) to go explore the famous Ta Prohm temple – made famous in the recent Tomb Raider movies.
The 7am start actually meant we could get breakfast in the hotel before the adventure – which was great because we headed out for almost 4 hours of temple exploring! More temple photos follow:
Once we reached the end of the temple adventure, we all agreed we were ‘templed out’ and headed back to the hotel. I needed to grab a little more cash to get through the last few bits and pieces, so I walked down the street to the ATM – around a 5 minute walk – but in 35c heat that was far enough! We’d been so lucky with the weather during the whole trip – it hardly rained at all, despite the ominous forecasts before we departed. But the trade off for this was the humidity – the pre-rainy season is particularly humid and we regularly had 90-100% humidity and 35c temperatures on this trip – and believe me, 1000 year old temples aren’t air conditioned!
I decided to make use of the complimentary massage voucher we were given when we checked into the hotel and upgraded it to a package deal including a facial and oil massage, as an end of holiday treat. I’ve never had a facial before, but hey – i’ll try anything once! It was actually quite a weird experience – particularly being left alone in the room with tomato slices on my face, and tomato juice dripping down into my eye. Not sure that’s part of the usual experience, but it was interesting for sure!
Our next planned activity was at 5pm, so there was a bit of remaining time after the massage – I grabbed a small snack and beer by the swimming pool, then headed to my room to pack. The trip is coming to an end, so I can be brutal with my packing – not sure I really needed 3 rain jackets, or 3 packs of suncream! I’m a chronic overpacker, so i’m quite impressed to have stayed under 14kg the whole trip.
At 5 we met as a group for one last organised activity, and headed into the Siem Reap town centre for a sort of farewell dinner. Dek had arranged a private transfer for us with the hotels transport, but they got kind of lost and he ended up having to get out and get directions to get us to the place we’d booked.
Dinner was at Genevieve’s – a small locally run restaurant which is owned and run by an ex-pat Australian called Phil who welcomed us and was working the room talking to all the tables throughout dinner. On the back of the menu is the story of Genevieve’s, and it was really interesting to read how it came to be. The place is the second best reviewed restaurant in Siem Reap, and rightly so – the food was amazing! I ordered a Khmer curry (and spring rolls – because I hadn’t had enough on this trip !!) – which was wonderful, but did remind me very much of the Yellow curry I had cooked way back in Chiang Mai, which felt like a lifetime ago.
Once dinner was done with, we jumped in tuktuks to head to our final G-adventures activity – a performance by the brilliant Cambodian Circus company, Phare. The Cambodian Circus company runs an education program for underprivileged children in Cambodia and have well over 1200 students, training them in conventional education subjects as well as Circus skills – and over 150 of their students have subsequently progressed to become professional circus performers.
We made our way through the small Phare Boutique – where they had local handicrafts at fairly high prices. Initially I dismissed this, but I spotted a Bayon head made of recycled paper which I really really liked, and ended up going back and paying way above the odds for it – but since the money goes towards the education program, I don’t feel bad about that! There are definitely worse things I could have spent my money on (like facials with sliced tomato!)
The show itself was mesmerising – really high standard circus in an intimate venue. The show only lasted an hour, but everyone in the audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy it and at the end, the cast came on stage for photo opportunities and donations.
And so ended our tour – we made our way back to the hotel, and arranged to meet as a group one final time at 8am before my tuktuk to the airport (my flight is first to depart). It’s flown by, but also, it’s been way too short – there’s so much more to see in these amazing countries!