Siem Reap - August 19th to 23rd 2016

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After having an amazing time in Bangkok thanks to Mod and her family, we carried on our way to Cambodia! We had not expected to go there as part of this trip from Singapore to France, but our 30-day Thai visa was expiring and we were only in Bangkok, willing to go up to the North of Thailand. We could have bought a visa extension but it was pretty expensive (1900 THB/pers), so we figured out that going to Cambodia for a few days was almost the same price and could be a nice addition to our trip. Going back in Thailand, we would get another 30 days for free. So we took the train in the early morning in Bangkok to reach the border. On a map, the border is only 250 km away from Bangkok, but the train took 6 hours to get there, to Aranyaprathet! We crossed the border, trying to avoid the scams (this border is popular for tourists scams!).

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After paying a 30 USD visa fee, we finally were in Cambodia, and we found a bus to Siem Reap where we arrived 3 hours later. We found a cheap accommodation in town and headed to Khmer Kitchen Restaurant to eat their pumpkin and coconut soup we remembered from three years ago! It was still delicious!

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The next day we moved to our Cambodian host’s, Maden, found through Couchsurfing. A tuk tuk driver came to pick us up in town and drove us to the middle of Cambodian countryside. As we were travelling, the road became a dirt track, bumpy and getting narrower as if we were heading into the heart of Cambodia.

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Maden welcomed us in his home and took care of us during three days. His home is composed of three bamboo houses: the biggest one with three rooms, one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom. We slept in one bamboo room. There was no glass to the window making us feel the fresh breeze of the wind at night. There was no electricity and no tap water. To shower, we had to pour water on ourselves with a pan. His wife and daughters cooked for us very good meals, a lot of delicious grilled meat and tasty soups. This was an insightful experience of local life. Maden’s plan is to develop his activity and build more houses to host more tourists. He also wants to grow his own vegetables, have a small fish pond and even a frog pond. This lifestyle is the same as the one we talked in our previous article with Mod about Jon Jadai. We will tell more about Maden’s story and project in our next article!

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We also went to Angkor temples for one day, and visited the ones that had left a good memory from three years ago: the magnificent Angkor Wat…

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the Bayon with all its carved smiling faces…

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the Baphuon and its long royal alley…

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Preah Khan our favorite one with all its corridors which make it looks like a maze…

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Ta Prohm where the nature has taken its rights with trees embedded into the walls.

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Between the temples and Maden’s homestay, these were three days out of time for us!

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