This is a continuation of a story that will make much more sense if read from the beginning… Start with Part 1!
So there we were, standing around looking lost at the canal boat terminal. I may have had a guidebook in my hand. We may have all been pointing in different directions. We may have looked like we needed some help. Thankfully a nice guy with an official badge of some sort was there to give us some insider tips! We had an idea that we wanted to go to a wat on a hill that was supposed to be nearby. The nice man with the official badge of some sort told us that the monks were busy praying for the better part of the afternoon but if we were to get into one of the special tuk-tuks with the yellow license plates we could go see a very special Buddha statue that you can only see one day of the year and today was that day instead… and a fashion factory! All for 10 baht! Scott smelled a rat. Mom thought it sounded fun and was up for the adventure. Scott was almost successful at getting rid of the nice man with the official badge of some sort when I said that Mom was up for it and wanted to take the ride. What could we say 10 baht was a steal! What could go wrong? All four of us hopped in a tuk-tuk with a yellow license plate (they all had yellow license plates) and let the wind dry our sweat as we headed to the very special buddha statue. It was a locked up temple with an open window that we could peek in. A man loitering by the window told us it was solid gold! I would put my baht on a chipped gold leaf over cement… Anyhow after we oo-ed and ah-ed politely through the window we headed off to the next stop. It was a suit shop. Now, none of us wear suits. Ever. So we told the guy that we could skip the suit shop. He told us that if we just go in he would get a coupon for gas and it was the only way he could afford to offer these 10 baht rides. So we went in, said hi to the tailors and left. The next stop was another suit shop! We really weren’t interested in this tour of Bangkok suit shops. The driver said that we didn’t stay long enough at the last shop to get his gas coupon. If we didn’t stay at least ten minutes he wouldn’t get his coupon. He actually started to weep. We didn’t have anywhere to be and the shops are very air-conditioned so we agreed to go spend ten minutes in the shop. We made small talk about fashion. We looked at some really nice seersucker. We debated necktie length. We discussed thread counts. It was the longest ten minutes ever. The tailors were really laying on the hard sell when Dad blurted out, “Actually we’ve been kidnapped!” The tailor started laughing so hard! He told us that we were not going to get dropped off until we bought something. So we went out the door and piled into the tuk-tuk and firmly asked him to take us to Kho San Rd. On the way there he pulled into a gold jewelry store and all four of us shouted, “No!” in unison. He pouted a bit but eventually dropped us off at Kho San Rd. 10 baht well spent! We were actually pretty pleased with ourselves for falling victim to the exact situation that all the guidebooks warn you about. It was a legitimate scam and we made it through unscathed! We celebrated with beers.
We went out to dinner at an Indian restaurant and then retired to our balcony to have more beers and play Pass the Pigs. We made it an early night so we could be refreshed for our trip to Cambodia in the morning!
Morning arrived accompanied by espresso and yummy coconut things wrapped in a leaf. We were very excited to be Cambodia-bound! We took a taxi to the Don Mueang airport. The driver was pulling facial hairs out with tweezers while he drove. It was weird. Anyhow, we made it to Cambodia no worse for wear. They took our temperature with a laser before allowing us in the country. I’ve never been so self-conscious about my temperature! I guess they deemed us cool enough because they let us in and we made it to our hotel no problem. We stayed at Boutique Indochine D’Angkor and it was divine! The pool, which was equipped with a jacuzzi and a swim-up bar selling 75 cent draft Angkor beers was our favorite! I could live there indefinitely. We explored Pub Street, ate some boring food and went to bed early so we could be rested for our first day at Angkor Wat.
Our days in Cambodia generally consisted of an adequate breakfast with salty coffee on the roof of our hotel followed by a trip into Angkor Wat during the cooler morning hours. We arranged for a tuk-tuk driver to meet us in the morning and take us to the ruins. He would drop us off at one side of a site and pick us up from the other side of the site so we never had to backtrack.
We usually lost steam around midday and would go get lunch and retire to the pool for some rest and relaxation. I think most people were more dedicated tourists as our driver was very surprised to get the afternoon off each day. We were quite satisfied with our schedule. The evenings would see us heading into town to rustle up some dinner. Our hotel was on the outskirts of town so we had to spring for a 2 dollar tuk-tuk ride each way. We wouldn’t have traded our hotel for any other!
We saw all of the major sites at Angkor Wat, got to experience the most intense rainstorm of my life from the shelter of a restaurant, and wandered the streets of Siem Reap in the evenings. We were only in Cambodia for three days but we made the most of them for certain!
The next leg of our journey is to fly back to Thailand and head up north to Chiang Mai!