4 June 2017

Siem Reap 08.05.17 - 18.05.17

For our time in Siem Reap we decided to sign up for a second work away. The entrance fee for the famous Angkor Wat has recently doubled in price to $37 each, so it was time to think about saving on a few expenditures. After messaging nearly 10 organisations we finally had a reply from UP2U bar who had advertised for travelers to help out for 3-4 hours a day with promotion and the running of events in their newly set up business. In return we received free accommodation, one meal a day, free drinks and a bicycle each. When you read between the lines (which of course we didn't) this means flyer-ing on the absolute hell hole of pub street which embodies just about everything Dod and I hate about mainstream nightlife. Initially we had our reservations, if you know us at all well I'm sure you would have a hard time imagining us wearing commercially printed vests and handing out free shot vouchers to 18 year olds that really don't need a free shot. However, our 10 days of working for the bar actually turned out to be a lot of fun. As time went on we learned that UP2U Bar was probably one of the (very few) places we would have chosen to drink in the city. The French owners Kevin and Alex were incredibly down to earth and looked after us very well, even inviting us to a BBQ with their friends on our final day. We were also working with a lovely guy called Tom who reminded me a silly amount of my little brother (miss you Matts!). Even if only for 10 days, it felt so good to be a part of a group of like-minded people again - something we are eternally grateful to workaway for. 

As for Siem Reap, we enjoyed exploring the city by bicycle during our free time. Despite being very touristy in the main areas we managed to discover some hidden away cultural gems, such as a lively temple in the Royal Gardens and a fair trade handmade crafts market just outside of the city. I also took the plunge and got a hair cut which was an experience in itself. It cost just $3 and took all of 10 minutes; dreaded small talk not included.  Of course the main event was the magnificent Angkor Wat which was a day we mostly spent making big O shapes with our mouths. After vigorous research we decided it was most favourable to organise the days transport with a tuk tuk driver. At this time of year it's far to hot to cycle, and a motorbike would also mean minimal time in the shade. We actually met Mr Kun on the way home from a night out with the UP2U gang, luckily drunk us put a note on our phones to remember! After a fair few gins we actually managed to barter a deal at $20 and organise for him to pick us up at 4:45am in 3 days time. On the day faithful Mr Kun was there waiting for us (although neither of us could remember what he looked like so at least we think it was him!). He got us to the main Angkor Wat temple for sunrise, which we watched in awe along with 100 or so others. He then transported us between temples for the next 5/6 hours, giving us little snippets of information along the way. Thank you Mr Kun, you were lovely!

I will again (unfaithfully) leave it up to my amateur photography skills to describe the incredulous Angkor Wat...

Siem Reap in ten photographs

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