A family from California moves to Ho Chi Minh City. Hilarity ensues.
This time I just stole the bad pun.
After failing in late 2013 to make it to the top tourist draw of Southeast Asia because of a certain pesky pest, the Saigon and Riverside Schnacks finally paid a visit to Siem Reap, Cambodia, home of the temples of Angkor you may have heard about.
The flight from Bangkok was uneventful, the hotel room vast, and Cambodia’s national dish tasty (we sampled it every day of our visit). An early morning wake up call summoned us to the temples. Everyone goes on and on about how amazing all the temples surrounding are. And everyone, in this case, is completely correct.
The first stop (as well as the last of the day to catch it at sunset) was the biggest religious building in the world: Angkor Wat.
Check out the feet! I swear I just can’t stop looking at the feet!
After a hearty lunch, we popped over to Ta Prohm, the most famous of the “is that tree tentacling some crazy ancient ruins or is this another Photoshop masterpiece?”
But before the ruins, The Eldest had to practice the new family đàn hồ.
Here’s what an experienced Cambodian đàn hồ player and a few of his friends can do.
And here’s The Eldest’s rendition of Lorde’s Royals:
Sarah wants to teach him some John Cage next.
The intrepid explorers just before they switch a three pound bag of sand for the Golden Chachapoyan Fertility Idol, per cousin Mark’s suggestion.
Like many of the temples, Ta Prohm has been fixed up in a few places. You know, to keep it old looking. (Or perhaps just to keep it from become a pile of stones.)
Some of these temples are over 20 minutes old!
The rest of the family called it a day, but I wasn’t yet templed out so I wandered amongst some “lesser” temples which were pretty close to deserted. One of them had a ton of great wall apsara.
You gotta love that smile, eh?
I walked in between two sites in what ended up being quite a hike. A side trip on a parallel road lead to a glimpse into Cambodian rural life.
Day 2 of the temples:
In the morning we explored Angkor Thom, starting with Bayon, famous for 216 huge faces (and one regular-sized Little Lady face) staring off in four directions from many of the towers.
This tourist was super-excited to help hold up the little ones up to the window sill, but wasn’t quite able to not be in the photo.
How many faces can you find?
That’s my mom in the blue!
The loooooooooooong drive to another temple complex was broken up by more amok for lunch. Beng Mealea has been truly left to nature. Well, except for a few wooden walkways and evidence of tree trimming. But not much.
That’s quite a naga you got there.
I bet you can’t guess which of the three thought that sitting on the vine was a bit iffy.
Our third full day in Siem Reap was spent lounging a bit. A mellow morning was followed by a walk “downtown” and a massage for Sarah and The Eldest. The big man was a trooper this trip. He still hadn’t recovered from the stomach bug he picked up in Bangkok and then came down with a stiff shoulder issue. After lunch everyone relaxed in the pool. Except for yours truly, who headed back to Bayon and a few more “lesser” temples.
After 1000 thank yous and a few farewells to Grammy and Gramps, we hopped on the quick flight back to Ho Chi Minh. Another vacation down, another amazing country and experience crossed off the list.
Bonus video! I forgot to put this in our Bangkok post. Be sure to wait for the killer ending.