I travelled via bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap for 6 hours. Let me just say that hotels in Cambodia could get really “sulit”. Sulit is a filipino term which means “getting more than what you pay for”. I booked 3 nights at Petit Villa Resort and Spa. I told myself that I had been staying at hostels and cheap accommodations during the previous two cities and I wanted for this leg of my trip to have a pool to relax in. Having said that, I also cannot afford to stay in a hotel worth more than $50 a night. It’s a great thing that I found this gem.
It is located near the city but with the amount of plants and trees that they’ve grown inside, you would thing that you are in the middle of the jungle.
And the pool nestled in the middle of this tiny resort surrounded by the trees and plants. Of course, there are occasional leaves and insects getting into the water but you can’t really control it without putting ugly nets to catch them. I’m glad the management did not. They do clean it regularly so it’s all good.
Finally, the room is so gorgeous. When I checked in, there is that sweet welcome message on my bed made up of twigs and fragrant flowers. They really make sure that everything is personalized up to the tiniest of details.
When I passed by for breakfast the next day, I saw the staff doing the message for the room next to mine and it is full of effort! By the way, their walk way to the rooms are so romantic.
There is even a bath tub, not in the bathroom, but outside of it beside the bed. I thought to myself that the room I got is for honeymoon couples and they were probably thinking that my would-be spouse left me in the altar. LOL.
I booked both of my tours (the small circuit tour and the big one) at the front desk of the hotel. They have a fixed price of the tuktuk which is $20. It is not a guided tour but only a tuktuk rental for the whole day. You would probably find a cheaper tuktuk if you walked down the road and haggled with the driver. I’ve talked to somebody and they got their tuktuk for $15 only.
By the way, their main currency for tourists here is US dollars. I made a mistake of withdrawing a significant amount of money in Cambodian Riels (their native currency) only to find out that everything is priced on USD. They do accept Riels but do know that whatever it is that you are paying for is priced much higher in Riel than in USD.
The first stop of the tour was the famous Angkor Wat. This temple is the original 7th Wonder of the World and is the largest religious temple in the world. It is one of the most photographed sites in the world.
Good thing I was able to find somebody who took a nice picture of me. It is best to see the temple during sunrise. One of my biggest regret in life was not waking up early for that. So you should.
The next stop is the Bayon Temple inside the Angkor Thom, easily recognizable by its multitude of serene and smiling faces. So I smiled back at them.
Some temples offer great views from the top. This is still part of the Angkor Thom, across the Bayon Temple. It was very tiring in the middle of the noon sun but very satisfying when I reached the top and saw the view!
The next stop is the Ta Phrom, very famous because this is where Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie was filmed. These temple complexes were really stunning and I was even more amazed by how the Khmer kingdoms were able to build them centuries before big construction equipment was invented. However, nature has a way of reclaiming her position in the world. Nature beats man.
The final stop is a small temple called Bantay Kdei. It is one of the smaller temples similar to the Angkor Wat in design.
Across it is the Sras Srang or the Royal Pond. It was a nice place to rest after a long day of temple-hopping.
I started the tour with so much excitement. I encountered Angkor Wat in high school not really understanding what it is. As time went on, I’ve read more about it and become fascinated with it. I said to myself that I have to see it in person. I went home drained with energy but gained a lot of insights and knowledge about the history of the Angkor. It truly befits its description, as a place of gods, full of wonder.