(Mis)Adventures in Angkor (Part 1)

Monday, August 08, 2011

Sole Sisters Angkor

Remember the time when we almost died on our mountain bikes in Dalat? What about when my Sole Sister Lois went the Survivor route in Puerto Galera and barely lived to tell the tale? Did you read about how I almost got kidnapped by a man named Bao Jr. in Nha Trang, Vietnam? And who would forget the classic tale of me, Carl, a sandcastle and a security guard on the beaches of Boracay?

Yep, the Sole Sisters get into several iffy situations from time to time. Why would you think that Cambodia's Angkor Ruins would be any different? We think we might have outdone ourselves this time.

Lois and I had great plans for Angkor, Cambodia's symbol (It even appears on its national flag!). We decided that we'll take our time seeing this 12th century structure - once a temple and a capital city at the same time. We have been dreaming about setting foot here and of course, crossing off one item of our 30 before 30 list.

Angkor Bike 2

Here's the plan: Rent bikes in the city, drive the 5.5 kilometers from the city to the Angkor temples and spend 3 days exploring the World's largest religious building. We also planned on getting up at an ungodly hour early in the morning on Day 1 to see the famous sunrise over Angkor Wat.

Like they say, the best laid plans of the Sole Sisters often go astray....

Angkor Wat Sunrise Fail

Angkor Sunrise 6

We were off pedaling furiously on our bikes in time to the roosters' crowing, which is to say a time when I was supposedly still enjoying the comforts of my dorm bed in The Siem Reap Backpacker's Hostel. We thought we had more than enough time to bike the 5.5k to get to Angkor Wat; however, we forgot one minor detail. We suck at biking (our Dalat stint was proof of that) and to top it off, we were s-l-o-w bikers.

So,we got to the Angkor entrance gates just as the sun was peeking from the horizon. We were now in a hurry to buy our tickets and find our spot to enjoy the sunrise. We tried to find the ticket counter but saw nothing but a little guard house. Uh-oh, doesn't look good at all.

Angkor 4

The guard told us that the ticket station was actually 2 kilometers back where we came from. Say what now? Mr. Sun was already starting to climb upwards, a thousand tourists were on their way to Angkor Wat en masse and all the good spots will probably be taken already. And he says that we have to go drive back to buy our tickets?! Who would build an entrance gate and have the ticket counters at a different location? Wouldn't it make logical sense to build both at the same place?

Angkor Sunrise

Instead of blaming Angkor's management, maybe we should be blaming ourselves instead. Why didn't we do our research like good little backpacking girls and find out where the friggin' ticket counters were? In the end, it was too late. Too late to buy our tickets and make it in time to actually see the sun rise. We pedaled back to the city with our hearts and egos trailing behind our bikes.

Angkor Wat Sunrise: Take 2
Angkor Sunrise 2

The Sole Sisters pulled a MacArthur and returned the next day. We might be bad at biking and we might have lapses in our research but you can't deny that the Sole Sisters are determined. We never give up, never!

Angkor Sunrise 7

I had to go through the agony of waking up with the roosters again . But we made it to Angkor Wat with enough time to eat our take-away breakfast on the steps of the temple.

Angkor Sunrise 5

Angkor Sunrise 4
Angkor Sunrise 3

Angkor 6

Death by Biking Around Angkor

Again? You've probably asked yourselves how many times will the Sole Sisters be resurrected from death caused by biking? I'm afraid we never learn our lesson.

Angkor Bike 1

We had grand dreams of exploring the huge Angkor complex on our bikes, pedaling around in style while marveling at the intricate art on the sandstones used to build the temples. We imagine we'd be cruising around the area with the cool breeze in our hair, our laughters ringing in the air. Carefree, cool, chic and fun.

Angkor 3

The reality was that the Cambodian sun is merciless (even to the Sole Sister with grand dreams). To make matters worse, we were there during the summer season when the sun is hottest. Carefree, cool, chic and fun? Hell no!

We were hot, sweaty and cranky before midday. There was no laughter ringing, only a lot of grumbling, puffing and a few curses. We didn't cruise on our bikes; we struggled (and panted) hard.

Angkor  2
Tired, hot and sweaty.
Angkor 1
Even Hutch couldn't take it...
Angkor 5
Still looking chic inspite of the heat?
All these adventures in Angkor happened on the first day - before lunchtime. Hungry for more hilarious tales? We got into more trouble later on in the day. Bike locks, tires, another Bao Jr and an Angkor sunset fail - everything is revealed in our (mis)adventures in Angkor Part 2.

Angkor 7

Angkor 8

'Til bike do us part,
Sole Sister Chichi
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14 sole trails

  1. The photograph of you and Lois riding the bike smiling simply paints your personas. Happy, free spirited, courageous, adventurous, sexy, hot hmmm what else? huggable hehe Ankor Wat is in my list too, hope to finally see it this November.

  2. i thought of the same thing...biking around Angkor Complex but decided not to after reading how huge the place is haha. i have a number of biking mishaps as well, i was in Bantayan island and Batanes so somewhat I can relate lol. i'll wait for part 2.

  3. i enjoyed my visit in Angkor Wat also last 2010, but wasn't able to try biking there. hehe. I checked your 30 before 30 list... there are still a lot for you to accomplish... I feel very excited with your list.

  4. Thanks for that huge boost to our egos Marky! After that sunrise fail, we definitely need that! We know you'll make it to Angkor soon. We can't wait to hear your adventures ;)

  5.  Hay naku Jerome, it was a disaster. You're right Angkor is huge and it was sweltering hot. It was agony! More hilarious biking incidents from the Sole Sisters in Thailand and Myanmar. Coming soon!

  6. Maybe you were wise not to go biking around Angkor then! We almost died doing that ;( We still have a long list to cross off but we're more than happy to take on the challenge we gave ourselves. Cheers to more travels!

  7. when we went to angkor wat we only had 1 day to spare. hindi namin kakayanin mag bike. galing ninyo ah. hehehe. bummer naman yung first day. so what did you do? explored siem reap na lang?

  8. Parang hindi ata kami magaling Calvin coz we almost died ;( We went back to Angkor before sunset on the same day nalang. Tapos the next day, sunrise ulit.

  9. I'm such a girl. Lois, what sandals were you wearing? Haha

  10. I was wearing gold Steve Madden sandals that I've had for 3 years. And they 'gave up' when we got to Indonesia. :(

  11. oh my, forgot to put this note in my tips too. It does make sense that the ticket booth should be near the gates. But then SR has an all different system when it comes to their ticketing system.

    But still, kudos to your determination! We woke up late during our time because the bed was so inviting in our hostel. In our stay, we woke up around 9am already! hehe.

  12. Their system was really frustrating but nothing that a little research couldn't have solved. Waking up early was really a pain, waking up twice was agony ;(

  13. Sometimes you have to send a little to make sure you wont have a hard time in unfamiliar territories.When we went to Siem Reap we paid our tuktuk driver only $12/day and that includes bringing us all around(no effort at biking) from morning till night time.He even gave us pointers where to take pictures and what to buy and where to eat.

  14. Eloquently written. Enjoyed it.


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