Wat Up From Angkor Wat

Written By Claire G.

Suae Sdei from Cambodia! We have now ended our Thailand journey and we start anew in beautiful Cambodia.

After having spent 6 weeks in Thailand, it was a very weird experience going to the airport. We arrived and it was go time. We went through security with no problems except a couple of scissors being taken away. We all got through immigration without any problems. And just like that we were off to Bangkok.

We supposedly had an hour and 15 minutes layover. However, when we got off the plane we had a generous 15 minutes to get to our next flight. Audrey was leading the way as our stampede ran across the Bangkok airport. We made it onto our flight just in the nick of time.

We took off from Bangkok and landed in Siem Reap in what seemed like a couple of minutes. When we arrived, it hit us; we are in a new country. We have to learn a new language and navigate a new culture.

However, this could not hinder our excitement for new experiences. We got our new visas and headed off into Siem Reap. We dropped our stuff off at the hostel, and immediately went out to explore. Kylie, Madi, Sammy, Paulina, and myself stumbled upon the Hard Rock Cafe and had a pretty fun dinner.

That night back at the hostel, we were still energized from that night of fun. So I decided that it would be a good idea to cut Bryley’s hair. I cut about three inches off with dull cuticle scissors. This inspired Audrey to get a haircut as well. Kylie masterfully cut Audreys undercut and put a design in it.

The next day we had an activity for the first half of the day. It was all about what happens to our trash when we throw it away. We made a timeline of trash showing how fast everything decomposes. Fun fact: Styrofoam never decomposes.

We watched a documentary called A Plastic Ocean, that showed us the effect that plastic has had on our oceans and our health. At the end of the day, it was time for us to have our first experience at Angkor Wat. We got there to watch the sunset. However, there was no sunset. It was actually pouring down rain. I’m sure all of us could agree that this did not ruin our experience, but made it even more special. We were all running through the temple soaking wet enjoying the experience. Lucas, Kylie, Madi, and Harrison all thoroughly enjoyed jumping in the puddles that formed on the ground.

The next morning we got up at 4:30 in the morning. I know. But we drove over to Angkor Wat and watched the sun rise. I could try to explain to you how beautiful it was but I can’t do it justice. We spent about an hour taking photos of the sight, which included prom style photos of Audrey and Joe.

We went to three different temple complexes. The first one was the main temple that we all see in the pictures: The temples that have the five towers that represent the sacred mount Meru. The next temple complex consisted of 5 different ruins. It took a lot of work to see all of them. At this complex there were a bunch of monkeys running around. They loved to come try to take your stuff. For example I wrestled with one to keep my backpack.

Our last temple complex had a very cool history, a history that is very recent. The film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was filmed at this temple. It is very popular because of the many trees growing through the temple. Our day at Angkor Wat was nothing less than magical. Our 5 hour nap afterwards was almost equally as magical.

That night everyone went out to try something very intriguing. We all got dead skin eaten off our feet by fish. When a blackout came, that was our cue to leave. For the rest of the night we got dinner and went shopping on pub street. Claire C. bought a plethora of earrings and Audrey bought some t shirts.

The next day we had the morning to get work done on bookings and transportation. Then in the afternoon we went to work with a local NGO called EGBOK. EGBOK stands for Everything is Going to Be OK. They work with disadvantages Cambodians to teach them hospitality and management skills. This enables them to get a job in the hospitality business. 100% of their graduates have gotten a job within a month of leaving the program. We toured the facility seeing what they teach their students. We also got to participate in spring roll making, Kroma folding, and some snack tasting. The snacks consisted of frogs, snakes, crickets, silk worms, beetles, and tarantulas. My personal favorite was the tarantula.

After interacting with the students we had a spectacular dinner at the restaurant that directly supports the program. Overall it was a fantastic experience. After that we headed off to the circus. The circus is another NGO that takes underprivileged individuals and trains them for the circus. We had an amazing time watching it. Today we are off the Kratie to work with some locals. See you next week!

The rainy sunset at Angkor Wat.
Our group with the performers in the circus!
Kate, Kylie, Bryley, Claire C., Madi, and Joe wearing their Kromas.
Joe and Madi making spring rolls at EGBOK.
Bryley, Audrey, and Claire C. chilling in hammocks after a long day at Angkor Wat.
Many temples now have trees growing through their foundation.
Kate and Bryley making themselves a permanent installation in the temple.
Some of the beautiful ruins that you may see throughout the temples.
Our group at Angkor Wat.
The serene sunrise at Angkor Wat.