There are two parts to Artisans d'Angkor. There's a workshop in downtown Siem Reap where they learn wood and stone carving, silk painting, and metal working. There's also a silk farm outside of town where they learn to raise silk worms and weave fabrics. We started our day in town at the workshop.
Angkor Wat is the largest and most well preserved of all the temples of Angkor. It's also the largest religious structure in the world. The guide book said that it can be a good idea to save it for last so that the other temples don't pale in comparison. This is good advice but we also decided to visit this temple last because it's the one most ridden with tourists.
he temple of Ta Prohm was the one I was most looking forward to visiting. I probably could have come to Angkor and only seen this one temple and left a happy gal. The reason is pretty simple, I love trees. I think they are the coolest things on the planet.
We were jarred awake at five by an annoying sound. It was an alarm, something our ears that are attached to our jobless bodies had not heard in several months. We had decided to take the advice of Tara and Tyler and get an early start to beat the hordes of people. We jumped on bicycles, chugged some iced coffee and headed to the temple of Angkor Thom.
If anybody knows anything about Cambodia it is usually that it is home of the ancient temples of Angkor. These awe-inspiring, massive structures that show human ingenuity at its finest draw millions of visitors every year. If people come to Cambodia for only a few days this is what they come to see.
Walking up to the killing fields with a knot in my stomach, I realized that I wasn't quite ready. I can't say that I'd been “looking forward” to going there. You don't exactly get excited about visiting Dachau, or Antietam. I mean it's hard to figure out what draws us to these places of such great tragedy, where thousands or millions of people were killed.
Phnom Penh is the central travel hub in Cambodia. You must pass through here anytime you want to get to any major tourist destination. We would be in this capital city three times before we left the country.
Kep was one of the least tourist ridden places we had been. Maybe it was because the sand of the lone beach is brown instead of white, or because the water is golden instead of blue. Regardless I found it be an incredibly charming place.
Cambodia is predominantly an agrarian society with only a few large cities. Every time we take a long bus ride to get to a new tourist destination we look longingly out our tinted window as we speed past small villages and Cambodians working in rice fields. The places we have visited so far have been awesome, but they are very touristy with almost more westerners then Cambodians. We had started to envy Tara and Tyler's mode of transportation, so we decided to take a 25km bike ride with them from Kampot to the fishing village of Kep.
Kampot is a sleepy little river town that is known for its pepper and is the largest producer of durian, a fruit with a reputation for being horribly stinky, that we have yet to try. In many guesthouses, beside the "no smoking" sign, there will be a "no durian" sign. We met up again with Tara and Tyler and explored the town on bicycles.