Every time I go to a place, I can't help but to observe. Most people will always tinker with their phones, socialize, or do something else. But me, I never get bored in observing and looking at the environment and the people in it.
Good thing I had always brought my camera with me during our stay in Siem Reap. There I was able to observe and photograph at the same time.
The first thing I noticed in Siem Reap was the scorching heat of the sun. Siem Reap is a very dry place and not much natural water is found especially around the temples. I was amazed how Cambodians were so used to the heat. Don't get me wrong, it's also very hot in Manila but I just really find Siem Reap very dry and maybe it psychologically adds up to the heat. I remember drinking water around every 15 minutes while we traversed the temples. Our water quickly depleted (yep, because of me LOL) but we were lucky that we came across a group selling palm juice!
It was so hot that not only humans were affected.
Just a side note, if you're going to go to Siem Reap to see the magnificent Angkor Wat, prepare yourself for a lot of walking. If you have a couple of extra cash, you can ride elephants around the temples.
This is a common sight in Angkor Wat. You will see a lot of tourists panting and sitting around while the local tour guides will look fresh and enthusiastic.
Although very tiring, fuel to get you going is widely available beside Angkor Wat. There are ice cream bars, soda pops and snacks, and street food that you can try.
Macaques are very common in the temple complex. Often you would see them playing with each other or eating leftovers thrown by humans. I saw this really big male macaque eating his snack while sitting under a shade. Maybe he's also exhausted. :)
Prayers and Monks
Often you will find small alleys where you can offer prayers and do a simple ritual. It's also a way to earn a living for some locals. I don't know if it's a good thing making money out of prayers but I do understand how difficult life is.
Although Cambodia was first influenced by Hinduism, its dominant religion is Buddhism. In fact, Angkor Wat was originally a Hindu temple but subsequently became Buddhist. This is why there are many Buddhist monks around the temple complex.
It was definitely worthwhile to stop and watch how daily life is in a foreign place. It's a way to immerse oneself to foreign culture and learn their way of life. The feeling of witnessing a culture you have never experienced is gratifying and enlightening. Even after the exhaustion and sweaty pants, I would never exchange it for any luxurious hotel stay. (But I would gladly take it afterwards! LOL)
You can check out our sunrise experience in Angkor Wat here.
And watch out for more articles on our Cambodian experience!