Indochina Day Four
05.02.2020 - 05.02.2020
After a much better night's sleep we were up quite early to finish sorting our bags, as today we were leaving Phnom Penh and the lovely Hotel Anise. Han, who was to drive us to Siem Reap, arrived just as we were finishing breakfast, so after checking out and saying our farewells to the friendly staff, we were off.
Breakfast on the terrace
The drive out of the city took some time, after which our route took us through a succession of small villages and a few larger communities.hoto.
Heading north from Phnom Penh
We stopped a few times at Han's suggestion. The first was in the small market town of Skun, sometime spelled Skuon. The market here is famous for its deep-fried tarantulas! We saw these and other invertebrate delights for sale but weren't tempted to try them.
The market at Skun
According to Wikipedia:
‘The spiders are bred in holes in the ground in villages north of Skuon, or foraged for in nearby forestland, and fried in oil. It is not clear how this practice started, but some have suggested that the population might have started eating spiders out of desperation during the years of Khmer Rouge rule, when food was in short supply.’
Arranging fried spiders
The final arrangement
I noticed that many of the women selling the spiders had a penchant for floppy sun-hats ornamented with flowers.
Sellers in the market at Skun
No one seemed bothered by our cameras - some of these photos are candid shots, but I asked permission of the mother to photograph her with her baby.
Sellers in the market at Skun
And it wasn't just spiders!
Crickets for sale
Some sort of grub
~ and note the striking tablecloth!
On the road
I love a road journey in any Asian country and this one didn’t disappoint – there was lots to keep me interested and to photograph!
Traffic on the road
Hitching a ride
How many chickens can you fit on one motorbike?!
A little further up the road we passed through a village (I think Santuk) where every property seemed to be home to a carver of stone Buddhas and other statues. Han heard our exclamations and pulled over so that we could take photos.
Stone carvings in Santuk
A man was working on a statue nearby, shaping its shoulder at first with a chisel and then smoothing it with a sander, and was happy to let me take a few photos.
Working on a carving
I continued to try and grab photos from the car. I was struck by the ornaments on many of the roof ridges of the houses, even quite basic ones. In one area they all seemed to have beautiful golden cockerels, in others they were simple shapes such as squares or triangles, and many included what I assumed to be the date of construction. I even saw one with rabbit silhouettes, but not in time to snatch a photo.
~ the yellow one on the right has the ornamental cockerels
Roof detail with date (2002)
Our final stop was for lunch at an attractive lakeside restaurant, Prey Pros. We had a table with a lovely view of the water, with a few egrets and other birds as well as some half-open lotus flowers. My tapas plate of tempura vegetables was huge - Chris helped out, alongside his sandwich, but even so I had to leave some!
View from our table at Prey Pros
From Prey Pros it wasn't too long a drive to Siem Reap, and of course I carried on with my attempts to get some photos as we travelled.
Local houses, with cockerel ornamentations
Arrival in Siem Reap
We arrived in Siem Reap around 2.30 pm and Han dropped us at our hotel, the Moon Residence. I had thought that here we would meet our guide for the next few days, but instead Han told us, in his somewhat hesitant English, that the guide would pick us up at 4.45 am tomorrow to see the sunrise at, we were left to assume, Angkor Wat. We had no idea of the day's plans after that so any discussion of those would have to wait till the morning!
Pool at the Moon Residence
Our room top left
Meanwhile there was an attractive pool awaiting so I went in for a dip and we spent some time relaxing there with the heady scent of jasmine in the air. We also settled into our room for the next three nights, which was huge and very nicely decorated in dark wood and cream, with an in-room bath tub and separate wet room style shower.
Our room at the Moon Residence
Flame tree by the pool
In the evening we had dinner in the hotel restaurant. I played it safe with pasta as my stomach was still a little unsettled and I didn't want to risk doing anything to spoil the next day's visit to Angkor, which has been on my bucket list for so long!