We explored the most amazing temples and were left speechless by their beauty, sheer size and most amazing and astonishingly complicated history. We got to interact with some of the friendliest people on earth and enjoyed some wonderful meals prepared at restaurants training homeless and underprivileged villagers in the hospitality sector so that they can graduate into paying careers, forget poverty and create their own destiny.
This is a country still smarting from centuries of conflict and is going through radical change, let's hope they can stay on this right track.
Our first day, ready and energised to go and explore the temples we met our tuk tuk driver for the week, M.r Nak, what a legend he turned out to be! All aboard and comfortable we head off from our hotel to the ticket booths at the parks entry, inside of 10 minutes we have tickets in hand, kids under 12 are free, Bonus! Onwards M.r Nak, to the South gate of the Kingdom of Angkor Thom and our first monument fine fellow!
We arrive at the entrance to the south gate 5 minutes later and are greeted with an amazing sight, a centuries old structure straddling the road, the entrance to one of the many temples we seek to explore. A monkey cheekily jumps up on the back go the tuk tuk looking for some food, the kids think it's cute and say hi to M.r Monkey and apologise for having no bananas. We unload from our carriage and Mr Nak advises us that he will drive through the gate about 100 yards and wait there to pick us up, that way we can walk through and check out the gate at our own pace, so off he scoots.
Then things get ugly, the monkey now decides to attack Samuel and out of nowhere is yanking at his flip flops, then jumps up his body and onto his head, yes, literally grabbing onto the kids head, we mange to part monkey and Samuel pretty quickly and Dan holds him up high to prevent further attack. Unperturbed the monkey instantly moves onto the next easy target, Lauren, same drill, straight for the flip flops and trying to climb up her body, but with Clair's swinging bag, Dan half lifting her off the ground with a spare arm and the timely intervention of a local fried banana vendor we manage to scare it away.
Not a great start!
All the kids are now petrified, needless to say the south gate entrance to one of the worlds most outstanding wonders did not get the full attention it so rightly deserved.
No matter, we battle on throughout the day and are repeatedly approached by many people who had witnessed the fracas and offered lots of advice, like, look out for monkeys. Cheers.