Siem Reap with Passion Passport
* Disclosure: I was invited on this trip by Passion Passport.
After discovering Hong Kong with Passion Passport and Cathay Pacific, we set off into smaller groups to explore a few other destinations in Asia. My travel buds – Alan, Neil and Callum – and I headed to Siem Reap in Cambodia. It's been a few months now, but the memories and feelings are still so vivid. (Check out my fish amok recipe and a few thoughts on Cambodian food.) I wanted to share some more photos from our adventures.
Wherever I go, I try to visit where the locals do their food shopping. It's a fascinating place to people-watch, observe what foods we share in common and learn about new ones. There was so much to take in at Psah Chas – the colours of the exotic fruit, the smells of herbs and fermenting fish, and the sound of the Khmer folk chatting and doing trade.
Tucked in between busy streets in the centre of Siem Reap, we stumbled upon a little haven called Wat Damnak. It used to be a palace, but is now home to a school, public library and a few educational charities. Definitely worth an explore.
There are over 3000 ancient temples across the country. Even though we were only in Siem Reap for a few days, we made sure to pay our respects and take in the wonder of a few of them. Beng Mealea is a sandstone Hindu temple that is charmingly intertwined with the forest around it. I thought it had a completely different vibe to the majestic Angkor Wat, and I thoroughly enjoyed clambering over the rocks and roots to explore deeper.
Angkor Wat is huge! We made two journeys to explore the compound, the first was at golden hour in the evening, shortly before the temple closed its doors to tourists.
Knowing that most visitors start at Angkor Wat at sunrise, we headed for Bayon... and our decision definitely paid off! Arriving at the silhouetted giant heads before dawn, there wasn't another person in sight apart from a few monks that glided through the complex silently. As the sun rose, the temple's 200 faces of Lokesvara all smiled serenely, and that morning it felt like a secret that we were briefly allowed in on.
I am eternally grateful to Passion Passport and Cathay Pacific for bringing me on this trip of a lifetime! I hope to return to Cambodia to explore more of this beautiful country, learn of its poignant past and meet more wonderful Khmer people.