We decided that our second day in Siem Reap didn't need to start before 4:30AM so we slept in a bit . . . until 7:30. We wanted to check out the Artisans of Angkor so we did that first thing in the morning. The Artisans are a group of 'disadvantaged' students learning the art trades that were all but destroyed during the Khmer Rouge Regime. They make fantastic stuff! Check out their website: Artisans d'Angkor.
Here is the traditional silk loom.
Some students carving stone . . .
We bought a few souvenirs (and some Khmer curry spice . . . yes!) and went on our way - back to Angkor! But first, we had to stop for some gas. Our tuk-tuk driver said these kids offer a much better deal than the gas stations . . . they were just hangin' on the side of the road with Johnny Walker bottles full of gasoline. It looked like a lemonade stand . . .
We were happy to be back in the park. You would think that 12 hours of temples would be enough but this place was so amazing that we needed to see more.
It was fun ripping around in our tuk-tuk betweens the temples. There were all kinds of cool things to see.
One of those things was the "Land Mine Museum". It was set up by a self-taught de-miner named Aki Ra in 1997. Cambodia is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world and there are still many injuries and deaths happening throughout the country. Aki Ra has devoted his life to de-mining the countryside and he has even started a home for children that are mine victims. His museum houses many of the mines and bombs he has dealt with. They stand so that Cambodian people and the rest of the world won't forget about what has happened and is happening still.
Here, out tuk-tuk driver Sieu waits for us with the other drivers - he was a really nice guy and I hated to wake him up every time we wanted to move . . .
Back on the road . . .
We decided to avoid the crowds and and return to our favorite temple in Angkor, the Bayon to take in the sunset. We're glad we did - when we drove past the 'classic' sunset spot there were tons of people and cars and tour buses - that definitely wasn't the last thing we wanted to see during our time in Angkor. Because everyone went there, we had the Bayon almost to ourselves.
Here's a funny little note . . . I wanted to take a picture from this angle with the sun coming down but there was a big ugly sign in the way. It said, "Please Do Not Sit On The Rails". I thought to myself, "What's the harm in moving it for a few seconds to get an unobstructed shot?" Hey, there was no one around anyway . . .
As soon as I moved the sign, before I could even snap a shot, this guy comes around the corner and sits exactly in the spot where the sign was. Couldn't believe it!!
Oh well, lesson learned . . .
The security actually came around and sent us out of the temple before the sun was completely set. We were a little disappointed but I guess you can't have people roaming around ancient temple staircases in the dark. We were extremely happy with our two days in Angkor - the weather was fantastically hot, we saw a ton of the park, and took hundreds of photos . . .
But now it was time to say 'goodbye' as we passed by Angkor Wat one last time . . .
Next - Back to Bangkok for one more day of fun!