And They’re Off!

18 11 2012

I can’t believe it but my parents are already on a plane heading back to the US right now. Their trip went by so much faster than I could have ever imagined. Ten full days in Siem Reap, gone in the blink of an eye. I’m so incredibly happy and grateful that they came to visit though. I feel like they learned a lot about our lives here in Cambodia and, of course, about the country more generally. It was nice to catch up, to explore the area, and to just see one another after more than a year apart.

Two years ago, my parents would have never dreamed of coming to Cambodia so I’m very proud (and, again, grateful) that they endured the excruciatingly long plane ride over here. They then dealt graciously with lost luggage, wrong food orders, daily death marches and endless Khmer small talk. And despite it all, I think they genuinely enjoyed themselves. My dad continually impressed me with his child-like excitement and curiosity, while my mom never failed to formulate thoughtful questions and insightful observations. Tim and I had a great time, and I think they had just as much fun as we did!

We spent the entire trip in the Siem Reap area, passing some days just relaxing near the pool or river and spending others checking out all of the major tourist attractions. Here’s a quick recap of some of the activities that kept us busy.

Angkor Wat: The number one tourist attraction of the Siem Reap area (and all of Cambodia), is the Angkor Archaeological Park. The grounds are apparently home to more than 1,000 temples dating from the 9th – 15th centuries. We certainly didn’t get to see all of the temples, but we were able to explore many of the big ones including Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, Bayon and others. Tim and I had a blast climbing all over the ruins and plan to return to see even more.

Ta Prohm




Monkey at Angkor Wat

Floating Villages: One evening, we took a boat ride through the floating villages, which are essentially whole towns built on stilts over the water. It was a relaxing way to spend the evening, watching the sun set over the lake.

View from the boat


My parents, just before the sun started to set

Artisans d’Angkor: Early in the trip, we took a shuttle out to the Artisans d’Angkor silk farm to see the process of how silk is made and used to create beautiful textiles. We were able to watch the whole process, from the silk worms to the final products. Then, back in town, we wandered through the workshops of other artisans creating masterpieces out of wood, metal and stone. Both sites have extraordinary gift shops with gorgeous clothing, housewares and accessories.

Silk weaving on a loom

Visiting Pagodas: We visited two pagodas in Siem Reap: Wat Bo and Wat Preah Prohm Rath. The first is one of the town’s oldest temples, with well-preserved paintings and adornments. Of the temples I’ve seen, this one was one of the most unique and was, therefore, my favorite. However, Wat Preah Prohm Rath has a stunning riverfront location and an impressively large reclining Buddha statue.

Wat Bo


More from Wat Bo


Reclining Buddha at Wat Preah Prohm Rath

Shopping: Siem Reap is home to an obscene number of shops and markets. Since we arrived last year, three separate night markets have been built, each containing dozens and dozens of individual stalls. There are also two large tourist markets open in the daytime. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time wandering through the markets, haggling for low prices on gifts for others as well as treats for ourselves. Although the sellers can be aggressive, there are gems hidden among the identical, mass-produced t-shirts and bracelets if you take the time to look.

One of the many neon signs advertising a night market


Market stalls at night

Angkor National Museum: To our surprise, the Angkor National Museum was a beautifully-presented, well-curated look at Cambodia’s history. The 1,000 Buddha images exhibit, in particular, was breathtaking.

The museum’s exterior

I was sad to see my parents go, but it’s incredible that they even came in the first place. Now, back to site and back to work for me! The rest of the pictures from the trip are scattered throughout various albums on Facebook.





2 responses

20 11 2012
Mike Warner

We indeed had a great time. We are proud of you and Tim’s willingness to live much less comfortably than you have to, to make a difference in the world. We are grateful to have had a small chance to share a small part of
that experience with you.

31 12 2012
Celebrating the Highlights of 2012 « TimKat's Travels

[…] November, my parents came to visit and we spent ten days hitting all of the tourist activities in Siem Reap, including the alligator farm, the silk farm, Apsara dancing, the floating villages, […]

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