Day 10 Monday 30 December. Disembark Ship, Siem Reap, Angkor

After breakfast this morning, it was time to say goodbye to all the crew and disembark the RV AMA Lotus that has been our home for the past week.  All the crew, including the captain, were lined up outside the ship to help us up the steps and to say goodbye.

We boarded our air conditioned coach for our 5 hour journey through the countryside to Siem Reap.  We travelled through rubber plantations, cassava fruit groves, rice paddies and various farming communities and some remote villages, all of whom are not reliant on the Mekong River for their livelihood.  We were surprised that for almost the whole trip, there were villages, towns or farming communities with houses of varying sizes lining the road.

We stopped for a “happy house” stop at Prey Pros Rest Area in Kampong Thom province.

Lovy pointed out a symbol of a kangaroo that was etched into the stone on several bridges that passed and he told us that the kangaroo meant that Australia funded the building of the bridges.  We also saw lots of ponds with water lilies or lotus flowers, which helped to purify their water.  The lotus was also well utilized – they could sell the flowers at the market, use the leaves to pack steamed rice or port or beef, they ate the seeds after boiling or grilling them and also used the root for cooking like potatoes.

We stopped at a sandstone and laterite bridge build in the 12th century called the Naga Bridge or Spean Preah Toeus – it is one of a few bridges from the Khmer empire to survive to the modern day.  The bus was not allowed to drive over it, so we walked across, taking photos and the bus drove around and met us on the other side to continue our journey.

We arrived in Siem Reap at our hotel, the Sofitel, around 1.00pm, had a quick pre-ordered lunch and quickly dropped our belongings into our beautiful room (see photos on gallery) and then headed off on our tour for the afternoon.  We were picked up by Tuk Tuk and taken to the Southgate area of Angkor Thom for our elephant ride.  The two of us sat side by side atop the elephant on special seat attached to the elephant and swayed back and forth as the elephant walked slowly along a path beside the river and past two old temple ruins. We were able to take some photos of Eenie on her elephant and the man who helped us onto our elephant to some photos of us.  We all thoroughly enjoyed this new experience.  Richard says that he wouldn’t recommend it for long distance travel !

We enjoyed our dinner at the Foreign Correspondence Club, where the three of us dined with Yolanda and her Mum, Lyn, who both live in Brisbane.  We were, once again, taken to and from the restaurant on a Tuk Tuk.

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