Recommended by a few colleagues at work we booked to see the Cambodian Circus! You can find out more about it by going to here: https://pharecircus.org but it isn't just any old circus, it has changed the lives of many people in Cambodia. Young men and women attend the performing art school and get work through this circus, which has performed around the world. For us, this was the best thing we did in Cambodia, it was an incredible show of acting, dance, laughter and incredible circus acts which shows you how amazing our bodies can be. This has to be on your list of things to do in Siem Reap, words or pictures cannot describe the awe and smiles on everyones faces whilst watching this amazing act! You can also eat and drink at the venue as well, which is worth doing as money made goes further to support the local community.
The finale was brilliant!! This is a little snippet...
We could not go to Siem Reap without seeing the Temples, now a UNESCO world heritage site. It was originally built as Hindu temple's and then Buddhist. Angkor Wat translates as 'Temple City', covering 500 acres, being one of the largest religious monuments ever constructed. I would recommend getting a guide if you would like to know more - we didn't and still enjoyed looking at all the different temples which were there. You have to queue and get tickets at another site before entering Angkor Wat and if you were pushed for time that day I would recommend going and picking them up the day before. We got a tuk tuk from the hotel, Mr Lucky, and he waited for us either at the entrance of the temple site or round at the exit so we could get around more smoothly. You can hire drivers through the hotel as well but this was only 10 dollars for the whole day. I would also recommend getting there early as it can get really busy!!!
We followed the orange loop around, starting at the small check point part. Follow our tuk tuk journey below and enjoy the photos :-)
Angkor Thom: Bayon Temple (our favourite!)
A great morning being cultured but all templed out by lunch time so... back to the pool!
We decided that we could not spend all of our time by the pool and ventured out along to the main hub of Siem Reap. It was only a 5-10 minute walk which was ideal and it open out to a river which, once crossed, is where the hub of the city is. Here we went to a fantastic eco-friendly, vegan, homemade, quirky cafe and restaurant recommended by a friend - thanks Bex! They did delicious smoothies, salads, burgers, cakes and so much more, all with a fresh edge from the food to the decor.
After a scrumptious lunch we found ourselves amongst the colourful market with an array of gap year hareem pants (obviously got myself a pair...), scarfs, crockery, gifts, paintings, watched and the list goes on.
From here you can find many restaurants and bars and the famous pub street, maybe the more Ibiza vibe of Siem Reap when it gets to the evening!!
With a 4 day weekend, why not?! The flight was only 2.5hours and accommodation is lovely and so cheap! We left Friday afternoon and were at the hotel by 7pm and what a treat it is: Ladear Angkor Boutique. The staff were friendly and welcoming upon arrival with a welcome drink and cold flannel! They also provide one way transport to the airport on your trip included in the price... and this is our chariot we arrived in...
So funny when then man arrived in this and we got our tuk tuk all the way to the hotel. A great way to start the trip :-)
Buffet breakfast is also included in the room rate which is excellent! Our room is one with the garden view pool access, it is so lovely waking up to the greenery outside and pool view and so convenient for relaxing and reading by the pool too. The room is very spacious and has all that you need and is clean with a nice decor in keeping with the Siem Reap temple vibe!
Our first full day here we made use of our free 30minute foot massage (definitely have one!) and relaxed by the pool enjoying life :-) More adventures and exploring to come over the next 3 days, including the acrobatic circus and Angkor Wat temples but mainly a chance to recuperate and prepare for the last 9 weeks of our first academic year here at BSG.
Docking at 7.30pm, we made our way down to Canton Wharf where the Primary social was being held. I have heard that these river cruises are worth doing, and if you want to do it on a budget you can just take the boat taxi along the river. However, this was a special affair and our boat (not the one in the picture but this is an example of the other ones) was donned with fairy lights and a buffet of food and drink delights. There was the option to sit downstairs in the dining area with the windows and roof looking out across the river to the skyline of GZ, especially lovely was the City's most recognised landmark, the Canton Tower.
As we made our way under Liede bridge, we turned and headed back on ourselves and down towards Shamian Island. Along the way we saw some fantastic buildings and lights to highlight what a remarkable place we live in. All this with a few glasses on wine and enjoying catching up with people you don't often see.
Probably my favourite buildings were nearer the end of the trip, towards Shamian Island before we doubled back. There was a group of them showing the same visual display, but in sync with each other to show a bigger picture altogether. For example, the fish below would swim across one building and then end up on the next... very clever!
The two hours sailed by and before you know it we were back to the start again... unfortunately we had to work early the next day so didn't continue on the party with the others but navigated the metro and bus home :-) Great night and well worth doing if you come to GZ.
Lovely mid week catch up at my favourite place to eat in GZ. Doors just keeps on delivering... I mean just look at all that food NOM!
Given that we have two (!) balcony's at the flat, they are not used enough for the main reason that we do not have any furniture. A friend of ours in town is leaving and is giving away her balcony set and we were really keen to have it! Now, the main city where she lives is 13km away... and we had no idea how on earth we were going to get it back to our place given that we don't own a car/can't rent one. And we didn't really know how big the furniture was going to be... if worst came to worst then the metro and bus would certainly have something to talk about today!
Alas the Didi app came up trumps again when ordering a 6 seater car, the driver was more than happy to put the back seats down and we managed it. This was a tight squeeze BUT it was a success. We thought that the driver would not be happy to put all the furniture into his car and basically be a delivery van, but we lucked out and our problem was solved.
Definitely the most boring post for you to read about, but I am proud of the accomplishment and winning at China life, trust me you enjoy all these small wins here! And I will now enjoy a cup of tea (or a G&T) on the balcony whilst I blog about more exciting adventures...
With the requirement of coming to Kat's dinner accompanied by your hand crafted Easter Basket (love a bit of creative homework!) we knew we were in for a treat! After a scrummy chilli and all the sides we were let loose on the flat to find all the eggs which were hidden. Missing the Broad's annual Egg hunt on Easter Sunday this year was a tough time... this hugely made up for it!! Even Molly, Clare's dog, got involved and enjoyed the eggs and the foil!
Great evening of wine, food, laughs and friends :-)
Back to our lovely apartment after a busy few weeks, although appreciating the warmth and this view from the balcony, it was very empty without our lovely guests!
We have had such a great time being able to share our new home with Ray and Elaine and I hope that they had as much fun as us. Our first guests in China... who is next??
Yes.. yes that is a winter wonderland and we are in China and at the Great Wall in 3 degrees!!
Matt booked a private driver and an English speaking guide through China Highlights website which was around £80 a head and it was worth every penny. They picked us up from our hotel and it took over 2 hours to get up to the wall (there was a Chinese holiday that Thursday so it was BUSY!) but the wall itself was not very busy which was good - The Forbidden City queues on our way out of the city were another story though! The tickets were also included in the price and the cable car to the top where the wall was and back down which I would thoroughly recommend. And lastly included was a Chinese dinner at a Chinese restaurant down the road too. We were at the Mutianyu part of the wall which was recommended to us by people at school.
After getting the tickets where you park, you get on a shuttle bus up to the base camp as it were of the wall! Here you go through a village place with food, souvenirs and most importantly GLOVES!! It was pretty chilly and these were a great buy!
The walk up to the cable car was very picturesque and I couldn't quite believe only days ago it was nearly 30 degrees!
As you can see, although very picturesque the mist made it pretty tough to see the extent of the wall reaching into the distance! Regardless it was still quite the sight in both senses of the word and I couldn't believe we were walking (near sliding!) across the Great Wall of China! Amazing!! An absolute must in China...
Our guide Lily kindly took us to a Chinese teahouse (well there were quite a few other tourists coming here as well!!) which went through the traditional tea ceremony in China. Whilst at no extra charge, we did spend a bit in there!! The talk about the teas and tasting the different types was really interesting and I feel like I could offer a bit more to my old role at Boston Tea Party now with their 25 different teas!! And it was great to see Matt actually drinking TEA, and enjoying it!