I think most people already know that Angkor Wat is one of the most important structures in the world. Since Cambodia finally cleared itself of its land mines and opened itself up for tourism, it gave a lot of people from around the world a chance to finally see this UNESCO World Heritage Site which entranced a lot of people since its discovery. It has been used as a setting for some movies like Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider adventures in Angkor Thom and the profound whispers of Chow Mo-wan in a hole at one of the walls at Angkor Wat in the film In The Mood for Love by Wong Kar-wai, which piqued a lot more interest to the general movie going public. Personally, being a fan of places with scenic ruins overflowing with history, Angkor Wat placed as one of my dream destinations (along with Maccu Picchu). And it has been great that I finally had the chance to walk these hallowed corridors whose walls echo stories withstanding throughout time.
The week that was has been a very enriching cultural experience. To be finally able to walk the old stone steps of Angkor was a dream come true. And to visit one of the major cities of South East Asia, Kuala Lumpur and experience its multi-cultural environment was rewarding as well. Allow me to share my brief impressions of both cities.
Let me say this first, that for a third world country, Siem Reap in Cambodia, is a really expensive place to visit. The cheapest food ranges from $2-3 USD. Relatively expensive compared to say Vietnam. Just walking the streets, you’d be hoarded by a slew of vendors and Tuk-tuk drivers that after a few days can get really annoying. Soon you’ll be able to memorize the phrases like “1 dollar!”, “Tuk-tuk sir!”, “Want something cold to drink sir? Something to eat?” But getting used to these nuances and actually dig deeper into their culture and crafts, you’ll find them to be very interesting.