Our trip to Siem Reap was quite a a special occasion. We took the bus. More specifically the night bus. Even more specifically, we took a night bus that had beds instead of seats! The beds were bunk beds that could fit 4 people in total. They came with small airplane pillows and blankets. They were quite comfortable but the road the bus was on was quite bumpy. Nevertheless, we were still able to fall asleep. The trip would last nearly 15 hours, so it made sense for us to choose this style of bus. In a sense, the bus was like a moving hostel!
Our first day in Siem Reap we dedicated to exploring the Phnom Kulen National Park. It is located an hour’s drive away from the city and it is full of Buddhist temples and historical sites. Most of the temples and historical sites in Cambodia were built under the reign of the Khmer Empire around a thousand years ago. It was a really advanced civilization that remained in control of the region for nearly five hundred years. The remnants of the empire are profound in the Siem Reap area.
The first thing we saw in the park was the thousand linga river. What is special about it, is that the riverbed is made of ancient man-made rock formations that represent the male and female sexualities. The lingas are clearly visible across most of the river even though there exists lots of water flowing over them.
Next, we went to see the reclining Buddha. This is a giant statue of the sleeping Buddha and it is located on the top of a small rocky hill that you have to climb using small and narrow staircases. That’s at least what we thought when we first saw the statue. Yet, we later realized that the statue is actually part of the hill! It has been curved out from the tip of the hill and has been there for hundreds of years! It is definitely a sight to see!
Last but not least, we visited the waterfall of the park. Though I can’t say much about its historical significance, the waterfall was definitely one of the most adventurous parts of the trip. The water was quite warm, so we were able to swim in the river and go right below the waterfall! After a while, we noticed a small elevated ledge beneath the waterfall that was accessible via climbing the nearby rocks. Guess what we did? We climbed those rocks! We very carefully sat on that ledge and enjoyed the incredible Cambodian scenery around us.
When it comes to seeing nature beauty in Cambodia, this is definitely one of the places you need to see!