Thursday we had a day off to visit Ankor Wat. We got up at 4.30 in the morning to see the sunrise at the Temples. After a nice tuktuk drive we arrived at the Ankor Wat temples. It was already really busy at the entrance, but not as busy as expected. We found a nice place in the grass with a perfect view at the temple. After the sunrise we could go into the temples and even climb to the top, which gave a beautiful view of the gigantic area. Then we went a bit inside the forest and found an amazing little temple along the river, with some monks having a picknick and monkeys running around.
We went to find our tuktuk-driver who drove us to more places in the Ankor Wat area and even gave us cold water after every visit. A very impressive experience, everyting is gigantic and very beautiful. After a few hours it got very hot and impossible to walk around, so we went back to our hotel for some swimming.
At the end of the afternoon our tuktuk-driver came back and brought us to the floating villages, which was a very interesting and contradicting experience. The village really exists of floating houses in the middle of the water, very weird and impressive. The people that live there are the poorest of that area, many orphans. But the place was invaded by tourism, which was kind of shocking. We had to pay a 20 dollar entrance fee, which ends up in South-Korea. There are about 50 huge boats that in the high season all are occupied with tourists. As a tourist you are kind of forced to give the orphans and guides food, clothes, money, etc. This made us feel very uncomfortable. When we got back they had plates with our faces on it, while we didn’t even know they took a photo of us.
So it was a very interesting and nice, but contradictory day, which we also heard from the other students during the feedback meeting in the evening. It was our last day in Cambodia, which turned out to be an amazing country, with very nice people, beautiful nature, and an interesting emergent tourism sector.