After taking in the ruins at Angkor’s Preah Khan temple recently, my Cambodian friends spied a mobile noodle vendor on the dirt road adjacent to the temple. “I know this lady,” said my friend Chamrong. “I used to buy from her before. Her noodles are very delicious.”
With that declaration, Rong and the Try brothers all ordered bowls of noodles. The woman had arrived on her bicycle, packed with bowls and bags of noodles, vegetables, and spicy condiments. It all looked very tasty, but I passed, seeing as how it was only about an hour until my planned lunch, plus this woman was using her hands to dish out the noodles and frankly, it didn’t look very hygienic.
But my friends all wolfed down their noodles, declaring the treat most delicious, while other customers, including a couple of young women, waited for the lady to prepare their orders. It certainly looked like she was doing a very brisk business there under the trees at Preah Khan. Just another charming Cambodian moment!
If you’ve never been to Angkor in Cambodia, you are missing out on one of the most amazing travel experiences there is in Southeast Asia. No matter how you feel about traipsing around ancient ruins in the hot sun, it’s almost impossible not to be awestruck by the historic temples scattered throughout the Angkor archeological park. Angkor Wat, of course, is the most famous, but there are dozens (actually, hundreds, if you want to get picky) of other spectacular temples, big and small, in the park and surrounding countryside; Ta Prohm, Preah Khan, Banteay Srei, Kbal Spean, and Beng Melea … to name just a few of the most impressive. A 3-day pass offers the best overview of Angkor’s highlights, but even if you buy a 7-day pass, you might find that you still didn’t have enough time to properly see all that there is to see.
Over in the Angkor Thom section of the park, near the two terraces (Elephant and Leper King), is the small but awesome Bayon, my personal favorite site. Walk around Bayon and marvel at all those giant, majestic, stone faces towering above you. Depending on the time of day, and the sun’s rays, the faces take on different tints and shades. No matter where you look or turn, you find yourself surrounded by those enigmatic faces, staring back at you. Just what are they thinking?