Saturday, November 23: A last day, then homeward bound

The first leg of our journey home started Saturday evening with a 7:30pm flight. Since you normally have to check out of your hotel much earlier, we had booked an afternoon walking tour of Siem Reap. But this plan had some problems. First, touring in the afternoon in the heat and humidity would mean we would be dressed for the tropics, and both tired and sweaty by the time we got to the airport. Not the way I want to travel for 36 hours. We also took a look at the itinerary, and it included the local market, some street food, a temple, etc. We are seriously temple’d and market’d out. After our second day of temples here, we asked Sunny to drive us through town on Thursday, and that sealed the deal. So we cancelled the tour.

That left the problem of what to do all afternoon. We asked the front desk at the hotel if we could get late checkout, and they responded (the next day) that we could stay until 3:00pm. Problem solved! Enjoy the room (and backyard) and pack all day, leave our room at 3:00, a late and slow lunch in the restaurant until 5:00, then off to the airport.

Here are a few more scenes from around Phum Baitang.

That’s how you do it, November 2019

The hotel has its own rice paddies and water buffalos to work them in the traditional manner, and we got to see the tilling and seeding the other day.

Beer kept cool in an ice bucket, November 2019

The main restaurant is outdoors, and has the same peaceful and calming atmosphere as our room.

So Saturday changed from having to pack and get out before lunch, to being a leisurely day. We got to spend some more time in the nice restaurants at the hotel, some time in our backyard and pool, and some time enjoying the grounds.

All in all, a great trip.

Friday, November 22: A day of rest

Ed. Note: I know this is out of order, but I wanted to get it out today.

In some of our earlier trips, we traveled with other couples. On the two Mediterrainian cruises, it was our friends Laura and Rob on the first, and on the second, Zelda and Matteo. I’m sure you remember them fondly; I do (1). Anyway, by sheer coincidence, today is both Rob’s and Matteo’s birthdays.

Happy Birthday, Rob and Matteo!


We’re not doing anything today, just hanging out. Let me give you a tour of our villa here at the Pham Baitang in Siem Reap, Cambodia. You’ll understand why we’re just hanging out.

Do you know the way to Villa 2?, November 2019

Backyard, November 2019

Entrance, November 2019

Bath, November 2019

Bedroom/sitting area, November 2019

Any questions?


(1) Both the cruises, and the couples.

Thursday, November 21: The Bassman and Sally’s final tour

We’ve taken more than a few tours during this trip. But you know that; you’ve been reading all of these posts. Each place had a guide:

Bangkok – Moo

Chiang Mai – June

Luang Prabang – Oudune

Hanoi – Sunny

Ginger – Minh (Minny Minn)

Saigon- Thuy, Henry

Jahan – Tri

Phnom Penh – (we don’t remember, and don’t want to)

Siem Reap – Sunny; The Professor (at Angkor Wat)

But today was the final tour. Sunny, our guide here in Siem Reap, picked us up to go see the “other” temples here. While Angkor Wat is massive almost beyond comprehension, and also in pretty good shape for an 800 year old structure in this climate, the other sites are all ruins.

The Bassman and Sally go to temple(s), November 2019

I mentioned that Angkor Wat was less crowded than we expected, perhaps just because of its scale. But the sites today were more crowded. There were allegedly more than 1,000 temples in the Siem Reap area. Most of them were abandoned over the centuries. We went to visit a few of the more interesting ones (1).

Tourists?, November 2019

And as always, there were monks. And tour groups.

Miles of smiles, November 2019

The architects were pretty amazing. They would design these structures with repeating elements – figures, towers, columns – that visually line up. This helps to create the beauty that must have once been here.

Angelina was here, November 2019

One of the ruins, Ta Prohm (the so-called Banyan Temple), was used in a scene in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. There’s a scene where she stands by a particular root system, and there were hordes of women lining up (2) to have their picture taken where Angelina Jolie stood.

After we finished the temples, we asked Sunny to drive us through Siem Reap proper. We have a walking tour of the city scheduled on Saturday, but weren’t sure if it was worthwhile. So we drove around for about 15 minutes and decided we would cancel the tour. The rest of the day was in the pool, lounging in the shade, eating a couple of meals and watching another sunset from the bar.


(1) According to Sunny.

(2) It wasn’t really a line, more of a mob crush. Sort of like getting on the subway at rush hour. We didn’t even think about getting a picture.