We got an early start in Hong Kong, leaving at the same time that Grace was headed to work. We arrived at the airport very early for our flight so that we could attempt to figure out what had happened to Jess’s bag. Everyone we spoke to seemed to give us different stories about where it actually was. Jess sat in Air China’s office for a while as they tried to help, but with no avail, we decided to head through security.
Jess was checking her phone as we waiting in line through security to get an email from the Air China office that they had found her bag. After much debate, we decided that there simply was not enough time for her to go back, check her bag into a different airline, HK express, get back through security and customs, and make it to our gate on time.
The Hong Kong airport is very interesting in that your plane does not arrive at your gate. The passengers wait at the gate until time to board, at which point they are loaded onto a bus and driven to the plane. Our plane was parked in an air plane parking lot, where we loaded on to the plane from the tarmac.
Overall Hong Kong Express seemed very much like Southwest in quality, efficiency, and cleanliness, except for the fact that all beverages and snacks, including water, is an extra expense.
Landing in Siem Reap was a bit of a shock. I don’t think either one of us was expecting the airport or the city, even, to look so small. We were able to see the East Baray’s from the air, which was the only indication that we had arrived to our destination. Getting through customs and security was a breeze, and we were quickly out in the sweltering heat trying to find a taxi to our hotel.
Transportation is actually annoyingly easy to find in Siem Reap. There were dozens of tuk tuk and taxi drivers at the airport waiting for someone to pick them. Our drive was very speedy, and introduced us to all the lawlessness of Cambodian driving. Passing happens everywhere and anywhere, including driving in the opposite lane for extended periods. If you want to turn left, just get in the opposing lane and drive straight into your proper lane. However, everyone does is, and some how this general free for all seems to work.
The Shadow Angkor Villa, our hotel, was about thirty minutes from the airport. We were given fresh juice during the check in process. After being in the Cambodian heat for only an hour, we were glad to find that the AC in our hotel room worked VERY well.
That night, we grabbed dinner at a traditional Khmer restaurant, then explored the night market. I didn’t get many pictures in the markets, due to a massive thunderstorm that rolled through. We were luckily under a roof when it started pouring, so we continued to shop around under cover until the rain cleared up.
Walking through the night market, we saw a sign for a Happy Hour for $0.50 beers. The beer on tap was the Angkor Beer, which is pretty common in the restaurants for about as cheap.
After a beer and walking around in the heat, we were ready to head to bed early in preparation for a busy day at Angkor Wat.