Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cambodia - Part 5

Doing the "real deal"...

Daybreak in Angkor Wat
We've had a couple of hours of sleep. Deep-sleep? Well, barely an hour. 
The moment I got up from bed, I made sandwich to carbo-load and made sure that our water bottles are filled.
Next on the check-list, are the tools and essential riding gear.
Cambodia is a developing country and some parts of the roads here are not well-lit.
I outfitted Michelle's bike with a Sigma Pro-LED headlight. It yields about 120-Lumens which is bright enough to illuminate the path.
On my bike, I had the Ay-Up twin light. This baby blasts out 400-Lumens of light and can be scaled down to half the output. It's enough to burn a hole in the dark and create a path.
When it comes to lighting-up, I take no chances. Be seen, or be hurt.
Some years back, some proud Baby-man who toured with me boasted that he don't ride with a bicycle light. Instead, he uses his smartphone to illuminate the way. 
Stupid moves like that, can get you hurt, or killed.
To increase the odds of being seen by oncoming vehicles, I had my Blackburn Flea 2.0 helmet light and the Blackburn Superflea on the visor of my Bell Muni helmet.
Another thing in mind, is head protection. Better safe than sorry. It's not worth spending a year in rehab, learning to coordinate your motor skills after you suffer head damage from a fall.

Rolling out of our hotel 
The road leading to Angkor Wat
Update your GPS maps!

Yeah, it's more like: "The art of getting lost - part 2".
Okay, it's early in the morning, we rode out towards River Road and it's a straight-forward 7.1km ride to the Angkor Wat ticketing booth.
But no... Instead of linking up along the Charles De Gaulle Road, we headed straight towards the Apsara Authority building and ended up at another entrance.
While taking some map readings, I heard some one shouting: "Hello! You go Angkor Wat?".
I paid no attention to the guy. He may be trying to help, or fleece us, or worse. That's our written rule about cycling in a foreign place, pay no attention to people you don't know. 
So, after riding for nearly 45-minutes, we were some 20km off-course. 
Michelle was beginning to get pissed off.
But hey! Getting lost is part of the adventure.
A lady with a flashlight introduced herself at the guard post. She said we were in the Angkor area, but the Angkor Wat ticketing booth (US$20 for a day pass - roughly around RM80) is another 6km from where we were.
The kind person offered us a ride to the payment counter and suggested that we leave our bikes at the checkpoint.
My gut instinct said: "Ride all the way.."
So, we thanked the lady and rode back to where we made the wrong turning.

The actual route to Angkor Wat from our hotel

I actually marked the Angkor Wat temple on my Garmin Geko 201 GPS some 14 years ago. The waypoint remained the same, but surrounding landmarks have changed a lot.
So, after making our way to the junction from Road 60 which is perpendicular to the Apsara Authority, we finally linked-up on the Charles De Gaulle road. 
The ticketing office is roughly about 10-minutes ride from the junction. 
"Aiya! You rode past this building la!," exclaimed Michelle, who has the worse sense of direction.
Keeping my cool, I knew we never rode past Road 60, and I gestured to pull over at the ticket office.
Even in the wee hours of the morning, there was already a huge crowd.

The queue at the ticketing office
The RM80 day pass with your photo 
Daybreak is approaching fast!

A welcoming sight..
Angkor Wat at dawn
Sunrise in Angkor Wat

The 900-year-old temple complex in it's full glory!
What a save!

Despite getting lost and being given the "evil eye" by my boss, we made it to the ticketing counter.
We paid US$40 (RM160) for two day passes. and have our photos taken and printed on it.
I guess this is the way to prevent fraud. Even in Khao San Road at Bangkok, Thailand, you can get some fake media passes made for as low as 200 baht. That's how some backpackers slither their way into establishments claiming to be reporters.. Haahha!
After we were done with the formalities, we rode down the Charles De Gaulle Road and made a left-turn towards the Angkor Wat temple complex.
This looked familiar and we found a place to lock our bikes and viewed the Sunrise on the bank of a moat in the temple compound....

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