Sunrise at Angor Wat

Hiring a private guide to tour Angkor Wat was one of the best ideas of our whole trip.

I had the salad.

I wasn’t even thinking when I ordered it.

We had just taken the boat from Nice Beach on Koh Rong Island after a few blessed days chilling out.

Nice Beach Bungalows on Koh Rong Island was pure paradise
Nice Beach Koh Song
The soft beauty of a Cambodian sunrise

The island had been perfect. We had needed a small reprieve after a busy 3 weeks in Vietnam and thought a quick jaunt to a Cambodian beach was the antidote to south east asian heat and long bus rides. The water was crystal clear, and delightfully cool.  A wonderful time for all of us as we connected with people from around the world along the way.

Nice Beach Bungalows
Nice Beach Bungalows on Koh Rong give you an option of Bungalow or Tent.

We were starving by the time we got back to the harbour but in relatively good spirits after a harrowing ride in the back of a Cambodian speed boat.  Our plan was to take a flight out that night from Shinoukville to Siem Reap to have a (very quick) stop to see Angkor Wat on our way over to Bangkok.

Our forms of boat transfers were quite unique at times

While we were waiting out our time to head to the airport, we opted to head to an American style pub close by to get wifi, have a bite and book a tour guide for the next day’s adventure.

There on the menu, as I sweltered in 42 degree humidity was an answer to everything I craved in that moment. A crispy, fresh ceasar salad. I desperately something crunchy and delicious in the heaviness of the Cambodian heat. All of my travel street smarts vanishing in an instant in the quest to satisfy that craving.

So I ate the salad.

This was an eclectic mix of part tuk tuk part pimp mobile and park pick up. You just never know…

We got on the flight to Siem Reap without problems, and headed to our room for that evening to find relief from the heat.  We had coordinated via Trip Advisor & Facebook with a local recommended guide who was going to take us on a private tour to all of the key temples in Siem Reap. This had been one of MY destinations on our dream itinerary and I was counting the hours before we would go see such beautiful and spiritual architecture.

Angkor Thom (the wider city around Angkor Wat) has been on my bucket list for many years

Then midnight hit and something, (everything) suddenly didn’t feel right. I will save you the sordid details barring that I had never been so violently ill in all my life. I silently thanked god more than once that the plastic bags in Cambodia weren’t as crappy as Canadian ones that tend to have a hole in the bottom. These grocery bags were important containment units throughout the night as I wished upon death to stop every part of me responding with such malice.

We were getting picked up at 7am and I was determined that I was going to go see Angkor Wat. It was our only chance as we were heading to the airport the next afternoon. On this trip we all got to pick 3 gotta see things, and this was one of mine.

In that moment, it was everything to me.

So after popping a few Imodium, Gravol, Ibuprofen and a super antibiotic we met up with our driver to take us on this journey. He was unbelievably kind. He had packed ice cold towels and water which I gladly accepted as I hung my head out the side of the tuk tuk.

My forever protector
The intricacy and detail on the temple carvings were stunning

The heat was the most challenging. I was running a cold sweat fever as we walked in 40+ weather. I got very weak. Sometimes it became so much that I would sit in on the steps of the temple and ask Lauren to take photos for me (Spencer was half disinterested and half too worried about me to go) So we hung out at the base while the other two ventured up to the tops of the tomb raider temples.

When we stopped for lunch I felt hungry enough to have a Sprite, knowing that I needed some sort of sugar and hydration in order to keep going. Our last stop was Angkor Wat. I had to be well enough to get there.  I was near delirium as I got to a pillar in the main temple, sliding down to the floor and opting to watch monks giving blessings over climbing steps to the top.

Peaceful blessings in Angkor Wat

On the way out, we had a miscommunication on where we were meeting up with the kids so Chris went to find Spencer, while I was on the hunt for Lauren.  Yes, at the entrance to Angkor Wat (which is similar to the entrance of Disney World) we lost our children.

As I was walking to the end of the entrance steps, a wave hit me again and I ran to the nearest tree to throw up the Sprite from lunch. And as I retched, I peed my pants. Yep. Right there. At the front of Angkor Wat.

In that moment, 2 security guards came up to see if I was OK and if they were going to have to deal with some international incident. Chris came up beside me and told them I was fine as I said, “Oh my god Chris. I peed my pants. And I can’t stop because it happens every time a wave hits me”.

You know what he says?

“Listen, how many OTHER people can say they peed their pants at a Unesco World Heritage Site? That’s gotta be something special”.

And in the middle of foreign country, on a crazy adventure around the world, I started to laugh so hard that I peed my pants.

God, I love my husband.

And our guide.

Yes, we of course ended up finding Lauren. She was being taken care of by the sweetest Cambodian woman who had given her ice water and shade to sit close to where we were. I stand by that in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, I had never seen such an extraordinary example of “it takes a village” and couldn’t be more grateful in this moment that it was extended so kindly to us. 


TOP TRAVEL TIP: It important to note that I am a firm believer in taking Dukoral (the traveller’s diarrhea oral vaccine) before heading to a developing country. We were fine for the most part for the first 6 months of our trip until we should have taken a booster. That was when all hell broke loose. This isn’t sponsored. I just believe in the product.

Tags : Getting sick CambodiaGetting to Angkor WatGuide for Angkor WatHow to get to Angkor WatIs it hot in cambodiais it worth hiring a private guide for Angkor WatWhat happens when you are sick in CambodiaWhat to bring Angkor wat
Jenn & Chris

The author Jenn & Chris

Jenn & Chris are #TeamPowell Two adventurous souls who love the off-the-beaten path part of life. Mom & Dad to two kooky kids, they focus on living life without regret, living in kindness and living in the now.

1 Comment

  1. Wonderful to read your story as we were there on the same day but unfortunately missed you. As crazy as this travel business can be, it’s all worth it 🙂

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