1. The most obvious, but totally worth it: wake up super early, take a tuk-tuk and watch the sunrise at the Angkor Wat temple as it mirrors in the water.
2. Click a selfie with the smiling faces on the Bayon Temple pillars.
3. Pretend to be Lara Croft looking for hidden treasure in the ‘Tomb Raider temple’ by acting as though the chirpy Japanese tourist group obstructing your perfect picture is the villain and you are hiding from them.
4. Take a little boat ride through the narrow canals to the beautiful and mysterious floating villages, where time seems to stand still.
5. Catch fresh fish with the locals of the village, cook it with them, and eat it on a floating restaurant, accompanied with the yummy local coconut water.
6. Chill in the afternoon in a hammock at the edge of the floating restaurant.
7. Take a boat ride through the magical yet eerie flooded forest. (Try not to get eaten by crocodiles, or swallowed by the pythons hanging on the trees.) Apply loads of bug repellent to drive away the mosquitoes that are crazier than the crocs.
8. Take a boat ride on the Tonlé Sap Lake (that looks more like an ocean than a lake) to see a glorious sunset. (Bad luck if it’s cloudy or raining.)
9. Visit Pub Street, drink lots of the local beer, Angkor, while getting a foot massage.
10. Eat a crocodile burger. It’s only fair. The crocs in the flooded forest wouldn’t mind eating you.
11. Be super adventurous: Eat a scorpion or a snake or a spider on a stick, and lots of fried crickets.
12. Do some shopping in the old market and the night market. Don’t forget to bargain.
13. Catch an apsara dance performance at Angkor Village’s Apsara Theatre that also offers a four-course dinner.
14. In the early evening, climb to the third level of the Angkor Wat temple, hide in a corner, and read a book until it’s time for sunset. (Make sure you’re there early: it gets very crowded in the evening and only a few people are allowed on the third level because it’s still under restoration.)
15. Get blessed by a Buddhist monk who doesn’t talk.
16. See the Angkor National Museum.
17. Make a friend, hire a bike and ride with him or her to the mountains to see the 1,000 lingas carved out of the river bed.
18. Ride further and see the waterfalls, the small one and then the big one, go for a swim. (Pretend the Japanese tourist group is a bunch of villains chasing you from the temples; try and outrun them.)
19. See the peaceful big Buddha statue chilling on top of the mountain and the many, many little Buddhas under his belly.
20. Pack a picnic basket and go on a bike ride with a new friend. Hang outside the city in the paddy fields, drink Angkor beer, eat some local food and chill.
From HT Brunch, March 19, 2017
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