Wednesday, April 09, 2014

H is for the Heat

This post is part of the AtoZChallenge, which I'm doing on my recent trip to Siem Reap in Cambodia.

People, it's HOT in Cambodia. When we visited in the last week of March, the temperature was in the mid-thirties, and the humidity was 70-80%. And it's a sapping kind of heat, a heat that makes you unable or unwilling to move once you sit down.

We suffered particularly on Day 1, when there were a lot of temples that were in the open and provided very little protection from the sun. Baphuon temple (morning of Day 1) stays in my memory particularly, because we just collapsed inside one of the galleries in the upper level, unwilling to climb to the open and sunny highest level.

So do everything you can think of to deal with the heat. Hat, towels, umbrellas, tiny cotton clothes - whatever works for you. But if you're wearing tiny clothes, beware that some temples mandate knee-length shorts / skirts, and shirts / tops with sleeves. Baphuon temple and the central shrine of Angkor Wat are the ones where this is strictly enforced, but I saw the warning board at Ta Prohm as well. 

Water is a huge necessity - the two of us drank 4-5 liters a day there. You can't possibly carry enough water to last the entire day, but bottled water is available inside the park. As with anything in Cambodia, be sure to negotiate. A large 1.5 L bottle of water costs $0.5 in reality, but you'll never be quoted that rate. Stick to your $0.5 figure and you'll be rewarded. If nothing works, get your tuk-tuk driver to buy water for you. A 1.5 L bottle may seem heavy and unwieldy, but you'll be surprised at how quickly it gets over.

Oh, and carry sunscreen. When we look at our own photos now, we can see ourselves getting progressively darker over the three days we were there. 
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