A tuk-tuk ride along flooded roads takes me to the ruined temple of Ta Prohm, overrun by jungle and tourists in equal measure. Take your own path through the maze and soon you’ll be alone with the sound of monkeys and exotic birds, just you, the ruins and the ancient trees enveloping even older walls and buildings. In the steam and shade of the jungle, it’s easily the most atmospheric and photogenic of the Angkor temples, although I haven’t seen the outlying areas because of the floods.
After the temples, the most striking thing about this area is the poverty, and yet you still hear backpackers from rich western countries haggling over a two dollar tuk-tuk fare, or quibbling over the four dollar price of a souvenir. I don’t care how much you’re trying to stretch your budget, just look around at the way people live and get a sense of perspective. I just donated a small amount of money that I’ll barely notice, but it’s enough for the cycling from poverty charity to buy two bikes for local children to be able to get to school. Compared to what I spent for my own pleasure on this trip, it’s nothing. Backpackers please take note. It’s really not ok to be so tight in such surroundings.