Remember how monkeys on Monkey Island would have made the Halong Bay trip just perfect? Well, the trip to the temples around Angkor Wat was just as impressive as the sail through Halong Bay, only here there be monkeys! We saw them running at the edge of the woods as we went between temples on our first day, and on our second day we had a monkey encounter of the elephant kind, a close one.
We got up at 4:00 a.m. (even the sons who usually only see 4:00 a.m. from the still-up as opposed to getting-up side of things) and left the hotel at 5:00 to be at Angkor Wat for the sunrise. Since we were continuing on with a day of temples, we ate breakfast at one of the several open-air cafes on the outer grounds of Angkor Wat. Dinner and a floor show? Try breakfast and a tree show, because after we ordered, up strolled three monkeys to a nearby tree. Up they went, and on went a rollicking show of chasing each other, play fighting, and generally scurrying back and forth and up and down. This is the tree from which the monkey encounter began. See the monkey at the base of the tree? They ended up in lots of other trees, some pretty close to where we sat at the entrance to the cafe. They liked the beach style umbrellas around the entrance. There were times when it even seemed that they were posing for us. Eventually, they jumped to the tin roof over our heads, scurried back and forth there for a bit, and then took the show on the road, down to the next open-air cafe. They never begged for food, though at one point two squabbled a bit over a flower; the winner took it higher into a tree and appeared to munch a bit on it. I imagine they play around the cafes because of the potential for food even if it's scraps. It was a fun start to what turned out to be a very full (over 11 hours) day of temple-ing.