Day 2 in Siem Reap was an eye-opener. Traveled beyond the boundaries of Siem Reap into the Cambodian countryside, which was pretty interesting:
Tuktuk driver stopped by one of these ‘stalls’ and bought this for me to try! It’s a kind of sticky chewy sweet rice with black beans in it. It’s quite dry, but not bad! Would taste great with some kind of sweet syrup.
Here you can see how the rice is cooked.
This was on the way back but lazy to change order of photos. Sugar pieces that is incredibly sweet but delicious. I bought three sticks back to Singapore!
Beng Melea side entrance. A very reassuring sight indeed.
Beng Mealea (Khmer: ប្រាសាទបឹងមាលា, its name means “lotus pond”) is a temple in the Angkor Watstyle located 40 km east of the main group of temples at Angkor, Cambodia, on the ancient royal highway to Preah Khan Kompong Svay.
Beng Melea is located way, way further away than a lot of the other Angkor temples. It says 40km according to Wikipedia, but I have read accounts online that says that it’s 60km, even 80km away. It felt longer than 40km to me, I should say.
It’s kind of impossible to picture the scale of the ruins from these photos. It looks to be just a pile of rubble near a gate, but it was massive. Each stone block was at least the size of a human, and the main gate is about three stories high.
Beng Melea is… too incredible for words. It was huge and in ruins, and you could explore every single nook and cranny of it, since no area was blocked off.
My guide for the day.
Beng Melea was the only temple where I engaged a guide to help me through the temple, because he was able to show me paths and shortcuts and stuff. It definitely also helped that he was able to lend me a helping hand sometimes when the pile of rocks were too high/steep.
Carvings still in pretty good condition.
Ah. This photo is able to show the scale of the destruction. To the right of the tree, you will see a person on the platform. Yup… that’s the size of the stone blocks next to her.
This was a hidden sanctuary in the middle of the temple. I don’t think many people managed to get across to the other side, because the foliage is growing quite lavishly there.
I spent the longest time in Beng Melea because it was so incredible to climb up and down the temple, even onto the rooftops. If you are looking for a Tomb Raider experience, Beng Melea is where it’s at.
Beng Melea alone was worth the trip to Cambodia. Because of its distance (and the fact that the area was only de-mined about four years ago), it gets a lot less visitors than Angkor Wat, but its fame is spreading. While I was there, there were one tour group from China and many many lone travelers. Maybe in a few years’ time, there would be as many visitors there as there is at Ta Phrom.
Which would ruin the jungle feel. Also, when there are more visitors, I have a feeling that they won’t allow you to go exploring that much anymore.
I have no idea what this fruit is! My tuktuk driver bought this home. Heh.
Lolei (Khmer: ប្រាសាទលលៃ) is the northernmost temple of the Roluos group of three late 9th century Hindu temples at Angkor,Cambodia, the others members of which are Preah Ko and the Bakong.
Lolei was built a few centuries before Angkor Wat, and the styles are very different. For one thing, it’s made of bricks instead of the big stone blocks in Angkor Wat temples. You can see photos of the overall temples in my FB, but in the meantime here’s a closeup.
Also more fragile. See the ropes preventing the carving above the entrance from collapsing.
The writing on the wall.
Next, last temple for the day! Bakong was visually striking.
Bakong (Khmer: ប្រាសាទបាគង) is the first temple mountain of sandstone constructed by rulers of the Khmer empire at Angkor near modern Siem Reap in Cambodia.
Very steep steps that I took ages to climb down from.
After that Niel drove me back to the guesthouse, where I decided not to sleep and instead watched Run, Fatboy, Run. Pretty quirky and funny Brit comedy about this guy who runs a marathon to get his ex girlfriend back.
Headed to Siem Reap town for dinner.
Awesome maggi goreng. Haha. I have to have maggie goreng everywhere sia.
After which I decided to go barhopping.
At Red Piano, which is the place where Angelina Jolie went when she was filming Tomb Raider.
A Pink Floyd tribute in Red Piano! So funny to see it there that I just had to take a photo.
Next, I headed to Angkor What!, the most famous of all Siem Reap bars.
Yeahhh I like that.
First I had a whiskey coke. Then I saw that they sold alcohol by the bucketful. I asked the bartender if he would help me finish it if I couldn’t. He laughed and said no.
That was how I ended up drinking a bucket of whiskey redbull coke. All by myself.
Midway through the bucket I got really high and started yammering like crazy to the bartenders there. Then I realised I was taking them away from their work so I called a few friends back in Singapore and yammered like crazy to them.
After I was done with the bucket, I was grinning stupidly from the alcohol high and general feelings of benevolence towards society and mankind. We are all friends! This world is fucking beautiful! Na na na na na na!
But luckily still had enough sense to walk. Got a tuktuk and asked him to send me back to the guesthouse, where I collapsed on the bed and passed out.
All in all an awesome day in Siem Reap!