Drunk the beer, it's now time to visit Angkor
Trip Start Mar 18, 2009
134Trip End Jan 12, 2010
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We arrived in Siem Reap, greeted by a waiting tuk-tuk driver and were taken to the Golden Mango Inn. A truly warm welcome greeted us! We were definitely onto a winner here with this hotel. Plus their security system outback is top notch.. “Warning these Crocodiles Bite”. We spent the first day planning our temple route. The hotel offers free bicycle hire, so we felt a little adventurous and planned to cycle to the Roluos Group, some of the oldest Angkor temples and roughly 18km out of town. All we needed to do first was wake up at 4:30am and cycle to the Angkor Wat entrance and buy our passes, oh yeah, that would be another 12km. Wow, sleep is going to be precious tonight!
Two 7 day passes cost us $120 and granted access to all major Angkorian temples. No refunds or replacements come with that price either, so you better guard that pass with your life. Oh and don't leave home without it either, as if you are caught inside a temple without one, the fine is between $100 - $300. Food for thought!
It was time to start our journey to the Roluos temples. The sun was already rising fast, and it wouldn't be long before the temperature catches up with it. It took us around 40 minutes to cycle the 18km; special thanks goes out to Cambodia's flat countryside. Our plan was to view the 3 main temples from the Roluos group, Preah Ko, Bakong and Lolei; all in that order.
Bakong (881 AD) was built by the same king and was the first example of a temple mountain in Angkor, i.e. a five tier temple in the shape of a mountain, which was dedicated to the god Shiva. The complex was surrounded by a large moat (roughly 15 hectares in size) and was nearly a kilometre wide. A truly epic feat in that period. The actual complex was in a really good state with not too much damage. The central pyramid was constructed from sandstone. Elephant carvings could be found on the corners of every tier, with pairs of small shrines on their flanks. The main complex was surrounded by 6 brick towers, much in the same vein as Preah Ko. Why change a good thing? It took about an hour to explore this complex, as the lush vegetation and moat makes for a pleasant stroll.
Right it was time to cycle back into town. Both of us were getting hungry and that definitely spurred us on. Once back at the hotel we had time to shower and change before heading back out into town on the bicycles. Lunch would be at a fine Indian eatery called Kamasutra. A korma and a tikka masala went down a treat! Our plans for the remainder of the day was to cycle back to the hotel and relax for a few hours until the evening. We hoped to experience our first sunset over Angkor Wat today.
We sat around at the summit waiting for a sunset that inevitably never came. A thunderstorm in the distance had blackened the sky and stolen the sun from us all. Oh well, maybe next time. It would have been a exceptional way to end an already exceptional day.
Where I stayed