continuation from Siem Reap Day 1: Khmer Kitchen Restaurant & Artisans d’Angkor (Part 1)
Note: Super LONG post. Read at your own risk. Hehe
I actually plan to visit the temples right after Artisan d’Angkor but the scorching heat made me head back to Zzzzz. 😛
Around 3.30pm we head out to purchase our 3 days Angkor Temples pass that cost US$40 ($$ fly away). There’s also the choice of 1 day pass @ US$20 or 7 days pass @ US$60. When you purchase the pass, you need to inform which date you’re visiting the temples because the operator will print the visiting dates on the pass. Also they will take your photo with web cam. Your picture will be printed on the pass. All this is done in less than 2 minutes. Yup that fast. And because of this I forgot to take some photos at the counter. Aiyak.
For those who have been to the temples surely you must be questioning me right now. Why get the pass before 5pm? Yes the day itself will be counted as 1 day. If I get the pass after 5pm, I can enter the temples after 5pm for free which means I have sort of like 1 hour free because ticket issued after 5pm is valid for next day. But nah… I don’t like this deal. Haha
Btw the temple pass is made of paper. So be careful ya. Once the pass is torn you need to get another ticket. More $$ fly away. Anyway we came prepared. We bring plastic card case from home so that we can keep our pass in there. So every time when we were asked to show our admission ticket, we just flash our plastic. Haha Or you can get them laminated at the counter office (somewhere).
Our first temple destination is Preah Khan. To go there we must first pass-by Angkor Wat… ahh what a sight! I had goose-bumps as we neared Angkor Wat.
Said to myself that “I’m finally here!”
Then we entered Angkor Thom through South Gate, passed by Bayon… wohooo. We stopped for toilet because there’s no toilet near Preah Khan but I forgot where. It’s very dark in the toilet. FOC when you show them the temple pass.
Then off we went through the North Gate. Then everything look so quite. It was 4pm. The road is deserted.
Here’s how the road looks like…
I find it quite scary lo. Nobody nobody but you… hehe
Anyway once we reached Preah Khan my tuk-tuk driver asked me a very scary question.
Tuk-tuk driver: “Where should I meet you?”
Me: “Not here?”
Tuk-tuk driver: “This temple has 4 gates/exits. I meet you at east gate ok?”
Me: “Where is east gate?”
Tuk-tuk driver: “The other side. This place is very big.”
Me: “No! NO! You stay here. We come back here. We don’t know where is east gate. You stay ar.”
He must be thinking we’re crazy. Does anybody do that? Do you enter one gate and exit the other or you exit the same point you entered? Tell me. I’m really eager to know.
So here’s Preah Khan… the main facade.
If look through the middle of the photo above, you can see that there’s quite a bit of walking to do still. Thank God for the crowds. The road is very dusty. I wore my Crocs throughout this trip. And this is the dustiest I’ve ever got.
Garuda holding naga. (according to Wiki, but I see no naga. :P)
One of the archway at the main facade of Preah Khan.
Ahead of us are a group of Japanese tourists. Yeah for the crowds. Imagine it’s just me and the temple. I’m not that brave. I know the adventurous lot would wish for no tourist. It’s just them and the temples. But not me. I’m a scary-cat. Okay?
Look at the carving especially the wheels. Simply A.M.A.Z.I.N.G yeah?
Preah Khan was constructed in the late 12th century C.E. That was like 800 years ago. And for the carvings to stand the testament of time, weather & human greed is simply WOW. That is why the whole of Angkor Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Just a random tourist… so that I don’t have to pose like her. That’s a must posing area. Haha
Look at the ceiling of the temple. That’s how they stack ’em. You will see the same thing in Angkor Wat.
How on earth did they do that? I HAVE NOT IDEA. SUPER Genius!!!
Another must-pose area. Is she a Japanese tourist? Hehe
Well, that’s all about Preah Khan. We didn’t went further into the temple. We’ve got no courage of Indiana Jones that day. Plus it was veli HOT! Plus I’m a scary-cat. Plus I’m templed out.
Yeah I know so many excuse. Haha
Even the Japanese tourist did not venture further in. Hehe
One the way out walking along the dusty road again we purchased some mangoes from this Khmer lady. 2 mangoes @ US$1. Love the mangoes. Very sweet.
Notice the purple fruit? That’s Khmer fruit as the lady told us. Also known as Milk fruit (source from internet).
Since we have some time left, we stop at the North Gate for some photos.
This is the North Gate of Angkor Thom. Only 1 vehicle can fit through the gate. While passing by, trying look up. You will wonder whether this gate will fall on you! Because the ceiling is being supported by wood beams.
This is the other side of North Gate. This view is more stunning. The trees and dusk lights gave the gate an aura of yesteryear.
If you view the above picture on larger scale, you will notice 2 long thingy jutting out on both side of the gate. They are the elephant trunks. I guess the gate is shaped this way for the elephants to pass through during the Khmer Empire.
The South Gate of Angkor Thom is the busiest entrance/exit point.
In short, the whole of Angkor Archaeological Park is like a big kampung (village). There’s the monuments and then there’s also Khmers settlements located randomly in the park. The Khmers still live in the park as were their ancestor who built Angkor Wat more than a thousand years ago. Angkor Wat after all means City Temple.
After exiting South Gate we passed by Phnom Bakheng (Bakheng Hill), the no. 1 sunset spot. Saw a very large crowds and the climb up Phnom Bakheng is damn scary. It was very steep. Like 89 degree vertical from my point of view from the tuk-tuk… hahaha No plans to go up there.
With still a little time left, we decided to have a sneak peak of Angkor Wat.
Along the moat banks… a place to relax and chill on the sight of Angkor Wat.
The long walk up the sandstone causeway. Moat on both side of causeway.
It was 5pm. The sun is setting. Perfect time for long walks. Very crowded… a far cry from Preah Khan.
Sighted along the causeway of Angkor Wat. Can dogs read? Hmm
The west gate of Angkor Wat. This is the main entrance (the most famous gate) of Angkor Wat.
Our sneak peak ended at the other side of west gate. No more walking for us today as our stomach is growling for food.
Half an hour later, we found ourself at Khmer Kitchen Restaurant again! Hahaha
This time we sat outside the restaurant which is along Pub Street Alley.
Nice color ya? That’s why I came back. Haha
We had French Omelette @ US$2.50 and Sweet Sour Chicken (I think) @ US$3.00. No drinks.
Didn’t take the food picture as I wasn’t feeling alright. If you remembered, I wasn’t feeling well prior to my Siem Reap trip. Well the bug is coming back again. Thankfully I had my medicine with me.
That’s all for my Siem Reap day 1 travelogue. Day 2 coming soon.