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Published: February 4th 2018
Wake up this morning quite excited. Breakfasted around 8am
, the best we have experienced during our Cambodia travels so far. Eggs Benedict, delicious. By 9am
we are Tuk Tukking along and looking forward to our Big temple tour, today's driver having very passable English.
Battling through the hectic Sunday Morning
Market and all of it's madness, we soon find ourselves on quiet rural roads and sit back and enjoy observing local village life, complete with happy children, lazy dogs, even lazier cattle, roadside stalls selling silk scarves, coconut juice, palm sugar in jars and exquisite basket ware.
First stop this morning is after roughly 40 km drive, taking one hour, through very flat but rural landscape to Banteay Srei. This temple is famous for its pink sandstone engraved walls and it is both unique and well maintained. Described as the Jewel of Khmer Art due to the elaborate art that covers most of it's surface area. Unfortunately, we arrive at the same time as coach loads of Chinese, and we are harried and jostled throughout our walk. Nobody does posing and selfie photography better than the Chinese.
We decide to wander away from the throng and find the nearby river and
shallow lake, which is peaceful and very scenic. There are wooden platforms out over the river from where water buffalo and cattle with their attendant herons graze whatever vegetation they find. We watch a slow fishing canoe sculling across the lake and when we return to the temple site, thankfully things have quitened down. We encounter many children trying to sell us postcards and fridge magnets, which we sadly resist.
We take a few more photographs then return to our driver for a 10 km drive to Preah Khan. This sprawling ruin covers over 5 sq km and is surrounded by a 3 km wall. It's really Indiana Jones territory and can be a bit hairy as many parts are collapsed or collapsing, but very much worth the visit.
From there, a short drive brings us to Preah Neak Pean, a shrine surrounded by sacred ponds, reached only by a causeway across a flooded forest area. We found this to be more spectacular than the shrine itself.
We visit several other interesting sites before arriving at Ta Prohm, made famous by Angelina Jolie in the film Tomb Raider, taking several pictures of that famous tree!
now it is after 2pm
and very hot, so we direct our driver to take us back to the hotel, where we arrive by 2.30pm
. Reflecting on the day, we have thoroughly enjoyed every minute, and dare to say, it held far more charm and interest to us than Angkor Wat - there, we've said it! We are prepared to be shot down in flames for our blasphemy, but that's our opinion. We are now officially well and truly 'Watted'. Lovely day!
We maybe should apologize for the number of Temple photos, but it's impossible not to keep snapping away at these unique structures.
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