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Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap
August 5th 2019
Published: August 6th 2019
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Ta ProhmTa ProhmTa Prohm

The trees have taken over, as used in the Tomb Raider film.
Today, we’re going to Ta Prohm, which is another Bayon temple dating from the 12th century. This one has been extensively damaged to the extent that plants and trees are growing all over it. This actually makes it really atmospheric and very different from the others that we have seen. It was apparently used for the filming of the Tomb Raider movie.

We left quite early before it got too busy, but even then there were still a lot of people. It helps if you get there before the Chinese (or “Chinies” as it seems to be pronounced by the Cambodians).

Apparently, it was built by the king in honour of his mother. There is one honouring his father, but that was a lot smaller and there is nothing to see there now. Well, we know where we are in the pecking order!

There is a lot of work going on to renovate and rebuild Ta Prohm and you can see some sections that have been reconstructed by piecing together all the fallen blocks and filling in the gaps with new blocks where needed. It must be painstaking work, not least working out which piece goes where as
Pre RupPre RupPre Rup

Just a quick stop to have a look.
I doubt they have an 800 year old blueprint to use. It’s probably the world biggest Lego set.

Some parts have got props in place to help stop anymore of it from collapsing.

The work has been going on for 15 years already, but has probably only just scraped the surface. Incidentally, it’s being funded by India, but the work itself is being done by Japan. Apparently, they are the best at this sort of thing.

We had to stay and shelter from the rain for a while.

Next, we had a little stop at a smaller temple called Pre Rup, dating from the 10th century. Whilst I was taking a photo, I suddenly felt a load of big, red ants biting my legs.

We then headed to Banteay Srei, which is about 30 minutes away, despite most of the other temples being in a relatively close cluster. Driving through the countryside, it is apparent how poor Cambodia is, even compared to its immediate neighbours, Vietnam and Thailand.

All the children were leaving school, in their bright, white school uniforms.

Our guide was happy to talk about a little bit of local politics,
Banteay SreiBanteay SreiBanteay Srei

The 10th century Hindu temple.
but he said he does need to be careful. Despite the Friendship Monument that we saw in Phnom Penh, the relationship with Vietnam was not and is not an easy one. In fact, it’s the view of many that Vietnam were connected to Pol Pot and his rise to power.

Even now, there is just the one political party, namely the Cambodian People’s Party.

Any wannabe communists in our country need a serious reality check.

Banteay Srei is a Hindu temple from the 10th century. This is yet another beautiful temple and it is amazing just how much detail remains, including a lot of 1,000 year-old writing. Our guide said that he can read portions of the old writing in some places, but the writing in this temple is completely different to the modern day.

Like most of the temples, Banteay Srei has a moat and a wall around it, although the moat is dry at the moment. Apparently, they are symbolic rather than for defense, in that the moat represents the oceans and the wall represents the mountains.

I had planned to go back to Angkor Wat for some more photographs and hopefully a
MonkeysMonkeysMonkeys

Apparently these monkeys were added to Banteay Srei later on.
sunset. The best way is by tuk tuk, so, with our guide’s help, we arranged for one to take me there at 3.30pm, wait and then bring me back after the sunset for $15.

By the way, it’s actually not just the tourists that are charged in US dollars, in fact the entire economy here is in US dollars. Except that they don’t have the coins, so anything below one dollar goes into the local riel and you seem to get a big wad of notes for what is very little money.

The sunset was disappointing as the weather wasn’t great, but even if it was, they shut the site at 5.30pm, which is an hour before sunset, and the best photographs are looking east, which, of course, doesn’t work when the sun sets in the west.

I went to Angkor Thom to try there, but a policeman sent me on my way as that was closed also.

The tuk tuk driver was relaxing nicely in a hammock that he had strung-up inside the tuk tuk and, sadly, I rudely ended his chilling out time by getting back there earlier than we had both expected. Hopefully the sunrise will be more successful.

Just seen on the international news, Nuon Chea, who was known as “Brother Number Two” during the Khmer Rouge, died today whilst serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity. Also, I wish they would stop using the phrase “British Prime Minister Boris Johnson” on the news. It just depresses me, but at least we have an alternative, even if it is the Corbyn People’s Party!

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