More temple tours…. I saw a lot of temples over the three days I went exploring. I have to suggest that the three day pass over seven days is about right for a tourist. If you have seven days to explore Siem Reap, have ‘atter… but, unless you are a keen historian or an archaeologist, I’d say that three days is great! I’m not a history freak and am easily bored with museums, so I actually wasn’t even sure I would want or need three days, but I had such a great time exploring. My first day was a bit rushed but we saw lots with Katie. Second day was out further, we took our time, and involved a little hike with Victoria. My third day was solo, and I loved going at the pace I chose. All three days were amazing and I am so glad I came to this unique and beautiful country.
I went back to Angkor Thom, as I really wanted to see the Tomb Raider temple…. But before, that back to Bayon and area to see the Elephant Temple, the hugely tall Prasat, and a few more.
The Victory Entrance Gate into Angkor Thom is guarded by a series of stone men with large columns or poles on either side of the bridge, and the gate is impressive!
I was pleased to return briefly to Bayon and take in the view. Again, the enigmatic smiling faces captivated me. Up to that point, Bayon was my favourite, so I was excited to see it again… I headed over to Baphuon. I took a few minutes just to sit and admire the tall structure, and a butterfly came to rest on me. It was a beautiful blue papillon…. The whole of Cambodia seems to be blessed with the graceful presence of these elegant insects. The blue one left, and soon a beautiful brown, orange, black and white butterfly rested on my bag. It looked like it has four eyes on it… It wouldn’t leave and actually stayed on my bag as I climbed the steep slope of stairs to the top of Baphuon. It was nice to have the company and when I reached the top and took some photos, my little butterfly friend danced away in the warm breeze, like a parachuter gliding gently from the sky. The views were gorgeous, and I enjoyed the quiet. There were not nearly as many people who made the stairmaster climb to the top, and I chatted with a few people, exchanged laughter and also spent some time contemplating my fortunate life. On the way down, I noticed a sign that talked about the excavation and rebuild of a reclining Buddha. I couldn’t find it, but the guards pointed it out. It is actually part of the main structure and is built into the outer wall. A very cool site.
I moved on to the Leper King’s Terrace and the Elephant Terrace next, and my eyes were drawn to rickety old towers across the road, which I learned were the Queen’s Pavillions. They had each been erected for a different queen as she came to be. This area is called Prasats Suor Prat. I liked them a lot. They reminded me of the Weasley’s house in Harry Potter. The Elephant Terrace showed some funky elephants, and foreshadowed East Mebon, to come….
East Mebon has eight elephants – one on each corner of the bottom floor and the second floor. They are large and impressive, but otherwise I found this temple to just be ‘another temple.’
There were a lot of other temples, and its about a week later now – I can’t remember, but they were all cool. One you had to get through via a huge boardwalk and it was tiny…
The next temple was neat, as it was another set of ruins that foreshadowed the Tomb Raider – one massive jungle tree had begun to take over this ancient structure, and it was an impressive tree for sure! Lots of cool people there – it is so great to interact with other travellers, especially other solo travellers… it makes the day so fun and social!
There were alot of temples on the temple trail…. yes, they sort of blurred together, but they were fabulous! I saw a pair of travellers that had a portable whiteboard and they were writing the name of each temple on the board for their photos. Brilliant idea, which I totally recommend!