Skeptical about spending another day among rubberneckers testing their photography skills or the occasional archeologist? I say “STAY”. We drove out to the lesser known temples spread out, further away from tourist ridden ones. Underrated, the variety of temples hidden in the luscious jungle among traditional wooden houses on stilts possessed so much character and were almost intact or left to nature.
The next morning we hit the road and went over to Banteay Srei, the crown jewel of all temples built in 962 AD. The oldest. If there’s one temple I want to see again, it’s definitely this one. Showing off classical Khmer architecture in pinkish red sandstone, the articulate carvings, assumed to be done by delicate hands (of women), describes Hindu mythology scenes from a fire, serpents (naga) and women. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
We stopped by a former Ashram from back in the day, a temple mountain Pre Rup, and walked up the stairs to observe more ruins and gaze far far away at Phnom Krom nestled in a jungle some where outside the circuit, 12 kms away from Siem Reap. The best time to visit Pre Rup is in the early morning or at dawn because the limestone structure blends in beautifully when the sun is in action. Obviously, we visited during non pretty hours. Still pretty though. You know, fluffy clouds and stuff…
Although, there were several other temples worth visiting, I did NOT want to test the little of what was left of mom’s patience just because I wanted to scratch off all 37! So we relaxed and strolled around Siem Reap the next day.
I suggest you explore the circuit on a Tuk Tuk, visit Phnom Bakheng up on the hills, Kobal Spien on the river, and Lo Lei, the island temple. Plan ahead!!