Going Back in Time on a Tomb Raider Adventure…….. Part Two … Siem Reap

Woolly says – With our tummies pleasantly full we climbed back on board and continued through the shady roads, as we bumped along avoiding the puddles there was an air of expectancy and excitement as to what we would be seeing next. Chau Say Tevoda didn’t have quite the same impact as our mornings finds but climbing down from our carriage I raced over to take a closer look, built in the mid 12th century, it is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu with unique types of female sculptures of devatas enshrined in it. Although much smaller the sculptures were in abundance and had been restored to a very high standard. Prior to 2000 the temple was in ruins, in fact much of it was in the Siem Reap River, the work was carried out by a Chinese team and took until 2009 before it could be viewed by the public again. It had much more a of a Hindu look and feel to it and must have been stunning when first built, as we wandered round it impressed us more and more for the intricate details that had been loving brought back to life.

Without a need to climb back onto our tuk tuk we had only to cross the road to look at the next temple.

Woolly says – Thommanon temple is slightly smaller than It’s cousin across the way and is dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu, built during the reign of Suryavarman II (1113 to 1150) it had some wonderful sculptures to admire with several small shrine buildings to peek into, small but beautifully formed I decided as I hopped back into the vehicle and we headed to the next port of call. Ta Keo is a temple mountain, and possibly the first to be built entirely of sandstone by the Khmer people. At first sight it looked far more modern which given the level of restoration work was justified, it lacked the external decorations of everything else we had seen so far but being one of the oldest temples in the city complex it had been constructed prior to carvings being used for buildings. I peered up at the five tiers keeping my tusks crossed that the women wouldn’t want to climb to the top as the steps looked incredibly narrow and impossibly steep.

Our thoughts were the same as the mammoths and we were happy to wander round it’s huge base admiring the window balustrades and the conservation work that had been undertaken.

Woolly says – A short ride took us to another carpark which was filled to overflowing with coaches and cars, having squeezed our tuk tuk into a small space we waved to Mr Smiley and set off to investigate one of the best known temples, maybe not by name but it’s wonders had been shown to millions from the filming of Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, I quite fancied myself as a tomb raider and with that in mind I zig zagged my way through the masses of tourists and into the delights of Ta Phrom. Ta Prohm is the modern name of the temple as it was originally called Rajavihara, built in the late 12th and early 13th centuries it was founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university. Unlike most of the temples, Ta Prohm is in much the same condition in which it was found, that made it doubly exciting to me and I pushed through the throngs to get my first view. It was incredible with it’s intricate carvings and the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings, I found an empty corner to sit and admire the details that every building contained, along with an extensive amount of fallen stones.

It was a place that you just wanted to stand and admire but with the crowds jostling around us it was a constant moving mass trying to take pictures and pushing past and through you, I collected my small friend and suggested that we head to the outer walls.

Woolly says – Sometimes, just sometimes, Jo is brilliant and having wandered past more and more carvings and wonderous buildings we found ourselves at the spot which was probably the most famous from the film of a tree literally growing around the whole building, it was wonderful and even better there was only a couple of other people that had discovered it, so we were able to stand and soak up the atmosphere without disturbance. With still more to see we made our way back to Mr Smiley and let the breeze dry us as we sped onwards.

At first sight Banteay Kdei (meaning “A Citadel of Chambers”) looked fairly small and we sighed with relief, everyone’s legs were starting to hurt, and I don’t think that Jo had stopped dripping for several hours, having climbed through the doorway I was staggered to find that it was in fact huge and had so much more to look at. Built in the mid 12th to early 13th centuries as a Buddhist monastic complex which was still occupied until the 1960’s by monks, we looked around, it quickly became apparent that it was in need of a lot of work with cracked buildings and piles of stones covering the ground. The buildings were lovely, covered in lichen and aged through the centuries it was similar to Ta Phrom but on a much smaller scale. We sat for a while just enjoying the peace before looking at our tour list to see what else we had to come before ambling back towards our ride.

We were all exhausted and starting to feel templed out, pulling up at our last but one stop we climbed out and onto the road and looked at the base in front of us.

Woolly says – It barely warranted a photo and in one fluid movement we all climbed back onto the tuk tuk. Mr Smiley beamed at us and handed out some more water before starting his engine and taking us to the final destination. Prasat Kravan looked so different to anything else we had seen with it’s reddish bricks, built in the 10th century in style of the Cham temples. It was also thankfully small and as we wandered round peering inside at it’s beautiful carvings I felt it was rather charming. We stood for a while admiring its simplicity before climbing back on board and settling back for our ride back into town. An incredible day with some of the most impressive buildings and structures I have ever seen, I sighed in contentment, this is what travelling is all about.

Angkor Wat Tickets (current for May 2018)

As promised a brief overview to the ticket situation.

1 Day ticket is $37 and is valid only on the day of purchase.

3 Day ticket is $62 and is valid for 10 days from the date of purchase. You can choose which three days you wish to visit the Angkor temples on.

7 Day ticket is $72 and is valid for one calendar month from the date of purchase. You have a whole month in which to visit the Angkor temples on the seven days of your choice.

When purchasing the tickets each member of the party needs to be present to have their picture taken which shows on your ticket (great way of stopping people from giving them to others!)

You can pay by cash or card

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