Leg 5 Of That Thailand-Cambodia Backpacking Trip: Almost Done

I have been meaning to finish writing about my first Thailand-Cambodia backpacking trip but never really got around to getting it done. Today, I am determined to do just that and I will not write about another topic until I have published this.

Day 3 Start

an early Day 3 for the Tatlong Itlog

Now, where did I stop the last time? Oh yeah, I ended with a whole Day of ogling at Angkor’s more famous temples.  Day 3 started with an early call time at 8:00am but we left at around 9:00am. I can’t remember the reason behind the one-hour delay but I guess its insignificance explained my lack of memory thereof.  Ed wanted to rent a bicycle because it would only cost us US$1 each but changed his mind after realizing that the temples we will be exploring that day was farther than expected. Besides, Doi did not know how to ride a bike.

Pre Rup

Our tuktuk driver first dropped us off at Pre Rup temple. As per wikipedia, the temple was built as the state temple of Khmer king Rajendravarman which literally meant ‘turn the body’ – a reflection of the Cambodian’s belief that funerals were conducted at the temple, with the ashes of the body being ritually rotated in different directions as the service progressed.

Pre Rup with Tatlong Itlog

We finally got to use the tripod that Ed had been carrying around while at Pre Rup. It was such a relief to finally do so after hearing Ed whine about his efforts of bringing that kind of ‘artillery’ (smirk).

Banteay Srei

After Pre Rup, we proceeded to one of the smaller temples (but still frequently visited) called Banteay Srei. I like to refer to it as the miniature of all temples in Angkor because it really was quite small if measured by the “standards of Angkorian construction” as how Mr. Wiki would put it; but that’s not the most interesting information to consider. Banteay Srei was the only major temple in Angkor that was not built by a monarch; in fact, its construction was credited to a courtier named Yajinavaraha. How cool is that? Finally, a ruby amongst all that gold. I guess it is only fair to refer to it as ‘the jewel of Khmer art.’

Banteay Srei 1

What appealed to me the most about the temple is its meaning – ‘citadel of the women.’ It was believed that this was related to the intricacy of the carvings and the tiny dimensions of the buildings; supposedly indicative of women’s characteristics which I don’t entirely agree with but will not contest.

musicians and landmine victims

On our way out, we passed by a group of musicians who were playing local music. As we stepped closer, we discovered that they were all victims of the multitude of land mines in Cambodia. Not many know that Cambodia has one of the highest landmine casualty rates in the world, a result of the landmines buried by different factions (the Khmer Rouge, the Heng Samrin, and Hun Sen regimes) that clashed during the civil war in 1975. Yes, some are still left buried out there and what’s even sadder is the fact that the people responsible of placing them out there can no longer remember where they buried them in the first place.

east mebon

The next (and last) temple stop for the day was East Mebon, a 10th century temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and honored the parents of King Rajendravarman. This was the most in tact temple we have seen so far.

Part of our itinerary was to visit Bakheng Mountain as recommended by our host but we opted to do it some other time. The best time to be there was said to be during sundown and since it was still noon time, it meant that we needed to come up with something to keep us pre-occupied (going back to the guesthouse was not an option because we were too far away). All three of us were tired and have had enough temples so we just told our tuktuk driver to take us back to our guesthouse.

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