Hello Hivers! To continue this solo backpacking series, From Thailand I now bring you to Cambodia. Took a bus from Pattaya to the border of Thailand and Cambodia, paid my fees (please research beforehand, I almost got fooled by the officers processing my passport) and had my passport stamped. From the border, I asked a driver to take me to a small terminal. When I got there, all buses already left.
I asked the police stationed there what to do and tried to fix a ride for me to Siem Reap, Unfortunately, the police gave a price much more than what a ticket should cost. I explained to the police I don't have much cash with me. I then headed to the counter and good thing, the cashier offered a ride to Siem Reap on his van with his family for a minimal fee. This one I will never forget.
Reaching Siem Reap, I hired a tuktuk to bring me to the hostel I was staying. If I remembered it correctly, I stayed there for 5 days and 4 nights. My only itinerary in Cambodia was to visit Angkor Wat. On my first day, I explored a little bit of the area I was in and rented a bike ($3/day) to use on my excursion to Angkor Wat.
Riding my bike to reach the ticketing office in the middle of the city was scary for me. There were a lot of vehicles and the streets were busy. I didn't realize how far the building was from where I was staying but still I was glad I manage to get there.
The inside of the building was so neat and organized. The process to purchase your ticket was so smooth. Directions were everywhere. When I got to the counter, there were three options to choose: One day visit ($37), Three days visit and validity of 10 days from the issue date ($62) and Seven days visit and validity of one month from the issue date ($72). To be honest, I got so confused because I really thought that Angkor Wat was just 1 temple. I didn't realized after that Angkor Wat was a city! 😱 Thus "Angkor Wat Heritage Park" I got the 3 day visit.
The first temple I ventured out was the Banteay Kdei which means "A Citadel of Chambers", east of Angkor Wat Temple. Since this was the first temple I went to, obviously I was in so much awe. I was greeted by this stone gate with a carved head on top. This entrance is what they call "Gopura" which you would also find in other temples. It was like stepping into the past. Ancient times, ancient structures, ancient civilization. I ventured through the ancient ruins on my own and each step that I took, I felt this immense beauty and mystery I couldn't explain.
Banteay Kdei was built from 12th to 13th century and was used as a Buddhist monastery throughout those years. This monastery complex is a combination of Bayon and Angkor Wat architecture. Structurally speaking, the complex was built with three enclosures and an other compound wall. The chambers were made of thick pillars which was still holding the temple in its place. Carvings of Buddha are still visible to the eye and have intrinsic details.
The burnt orange stone walls also gives you a hint of its past. The long dark hallways were inviting me to roam deeper into the temple. Every turn inside the chambers was like thrust into the old times. Nostalgic but refreshing in a way. This place is less popular compared to other temples so there were only a few tourists exploring around.
During this time, restoration was ongoing. Support structures were attached to the building or thick ropes tied around on some parts of the building.
Just outside of Ta Prohm Temple is a baray or reservoir called Srah Srang. But this used to be "The royal bathing pool". This pond was only used by the King and his wives. This is a popular site for sunrise and sunset photography.
My tour around Banteay Kdei was really short but yet a great start of my 3 day adventure in Angkor Wat Heritage Park. This point on I was excited to reach the other temples. Next stop would be Ta Prohm Temple! Stay tune hivers.
Mermaid by day, Witch by night. Dive into Clara's world of bliss as she ventures out into the universe and travel to awesome destinations. Join her as she take on the road to self-discovery and limitless possibilities.
If her content made you 😁, then drop some ❤️ by upvoting and leaving a comment. Also, click the Follow button to keep posted on her whimsical musings.