We tried the new road to reach Siem Reap directly from the Laos border, open since 2013. This should allow us a significant time saving of around 6 hours. When we arrived, exhausted by our trip of 10h, a tuk-tuk came to pick us up to go to the guesthouse we booked.
Because we crossed Laos in 20 days, we decided to take our time and use our 30 days visa entirely. We give us a lot of time in each town where we will stop.
Here, our program is simple, take a rest, do the big loop in the site the first day, with the secondary temples, take a break and probably rent bicycles and finish by the little loop to discover the main temples.
We woke up late for our first day and rent the bikes to discover the city, the old market and around the guesthouse. Not a really active day but we knew the day after we will discover the temples of Angkor.
To end our day, we had an appointment at our guest at 16:30 to buy our 3 days pass for the city and visit the Bayon for the sunset.
The Bayon is the oldest central temple of the Angkor Thom city. It’s the last “mountain-temples” of the site. The temple is dedicated to Buddha and all the towers have the particularity to have faces on each sides. It’s our first temple and we can easily imagine what we will discover next. It’s huge, in ruin sometime or perfectly conserved. Even with the tourists, we can find a calm place to admire the work. We are already charmed.
End of the day, come back to the guest house still amazed. We take our appointment with the tuk-tuk driver for 5 am to see the sunrise on the old city from the Bahkeng, a temple located on the top of the hill in between Angkor Wat and Bayon.
The big loop
It is 4 am and we are ready for our big day. We thought we would see a beautiful sunrise over the old town but unfortunately no luck. After 15 minutes of “climbing”, we arrived at the top of the hill, well with the color of the morning and there are only about ten tourists.
However, our pleasure was ruined by the construction cranes used for the renovation. In fact, the jungle is so dense that you can not really see the old city. Nothing impressive and after reflection we should have followed the advice of our guest house. No problem, today we are going to make the big loop with a lot of temples to see. We returned to tuk-tuk, to find our driver playing with a baby monkey who wanted to steal his mangoes.
We went straight to Kbal Spean, famous for the 1000 Linguas river, 40 km from the main site. To arrive there we need to walk 1,5 km from the entrance. The walk is pretty on the pathway in between forest and rocks but it start to be hot. Arrived in the top, an other desapointement, maybe because of the storm the day before, the water is to dark and we can’t see as well as we thought.
The sculpture work is impressive but we probably expected much more. After a little break we came back for the main city to discover the rest.
After the visit of few temples, all beautiful, a late lunch break we discovered the Neak Pean, little temple in the middle of a water tank.
We finished our day with se Preah Khan, temple dedicated to Jayavarman VII’s father, the king and main builder of Angkor city, definitely one of our favourite.
It’s not a “moutain-temple” but it’s still impressive by it size. It’s huge and we spend more than an hour getting lost in the mazes of ruins. Our favourite spot, the entrance west, with two bigs trees growing up inside and on top of the walls, on the roof of a corridor and keeping the stability only because of there roots. This visit was the height of our day.
After running around from temple to temple during 10h, we came back to the guesthouse to get rest, we still have 2 days to visit the most has we can but after this day full of emotion and kind of tiring direction the swimming pool of the guesthouse neighbour to relax.